Wednesday marked the final home game of the 2012 season, or, the final home game of the 100th season of Fenway Park. The Red Sox celebrated by unveiling a project they -- with the assistance of fans -- had been working on all year: The All-Fenway team. The starting lineup was determined by a vote, with the potentials selected by experts. With so many players to choose from, though, the Red Sox didn't hold themselves to a single lineup, instead creating three, with the other two sharing "reserve" designations.
|Starting Lineup||First Reserves||Second Reserves|
|C: Carlton Fisk||C: Jason Varitek||C: Rich Gedman|
|1B: Jimmie Foxx||1B: Mo Vaughn||1B: George Scott|
|2B: Dustin Pedroia||2B: Bobby Doerr||2B: Jerry Remy|
|3B: Wade Boggs||3B: Mike Lowell||3B: Frank Malzone|
|SS: Nomar Garciaparra||SS: Johnny Pesky||SS: Rico Petrocelli|
|LF: Ted Williams||LF: Carl Yastrzemski||LF: Jim Rice|
|CF: Fred Lynn||CF: Dom DiMaggio||CF: Reggie Smith|
|RF: Dwight Evans||RF: Trot Nixon||RF: Tony Conigliaro|
|DH: David Ortiz|
|RHP: Roger Clemens||LHP: Babe Ruth|
|RHP: Pedro Martinez||RHP: Luis Tiant||RHP: Smoky Joe Wood|
|LHP: Lefty Grove||RHP: Tim Wakefield||RHP: Curt Schilling|
|Closer: Jonathan Papelbon||RHP: Dennis Eckersley||LHP: Bill Lee|
|RHP: Dick Radatz||RHP: Jim Lonborg|
|Manager: Terry Francona|
|Manager: Joe Cronin||Manager: Dick Williams|
Some issues with the lineups are simply due to the Boston's rich history -- the absence of Manny Ramirez comes to mind, since he hit .312/.411/.588 over eight years with the Red Sox, finishing in the top 10 in the MVP vote in six of those eight years while also taking home a World Series MVP. That's going to happen, though, when left field has the likes of three Hall of Famers to contend with -- all three Red Sox lifers.
There are a few names here that are here for more emotional attachment than for actual performance, but that's also expected. There were more deserving third basemen than Mike Lowell for the first reserve spot at the hot corner, but he's one of the more popular players in recent memory, so it's not a surprise to see him here rather than Larry Gardner, who was part of Fenway's first ever team, and on multiple World Series-winning Red Sox clubs. It's somewhat surprising to see the Boomer here over Kevin Youkilis and Pete Runnels, but that's not a knock on him. More about the curiosity of Youkilis not being able to take the spot. Jim Lonborg really only had the one productive season with the Red Sox, but the timing was perfect, as it was the Impossible Dream year. It's kind of a shame that pitchers like Mel Parnell, Dutch Leonard, Ellis Kinder, Jon Lester, Josh Beckett, Bill Monbouquette, Derek Lowe, Bruce Hurst, and many others were totally passed over, in favor of Lonborg, who is arguably the weakest Red Sox starter to ever cross 1,000 total innings with the team, but again: understandable emotional attachment.
I don't mean to bring objectivity into something that's meant to be subjective: it's not simply about who pitched the best or hit the most homers, but about who the fans care about the most in Fenway's storied history. In that respect, this is a fitting tribute full of countless stories worth retelling and remembering. The only shame about it is that there isn't a third set of reserves. Or a fourth one. You're bound to create a lot of memories over 100 years, more than there are room to honor all at once.