This is a blog that is driven by the present, the here and now. We look at what the Red Sox are doing off of the field and try to project how it will translate on the field. When the games begin, it’s all about wins and losses, what the Sox need to do or could have done to get a check in the win column. But baseball is a game that constantly reminds us it’s perfectly fine to temporarily abandon the present and turn our attention to the past. I mean, who doesn’t like to reminisce on the fall of 2004? If someone wants to chat about Pedro Martinez‘ performance in Game 5 of the 1999 ALDS, sign me up. I’m in.
The point? Looking back is fun. So let’s take a peak in the past at some former Red Sox players and see what they’re doing now.
Bill Mueller is a professional scout within the Dodgers organization. Before that, he was a special assistant to the GM. Mueller will never have a place in Cooperstown, but he will always be a hero in households around New England. Fans tend to remember Kevin Millar‘s walk and Dave Roberts critical stolen base during the ninth inning of Game 4 of the 2004 ALCS. But it was Mueller’s sharp RBI single up the middle off of closer Mariano Rivera that tied the game and gave David Oritz the opportunity to do what David Ortiz does. Just one year before his ALCS heroics, Mueller led the American League in hitting, took home the Silver Slugger Award for his position, and finished 12th in MVP voting.
Dante Bichette was named the Rockies’ hitting coach this past November. Bichette will always be best known for his seven years in Colorado where he served as of one the Senior Circuit’s most feared sluggers. But on August 31, 2000, he was traded from the Reds to the Red Sox. In 137 games, between ’00 and ’01, with the Red Sox, Bichette would hit 19 home runs and get on-base at a .331 clip. He would spend the final year of his 14-year career with the Red Sox in 2001.
Mo Vaughn, once a force in the batter’s box, has evolved into a force in the real estate market. Vaughn is the co-founder of Omni New York LLC, a company that focuses on “bringing revitalization and development to various neighborhoods in New York and other states.” Given the amount of charity work Vaughn participated in during his time in Boston, it only makes sense that he would focus his business ventures on areas of the community that are in need of affordable housing.
In the interest of transparency, Mo was my first ever favorite player. If you’re a sports fan, you can probably point to the player you first fell head over heels for as a kid. The Hit Dog was my first. In 1995, I was seven. Vaughn won the MVP while posting a .300/.388/.575 line. He slugged 39 home runs and went on to have an even better season in 1996. It was around that time that my parents came home with a present for me. It was a plaque with a Topps baseball card of Mo in the middle of one of his signature swings. It is still hanging above my bed in my parents’ house. I’ll always remember that hunched over stance from the left side. Vaughn was big papi before Big Papi.
Aaron Sele is a special assistant within the Dodgers organization. Sele is a former first round pick by the Red Sox–23rd overall–in 1991. He spent five years with the Red Sox. In 1993, Sele finished third in Rookie of the Year voting. He went on to have a 15-year career in the bigs, but his most notable achievement may have been his beautiful breaking ball. Cause, damn. That was nice.
Manny Ramirez is in talks to play for the Taiwanese professional league. If you don’t believe me, here it is. Failed drug tests aside, Ramirez is probably the best hitter I’ve ever seen in play in a Red Sox uniform. Everyone loved the towering home runs to left field that cleared that big green wall, but looking back, I am most impressed by Ramirez’ ability to attack the entire field, to the spray the ball with ease to right center gap. There is a small fraternity of Red Sox players, past and present, who are part of the “first name club.” Think about it. We refer to Pedro Martinez as “Pedro” — not “Martinez.” Nomar Garciaparra is “Nomar” and Ted Williams is “Ted.” Manny, for better or worse, will always be Manny.