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The Red Sox's all-time single-season team

@IanMBrowne
January 4, 2021

Take the best individual seasons by position in Red Sox history, put them into the simulator of your choice and this squad would be tough to beat. This group includes six Hall of Famers, five MVP Award winners, a Triple Crown winner and a Cy Young Award winner. Here is

Take the best individual seasons by position in Red Sox history, put them into the simulator of your choice and this squad would be tough to beat.

This group includes six Hall of Famers, five MVP Award winners, a Triple Crown winner and a Cy Young Award winner.

Here is what the lineup looks like.

C: Carlton Fisk, 1977
Key stats: .315/.402/.521, 106 runs, 26 homers, 102 RBIs

At a position where offense has always been at a premium, Fisk stood out in ’77 by having a sparkling all-around season with the bat. Fisk’s durability was off the charts, as he started 149 games behind the plate that season -- which is unheard of in this era. Fisk was part of a loaded Boston lineup that belted 213 homers and also included fellow Hall of Famers Carl Yastrzemski and Jim Rice.

1B: Jimmie Foxx, 1938
Key stats: .349/.462/.704, 50 homers, 175 RBIs

The legend known as "Double X" set a team record in ’38 by walloping 50 homers. The record stood until 2006, when David Ortiz hit 54. Foxx didn’t lead the American League in homers that year -- Hank Greenberg had 58. But he led the other two Triple Crown categories, hitting .349 with 175 RBIs, which is still a record in a season by a Red Sox player. Ted Williams is the only other player in Red Sox history to have a slugging percentage above .700 in a season. Unsurprisingly, Foxx was the AL MVP in ’38.

2B: Dustin Pedroia, 2008
Key stats: .326/.376/.493, 118 runs, 213 hits, 54 doubles, 17 homers, 83 RBIs, 20 stolen bases

How could Pedroia live up to the hype after winning the AL Rookie of the Year Award in ’07? Simple. He won the AL MVP Award in ’08. Pedroia took his game to the next level in his second full season, putting together strong numbers across the board while winning his first AL Gold Glove Award for his excellence at second base. Pedroia led the AL in runs, hits and doubles.

SS: Rico Petrocelli, 1969
Key stats: .297/.403/.589, 40 homers, 97 RBIs

Though Nomar Garciaparra had an amazing peak from 1997-00, the best individual season by a Sox shortstop came in ’69, when Petrocelli walloped 40 homers. That is still a team record for a Boston shortstop. Petrocelli’s 10.0 WAR that season -- which led all AL position players -- is also tops in history for a Sox shortstop. So, too, was his 168 OPS+.

3B: Wade Boggs, 1987
Key stats: .363/.461/.588, 24 homers, 89 RBIs

By the time 1987 came around, Boggs had already established himself as the best pure hitter in the AL. What nobody saw coming was the power he hit for in ’87. The 24 homers that Boggs hit that season more than doubled his second-highest career total (11 for the Yankees in 1994). Boggs was a magician with the bat in his hands, capable of fouling off pitches one after the other until he got the one he wanted. For that one year, he had power and was a truly scary force. The batting title that Boggs won in ’87 was one of five he captured in Boston.

LF: Carl Yastrzemski, 1967
Key stats: .326/.418/.622, 44 homers, 121 RBIs

It was hard to pick against the season Ted Williams had in 1941, when he hit .406 with 37 homers to go with an eye-popping OPS of 1.287. But Yaz’s 12.5 WAR was the best for a position player in Red Sox history. He did it at the plate and in the field during a heated pennant race that lasted the entire season. Boston needed every bit of Yaz’s Triple Crown season to win the pennant that almost nobody forecasted. Oddsmakers had the Sox at 100-to-1 underdogs to make it to the World Series. Thanks in large part to Yaz -- the AL MVP -- they created an Impossible Dream.

CF: Tris Speaker, 1912
Key stats: .383/.464/.567, 222 hits, 53 doubles, 52 stolen bases

Unfortunately, none of us who are typing this or reading this ever got to see Speaker play. But the numbers speak for themselves. The left-handed hitter led the AL with 10 homers in what was still the Dead Ball Era. His 10.1 WAR and 190 OPS+ are the records in a single season for a Red Sox center fielder. In the second year of existence for the MVP Award, Speaker was the winner.

RF: Mookie Betts, 2018
Key stats: .346/.438/.640, 32 homers, 80 RBIs, 30 stolen bases

The electrifying Betts sparked the Red Sox to a franchise record of 108 wins en route to a World Series championship. When it comes to every facet of the game, the season Betts had in ’18 was one of the best in franchise history. His 10.6 WAR is tied with Ted Williams (1946) for the second best by a position player in club history. Almost overlooked was that he won the batting title while having a 30-30 season. Betts was also elite on defense, winning his third straight AL Gold Glove Award. After finishing second to Mike Trout in the 2016 AL MVP race, Betts turned the tables in ’18, winning the trophy while Trout was the runner-up.

DH: David Ortiz, 2007
Key stats: .332/.445/.621, 35 homers, 117 RBIs

In truth, you could have also picked the following Ortiz seasons: 2003, ’04, ’05, ’06 or ’16. So what puts ’07 at the top for Big Papi? His career-high batting average and patience (led the AL with 111 walks and a .445 on-base percentage) were separators. He also mashed 52 doubles, a career high in that category. Ortiz’s 6.4 WAR and 171 OPS+ were the best single-season totals of his legendary career.

SP: Pedro Martinez, 2000
Key stats: 18-6, 1.74 ERA, 284 strikeouts, 0.74 WHIP

How good was Martinez in 2000? His 291 ERA+ is the best of any MLB pitcher in the Modern Era (since 1900). In an era when offense was erupting, Martinez’s ERA was a miniscule 1.74. For perspective, Roger Clemens finished second in the AL that season at 3.70. Martinez also led the Majors that season in shutouts (four), FIP (2.17), WHIP and hits allowed per nine innings (5.3). He led the AL in strikeouts, homers allowed per nine innings (0.7) and strikeouts per nine innings (11.8).

RP: Dick Radatz, 1964
Key stats: 16-9, 157 innings, 2.29 ERA

The man known as "The Monster" had a short but glorious peak. From 1962-64, he was the best reliever in the Major Leagues, recording 76 saves and a 2.17 ERA. But ’64 was in a class by itself when you look at Radatz pitching 157 innings of relief while winning 16 games and saving 29 others. Radatz’s 1.03 WHIP was the best of his career. His 6.4 WAR was the best by a Red Sox reliever.

Ian Browne has covered the Red Sox for MLB.com since 2002. Follow him on Twitter @IanMBrowne and Facebook.