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sports flashback

Sports Flashback: Recalling the best ‘pure hitters’ in recent Red Sox history

Wade Boggs won five batting titles with the Red Sox.
Wade Boggs won five batting titles with the Red Sox.RUSTY KENNEDY/Associated Press

The Boston Globe and The Sports Museum have teamed up to provide occasional looks back at the good old days of Boston sports, featuring the responses to prompts posted on the museum’s Facebook page from Rusty Sullivan, the museum’s executive director.

Question

On June 15, Wade Boggs turned 62. In the seven-year stretch between 1983 and 1989, Boggs hit over .350 in five seasons and rung up more than 200 hits in all seven seasons. Incredible. Hey, the man could hit. Who are some other “pure hitters” for the Red Sox (or otherwise) that you have enjoyed watching through the years, and why?

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Responses

▪ Fred Lynn! No one could pull a fastball, take an outside pitch the other way, or inside-out a pitch off the wall like Fred! Never forget the 3 HR, 10 RBI night he had in 1975 in Detroit vs. the Tigers!

▪ Nomar!

▪ Lynn and Garciaparra seemed headed to Cooperstown as both had beautiful swings and were solid five-tool stars. Manny too, what a hitter.

▪ Manny Ramirez had the prettiest swing in baseball.

▪ Always loved Fred Lynn’s swing. He could hit to any part of the field.

▪ After Lynn left the Red Sox, his days of hitting .300 were over. Lynn probably should have forced a trade to the Yankees. He would have had better luck in the old Yankee Stadium.

▪ Lynn hit .350 at Fenway while with Boston. That was a better park for him than Yankee Stadium would have been.

▪ Boggs loved Fenway, but he hit over .300 everywhere

▪ My three best hitters I have seen. Boggs, Gwynn, and Carew.

▪ I’ve always considered Boggs the most underrated superstar in Red Sox history. That’s right, superstar. You rarely hear Red Sox fans or anyone else use that term. Here’s why.

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Because Boggs was so consistent, it was easy to take his game for granted. He didn’t hit a lot of homers, didn’t steal bases. All he did was hit close to .350 with an OBP over .400 and get on base 300+ times every year.

He played before Moneyball came around and glamorized those skills, but if the most important offensive skill is not making an out, Boggs was better at it than everyone.

▪ Here are a few things about Boggs people might not know: (1) He was a switch hitter in his first couple of years in pro ball. Boggs is naturally lefthanded, and was an exceptional left-footed kicker in high school. (2) He may not have been a power hitter, but his .462 SLG as a Red Sox is exactly the same as Carl Yastrzemski’s. (3) Boggs spent seven years in the minors and still finished with over 3,000 hits. Has any other player done that?

▪ The best two-strike hitter ever.

(Follow The Sports Museum on Facebook or Twitter to see daily questions and add your responses to be considered for upcoming installments of this feature.)