Today...My favorite Boston Red Sox.
In 1975 a young, brash rookie outfielder came up to the Red Sox, bringing a lethal bat, a golden glove, and clutch play that propelled the BoSox to the American League pennant, and the best World Series in my lifetime.
His name was Fred Lynn, who captured not only the hearts of Red Sox faithful but baseball fans across the country, including this teenage fan in Kalamazoo, Michigan.
Although I followed baseball every day, I really didn't know much about Lynn until he came to Tiger Stadium in June of '75.
On that June day, I saw Lynn personally beat the Tigers, blasting three homers, knocking in 10 runs, and piling up 16 total bases.
I was devastated that my Tigers were beaten, but I instantly became a fan of Fred.
He played with reckless abandon, chasing down fly balls, running into every outfield wall in the American League, including hurling himself into Boston's Green Monster nearly every night...it seemed like you saw the #19 on the back of his uniform more than you saw the Red Sox on the front.
Lynn abused his body so much with his relentless play...diving for balls, slamming into those outfield walls across the American League, sliding hard into a base to break up a play, charging hard into home plate to score that important run.
Following the '75 season, Fred Lynn became the first player to win both the Rookie of the Year Award, and the Most Valuable Player Award in the same season.
Fred Lynn played for the Red Sox for only six years, being traded by Boston to the California Angeles after the 1980 season, where he continued his outstanding play, including hitting at least 20 homers for six straight years.
In the 1983 All-Star Game in Comiskey Park in Chicago, Fred became the only player to ever hit a grand slam home run, connecting of the San Francisco Giants Atlee Hammaker in the third inning, and being named the game MVP.
Fred Lynn made his way to my Detroit Tigers in 1988, playing in 27 games, hitting .252 in 90 at bats, and in 1989 Fred played in 117 games for the Tigers, hitting .241, with 46 RBI's.
Fred Lynn finished his career with a lifetime average of .283, with 306 home runs, and 1, 111 RBI's.
Fred Lynn...9 time American League All Star
4 time Gold Glove Award Winner
1975 MLB Rookie of the Year
1975 MLB Most Valuable Player
1982 American League Championship MVP (first ever on a losing team)
1983 MLB All-Star Game MVP
Member of the Boston Red Sox Hall of Fame
Member of the College Baseball Hall of Fame