Jason Varitek in 2009 with the captain insignia on his chest
Jason Varitek in 2009 with the captain insignia on his chest

The Boston Red Sox, a professional baseball franchise in Major League Baseball (MLB), has given the title of captain to select players since the team's inaugural season as a member of the American League in 1901 (the team was known as the Boston Americans through the 1907 season). For various seasons during the team's history, the position has been vacant; while in early baseball a captain was responsible for many of the functions now assumed by managers and coaches,[1] the title is purely honorary in modern professional baseball. Since the end of World War II, only three players have served as captain of the Red Sox. The most recent was catcher Jason Varitek, who was captain during the 2005–2011 seasons, and wore a distinctive "C" on the left side of his jersey, similar to captains in the National Hockey League.[2]

Captains

Jimmy Collins was the franchise's first captain, when the team was known as the Boston Americans.
Jimmy Collins was the franchise's first captain, when the team was known as the Boston Americans.
Dick Hoblitzell was captain in 1918.
Dick Hoblitzell was captain in 1918.
Jimmie Foxx was captain for three seasons during World War II.
Jimmie Foxx was captain for three seasons during World War II.
Carl Yastrzemski served the longest tenure as Red Sox captain, 1966 and 1969–1983.
Carl Yastrzemski served the longest tenure as Red Sox captain, 1966 and 1969–1983.
Jim Rice was captain during 1985–1989.
Jim Rice was captain during 1985–1989.

The history of Red Sox captains was researched by baseball historian Howard W. Rosenberg in 2004. The Red Sox front office contacted Rosenberg in advance of Jason Varitek being named captain, after learning that Rosenberg, author of a 2003 book featuring captains in 19th-century baseball, had disputed the official count of captains in New York Yankees franchise history.[3][4]

Elected to the National Baseball Hall of Fame
Player Position Years active Years as captain Ref.
Boston Americans (through 1907)
Jimmy Collins 3B 1895–1908 1901–1905

[5]

Chick Stahl OF 1897–1906 1906

[6]

Bob Unglaub 1B 1904–1910 1907

[7]

Boston Red Sox (1908 to present)
Deacon McGuire C 1884–1912 1908

[8]

Doc Gessler RF 1903–1911 1909

[9]

Harry Lord 3B 1903–1911 1910

[7]

Heinie Wagner SS 1902–1918 1911

[10]

Jake Stahl 1B 1903–1912 1912

[11]

Heinie Wagner SS 1902–1918 1913–1914

[10]

Jack Barry 2B 1908–1919 1915–1917

[12]

Dick Hoblitzell 1B 1908–1918 1918

[7]

Harry Hooper OF 1908–1925 1919–1920

[7]

Everett Scott SS 1914–1926 1921

[13]

Del Pratt 2B 1914–1926 1922

[7]

George Burns 1B 1914–1929 1923

[13]

Mike Menosky LF 1914–1923 1923[a]

[14]

No captain 1924–1939[7]

Jimmie Foxx 1B 1925–1945 1940–1942

[15]

No captain 1943–1965[7]

Carl Yastrzemski OF 1961–1983 1966

[16]

No captain 1967–1968[7]

Carl Yastrzemski OF 1961–1983 1969–1983

[16]

No captain 1984[7]

Jim Rice OF 1974–1989 1985–1989

[7]

No captain 1990–2004

Jason Varitek C 1997–2011 2005–2011

[17]

No captain 2012–present

Notes

References

  1. ^ Dickson, Paul (1999). The New Dickson Baseball Dictionary. Mariner Books. p. 101. ISBN 0-15-600580-8.
  2. ^ Hoch, Bryan. "Trio of captains treasure role". MLB.com. Archived from the original on 2008-06-24. Retrieved 2008-06-04.
  3. ^ Mallozzi, Vincent. "Author Says Yankees Are Missing Something". The New York Times. Retrieved 2014-10-24.
  4. ^ Heuschkel, David. "It's Now Captain Varitek". Hartford Courant. Retrieved 2014-10-24.
  5. ^ Abrams, Rodger (February 15, 2007). "Jimmy Collins: Pride of the Irish". National Baseball Hall of Fame. Archived from the original on August 20, 2007. Retrieved 2008-06-04.
  6. ^ "The Boston Pilgrims". Celebrate Boston. Retrieved 2008-06-04.
  7. ^ a b c d e f g h i j Glen Stout; Richard Johnson (2000). Red Sox Century: The Definitive History of Baseball's Most Storied Franchise. Houghton Mifflin Books. ISBN 0-618-42319-2.
  8. ^ Flietz, David (2008). Shoeless: The Life and Times of Joe Jackson. McFarland & Company. ISBN 0-7864-3312-4.
  9. ^ "Gessler to be Captain of Red Sox". The New York Times. January 19, 1909. Retrieved 2008-06-04.
  10. ^ a b Lieb, Frederick G. and McNally, John The Boston Red Sox. Southern Illinois University Press. 2003. ISBN 0-8093-2493-8.
  11. ^ Richardson, Bob (March 23, 2008). "Visionary views: Several innovators get credit for the evolution of managing". The Boston Globe. Retrieved 2008-06-04.
  12. ^ "Jack Barry Laid Up". The New York Times. September 26, 1915. Retrieved 2008-06-04.
  13. ^ a b Wood, Allan (2000). Babe Ruth and the 1918 Red Sox. iUniverse. ISBN 0-595-14826-3.
  14. ^ David S. Neft; Michael L. Neft; Bob Carroll; Richard M. Cohen (2005). The Boston Red Sox Fan Book. St. Martin's Griffin. ISBN 978-0312348496.
  15. ^ Daniel, W. Harrison (2004). Jimmie Foxx: The Life and Times of a Baseball Hall of Famer. McFarland. ISBN 0-7864-1867-2.
  16. ^ a b McBroom, Kathleen (1981). The Lincoln Library of Sports Champions. Frontier Press Co. ISBN 0-912168-07-2.
  17. ^ Edes, Gordon (December 24, 2004). "Sox re-sign Varitek, name him captain". The Boston Globe. Retrieved 2008-06-04.