Fan Post Friday: Fan favorites from the 90's onward

I opted to go with fan favorites (or perhaps they were just my favorite players), without any kind of hindsight changing the way we felt about the player at the time. Many of the players on the list are here because they were great players, others because of their tireless effort, others just because they were loveable personalities. A lot of the players, unfortunately, went on to play for the Yankees, drifted into obscurity, or later exhibited behaviors that made us sour on them; but at the time, we loved them, and we should not forget the fond memories we had of them. Since this list is almost entirely from personal experiences, it focuses on the early to mid-90's onwards.

1) C Jason Varitek ('04): Captain and Red Sox mainstay for a long while, but if I have to pick one year, I'm picking the one where he punched Arod in the face.

2) 1B Mo Vaughn ('95): the leading hitter of the Red Sox teams I started watching growing up.

3) 2B Dustin Pedroia ('08): the competition for 2B is not even close, MVP Pedey gets the slight edge over ROY Pedey.

4) SS Nomar Garciaparra ('00): Nomah flirted with .400 for parts of the season, he was the loveable face of the franchise, although it mostly went downhill for him since 2000.

5) 3B Mike Lowell ('07): a major cog of the '07 world series team, including WS MVP.

6) LF Manny Ramirez ('02): before he was lackadaisical Manny being Manny, he was a straight-up hitting machine and a nightmare for opposing pitchers in the heart of the order. If he had been converted to DH, how different might his legacy in Boston have been?

7) CF Mookie Betts ('16): 2018, his MVP season, was better, but I'm taking '16 because that was when he really emerged on the stage and we truly realized for the first time what we has to offer.

8) RF Trot Nixon ('99): grit personified, you never saw Trot Nixon in a clean uniform, or not covered in pine tar, he was one of my blue-collar favorites for a long while. I went with '99 because I think that was the year I saw him make an incredible throw from RF completely flipping his body to gun down a runner at homeplate in the playoffs.

9) DH David Ortiz ('13): Papi has been a beloved figure and a monstrous hitter throughout his tenure at Boston, but I think this was him at his best: a 37-year-old hitter with no signs of declining, a monstrous performance in the playoffs, and the beating heart of the city after the Marathon bombing.

10) SP Pedro Martinez ('99): nuff said.

11) SP Roger Clemens ('86): I am too young to remember this season, but the stat that always comes to mind with Roger is the 21 strikeout game. I also prefer to remember a younger Roger, far removed from the Yankees and PEDs.

12) SP Derek Lowe ('02): Red Sox convert Derek Lowe to a starting pitcher and right away he's a Cy Young finalist (also threw a no-hitter that year).

13) SP Curt Schilling ('04): Bloody sock, a key reason the Red Sox won their first World Series in 86 years.

14) SP Jon Lester ('08): first full season back from Lymphoma, and he was stellar, including pitching a no-hitter.

15) CL Jonathan Papelbon ('07): I like my Papelbon dancing a jig on duckboats to Dropkick Murphy's.

16) RP Derek Lowe ('00): Okay, I cheated a little bit, but DLowe the closer felt like a completely different person than DLowe the starting pitcher.

17) RP Daniel Bard ('10): so much promise, I hated the decision to try to make him a starter.

18) RP Rich Garces ('00): 'El Guapo', personified the notion that you don't have to be an athlete to play baseball.

19) INF Lou Merloni ('02): Local guy, always serenaded to the sound of "Loooooou" whenever he did… well, anything.

20) INF Kevin Youkilis ('08): Feared hitter and all around solid teammate, breaks my heart that he finished his career with the Yankees, but won't hold that against him here.

21) OF Jacoby Ellsbury ('09): could have gone with the home-run hitting '11 Jacoby, but I prefer the 70 stolen base Jacoby, cause that's who I remember him as.

22) INF Kevin Millar ('04): the head-idiot, will always be remembered for "Born in the U.S.A."

23) P Tim Wakefield ('02): long-term Boston player, the knuckleball was always fun/scary to watch. '02 personified Tim Wakefield's versatility as a starter/reliever and was one of his more successful seasons.

24) P Clay Bucholz ('10): more for his achievement over a 10-year span with the Red Sox than any particular year, but '10 was his best.

25) P Koji Uehara ('13): a 38 year-old closer!, ALCS MVP, and major piece of the 2013 championship team.

As I started looking through some of the old rosters I was really tempted to put together an all-time, "oh yeah, I forgot they played for the Red Sox" roster, with notables like David Cone, David Wells, Ricky Henderson, Jose Canseco, Bartolo Colon, etc., but that will have to be a project for another day.