Thursday, October 28, 2010

20/20 Seasons for the Red Sox

As I mentioned in a previous post, I have been very interested in years where players exhibit power and speed. Obviously 40/40 and 30/30 seasons would be ideal here, but the Red Sox have never had one. So we'll have to settle for 20/20 and see how close the players came to the more elite groups. The Red Sox have had six 20/20 seasons in their history. Only one player has done it twice.

Nomar Garciaparra (1997): 30 home runs, 22 stolen bases. Further demonstrating how amazing his rookie season really was. Truly one of the best all-around seasons for a rookie ever. Too bad he could not stay healthy later on.

John Valentin (1995): 27 home runs, 20 stolen bases. I said it before, this was a great season that everyone somehow forgot about.

Ellis Burks (1987): 20 home runs, 27 stolen bases. Another player in his rookie year. Burks was not nearly the equal of Garciaparra at the plate though and the team eventually grew tired of his inability to perform up to his talent, which of course he finally achieved after leaving as a free agent.

Carl Yastrzemski (1970): 40 home runs, 23 stolen bases. A bit of a fluke, Yaz had decent speed, but never stole more than 13 in any other season.

Jackie Jensen (1959): 28 home runs, 20 stolen bases. See below.

Jackie Jensen (1954): 25 home runs, 22 stolen bases. Jensen is not a well-remembered player for some reason but he was an excellent all-around player in the 1950's. He retired too soon however. He was just 34 when he hung it up for good, and still a good player, but his fear of flying became too much for him to keep going. Jensen was the AL MVP in 1958, a three time All Star, and won a Gold Glove. If he could have tackled his fears, he could have been in the Hall of Fame. Who knows?

So yes, Jackie Jensen was the only Red Sox player to have two 20/20 seasons. I expect Dustin Pedroia to join this list soon, and it could have been this year, if he had not been lost to injury. Prior to going down with injury in June, Pedroia had 12 home runs and 9 stolen bases, he stole 20 each of the last two seasons. His career high so far in home runs is 17, but he looked to be well on his way to passing that this year.

I would love to see a 30/30 season in Boston.

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