Is it time for the Sox to pull the trigger?
Hmmmmm, that’s three homers and nine RBI in his last two games!
Do you think Kevin Youkilis has visions of Wally Pipp in his head this morning? Or even closer and more relevant, Carney Lansford? Who? You remember him don’t you?
Carney Lansford was acquired in a blockbuster trade with the California Angels in December of 1980. The Sox traded fan favorites Rick Burleson and Butch Hobson to the Halos and received the 24-year-old third baseman along with outfielder Rick Miller and relief pitcher Mark Clear.
All Lansford did was hit .336 becoming the first right-handed hitter to win the American League batting title in a decade. And he led the team with 15 stolen bases. A pure contact hitter Lansford only struck out 28 times and quickly became a Fenway favorite in his own right.
The following season an ankle injury forced Lansford to the bench and the Red Sox called up the kid third baseman from Pawtucket. That kid’s name was Wade Boggs. All Boggs did was hit .349 embarking upon a career which would land him in the National Baseball Hall of Fame.
Boggs won five batting titles while playing third base for the Red Sox in the 1980s, four of them in a row.
Will Middlebrooks has played in four games. He is hitting .381 with three homers and nine RBI. Six of his eight hits are for extra bases and he has generated more excitement in four games than the team has exhibited all year. He is 23 years old.
Middlebrooks hit .333 with nine homers and 27 RBI this year in Pawtucket, in only 93 at bats.
Kevin Youkilis is on the disabled list hitting just .219. He has missed 102 games the past two seasons and he is 33 years old.
“Youk’s” best season was 2008 when he hit .312 with 29 homers and 155 RBI.
“Youk” has played an integral part of the Red Sox story for the past five seasons. He has fought hard and given his all.
Carney Lansford went on to great success with the Oakland A’s after leaving the Red Sox. “Youk” deserves nothing less, but it’s time, it’s time for the Sox to look to the future and the first step to doing so has presented itself.
If you were to ask Middlebrooks, I think he might tell you, the future is now!
And so it is on this date in Fenway Park history, May 8, 2012.