Getting a number retired by any sports team is a significant accomplishment. Many shoot for the Hall of Fame as an end goal of a playing career, but getting a number retired could maybe be just as meaningful.
When a number is 'retired' it means that that particular number can never again be used by another player for that team. In essence, it shows that the number retired is of a player that showed tremendous importance to the team, usually on the field, but in many cases off the field as well.
So getting a number retired is a BIG deal, but getting a number retired by the Boston Red Sox is a monumental deal, since it is one of the oldest and most renowned sports franchises of all time. So what numbers have been retired by the Red Sox.
To date, ten numbers of former Red Sox players have been retired. In addition, Jackie Robinson's #42 was retired by all MLB teams in 1997. All but two of the players whose Red Sox numbers have been retired are in the Hall Of Fame; the exceptions - Johnny Pesky, and David Ortiz who is eligible for induction in 2022.
Here's a closer look at each player and some of their accomplishments:
Bobby Doerr, 2B, #1
Bobby Doerr played 18 seasons for Boston with over 2,000 games in center field, and was inducted into the Hall of Fame in 1987. Doerr was one of the best of his era, earning 9 All-Star game awards, excelling both offensively and defensively. He even held the major league record for career double plays at second base.
Bobby Doerr's number 1 jersey was retired by the Red Sox on May 21, 1998
Joe Cronin, SS #4
Joe Cronin is famous for being a shortstop and manager in his time, but he is also known as the first former player to be elected as president of the American League.
His career began with Pirates but he most well recognized for his stint with the Red Sox from 1933-1945 as both a player and a manager. Cronin was inducted into the Baseball Hall of Fame in 1956. He ended his playing career with a .301 average and 2285 hits.
Joe Cronin's number 4 jersey was retired by the Red Sox on
Johnny Pesky 2B #6
Johnny Pesky spent 60 years in the Red Sox organization, as a player, coach, manager, broadcaster, and special instructor. He is the one player whose number has been retired that did not make it to the Hall Of Fame.
Johnny Pesky's number 6 jersey was retired by the Red Sox on August 23, 2008.
Carl Yastrzemski OF #8
Carl Yastrzemski was the last winner of the batters Triple Crown in 1967. There has only been 13 Triple Crown Winners for batters in history 2 are Red Sox (Yaz and Teddy Ballgame).
Carl Yastrzemski's number 8 jersey was retired by the Red Sox on August 6, 1989.
Ted Williams OF #9
Ted Williams won 2 Triple Crowns. What’s stunning about this feat was “The Kid” won 1 TC, went to serve our country in WWII as a Marine Corps pilot, and came back to win another TC.
Ted Williams number 9 jersey was retired by the Red Sox in 1984.
Jim Rice OF #14
One of the best outfielders during his era, Rice could be a bit salty at times, but there was no denying his proficiency as a hitter. He maybe stayed around a bit too long as his game fell off in the later years, but Rice was a great slugger and worthy of his number being retired by the Sox.
Jim Rice's number 14 jersey was retired by the Red Sox on July 28, 2009.
Wade Boggs, 3B #26
While some of you might remember Wade Boggs for his legendary appearance in the comedy Always Sunny In Philadelphia (the Gang tries to break his drinking record on a plane), I'll always remember the Chicken Man for his amazing prowess at the plate and his ability to make contact on anything thrown his way.
Wade Boggs' number 26 jersey was retired by the Red Sox on May 26, 2016.
Carlton Fisk, C #27
"Pudge" was one of the scrappiest players I've ever seen, and he was a naturally born catcher. His all time average of .269 might leave HOF baseball purists scratching their heads, but his power numbers (376 HR) and his dominance behind the plate led to his HOF induction in 2000.
Carlton Fisk's number 27 jersey was retired by the Red Sox on September 4, 2000, three years after his number was retired by the White Sox.
David Ortiz, DH #34
Sure the steroid stuff is going to hang over Ortiz's head as he heads into eligibility for the HOF in 2022, but there's no denying that 'Big Papi' was one of the greatest sluggers in Red Sox history. Ortiz hit over 500 homeruns and was in my mind one of the best clubhouse and team players the Sox have seen in the past 30 years.
David Ortiz's number 34 jersey was retired by the Red Sox on June 22, 2017.
Jackie Robinson #42
Jackie Robinson is probably one of the most important sports figures in the history of all sports and thus MLB decided in 1997 that his number 42 would be retired across the league. If you visit Fenway Park, you can see his blue 42 next to other all time Sox greats.
Pedro Martinez, P #45
Pedro Martínez is the only AL Triple Crown Winner to have the highest strikeout total. In the 1999 season, Martinez struck out 313 batters. Martinez surpassed Roger Clemens strikeout record of past AL Triple Crown Winners.
Pedro Martinez's number 45 jersey was retired by the Red Sox on July 28, 2015, only two days following his induction into the Baseball Hall of Fame.