Youk, Lowe, Lowell headline '18 Sox HOF class

Early slugger Freeman, longtime Fenway employee Green round out group

November 30th, 2017

BOSTON -- Three players who played vital roles in some of the recent World Series championship banners that hang proudly at Fenway Park will headline the 2018 Red Sox Hall of Fame class.

Derek Lowe, Kevin Youkilis and Mike Lowell were all fan favorites during their time in Boston because of their competitive fire and ability to come up big when it mattered the most. And now they'll have a permanent place in team history with this latest honor.

• Complete list of Red Sox Hall of Fame inductees

"Wow, I'm extremely honored, extremely humbled and feeling a little bit shocked," said Youkilis. "I think just to be in the select company of some of the legends that I got a chance to talk to when I was coming up through the Minor Leagues and the Major Leagues and being around them and seeing the history of their playing careers probably means the most to me. I still can't believe it."

The class of five will be rounded out by the late John "Buck" Freeman, a slugger from early in the 20th century, and longtime Red Sox employee Alphonso "Al" Green, who is this year's non-uniformed inductee.

The newest Red Sox Hall of Fame class will be honored at a Red Sox Foundation gala on May 24 at the Westin Copley Place in Boston.

Youkilis, who was drafted and developed by the Red Sox and was part of the 2004 and '07 champions, is thrilled that he will go into the team's Hall of Fame with two former teammates.

"It's something you never really think about when you play the game and to be inducted with teammates that you've won with and got to carry trophies with is probably the most meaningful out of all of this," Youkilis said.

Sinkerballer Lowe came to Boston along with Jason Varitek in a trade with the Mariners for Heathcliff Slocumb on July 31, 1997. It is considered one of the best trades in team history. Varitek was elected to the Red Sox Hall of Fame in 2016.

Lowe threw a no-hitter at Fenway Park on April 27, 2002. In 384 appearances for Boston -- 111 of them starts -- Lowe went 70-55 with a 3.72 ERA.

However, Lowe was best known for his work in October.

In Game 5 of the '03 Division Series against Oakland, he came out of the bullpen and finished off the Athletics, completing Boston's comeback from a 2-0 series deficit.

But the best comeback took place a year later, and Lowe helped to make it possible. Starting on just two days of rest, Lowe spun a gem at Yankee Stadium in Game 7 to complete Boston's historic comeback from a 3-0 deficit in the American League Championship Series. No other team has come back from 3-0 in the postseason.

Lowe had been moved out of the rotation at the end of the '04 regular season, but worked his way back when Boston's bullpen got overworked in that ALCS comeback. He also won the clinching Game 4 of the World Series in St. Louis, which ended an 86-year championship drought for the Red Sox.

"We had Pedro [Martinez] and Schill [Curt Schilling] and Wake [Tim Wakefield] and all the bullpen guys, but Derek Lowe had one of the most impressive postseason runs for us and was kind of a guy who got pushed to the curb and stepped up big when we needed him to," Youkilis said. "I remember watching him pitch in the Cape Cod League and through the Minor Leagues, and getting to win that championship with him meant the world to everyone."

Youkilis was one of the best corner infielders of his era. He spent parts of nine seasons (2004-12) with the club, winning two championships and earning three All-Star selections and a Gold Glove Award at first base. A rookie backup at third base to Bill Mueller on the '04 title team, Youkilis was a core member of the '07 championship. With the Red Sox down 3-1 in the ALCS at Cleveland, Youkilis helped set the tone for a change in momentum by belting a solo homer in the top of the first. He also went deep in Game 7.

Dubbed the Greek God of Walks -- a nickname that took off after the release of the book and motion picture "Moneyball" -- Youkilis had a line of .287/.388/.487 with 133 homers in his time with Boston.

A third baseman when he came up through the farm system, Youkilis moved across the diamond to make way for Lowell, who arrived in a trade with Josh Beckett prior to the '06 season.

"Mike Lowell had a huge impact on my career, moving me to first base and changing my position forever and making my job a lot easier at first base," Youkilis said. "He was so good over there at third and so clutch."

Lowell was particularly clutch in the 2007 World Series, winning MVP honors as the Red Sox swept the Colorado Rockies. The right-handed hitter was also a clubhouse leader and slashed .290/.346/.468 with 80 homers in his five years with the Red Sox. Lowell was also instrumental in helping the Marlins win the '03 World Series.

Lowe, Youkilis and Lowell are three of many players in the mid-2000s who helped change the culture of the organization.

"There were so many great people that I kept relationships with and who have done so much for that organization, and they're not just players or owners or management. They're everyday people that people don't know about. They are special people," said Youkilis.

Known as one of the first home run hitters in baseball history, Freeman played in parts of four professional seasons before debuting for the Boston Americans in 1901 and was with the club until '07. He hit 48 home runs over seven seasons with Boston, huge power numbers for his era, while helping the team to its first World Series title in 1903.

Green, who turned 90 years old during the 2017 season, has spent the past 44 years working mostly in the team's Fan Services information booth. He was first hired as a member of the gameday staff in 1973 and has become a familiar face at Fenway Park in the years since.