Saturday, September 21, 2013

Red Sox in Cooperstown Pt. 11: Rick Ferrell

Years with Boston: 1933-1937 (.302/.394/.410, 16 home runs, 240 RBIs)
Best Year in Boston: 1936 (.312/.406/.461, 8 home runs, 55 RBIs, 65 walks, 17 strikeouts)
Rick Ferrell is one of the more controversial selections for the Baseball Hall of Fame.  He was not a bad hitter for a catcher, in fact he was probably one of the better contact-hitting catchers of the time.  But he was not all that special either.  It is more likely that he was a great defensive catcher, but his statistics do not really show that much either.  Ferrell's career numbers reflect a .281/.378/.363 line, which is decent, other than the slugging percentage, for a catcher.

Ferrell's numbers with Boston though are fairly impressive.  His .302/.394/.410 line is strong for a catcher, though a lot of this could be attributed to playing in a hitters' park.  Ferrell was one of the early stars that Tom Yawkey picked up upon buying the franchise and trying to turn it around.  He was the first of four eventual Hall of Famers Yawkey acquired.  Ferrell made an immediate impact on the team with his contact-hitting ability and high on-base percentages.  He also rarely struck out.  The most Ferrell struck out in any one season was 23.  He typically walked three times more often than he struck out.  Ferrell was an All Star three times with the Red Sox.  He lead the league in 1935 with a 59% caught stealing percentage and typically was high among the league leaders.

Ferrell was a decent catcher for his time period, but his selection to the Hall of Fame is controversial.  His seasons in Boston definitely increase his career numbers to more tolerable levels, but despite his often high on-base percentages, Ferrell had very little power.  His career high in home runs was just eight.  Ferrell is wearing a Red Sox cap on his plaque in Cooperstown.

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