I’m amazed that it never occurred to me until now to write a column showcasing my Red Sox All-Favorites team. My portfolio has long been missing this foundational piece, so I’m excited to finally deliver it.

Notice that this is not a “Best of All Time” roster. These are the guys who I’ve seen play and enjoyed watching the most in my lifetime. Therefore, I assume that every Red Sox fan who reads this will disagree with at least a few of my selections. We don’t always love our favorite players because they’re the best players on the team. Sometimes we may just like their attitude, their work ethic, their cool batting stance, or even their number. In that regard, there’s very little pressure on me to assemble the best possible Red Sox All-Favorites roster. These are just the guys I like, plain and simple.


Starting Lineup

1. Wade Boggs 3B

In my opinion, he is the greatest of all time at getting on base. He tailored his swing to the ballpark he played in, routinely peppering the green monster with opposite-field line drives, amassing 40 doubles in eight of nine seasons from 1983 – 1991. He hit .300 in 15 of his 18 seasons, tied with guys named Carew and Rose for seventh most in history. He hit .349 in his rookie year of 1982, then hit .350 or above in five of the next six seasons, claiming all five of his batting titles in the process. He also collected 200 hits in seven consecutive seasons. I dare you to find a better leadoff hitter for any Red Sox All-Favorites team.

2. Dustin Pedroia 2B

In an era of so many Red Sox fan favorites, Pedey stood out from the pack because he was such a psychotic competitor. He never wanted a day off, and his mouth was as dirty as his uniform. I once saw him drop five f-bombs in three seconds. He won a Rookie of the Year (2007), an MVP (2008) and two rings (technically three, but he only played three games in 2018). He hit for average, hit for power, played an epic second base, swiped some bags, and was an unquestioned leader both on the field and in the clubhouse.  If the next guy in the lineup was the lovable papa bear doling out hugs, Pedroia was the surly older brother who would smack you around if you didn’t get your chores done.

3. David Ortiz 1B

The most important player in franchise history must be in the heart of my Red Sox All-Favorites lineup. Teddy Ballgame and Yaz were better all-around players, but Big Papi is on the Mount Rushmore of clutch athletes alongside Michael Jordan, Tom Brady, and Wayne Gretzky. He was the biggest offensive piece of three World Series runs, had 23 career walk-off hits (20 regular season, three postseason), and hit two of the three most iconic home runs in Red Sox history … nine years apart from each other.
Did he play much first base? No. But he did play there a little, and this is the best possible alignment that allows me to include all of my crucial Red Sox All-Favorites players.

4. Manny Ramirez DH

A lot of people really hated Manny Ramirez as he shot his way out of Boston, but there’s no denying that he was the offensive centerpiece of the Red Sox throughout his tenure, even while Nomar Garciaparra and David Ortiz were his teammates. Manny was the greatest righthanded hitter of his generation, a virtual lock for a .300 average, 35 HRs, 110 RBI, and over 1.000 OPS a year during his eight seasons in Boston. He hit 555 career home runs. He was the most feared hitter in the American League. And he killed the Yankees.
He didn’t love to DH, but even he has to make sacrifices to crack my Red Sox All-Favorites team.

5. Mookie Betts CF

He’s a future Hall of Famer and one of the most dynamic players of the last 20 years. He wanted to get paid and didn’t want to stick around Boston for a long-term rebuild, and you can’t blame him for either of those things. As much as it hurts to see him dominate with the Dodgers, at least we got to see him win a ring for our team before it was time to move on. He’s a playoff choker when there are actually fans in the stands, but he still has plenty of time to turn that narrative on its ear. Emerging from the minors as a skinny second baseman with speed and the potential to show some pop, he built himself into a five-tool player who set the tone for the winningest team in Red Sox history. He’s Boston’s greatest homegrown offensive player since Yaz, but he’s also the greatest Red Sox tragedy since Babe Ruth. Too bad the President of Baseball Operations was too lazy to bother building a farm system to support him long-term.

6. Mike Greenwell LF

The left fielder who has forced Manny Ramirez into the DH role was actually not much of a fielder. However, as my very first favorite player, my Red Sox All-Favorites team would mean nothing without him. 1988 was the year where Red Sox baseball became appointment viewing for me. It was also The Gator’s career year, which is my impetus for putting him in the middle third of this vicious lineup. He hit .325 with 22 HRs, 119 RBI, 16 stolen bases, and a .416 OBP in ’88.
I didn’t have to look up those numbers. I know them by heart.
Greenwell finished second in the MVP voting to a gassed up Jose Canseco in his 40/40 season, something Mike is apparently still irked about. He wasn’t the greatest teammate, didn’t play a good left field, and couldn’t catch on anywhere else after leaving the Red Sox. But he had a cool batting stance with a nifty toe-tap, not to mention a sensational ’80s porn ‘stache. How could anyone be a hater for the Gator?

7. Xander Bogaerts SS

X has been lumped in with Mookie as another Red Sox tragedy, and that’s far more due to Xander’s likability than his productivity. Don’t get me wrong, his career production ranks him among the top three all-time Red Sox shortstops with Nomar and Joe Cronin. But Bogaerts always tended to fade in the dog days of summer, and his defense was unfairly lambasted by the most reprehensible of Red Sox fans. Yet his reputation always stayed intact because of his steady presence at the plate and in the field (because yes, his defense was perfectly adequate). The players loved him, the fans loved him, and he gracefully endured some of the leanest and most volatile years in recent Red Sox history. He played a pivotal role to patch up a shaky defense in the 2013 championship year, then served as an indispensable anchor of the legendary 2018 team. Even as his production declines in San Diego, Bogaerts’ presence is still sorely missed by Red Sox fans.

8. Trot Nixon RF

Every team needs someone like the guy who took Greenwell’s mantle as my favorite player in 1999. He had a similar mentality as Pedroia, but Trot was a big enough dude to back up anything he said. He had the dirtiest uniform, the biggest cheek wad, and the shortest fuse in the Red Sox dugout. Anytime an opponent had any smack to talk, Nixon was the first guy to shout back from the top step, just itching for someone on the other side to make a move. He had some historic hits too, like his game-winning homer in the Pedro/Clemens Duel from 1999 and his two-run double in Game 4 of the 2004 World Series. He never made an All-Star team, but he’s good enough to start on my Red Sox All-Favorites team any day.

9. Jason Varitek C

I won’t pretend like anybody else was in the running, or should be in the running, for this spot. He won two rings, caught an MLB record four no-hitters, and he’s the only man to ever wear the “C” for the Boston Red Sox. Tek taught a generation of Red Sox fans the importance of handling a pitching staff. He had some great hurlers to work with, but all of them cite the Captain as an enormous reason for their success, both individually and as part of a pitching staff. I’m glad we get to see the older, bulkier version of him in the dugout to this day, and it’s comforting to know that he still plays a big part in drawing up the team’s pitching game plans.
And I haven’t even mentioned his offense yet. He was a switch-hitter who made three All-Star teams, eclipsed 20 homers three times, and drove in 70 or more runs four times. Not bad output for a guy who sat every fifth day and focused most of his preparation on pitching.



Brock Holt UT

I tend to rag on Pat whenever he pontificates about his unrequited love for Brock Holt. Good bench players are crucial though, and he’s the most complete Red Sox utility player I’ve seen. During his seven years in Boston, Brock played every position besides pitcher and catcher (though he did pitch for the Rangers a couple years later), batted a respectable .256, hit for two cycles (one in the regular season and the only postseason cycle in history), and even made an All-Star team. His defense at center field and shortstop were a tad brutal, but you can get away with that when you play a stalwart first base, second base, third base, left field, and right field.

Mitch Moreland 1B/PH

I can’t foresee many opportunities to pinch hit for anyone in my Red Sox All-Favorites starting lineup, but if someone in the Mason Miller/Mariano Rivera mold is on the mound and I desperately need a lefthanded bat, Moreland is my pick 100 times out of 100. In 115 career at-bats as a pinch hitter, he hit .287/.374/.435/.809 with four HRs and 25 RBI. He also has my favorite pinch hit of all time, proof positive that Mitch was born with the clutch gene.

Rob Refsnyder OF

With Holt as the utility guy and Moreland as the big stick off the bench, I need a righthanded fourth outfielder. Ref plays very good defense at all three outfield positions, runs well, and he has tattooed lefthanded pitching since he arrived in Boston in 2022 (.305 BA / .879 OPS). He also came up with the Yankees and has a lot of incentive to play well against them, which gets him bonus points in my book. Dave Roberts was Rob’s chief competition here due to his pinch running ability, but I can’t afford to have a third lefty on the bench.

John Marzano C

Marzano was Roger Clemens’ personal catcher during his time with the Red Sox, and something tells me that the Rocket will make the cut next week when I reveal My Red Sox All-Favorites pitching staff. That means I’ll need Marzano on the squad. The backup backstop won a place in my heart when he saved Roger from bat-wielding maniac John Shelby in 1991. John knew where his bread was buttered.
He also earns bonus points for taking a swing at Paul O’Neil a few years later. If any player was ever in need for somebody to shut his mouth for him, it was Paul O’Neil.



By Luke

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