Continuing on with my series of articles, I make my way to the five greatest first basemen in the history of the franchise. After delving into the statistics, I found that picking the top five was not very difficult. The only arguments to be made, would be the order of the five, and the honorable mentions.
Foxx was a beast, hence his nickname, “Beast.” One of the most powerful right-handed bats of all-time, Foxx hit his 500th career home run by the age of 32. A decline in eyesight, drinking problems and a broken rib, aided in a quick decline from there. All that matters for this article, however, is his time spent with the Red Sox. Foxx batted .320, with 222 home runs and a 1.034 OPS, during his time with Boston. His 50 home runs in 1938, remained a single-season franchise record, until Big Papi broke it in 2006.
Jimmie Foxx spent six full seasons with the team, making the all-star team all six years. He led the league in batting average, home runs and RBI once each while leading in OPS twice. He won the MVP in 1938, when he hit .349, with 50 homers and 175 RBI. The next season he batted .360, and led the league with 35 home runs, finishing 2nd in the MVP vote.
Big Mo, “The Hit Dog,” isn’t too far behind Foxx when talking about what they did for the Red Sox. Mo was the team leader in the 90’s, both at the plate, and in the clubhouse. A big power prospect, Mo Vaughn struggled for a couple years, before breaking out in 1993. He would go on to win the MVP Award in 1995, and place in the top five in two other MVP votes. His swing and hitting style were tailor-made for Fenway Park and the Green Monster. He never should have left.
Mo batted .304 during his time in Boston, while bashing 230 home runs. He had a stellar slash line of .394/.542/.936. From 1993 to 1998, when he left as a free agent, Mo Vaughn had an average season of .315, with 36 home runs, 110 RBI and a .974 OPS. He batted .300 with 39 home runs during his MVP season of 1995, but was arguably better during each of the next three seasons. 1996 was likely his best, batting .326 with 44 home runs and driving in 143 runners. His impressive hitting, combined with his presence, made Big Mo a fan favorite.
“The Greek God of Walks” comes in at third for me, in a tight race amongst the next three. Youkilis originally came up as a third baseman, but was shifted to first base by 2006, his first full season. He spent the next five seasons as their primary first baseman, before the team acquired Adrian Gonzalez for 2011. Coincidentally, Youkilis’ move back to third for 2011 coincided with his offensive decline.
From 2006-2010, as the Red Sox first baseman, Kevin Youkilis batted .297, while averaging 21 home runs per season. Youkilis also had a .396 on base percentage, and .507 slugging percentage during this time. Youkilis battled teammate Dustin Pedroia for the 2008 MVP Award, finishing third in the vote. He followed that up with a sixth place finish in 2009.
Youkilis was also a very good fielding first baseman. He set a Major League record for most consecutive errorless games, while manning the position. He didn’t make a single error in 2007, and won the Gold Glove Award. His career fielding percentage at first base was .997.
“Boomer” had some power, while flashing some Gold Glove leather at first base. Spending parts of nine seasons with the Red Sox, Scott batted .257, while hitting 154 homers. His offense was a little hit or miss, hitting over .290 twice, but under .250 three times. He even batted .171, with 3 home runs, in 1968. After spending five seasons with Milwaukee, Scott returned to the Red Sox, and hit 33 home runs in 1977. Boomer made two All-Star Games, and won three Gold Gloves with the Red Sox.
Yaz is the little wrinkle thrown in at first base. Better known for his time in left, Yaz would be tops on this list if it were just for what they did in their Red Sox career. However, this is an article just on first base. As a first baseman, Carl Yastrzemski was definitely a top five first baseman in franchise history, but most of his stats came in left field. Yaz could still arguably be up a spot or two higher, but he slots in fifth on my list.
Yastrzemski was the Red Sox main first baseman in 1970, and again from 1973-76. He played 50 or more games at first base in seven different seasons. During his time playing first, Yastrzemski batted .277, and hit 101 of his 452 career home runs. His 752 base hits actually do place fifth all-time at the position, after the players I have above him. He had a nice .373 on base percentage, which helped him to an .813 OPS while playing first base.
Brian Daubach, Kevin Millar, Mike Stanley, Dick Stuart