Monday, November 8, 2010

Unknown Heroes Pt. 3: Reggie Jefferson

I do not really remember how Reggie Jefferson ended up with the Red Sox. It seems like one day he was just suddenly there. This occurred in 1995 and he went largely unnoticed at that time. He played in only 45 games, but they were productive. He was mostly a backup option at designated hitter whenever Jose Canseco went down with an injury. I did not think much of him at the time.

It was in 1996 that Jefferson became a favorite unnoticed player of mine. Jefferson had a great year in 1996. His slash line was .347/.388/.593 and he would have won the batting title had he gotten a few more at bats. He also hit 19 home runs, 30 doubles, and had 74 RBIs. Jefferson again mostly played DH but also spent time at first and in left field to cover for Mo Vaughn and Mike Greenwell.

In 1997, Jefferson became the principal DH near the trading deadline when platoon partner Mike Stanley was traded to the Yankees. At that time, Jefferson was leading the league in batting average, but would slump and come in at .319. Jefferson also had a 22 game hitting streak in 1997 and hit 13 home runs. Unfortunately, left-handed pitchers ate Jefferson alive, so he was never really considered a viable starter at any position. He was at his best in a platoon situation.

Jefferson had a great year in 1998 again, while only playing part time due to the platoon and injuries. He hit .306/.374/.520 to have his second best season since coming to Boston. In 1999, he struggled and was granted free agency at the end of the season. He never played again in the Major Leagues. He was only 30 when he retired.

Reggie Jefferson finished his career with a .300 batting average, making him one of only a handful of players to have a career batting average of .300 with no All Star appearances. Jefferson had an uncanny knack for coming up with a big hit and was a lot of fun to watch. He just was a great hitter when he was at his best. He was certainly at his best with Boston from 1996-1998 and I really enjoyed watching him.

No comments:

Post a Comment