FIVE FAVORITE PLAYERS
Nomar had a huge year in 1999. He won his first batting title after hitting .357/.418/.603 for a 1.022 OPS and was voted the starting shortstop in the All Star game. He also hit 27 home runs, drove in 104, and stole 14 bases. He was a terrific all-around player and finished seventh in the MVP vote.
As good as Nomar was, Pedro was better. Martinez finished second in the MVP vote and probably deserved to win. He did win the Cy Young unanimously as he had one of the best pitching seasons of all time, winning the pitching Triple Crown with a 23-4 record, 2.07 ERA, and 313 strikeouts in 213.1 innings. Amazing.
O'Leary was the big power hitter for the Red Sox in 1999. He lead the team with 28 home runs and finished second to Nomar with 103 RBIs. His line was .280/.343/.495. He also had 36 doubles and four triples.
Tek became the starting catcher in 1999 and had a big season. The switch-hitting catcher hit .269/.330/.482 with 20 home runs and 76 RBIs. He also hit 39 doubles. Not bad for a catcher.
1999 was one of Wakefield's most versatile seasons. He started 17 games and finished 28. He actually was one of two pitchers on the Red Sox staff to save 15 games and spent a chunk of the season as a knuckleballing closer. He finished at 6-11 with 15 saves and a 5.08 ERA.
Stanley did not slow down at all at 36 years old. He hit .281/.393/.466 while splitting time between first base and designated hitter. He also crushed 19 home runs and drove in 72. Stanley also provided veteran leadership.
El Guapo had a terrific season in 1999 and showed that he belonged in the Major Leagues for good. In 30 games as a middle reliever Garces had an ERA of 1.55 and struck out 33 while walking 18 in 40.2 innings. His record was an impressive 5-1 and he picked up two saves.
Saberhagen followed up his Comeback Player of the Year 1998 season by spending a chunk of 1999 on the disabled list. When he was healthy though, he was good. He finished the year at 10-6 with a 2.95 ERA with 81 strikeouts and an incredible 11 walks in 119 innings pitched.
After Mo Vaughn departed as a free agent, there was some question of what Boston would do to make up for the loss of his offensive production. Boston signed Offerman in a move that was widely mocked. However, Offerman had a decent All Star season hitting .294/.391/.435 with eight home runs, 69 RBIs, 11 triples, 37 doubles, and 18 stolen bases. He struggled late or his numbers may have been better.
FAVORITE MIDSEASON ACQUISITION
With a name like that, you expect a power hitter. And Huskey was a power hitter. The designated hitter was acquired to add some extra offense and he did well enough, hitting .266/.305/.484 with seven home runs and 28 RBIs in 45 games down the stretch after being acquired from Seattle.
Boston had some bullpen problems so they engineered a trade for former closer Beck late in the season. Beck pitched in just 12 games for the Red Sox but had a 1.93 ERA and three saves.
Daubach was a scrap-heap pickup, but he finished the year fourth in the Rookie of the Year vote. Daubach hit .294/.360/.562 with 21 home runs and 73 RBIs. He showed a strong ability to deliver clutch hits but was pretty streaky. The 27 year old rookie helped the team move on from Vaughn.
Nixon was one of Boston's top prospects and finally got the chance to play every day. The results were decent but not eye-popping. He hit .270/.357/.472 with 15 home runs. Decent, but not exceptional numbers. But the best was yet to come.
Pitching was a big problem for Boston in 1999. Mark Portugal was signed to help the rotation but he was pretty brutal. He finished the year 7-12 with a 5.51 ERA.
Pedro's older brother was once a terrific starter for the Dodgers. Those years were long over by the time he showed up in Boston. Ramon was injured most of the season and only made it into four games at the end of the season. He pitched well though, going 2-1 with a 3.05 ERA.
Coming off his remarkable 1998 season, Gordon struggled in 1999. He saved 11 games but had an awful 5.60 ERA and was 0-2.
After pitching just four innings in Game 1 of the ALDS, Martinez had to leave the game with an injury and Boston's playoff hopes diminished. However, he returned in Game 5 with the Red Sox tied with the Indians at two games apiece and pitched six hitless innings, striking out eight to help the team win the ALDS. He followed that up by outdueling Roger Clemens in the ALCS, striking out 12 in seven innings.
My clearest memories of the 1999 postseason are of Martinez and O'Leary in Game 5 of the ALDS. O'Leary came to the plate twice after the Indians intentionally walked Nomar. One time, the bases were loaded, the other time, there were two runners on base. Both times O'Leary homered. He had seven RBIs in that decisive game. He also hit well in the ALCS.