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Oakland Athletics v Boston Red Sox

Where In The World Is The Best Red Sox Player: Mountain States

After a lot of fun so far, we hit quite the lull.

Photo by Jim Rogash/Getty Images

If you missed the premise of this series, check out the intro piece here. TLDR: Who is the best Red Sox player to come out of each state/country?


Oh, boy. We had a lot of ground to cover in the Midwest, and we unearthed some franchise icons across the way. Now, we take a peaceful hike around the mountains; it’s quiet in more ways than one.

Montana

Batter: Herb Plews

When there are only 21 Montanans ever to make it to the Majors, there are slim pickings. Plews is the only Treasure State native to don a Red Sox uniform, and very unceremoniously so. He was acquired in 1959 in a trade from the Washington Senators and played only 13 games. One double, four strikeouts, 12 plate appearances, a -34 OPS+. That’s all I have on Plews, a native of Helena.

RUNNER-UP: NO ONE

Herb Plews
Herb Plews

Pitcher: NO ONE

When there are only 21 Montanans ever to make it to the Majors, there are slim pickings. No pitchers have ever made it from Montana to a Red Sox roster.

RUNNER-UP: NO ONE

Wyoming

Batter: Mike Lansing

Another state where we only have once choice. Credited with the first hit at Chase Field, Mike Lansing was acquired by the Red Sox in 2000 and played some questionable baseball to end his career. With an OPS+ of 58, it was clear Lansing was not the answer at second base for Boston. Infamously, the Rawlins native is listed on the Mitchell Report, which isn’t a great look in the least bit.

RUNNER-UP: NO ONE

Mike Lansing #3

Pitcher: Dick Ellsworth

Ellsworth is another case of the only choice from Wyoming, but he at least contributed somewhat. He was acquired in 1967 from the Phillies, where he put up a very fashionable 16-7 record, with an ERA+ of 105 (an ERA of 3.03), and 106 Ks in 196 innings. His 1968 was a lot less successful, and after only two outings he was traded along with Hawk Harrelson to the then Cleveland Indians. He’s probably more fondly remembered for his eight seasons as a Chicago Cub, but Ellsworth is our only Coyboy State native, born in Lusk.

RUNNER-UP: NO ONE

Dick Ellsworth
Dick Ellsworth

Idaho

Batter: NO ONE

RUNNER-UP: NO ONE

I’m not terribly surprised by the lack of representatives here.

Pitcher: Clayton Mortensen

Acquired for Marco Scutaro, the Rexburg native spent two seasons in Boston and was largely a stopgap for bad starting pitching. He was very good in 2012, a season we don’t mention for lots of reasons in Red Sox nation, posting a 132 ERA+ in 25 outings, nabbing 41 K’s. After 24 games in 2013, he was DFA’d and eventually traded to the Kansas City Royals for Quintin Berry, a notable pinch-runner for the 2013 WS champions. Mortensen never pitched in the Majors again.

RUNNER-UP: MIKE GARMAN

Minnesota Twins v Boston Red Sox Photo by Michael Ivins/Boston Red Sox/Getty Images

Colorado

Batter: Darnell McDonald

Signed to a minor league contract before the 2010 season, McDonald was called up in late-April and pretty much stuck with the club as their center fielder after Jacoby Ellsbury went on the disabled list. He hit nine homers in his first season in Boston, with a 103 OPS+ and 34 RBIs, certainly guaranteeing him a spot as a utility outfielder on the 2011 roster the next season. McDonald’s performance dropped off, as expected with less playing time, and he was eventually DFA’d in 2012 to make way for a returning Josh Beckett. McDonald’s first ever hit was a pinch-hit homer and then he collected the walk-off RBI (as video evidence shows below)! Credit goes to the Fort Collins native!

RUNNER-UP: DUD LEE

Pitcher: Mark Melancon

Melancon has a weird Red Sox history but overall has the best career, which is why the Wheat Ridge native takes the slot here. He was acquired from the Astros after the 2011 season for Jed Lowrie and Kyle Weiland. He had recorded 20 saves in the season prior, which made him an interesting candidate to close, or at the very least be a late-innings reliever. He blew up his first four outings. He was optioned from April 18th to June 10th, and he ended up with 41 total appearances and just one save. He was promptly dealt the following offseason to the Pirates for Joel Hanrahan and Brock Holt. We all know Holt worked out for the Sox. Hanrahan’s injury, combined with Andrew Bailey’s injury, led to Koji Uehara taking over as closer in 2013. Lucky us! Melancon has gone on to become a four-time All-Star, NL Reliever of the Year, and twice an NL save leader.

RUNNER-UP: RALPH GLAZE

Tampa Bay Rays v. Boston Red Sox

Utah

Batter: Gordon Rhodes

Another case of this being the only choice from a state. The Beehive State representative Rhodes spent the back half of his career with the Red Sox, coming over from the rival Yankees. The best part about this is he's actually a pitcher! The Salt Lake City native recorded two separate 12-win seasons but never had a winning record. An ERA+ of 88 isn’t bad! An OPS+ of 12 is...bad.

RUNNER-UP: NO ONE

Boston Red Sox Pitchers At Training Camp Photo by FPG/Getty Images

Pitcher: Bruce Hurst

Hurst is far and away a better pitcher than Rhodes was a hitter, and the St. George native makes a fine addition to the list. Hurst bounced up and down from Pawtucket his first two seasons but stuck with the big club roster in 1982, really becoming a starter in 1983. He recorded no less than 11 wins in any season with the Red Sox, culminating in an 18-6 record in the 1988 campaign that saw Hurst finish 5th in Cy Young voting. He put up an ERA+ of 101 overall in his time in Boston, going 88-73 and logging 1043 strikeouts.

RUNNER-UP: BRANDON LYON

MLB Photos Archive Photo by Rich Pilling/MLB Photos via Getty Images

Nevada

Batter: Tommy Pham

All Nevadans to consider here are from Las Vegas, but Pham did the most both in his short time in Boston and in his career so far. Acquired from the Reds after struggling to begin the 2022 campaign, Pham hit 6 HRs and knocked in 24 runs in just 53 games, well over his pace with Cincinnati. Pham and the team declined his mutual option and he left before the 2023 season. Pham’s played for 6 teams including the Red Sox, but has stuck around the big leagues since 2014, currently playing for the Mets.

RUNNER-UP: BRANDON SNYDER

Pitcher: NO ONE

RUNNER-UP: NO ONE

And we finish with another familiar sight. No Nevadans have pitched for Boston.


This is probably my fault for the state groupings, but this was by far the most underwhelming edition of the series so far. We go finish up the Southwest and gear up to finish the continental US soon!

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