Saturday, September 10, 2016

Your 1981 Red Sox Pt. 1: Gary Allenson

In this series, I will look at each player who played in 1981, the year I was born.  Because, why not?
Boston regrettably lost Carlton Fisk as a free agent in December of 1980 after not sending him a contract in time.  Fisk left for Chicago and Boston's catching was in flux.  Gary Allenson had played in 108 games in 1979 due to injuries to Fisk, who DH'd for a chunk of the season, but was not terribly impressive hitting .203/.264/.299 in his rookie season.  He played in just 36 games as the third-string catcher to Fisk and Dave Rader in 1980.

Boston did have their catcher of the future make his debut in 1980 but Allenson was promoted to the primary backup catcher.  Rich Gedman was now the starting catcher.  Allenson had a solid season for the Red Sox, hitting .223/.335/.388 with five home runs and 25 RBIs.  His ability to get on base was a large part of his value.  He was not terribly impressive defensively, which is part of why he remained a backup, along with the upside of Gedman.
Gary Allenson would go on to play in more than half of the games at catcher in both 1982 and 1983, due mostly to injuries to Gedman, but he was not much with the bat in those seasons.  He continued to prove that he could get on base, despite not hitting much and he improved a bit defensively, but he was always more of a stopgap than the answer at catcher, hence the acquisition of Jeff Newman in 1983.  Gedman broke out in a big way in 1984 and Allenson was again relegated to backup duty.  He left Boston as a free agent after the season and spent just one season with the Blue Jays, making it into just 14 games.

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