The Boston Red Sox are planning a plethora of events to celebrate Fenway Park’s 100th birthday this summer. Among them is the selection, by the fans, of Fenway Park’s 100th Anniversary team, the All Fenway team!http://mlb.mlb.com/bos/fan_forum/all_fenway_team.jsp
The voting has begun now as fans can select the best left and right-handed starting pitchers at the moment. It will end with the center fielder and manager being selected from May 7th through May 20th. A fun exercise and fodder for many a sports bar discussion/argument, mill.
Not one to miss out on a good baseball discussion, I am going to take a bit of a different track and it will go like this. I am going to select my all time Fenway Park team! Not just one player at each position but a 25 man team! An All Time Fenway 25 man roster if you will. Today I will begin with the pitching staff. Oh, and it will be old school, no “set up” bullpen guys! All starters with two guys out of the bullpen. Oh and I do have one criteria which must be met, each starter must have at least 100 decisions in a Red Sox uniform.
Today I select my southpaws, starting with the most current and working my way back towards 1912. With that said, the first guy on the staff is…….
John Lester 2006-present.
Lester became eligible for my squad just last year after completing his sixth season in a Red Sox uniform. His lifetime record of 76-34 earns him a .691 winning percentage. That is the best in Red Sox history for a lefty with 100 or more decisions. A two-time all-star, he led the league in strikeouts per nine innings in 2010 and since he entered the rotation in 2008 he has averaged over 200 innings per season, a workhorse by today’s standards. His 162 game average is 17-7 with a 3.53 ERA. He is 2-3 in the post season with a 2.57 ERA. He was the winning pitcher in the World Series clinching game in 2007!
Mel Parnell 1947-1956.
Cracking the rotation in 1948, for the next six seasons, Mel Parnell was the ace of the Red Sox staff. His best year was 1949 when he went 25-7 with a 2.77 ERA. He led the league in wins, complete games (27) innings pitched (295.1), made his first all star team and finished fourth in the MVP balloting. His 25 wins remains a Red Sox record for wins in a season by a left-hander. In 10 years he went 123-75 (.621) with a 3.50 ERA. His 162 game average was 16-10 and he threw 20 career shutouts.
He is forever cemented in Red Sox folklore by being passed over to pitch the one game playoff for the American League pennant against the Indians in 1948. Manager Joe McCarthy went with journeyman Denny Galehouse who got pounded, the Indians went on to the World Series and the Red Sox went home. Parnell never pitched in the post season.
Lefty Grove 1934-1941.
I’ve written about Grove a couple of times, once just this past week regarding his Banner of Glory waving on Van Ness Street. Even though his best years were behind him when he arrived in Boston, Lefty Grove earns a spot on the All Fenway pitching staff. He was 105-62 (.629) with a 3.34 ERA in eight years with the Red Sox. Four times he led the league in ERA, once in shutouts and he was a five time all-star in Boston. He won his 300th game in a Red Sox uniform, the only pitcher to do so!
Next up…..The last lefty…..
It seems hard to believe that a guy who pitched 100 years ago and for only three complete seasons would make the squad, but the numbers are staggering and the performance does not lie!
Babe was a full-time pitcher in 1915, 16 and 17. In those three years he was 65-33 (.633) with a 2.02 ERA. He led the league in ERA once, starts and complete games once as well. In 1916 he threw nine shutouts an American League record for shutouts by a left-handed starter which he still holds, sharing it with Ron Guidry. He is the only Red Sox left-handed pitcher to have back to back 20 win seasons (23 in 1916, 24 in 1917) and he still holds the Red Sox records for starts (41), complete games (35) and innings pitched 326.1 by a left-handed pitcher in a season. He was 89-46 .659 with a 2.19 ERA for the Red Sox and held the Red Sox record for lifetime winning percentage for a lefty until Jon Lester broke it last year.
He was 3-0 (0.87 ERA) in World Series play including a 14 inning complete game win in game two of the 1916 World Series, the longest complete game win in Series history. His 29.2 consecutive scoreless World Series innings pitched was a record until 1961. He went to his grave saying that was the record of which he was most proud!
And so it is on this date in Fenway Park history, February 23, 2012.
Happy Birthday Boom!