The Red Sox once had a rule that a player had to be a member of the Baseball Hall of Fame and had finished his career in Boston before they could retire a number.
If a player is eligible for number retirement, the Sox no longer have an official set of criteria. However, John Henry and Tom Werner, the company’s owners and chairman have a strict policy of only awarding that accolade to a select handful. Each prospective applicant will be evaluated on an individual basis.
Some exceptions, however, have to be made on the road. Johnny Pesky’s number was retired even though he was not inducted into the Red Sox Hall of Fame, despite him being one of the greatest advocates the team has ever had.
The Red Sox have retired the following numbers during the course of their history.
JONNEY PESKY NO.6
As an anomaly, Pesky played for the Red Sox for only eight seasons before being moved to the Tigers in 1952. He is not in the Hall of Fame. Pesky’s Pole, the baseball’s lowest home run distance and alleged only site where Pesky could knock it out, is the right-field foul pole at Fenway Park, named for the slap-hitting shortstop.
JOE CRONIN NO.4
While playing with the Red Sox, Cronin shared the field with legends like Ted Williams and Bobby Doerr as well as players like Pesky and Dominic DiMaggio, to name just a few. That’s not the only thing that’s true. He was a player-manager with the Boston Red Sox from 1935 through 1945 and a manager for the next two seasons.
Cronin’s uniform was worn by many Red Sox players over the course of nearly four decades before it was finally displayed in the clubhouse by the Red Sox.
BOBBY DOERR NO.1
Even though he missed a season of baseball due to his duty in World War II, Doerr was a nine-time MLB All-Star who batted over.300 three times and had more than 100 RBI six times.
In 1986, he became a member of the Baseball Hall of Fame.
To his credit, he became the first Red Sox player to hit for the cycle twice in a single season.
CARLTON FISK NO.27
Fisk was a true New Englander through and through, having grown up in both Vermont and New Hampshire.
The only thing that Fisk and the Red Sox may lament is that he didn’t stay in Boston for the duration of his career.
One of baseball’s most memorable playoff home runs was hit by Fisk during his 11-year tenure with the Boston Red Sox before to his departure to the Chicago White Sox in 1980 via free agency.
He was the first rookie to win the American League Rookie of the Year award without a dissenting vote.
PEDRO MARTINEZ NO.45
Baseball pitcher Pedro Jaime Martnez is a Dominican-American who played in the Major Leagues from 1992 to 2009, with five different teams.
When Martinez came out of the bullpen in Game 5 of the American League Division Series against Cleveland in 1999 with a right shoulder injury, it was one of his most memorable performances.
A decade later, Pedro’s number 45 was retired since he was chosen to the Baseball Hall of Fame in 2015.
CARL YASTRZEMSKI NO.8
The Boston Red Sox traded a legend for Carl Yastrzemski. Yastrzemski was already a legend by the time he finished his 23-year career.
Yaz also excelled as a left field fielder and was an expert on the Green Monster.
As of 1989, Yastrzemski’s number was retired by the Red Sox and he was inducted into the Hall of Fame. Since he retired in 1983, no one has worn it.
TED WILLIAMS NO.9
Two-time MVP of the American League and six-time AL hitting champion are just some of the accolades bestowed upon Williams. He was also the first player to win the Triple Crown twice.
Williams was one of the game’s greatest hitters, if not the greatest. Williams had the fourth-highest score of any player ever on Bill James’ “Black-Ink Test,” according to Baseball-Reference.
In 1941, Williams hit.406, and no one has hit.400 since. In addition, he had a Red Sox record of 521 home runs.
WADE BOGGS NO.26
Wade Anthony Boggs is a former third baseman in major league baseball from the United States.
Between 1983 and 1988, he batted at least.357 five times and amassed at least 200 hits seven times, setting a team record.
With the Yankees, he won the World Series in 1996.Since Boggs, thirteen Red Sox players have worn 26.
DAVID ORTIZ NO.34
Former Major League Baseball designated hitter and first baseman David Américo Ortiz Arias, better known by his baseball moniker “Big Papi,” was a Dominican-American who spent much of his career with the Boston Red Sox.
During the 2006 season, Ortiz smashed 54 home runs, breaking the team record for a single season. Since Ortiz first arrived in Boston in 2003, only Williams has hit more home runs in a Red Sox uniform.
JIM RICE NO.14
After winning the 1978 American League MVP Award with 213 hits (including 46 home runs) and 139 RBIs (including 15 triples), Rice earned the moniker “Jim Ed” for his remarkable performance on the field.
In his entire 16-year career, Rice was a member of the Boston Red Sox team. The Baseball Writers Association of America (BBWAA) had him wait until his 15th and final year of eligibility in 2009 to be inducted into the Hall of Fame.