The second tier of Red Sox immortals are honored with their banners waving high above Van Ness Street.
Now these players are on the second tier for a couple of different reasons. One is that they did not play their entire career, or close to it, in Boston therefore their impact upon the franchise was not as profound as the top-tier boys. And in the cases of Cy Young, Jimmy Collins, Tris Speaker and Harry Hooper, there were no numbers worn to even be retired. The Fenway crowd did not see numbers on Red Sox jerseys until 1931.
But let us give them their highly deserved due!
Denton True “Cy” Young pitched with the Red Sox for eight seasons from 1901-1908.
One of only two members of the Red Sox upper echelon who never played at Fenway Park. In his eight years in Boston pitching at the old Huntington Avenue Grounds, his numbers were staggering. Winning 192 (still a team record) and losing 112 he authored back to back 30 win seasons in 1901 and 1902. In the Red Sox first pennant year of 1903, he was 28-9 and he won two games in the World Series. Earning his nickname (short for “Cyclone” because of his blinding fastball) he is baseball’s all time leader in wins (511), complete games (750) and innings pitched (7354 2/3). And I’m sure you have heard of that award.
Jimmy Collins was the Red Sox first manager and third baseman playing from 1901 until his trade in 1907.
Lured over to the new Boston Americans from the Boston Beaneaters of the national league, Jimmy Collins was the best third basemen in baseball. He revolutionized the playing of third base by being the first man to play in on the grass to choke off the bunt. Widely recognized as a man of impeccable integrity who earned the respect of teammates and foes alike; he was an astute man of business as well. His salary reached the $10,000 mark with an additional feature of 10% of the Boston Americans profits exceeding $25,000. He was inducted into the Hall of Fame by the Old Timers Committee in 1945.
Tris Speaker played with the Red Sox from 1907-1915, becoming their regular center fielder in 1909. He was Fenway Parks first superstar.
The American League MVP (then known as the Chalmers Award) in Fenway’s inaugural year of 1912, Speaker hit .383 led the league with 10 homers while knocking in 90 runs. His 222 hits that year was a Red Sox record until broken by Wade Boggs in 1985.
Harry Hooper played with the Red Sox from 1909-1920.
Harry Hooper patrolled Fenway Park’s right field for four pennants and World Series Championship seasons. An engineer, he was lured to baseball by Red Sox owner John I. Taylor with a $2800.00 salary and a promise to help with the construction of the new Fenway Park. He fell in love with baseball and never bothered with engineering again.
Rick Ferrell was the Red Sox catcher for four seasons from 1933-1936.
In three of his four seasons with the Red Sox Rick was an all-star. He caught the entire inaugural all-star game in 1933 at Commisky Park in Chicago. A tremendous defensive catcher with an outstanding arm, he was particularly adept at catching the elusive knuckleball. In his four years as the Red Sox full-time catcher he hit .297, .297, .301 and .312. His acquisition by Tom Yawkey in 1933 was one of Yawkey’s first steps in restoring the Red Sox franchise to respectability. The Veterans Committee enshrined him in Cooperstown in 1984.
Tomorrow the remainder and a special surprise.
to be continued…..
And so it is on this day in Fenway Park history, February 17, 2012.