Tony Lupien may not have been the best starting first baseman in Red Sox history but he certainly would be considered high on the list for the best educated. This guy, a native of Chelmsford, Massachusetts, went to Harvard. He had some great seasons playing college ball for the Ivy League school and when he graduated in 1939, he signed with the Red Sox.
Boston still had Jimmy Foxx hammering the baseball and starting at first back then but the hard-living “Beast” was beginning to slow down. When the future Hall of Famer’s home run production fell to 19 in 1941, Boston manager Joe Cronin decided he would give Lupien a shot to win the veteran slugger’s job during the team’s ’42 spring training camp.
Foxx ended up winning that competition but then broke a toe in a late April game, opening the door for Lupien. The rookie stepped in and gave the Red Sox a solid first year performance, averaging .281 and driving in 70 runs in just 128 games of play.
His one real weakness was his lack of power. As a left-handed singles hitter, he could not provide the Boston lineup with the power it lost with Foxx’s departure. When Lupien’s average (.255) and run production (54 RBIs) dropped dramatically in 1943, even though he played in all 154 Red Sox games that season, he was placed on waivers and signed by the Phillies.
During his second year with the Phillies he was called into service and did an abbreviated 6-month hitch as World War II ended. It took him till 1948 before he got back to the big leagues as the Cubs starting first baseman but he was released at the end of that season. He ended up back in the Ivy League as the varsity baseball coach at Dartmouth. He passed away in 2004, at the age of 87.