Remington: Positional case study: Boston Red Sox outfielders, 1935-65

From Alex Remington at The Hardball Times on February 11, 2019:

The Boston Red Sox have 10 players in the Hall of Fame, nearly half of whom were outfielders: Harry Hooper, Ted Williams, Carl Yastrzemski, and Jim Rice. When a team has immortals of that caliber, you would expect it to build the other seven defensive positions around them.

But the Red Sox have gone far beyond that. For decades at a time, they have treated outfield positions like they were written in Sharpie. Sometimes, that was because Ted Williams was flanked by excellent players like Dom DiMaggio and Jackie Jensen; sometimes their consistency may have been dictated by convenience more than strategy.

For much of the 20th century, the Red Sox had at least two outfield spots set in stone and only a single position to figure out. For much of the 1940s, it was Williams and DiMaggio in left and center. In the 1950s, DiMaggio gave way to Jensen, and in the 1960s, Williams gave way to Yastrzemski and Tony Conigliaro, and eventually Reggie Smith. In the 1970s, after Conigliaro’s tragic eye injury and Smith’s departure, the positions were ably manned by Rice, alongside Fred Lynn and Dewey Evans.

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Originally published: February 13, 2019. Last Updated: February 13, 2019.