December 26 – Happy Birthday Carlton Fisk

The most important thing the Boston Red Sox did in 1967 was get to the World Series. The second most important thing they did was make Carlton Fisk the team’s first pick in the 1967 Amateur Draft. Born in Vermont, raised in New Hampshire, “Pudge” Fisk became the starting catcher of the Boston Red Sox in 1972 and was an immediate success. He won the Rookie of the Year Award that season, plus made the All Star team, plus won a Gold Glove and even finished fourth in that year’s vote for AL MVP. Thus began an 11-year love affair with Red Sox Nation that was accentuated by his fierce competitiveness, especially against Thurman Munson and the hated Yankees and his leadership on and off the field. His foul pole-banging-home run in the sixth game of the 1975 World Series will remain a hallmark moment in Red Sox franchise history but, unfortunately, Fisk himself turned away from Boston after the 1980 season in favor of a more lucrative offer blowing his way from the Windy City of Chicago.

I still cannot believe that the Red Sox front office let this guy walk away. Neither can I believe that Fisk would actually want to play anywhere else other than Boston. I mean the guy was Mr. New England, a combination of maple syrup and clam chowder packaged in a flannel shirt. But leave he did and the other thing that now amazes me is the fact that Fisk actually played four hundred more games wearing white colored socks than he did in the red ones. To me it seemed as if he was almost always a Red Sox.

In all he played 24 big league seasons, hit .269 lifetime and collected 2,356 lifetime hits. He retired in 1993 and got voted into the Hall of Fame seven years later.

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