Carlton Fisk

Position: Catcher
Teams: Boston Red Sox, 1969-1980; Chicago White Sox, 1981-1993

Carlton Fisk
Carlton Fisk is one of only three catchers
to hit 300 homers and drive in 1,000 runs.

Longevity and power -- not the most typical traits of a catcher -- were the attributes that set Carlton Fisk apart. He combined the two to lead all catchers in lifetime home runs (351) and games played (2,226).

Born in 1947 and raised a New Englander, Fisk was a first-round draft choice of the Boston Red Sox in 1967. Five years later, he became the American League's first-ever unanimous Rookie of the Year. In addition to batting .293 with 22 homers that season, he also led the AL with nine triples.

Fisk set his durability records by overcoming severe injuries early in his career. He managed to play only 79 games in 1975, but his .331 average helped spark the Red Sox to the World Series, where he provided perhaps the most dramatic moment in the history of the fall classic.

Boston, on the brink of another Series defeat, battled back in Game 6. Fisk's home run leading off the 12th inning against Cincinnati's Pat Darcy gave the Sox a shot at Game 7 -- and simultaneously recaptured the hearts of America for baseball. TV's "reaction shot" of Fisk trying to wave the ball fair is an American classic.

In 1985, at age 37, Fisk belted 33 homers as a catcher (37 overall), setting the American League record for backstops. He was chosen for the All-Star Game 11 times. Besides being physically rugged, he was mentally tough, too, demanding the most from his teammates.

In 1972, he griped about the lackluster play of Carl Yastrzemski and Reggie Smith when the Red Sox were stuck at .500. The team turned things around and finished just a half-game out of first. In a famous incident years later, he screamed at Yankee Deion Sanders for failing to hustle to first. Fisk wouldn't settle for anything less than top performance, even from the opposition.

Carlton's ability to handle pitchers meant that he was often at the mound, telling the hurler just what he wanted. Luis Tiant, who pitched to dozens of backstops in his day, said flat out, "He was the best catcher I ever had." It is said that when Fisk left the Red Sox in 1981 as a free agent, Boston concessionaires moaned. With Fisk gone, there would be much less time to sell their wares.

Fisk, Johnny Bench, and Yogi Berra are the only three catchers to hit 300 homers and drive in 1,000 runs. Fisk was inducted into the Hall of Fame in 2000.

Here are Carlton Fisk's major league totals:


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