Boston's all-time retired numbers

December 1st, 2021

BOSTON -- At Fenway Park, the right-field façade is reserved for the legends. That's the spot that showcases all the retired numbers for one of the most storied franchises in all of sports.

At one point, the criteria that the Red Sox had for retiring a number was that the player had to be enshrined in the Baseball Hall of Fame, and have ended his career with Boston.

But there were some exceptions made along the way. The late Johnny Pesky, one of the great ambassadors that the Sox ever had, had his number retired without making it to the Hall of Fame. Carlton Fisk, Pedro Martinez and Wade Boggs all finished their careers for different teams. Boston retired David Ortiz's number the year after he retired, rather than waiting to see how his Hall of Fame candidacy plays out.

The Sox no longer have a formal set of criteria to determine whether a player is eligible to have his number retired. That said, owner John Henry and chairman Tom Werner are committed to reserving that honor for a very select few. All future candidates will be considered on a case-by-case basis.

Here is a look at all the numbers that have been retired by the Red Sox.

Wade Boggs, 3B: No. 26
Number retired: May 26, 2016
A left-handed-hitting machine, Boggs won all five of his career batting titles for the Red Sox. He hit .357 or above five times between 1983-88 and set a franchise record by notching 200 or more hits in seven seasons. During the 11 years that Boggs played for the Red Sox (1982-92), he led the Majors in batting average (.338), hits (2,098), doubles (422) and on-base percentage (.428). Boggs was a first-ballot Hall of Famer in 2005.

Joe Cronin, SS: No. 4
Number retired: May 29, 1984
Cronin played on the great Red Sox teams that also included Ted Williams, Bobby Doerr, Pesky and Dominic DiMaggio. In fact, he managed those players as well. Cronin was a player-manager for Boston from 1935-45 and was strictly a manager for the next two seasons, which included the pennant-winning season of '46. At the time of his retirement, Cronin held a franchise record with 1,071 managerial wins. As a player for Boston, Cronin slashed .300/.394/.484 with 119 homers and 737 RBIs.

Bobby Doerr, 2B: No. 1
Number retired: May 21, 1988
The classy second baseman was referred to as the "silent captain" during his tremendous career, all of which was spent with the Red Sox. Doerr hit for a combination of average and power and did all the little things well. He became the first player in Red Sox history to hit for the cycle twice. He died in November 2017, at the age of 99. The one year that Doerr had a chance to play in the World Series was 1946, and he excelled, hitting .409 (9-for-22) to lead the team. Doerr was also known for his superb defense at second base.

Carlton Fisk, C: No. 27
Number retired: Sept. 4, 2000
The man they called "Pudge" will forever be remembered for the home run that he waved fair to end Game 6 of the 1975 World Series. Born in Vermont and raised in New Hampshire, Fisk was a tough New Englander through and through. The only regret -- both for Fisk and the Red Sox -- is that he didn't spend his entire career in Boston. But Fisk did plenty of damage while he was with the Red Sox from 1969-80, when he was an offensive force at the plate and a defensive stalwart behind it. Fisk had 376 career homers and was an 11-time All-Star and was inducted into the Hall of Fame in 2000.

Pedro Martinez, SP: No. 45
Number retired: July 28, 2015
Martinez's popularity in Boston was matched only by his dominance. He carved up the opposition at a historic rate during an era that was known for offense. Martinez pitched for the Red Sox from 1998-2004, winning two of his three career Cy Young Awards over that span, notching a gaudy record of 117-37 with a 2.52 ERA. Martinez had the thrill of starting the 1999 All-Star Game at Fenway Park and struck out five of the six batters he faced. Another of Martinez's most memorable moments also took place in '99, when he came out of the bullpen and pitched through a right shoulder injury to fire six no-hit innings against Cleveland to win Game 5 of the American League Division Series. He was part of the history-making '04 team that ended Boston's championship drought at 86 years.

David Ortiz, DH: No. 34
Number retired: June 23, 2017
Big Papi is larger than life to Red Sox Nation for his role in leading the club to championships in 2004, '07 and '13. In '04, Ortiz took clutch to another level, producing a walk-off homer and walk-off single on back-to-back days as the Red Sox overcame a 3-0 series deficit against the Yankees in the ALCS. The left-handed-hitting slugger had another iconic moment in the '13 ALCS against the Tigers, when his grand slam against tied Game 2 of that series. Ortiz was the MVP of the '13 World Series, hitting an eye-popping .688 with two homers and six RBIs as the Sox beat the Cardinals in six games. In 2006, Ortiz set a team record for a single season by belting 54 home runs. Only Williams hit more homers for the Red Sox than the 483 by Ortiz, who played in Boston from 2003-16.

Johnny Pesky, SS/3B: No. 6
Number retired: Sept. 28, 2008
One of the best pure hitters in the AL during his career, Pesky evolved into one of the most beloved figures in Red Sox history. This is due to the fact that he spent 61 years in the Red Sox organization, with roles in just about every capacity. Though Pesky only hit 13 homers in his Sox career, several of them were curled down the line in right, which is why that foul line at Fenway is referred to as "Pesky's Pole." Pesky topped the 200-hit mark in each of his first three seasons with the Red Sox. He was as big a hit off the field as he was on it; nobody enjoyed interacting with fans more than Pesky. Jim Rice and Boggs, who also have their numbers retired at Fenway, both credited Pesky for helping them become Hall of Famers due to his tireless work with them behind the scenes.

Jim Rice, LF: No. 14
Number retired: July 28, 2009
With quick wrists and brute-like strength, Rice was one of the premier hitters of his era. Much to the delight of Red Sox fans, Rice spent his entire career in Boston. Never was Rice better than in 1978, when he won the AL MVP Award by slashing .315/.370/.600 with 46 homers, 15 triples and 139 RBIs while compiling 406 total bases. Though Rice hit some titanic homers, he could also rip line drives to all fields. Red Sox players will always be convinced that Rice could have helped them win the 1975 World Series, for which he was inactive with a broken left hand. Rice did get a chance to play in the 1986 World Series, but the Red Sox lost to the Mets in seven games. Rice remains a fixture around the Red Sox, both as a studio analyst on NESN and at team events.

Ted Williams, LF: No. 9
Number retired: May 29, 1984
The Splendid Splinter. The Kid. The Thumper. Whatever you want to call him, he was a true legend who has a tunnel named after him in Boston. Williams once said that his one goal was to walk down the street and have people say, "There goes the greatest hitter that ever lived." It's safe to say that many people uttered that exact sentence at one time or another. Williams hit .406 in 1941, and nobody has reached the .400 mark since. He also hit 521 home runs, a Red Sox record. Williams had a career average of .344. Williams missed three full seasons fighting for his country, otherwise his career stats would be even more impressive. Williams won the triple crown in 1942 and '47. His book, The Science of Hitting, is still used as a resource by aspiring hitters.

Carl Yastrzemski, LF: No. 8
Number retired: Aug. 6, 1989
Perhaps nobody in baseball history had more pressure in his rookie season than Yastrzemski, whose job was to replace Williams in left field. For a while, Yaz felt that burden. By 1967, he was a legend, leading the Red Sox to the "Impossible Dream" pennant and falling just one win shy of beating the Cardinals in the World Series. Yaz won the triple crown that season and went 7-for-8 in the final two games of the regular season, which were both must wins. Yaz was also an elite defender in left field and a master at playing the Green Monster. To make way for Rice in the mid-1970s, Yaz moved to first base and also excelled at that position. He became the first player in AL history to accumulate 400 homers and 3,000 hits.

Note: On April 15, 1997, the Red Sox joined every team in MLB in retiring No. 42 in honor of Jackie Robinson.