The Post Youk Era began at Fenway Park on Monday and after two games the Red Sox are 1-1 following a come from behind 5-1 win last night at home against the Blue Jays.
Big Papi and Brent Lillibridge.
Utility man Brent Lillibridge joined the Sox on Monday and last night started in centerfield going 0-2 before being pinched hit for by Daniel Nava in the seventh inning. The key to the deal, according to Red Sox GM Ben Cherington, is right handed pitcher Zach Stewart who was assigned to Pawtucket where the Red Sox hope to develope him as a starter.
Stewart was a third round draft pick of the Cincinnati Reds in 2008.
It remains to be seen what, if any, impact these players will have in Boston. Lillibridge has value as he has played every position at the major league level except pitcher and catcher. A player with that kind of versatility is always a welcome addition. Stewart will be a wait and see commodity. As for Youk with the White Sox, it will all be determined by which Youk they get. Will it be the Youk of 2007 and eight or the Youk of 2010 and eleven? Or, God forbid, 12?
The White Sox are 1-1 in their brand new “Youk” Era.
I thought today it might be of interest to take a look at some past mid-season deals made by the Red Sox.
In July of 1988 they acquired Orioles pitcher Mike Boddicker. Boddicker had been a pretty solid starter for the O’s, winning 20 games in 1984. The Red Sox were battling for the top spot in the AL East and Boddiker played a key role in them eventually prevailing. He went 7-3 with a 2.63 ERA including a shutout of the Brewers in his first Red Sox start. The following year he went 15-11 and then in 1990 he was 17-8 as the Sox again won the AL East.
The price for Boddicker? These two guys.
Brady Anderson had a decent big league career hitting .256 with 210 home runs in 15 seasons. However, 50 of those home runs came in 1996 in the midst of the “Steroid Era” and leave many doubting the veracity of Brady’s season of power. The most he hit in any other year was 24 in 1999.
Curt Schilling went on to do some pretty good things with the Phillies and Diamondbacks before returning to the Red Sox via a trade in the winter of 2003.
He did some pretty good things with the Red Sox too and in December the keepers of the keys to the National Baseball Hall of Fame will make their official judgement on where he stands. A career record of 216-146, he is one of the games greatest post season pitchers going 11-2 with a 2.23 ERA in 19 post season starts, 4-1 and 2.06 in the seven that came in the World Series.
Perhaps the best trade the Red Sox have made in my lifetime occured on July 31, 1997 when they sent this guy,
to the Seattle Mariners for, this guy,
AND this guy
Slocumb had 31 saves for the Sox in 1996 however he was scuffling along in ’97’ when the Sox decided to move him. Lowe had appeared in 12 games for Seattle and was 2-4 with an ERA of 6.96. Varitek was playing for the Mariners triple A affiliate in Tacoma of the Pacific Coast League. He was hitting .254 with 15 homers and 48 RBI and he had never hit above .262 in three minor league seasons.
Both Varitek and Lowe have left indelible marks upon the history of Fenway Park and the Red Sox. Integral parts of the 2004 teams which will forevermore be glorified in Fenway annals, it is safe to say neither of these guys will ever have to buy another drink in Boston.
Lowe made baseball history in 2004 becoming the only pitcher to win the deciding game in a Divison Series, a Championship Series and a World Series in the same season. However before that he had already left a considerable mark on the Red Sox. He led the American League with 42 saves in 2000, added 24 more in ’01’ and then in ’02’ went 21-8 and he followed that with a 17-7 campaign in ’03’. Oh and he did throw a no-hitter to boot.
Now the other guy, well he wasn’t too bad either.
Calling it quits after the 2011 season, “The Captain” ranks as one of the most popular Red Sox of all time. He hit .256 with 193 homers and 757 RBI in 15 years behind the Red Sox dish. However his story cannot be told in numbers, it can be told in a letter.
In December of 2017 the BBWAA will find the name of Jason Varitek on their National Baseball Hall of Fame ballot. I for one will be curious to see how they measure that which can’t be measured.
And so it is on this day in Fenway Park history, June 27, 2012.