Who are the Red Sox all-time best second basemen? Ranking the Top 5
Just saying the words "second baseman" should conjure a very particular type of player among Red Sox fans: undersized, overachieving, gritty, enduringly popular.
Though there's only one Hall of Famer among the club's long list of second sackers — 1940s standout Bobby Doer — every era has given us one to embrace, whether it's Billy Goodman in the 1950s, Mike Andrews in the 1960s, Jerry Remy in the 1970s, Marty Barrett in the 1980s, Jody Reed in the 1990s, or more recently, MVP and fan favorite Dustin Pedroia. Their popularity tends to last. Doerr served as a gentlemanly ambassador for the game until his death at age 99 in 2017. Andrews played a significant role in the unforgettable 1967 Impossible Dream season, and then delivered an even more impactful second act as the director of the Jimmy Fund. Remy has spent more than 30 years as one of the region's most beloved broadcasters. It'll be a long time before anyone forgets Pedroia.
That said, the following five men made their marks on the field, and two of the aforementioned standouts didn't even make the list.
5. Mike Andrews
Though cases can be made for Remy and Barrett — the former an All-Star, the latter the recipient of MVP votes in 1986 — Andrews makes the cut for the exceptional start to his career.
As a rookie in 1967, he started 135 games at second, eventually settling in as the leadoff hitter. He hit .342 during the frantic rush to the finish that September, turning the double play that unleashed pandemonium when Rico Petrocelli secured the final out of the season one batter later. Andrews was even better the following three seasons, hitting .293 with 15 homers and making the All-Star team in 1969, and following with a career-high 17 homers in 1970.
Fans howled when general manager Dick O'Connell traded him to the White Sox that winter for Luis Aparicio, but Andrews eventually settled in Boston and ran the Jimmy Fund until his retirement in 2009, a fan favorite through and through.
4. Jody Reed
Just as Andrews played an improbable supporting role in the Impossible Dream, Reed found himself in the middle of Morgan Magic as a rookie in 1988.
Veteran manager John McNamara had little use for Reed, but when Walpole Joe Morgan took over after the All-Star break, one of his first moves was naming Reed his starting shortstop in place of struggling veteran Spike Owen. Reed responded by hitting .477 during the 12-game winning streak that opened Morgan's tenure, and he started all but one of the 20 games during the 19-1 stretch that dropped the "interim" tag from Morgan's title. All told, he hit .293 while finishing third in the Rookie of the Year voting that season.
He shifted to second base a year later and became a doubles machine, leading the league with 45 in 1990 and helping the Red Sox reach the playoffs twice. His Red Sox career ended in the 1992 expansion draft, when the Rockies selected him and traded him to the Dodgers.
3. Billy Goodman
Goodman was a jack-of-all-trades who played every position except catcher and center field during his 16-year career, but the label and its connotations — not good enough to hold down any one spot — did a disservice to his offensive prowess.
He spent more time at second base than anywhere else, and he played pivotal roles on some star-studded Red Sox teams. He hit .310 as a rookie in 1948 and made his first All-Star team a year later. He broke out in 1950 on one of the greatest offensive teams ever, a juggernaut that scored over 1,000 runs. He won the batting title with a .354 average and somehow finished second in the MVP voting despite playing 110 games as utilityman. That season highlighted his versatility.
He lost his first base job to rookie Walt Dropo after being injured, then returned to spell the injured Bobby Doerr at second, Johnny Pesky at third, and finally Ted Williams himself in left when the Splinter broke his elbow in the All-Star Game.
2. Bobby Doerr
Doerr's Red Sox legacy is about class and longevity. He made the team as a 19-year-old in 1937 and served as a dignified ambassador for the next 80 years until his death in 2017 at age 99.
In between, he served as the heart and soul of some of the most talented teams in Red Sox history, making nine All-Star teams and earning an overdue induction into the Hall of Fame in 1986. Doerr drove in over 100 runs six times and earned MVP votes eight times, finishing as high as third in 1946, when he helped the Red Sox reach their first World Series since 1918, where he hit .409 in the seven-game loss to the Cardinals. The Red Sox never made another World Series during his tenure, but they were constant contenders who routinely took the pennant race until the final weekend.
In his later years, he was indelibly linked to Ted Williams, Dom DiMaggio, and Johnny Pesky, thanks to David Halberstam's best-selling book, The Teammates.
1. Dustin Pedroia
Pedroia probably won't make the Hall of Fame, thanks to injuries, but he's No. 1 on this list for what he accomplished while winning a pair of World Series in 2007 and 2013 (and earning another ring, largely as a bystander, in 2018).
The Laser Show was a production unto himself, an undersized chihuahua with the tenacity of a pit bull. Generously listed at 5-foot-9 and 175 pounds, Pedroia opened his Red Sox career with a bang, earning a Rookie of the Year Award in 2007 and an MVP in 2008. The Red Sox won it all in his first season and reached Game 7 of the ALCS in his second. Pedroia made four All-Star teams and won three Gold Gloves, but his contributions extended well beyond his accolades.
The non-stop motormouth played hurt virtually every one of his 14 seasons, and as recently as 2016 batted .318 with 201 hits. It's a shame a bad slide by Manny Machado robbed us of his final act.