The Red Sox Hall of Fame has seven new members today -- five of them players. Marty Barrett, Curt Schilling, Ellis Burks, Dutch Leonard, and Joe Dobson make up the player side, while former owner (and Fenway Park visionary) John I. Taylor and Director of Grounds, Emeritus Joe Mooney were also selected.
You all likely know why Curt Schilling has been selected. Schilling was acquired by Theo Epstein in November of 2003, and his famed "Bloody Sock" performance in the 2004 playoffs helped propel the Red Sox to their first World Series victory since 1918. He was a significant contributor in the 2007 season -- his last -- as well, helping the Red Sox repeat the feat of sweeping their opponent in the fall classic.
In his four seasons with the Red Sox, Schilling threw 675 innings, won 53 games, and continued to be one of the most impressive control pitchers in history. In 46-2/3 playoff innings with the Sox, Schilling had a 3.66 ERA and a 6-1 record that included two World Series victories. He's likely bound for baseball's Hall of Fame, too, and while it's likely he'll retire a Philly, it's not a definite: Schilling spent his 20 years in the majors with five different teams, and eight with a poor Philadelphia club isn't even a majority.
Barrett spent his entire 10-year career with Boston, and was part of three playoff teams, including the 1986 World Series squad. At his peak, he was a productive second baseman, hitting .287/.349/.364 from 1984-1987 while playing quality defense at the keystone. We're a bit spoiled now by Dustin Pedroia, but there was plenty of time in the 1990s when more second basemen like Marty Barrett would have been a positive for the Sox.
Ellis Burks is one of baseball's most underrated players of the last 20 years. He was with the Red Sox from 1987 through 1992 (and again in 2004), and hit .281/.342/.457 (115 OPS+) as the team's center fielder. Injuries limited his play, but he went from pretty good to great after leaving the Red Sox. From 1994 through 2002, Burks hit .304/.381/.567, and while you might think that's due to the inflated offense of the era as well as the presence of Coors Field, his OPS+ was 136. He was legit:
|162 Game Avg.||662||29||15||.291||.363||.510||126||299|
|BOS (7 yrs)||3132||94||95||.280||.341||.455||114||1287|
For some context on that 163 OPS+ season, it's higher than what Joey Votto, Adrian Gonzalez, David Ortiz, Matt Holliday, Carlos Beltran, Albert Pujols -- shall I go on? -- put up last season. He was a special player who finished his career with a .291/.363/.510 line, but he won't even sniff Cooperstown despite outproducing plenty of inductees from both past and recent years. Should he? Not unless you're a huge Hall kind of person, but the BBWAA has already shown themselves to be willing to induct players without Burks' track record. Just something to remember.
Dobson pitched with the Red Sox from 1941-1950, then again in 1954 to finish out his career. Over 1544 innings, he posted a 115 ERA+, and threw 12-2/3 scoreless playoff innings for them in 1946 over three appearances, one of which was a complete game start. Baseball was pretty different then.
Leonard was with the Red Sox from 1913 through 1918, until the Red Sox made him one of many players sent packing to the Yankees in exchange for lesser players and money. In 1914, he had an ERA of 0.96 -- while expectations for ERA and pitcher performance were vastly different 100 years ago, that was still good for an ERA+ of 279. (For reference, Pedro Martinez's 2000 had an ERA+ of 291.) Leonard struck out over seven batters per nine that year, a figure that doesn't sound impressive, but that was a number found only in the realm of hurlers like Walter Johnson in those days. Lefty Leonard's 7.1 K/9 was the only one over seven from a qualifying pitcher from 1914 until 1924, when Dazzy Vance rattled off three straight seasons of them. Leonard had two playoff starts -- one in 1915, and one in 1916 -- and came away victorious in both after tossing complete game, one-run performances.
Dutch Leonard was pretty good.
These seven will be inducted at Fenway Park during a luncheon, prior to a game against Minnesota. Who, by the way, are part of the "Memorable Moment" induction, for their role as loser to the Red Sox in the 1967 Impossible Dream season. At this point, the organization is probably over it. But it's a nice touch, nonetheless.