About Boston

This is Reggie Smith. If I made up a list of the truly great players no one ever talks about he’d be right at the top, with Darrell Evans and Gene Tenace and Willie Randolph.

Reggie Smith won his World Series ring with the Dodgers, but it was payment for all those good years in Boston and St. Louis.

Smith was a splendid ballplayer and in fact if he played in today’s game would be more famous than he was in his time. The reason? No one really paid attention to OBP or SP in those days, batting average was the number that held sway.

Smith arrived in Boston in late 1966 as the team slumbered to a 9th place finish. The next season, with Smith in the lineup and Mike Andrews joining him from the minors in the everyday starting 8, they won the pennant.

In his Historical Abstract (the hard cover one, first one-1986), Bill James wrote: “Very similar to Larry Doby. Never really gets credit for being a “winner”, yet in his rookie year the Red Sox were a miracle team, and it was in his first year with the Dodgers they finally got over the big Red hump. In 1974 he was traded from Boston to the Cardinals, and the Red Sox declined by 5 games while St. Louis improved by four and a half.

At that time, 1986, Bill James ranked Reggie Smith as the 10th most valuable centerfielder in “career value” throughout major league history (tied with Richie Ashburn). Smith was a smart player, got to a lot of balls in the outfield (I don’t know his range factor but it was good), threw to the right base with authority, was a master of the base on balls and hit for terrific average with plus power. Smith was a switch hitter and iirc was effective from both sides of the plate. Darrell Evans is probably the most underrated player in baseball history, Reggie Smith is right behind him.

Another anecdote speaking to Smith’s value goes like this: In the 1978 season, Dodger pitcher Don Sutton went public with comments that Smith was a more valuable player to the Dodgers than the more-celebrated Steve Garvey. This led to an infamous clubhouse wrestling match between Sutton and Garvey. Source: Wikipedia.

I think 2004 was for the fans, and that’s fine. However, the Boston fans have lost their charm and now most resemble Yankee fans. So, this fall I suggest we honor those wonderful players on the Red Sox teams that could not make the grade, that did not have enough to get by their opponents for those many decades due only to the lead feet of the rest of the order.

Honor Reggie Smith. He is worthy.

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13 Responses to "About Boston"

  1. grease trap says:

    And that’s the win.

  2. Dennis says:

    I just can’t stay away from reading the Boston Globe. I know it’s gonna rot the fuck out of me, but I have to read it. Dan Shaughnaussy is in a class of his own: the man brings bi-polarity to new heights.

    I’ve always sorta liked the Sox. I grew up in the days before interleague so you could like teams from the AL and there was always a sort of romanticism about a city that ravenous for success and how they didn’t quit. So, I went from being pissed when Boone homered in ’03 to being disgusted when the Sox won in ’04. That being said, I understood it was nice for the long suffering fans to finally get a taste. But since then they’ve become insufferable. In trying to take their pound of flesh from the rival Yankee fans, they’ve alienated us all.

    BTW, Smith was even putting up great numbers as a 35 year old at a time when most guys that age were long done.

  3. Bank Shot says:

    Off topic, but why don’t Major League Ball teams have some kind of minimum mandatory physical fitness requirements?

    You see some guys running around with guts that put half of the forty year olds in the local Slo-Pitch league to shame.

    For example… Fat Frankie the first baseman gets stranded because he is too out of shape to lug his fat ass from second to home on a single in the third inning. The home team ends up losing by one run.

    Well shit, doesn’t that type of thing add up to more then a few missed opportunites over a 160 odd game season?

    You’d think they paid John Kruk in cheeseburgers. Seems kind of bush league to me.

  4. Andy Grabia says:

    However, the Boston fans have lost their charm and now most resemble Yankee fans.

    Ouch. Thanks, LT.

  5. Rube Foster says:

    Great Post on Reggie Smith.
    You are bang on, he was Steve Francis underrated. A wonderful ballplayer a five tool guy in his prime and a scary good hitter as he got older. His Stratomatic baseball cards were always stellar. I think it was in Bill Lee’s book that the Spaceman talked about Reggie Smith standing at home plate in warmup and throwing balls over the Green Monster. Reggie also had a killer afro on those baseball cards in the seventies. I loved that stuff when I was I kid and I think I get a bigger kick out of it now. Sutton nailed it, Reggie Smith was the anti-Garvey. I never liked the Dodgers, hated Rick “freaking” Monday, Ron “The Penguin” Cey, Steve Yeager and Mr Perfect Steve Garvey. But I had a soft spot for Reggie Smith and Davey Lopes…Oh yeah Manny Mota too.
    As for the Red Sox, at least we don’t have to hear about the Babe Ruth curse anymore. This means it’s officially dead, right?

  6. Andy Grabia says:

    As for the Red Sox, at least we don’t have to hear about the Babe Ruth curse anymore. This means it’s officially dead, right?

    Never existed, except in the mind of Shaughnessy. Here’s what haunts this Sox fan: trading Pee Wee Reese because the player/manager (Joe Cronin) didn’t want to give up his spot, and passing on Willie Mays because the org was full of racist bastards.

  7. mc79hockey says:

    Well shit, doesn’t that type of thing add up to more then a few missed opportunites over a 160 odd game season?

    Research says no. Pick a guy and go back through the game logs for a month or two. Try and figure out how many times a) he actually cost a run with his baserunning and b) that run ended up mattering. It’s surprisingly few.

    …But since then they’ve become insufferable. In trying to take their pound of flesh from the rival Yankee fans, they’ve alienated us all.

    Please. This is an actual quote from the new Steinbrenner running the show in New York about A-Rod: “Does he want to go into the Hall of Fame as a Yankee or a Toledo Mud Hen?”

    We’re still perfectly delightful

  8. Oilman says:

    unrelated topic…Mike Johnson just cleared waivers after the Blues assigned him to Peoria? Has he really fallen that far?

  9. Bruce says:

    Reggie was a beauty all right. He always looked so menacing at the plate, had one of those stances that appeared to have no weakness — in fact, two of those stances, one on each side of the plate. May have had the best Afro in the major leagues too. A genuine five-tool stud, never got the credit he was due.

  10. Black Dog says:

    As for John Kruk – at spring training one year, the story goes, he was puffing on a smoke when some woman commented ‘You should be ashamed of yourself – you’re supposed to be an athlete’ – of course Kruk replies “lady I’m no athlete, I’m a baseball player”

  11. Dennis says:

    Yeah, Ty, the new Steinbrenner will be nothing if not entertaining. I’m reading his quotes and he sounds an awful lot like his old man.

    Then again, as long as you guys are connected to Shaugnaussy, well then you know what that means.

    The fans and media may be tits, but some of the Sox players seem really likeable. Lowell’s comments about his stolen base the other night gave me a big smile and you can’t dislike Ortiz

  12. Dennis says:

    There was a piece on Johnson in Sat’s Mtl Gazette.

  13. Ribs says:

    unrelated topic…Mike Johnson just cleared waivers after the Blues assigned him to Peoria? Has he really fallen that far?
    Ouch, that gotsta hurt.
    I think the Vote for Rory & Mike machine has died. What unsung loser should we hype next?

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