Monday, September 19, 2016

Loyalty and Longevity Pt. 2: Bill Carrigan

In this series, I look at players who played their entire Major League career with the Red Sox, as long as said Major League career lasted at least ten years.
Yes, his nickname was "Rough" and it was a well-earned nickname.  Bill Carrigan was a Red Sox catcher first in 1906, then back with the team from 1908 through 1916.  Carrigan played hard and was not afraid to get his uniform dirty.  He was also not afraid to mix it up with other players, at one point tagging Ty Cobb in the mouth hard after Cobb had been taunting him, telling him he was going to score.  Carrigan also once punched out teammate Tris Speaker in a clubhouse brawl.  Baseball was quite different in the Dead Ball Era.

But beyond all of that, Carrigan was a pretty good player too.  In his first full season in 1909, Carrigan hit .296/.341/.368 with one home run and 36 RBIs.  Carrigan would never hit quite that high again, but his career numbers of .257/.334/.314 were nothing to be ashamed of, particularly for a Deadball Era catcher.  Carrigan was a pretty good defensive catcher too, typically nabbing more than 40% of base stealers, including leading the league with 58% in 1914.

Carrigan was only a starting catcher for a few of his ten Major League seasons, but a large reason for that was the fact that Carrigan also became the team's manager in 1913.  He managed the Red Sox through the 1916 season and led his team to more than 90 wins in each of his three full seasons at the helm.  Under him, the Red Sox won the World Series in both 1915 and 1916.  

After the 1916 season, Carrigan retired and returned to his home in Lewiston, Maine.  Carrigan returned to manage the Red Sox from 1927 through 1929, but the team was nowhere near as good and Carrigan retired from baseball for good after the team won fewer than 60 games in all three seasons.

Carrigan was the first Red Sox player to play more than ten years without appearing in another Major League uniform.  He was not the starting catcher his entire career, but he was without a doubt an important member of the team.  He managed the team for several years and even led Boston to two straight World Championships.  He may not be a member of the MLB Hall of Fame, but he is a Red Sox Hall of Famer.

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