Nomar Garciaparra

It’s difficult to imagine Nomar having been a star anywhere but Boston. He was, like Ted Williams, a perfectionist. Like Yaz he had little desire for fame and attention, though he won the affection of female fans and children. Similar to Fisk and Lynn, Nomar’s career ended in Boston under strained circumstances in a dispute over money. He won personal accolades – batting titles and the Rookie of the Year – like Jim Rice did, but he never quite reached the heights of other Boston legends. Like Williams he was compared to another great player of his era who starred for the Yankees at the same position: Derek Jeter. (Technically Joe DiMaggio was a center fielder and Williams was a left fielder, but they were both outfielders and were nearly traded for each other). Garciaparra was technically part of the ’04 World Series Champions, having played the first half of the season before being sent to the Cubs at the trade deadline on July 31. The deal shocked many Boston fans, but it did little to derail the team that season, obviously. In fact, it’s damaging to Nomar’s reputation that the club seemed to jell more after his departure. After the shortstop was traded the clubhouse became looser and became more of a Johnny Damon/David Ortiz/Curt Schilling led team after that.

He won two batting titles in Boston and looked like a surefire Hall of Famer at the age of 26. He set a major league record by accumulating 2,000 total bases in the fewest number of games (since eclipsed by Albert Pujols). But injuries and leaving the friendly dimensions of Fenway Park derailed his Cooperstown-bound train. In his 30s he hit .291 with just 516 hits and 56 homers. Still, his peak may have been the best of any Red Sox shortstop.

Longest Hitting Streaks by a Red Sox Player
1. Dom DiMaggio … 34 games (1949)
2. Tris Speaker … 30 games (1912)
3. Nomar Garciaparra … 30 games (1997)
4. Johnny Damon …  29 games (2005)
5. Wade Boggs … 28 games (1985)
6. Dom DiMaggio … 27 games (1951)
7. Manny Ramirez … 27 games (2006)
8. Nomar Garciaparra … 26 games (2003)
9. Buck Freeman … 26 games (1902)
10. Johnny Pesky … 26 games (1947)