Thursday, July 13, 2017

Loyalty and Longevity Pt. 10: Bob Stanley

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.
Bob Stanley is the longest tenured pitcher to have spent his entire career with the Boston Red Sox.  The veteran of 13 Major League seasons retired holding team records for appearances and saves, though both team records have since been eclipsed (Tim Wakefield and Jonathan Papelbon respectively).  
Stanley was the seventh overall pick in the 1974 Draft and moved fairly quickly through the minors for a high school pitcher.  He was in the Majors by 1977 and not just as a September call-up either.  He appeared in 41 games that season, starting 13.  He had an 8-7 record with a 3.99 ERA.  Stanley quickly became known as a pitcher who could come in and pitch a lot of innings.  In his 41 games in 1977, he pitched 151 innings.
1978 was Stanley's breakout season as he went a remarkable 15-2 with a 2.60 ERA, mostly out of the bullpen (he only started three games).  He picked up ten saves.  He was so good, he finished seventh in the Cy Young vote and even received some down-ballot votes for MVP.  1979 saw him elected to the first of two career All Star games.  He was used as a starter a lot more often, starting 30 of the 40 games he appeared in, and finished with a career-high 16 wins and a 3.99 ERA.  
He was back to being primarily a reliever in 1980 and would be for the next several seasons.  1982 saw him finish seventh in the Cy Young vote again and also receive some MVP votes for his 12-7 record, 3.10 ERA, and 14 saves, all out of the bullpen.  He was named to his second All Star team in 1983 and received some more MVP votes when he set a team record with 33 saves.  He had an 8-10 record with a 2.85 ERA.  He would settle in as the team's primary late-inning weapon for the next few years.  
Stanley started to draw the ire of fans in 1986 with a less than impressive season.  That was compounded when he uncorked a wild pitch and then allowed the dribbler by Mookie Wilson that won Game 6 of the World Series.  Things did not improve when he had his worst season in 1987, going 4-15 with a 5.01 ERA.  He was primarily a starter that season and even started on Opening Day, but took the loss.
He had his last decent season in 1988 then struggled once more in 1989, his final season.  Stanley finished his career with a 115-97 record, team records in games (637) and saves (132).  He was known for his sinking fastball that frustrated hitters and led to a ton of ground balls.

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