The Boston Red Sox first joined the major league ranks at the turn of the 20th Century in 1901. One hundred sixteen years later, the club’s alumni lists nearly 1,800 former players who, for at least one official MLB game, laced up their cleats and donned the timeless Red Sox uniform, most earning their living on the hallowed grounds of the now century-old Fenway Park on Boston’s famed Yawkey Way.
With all those players over all those years, there’s no way even the most dedicated fan could remember each and every one of them. After all, they don’t make ‘em like Carl Yastrzemski or David Ortiz anymore. In fact, few players these days spend all or even the majority of their careers with a single team, leaving little time to make a big enough impact to be remembered among that club’s most iconic stars of the past.
Whether it’s a brief stop along the course of their careers, an inconsequential contribution to the team or simply the memory-eroding hands of time wiping away any recollection, it can be easy for some players to disappear into the pit of forgotten former Sox.
And while no one alive is old enough to even forget who the players were on some of the early iterations of the on-field squad, let’s focus in on some of the more recent – and alive – former Boston players to comprise this list.
So prepare to remember these 15 forgotten Boston players and take a look at what they’ve been up to in life after the Red Sox.
15 15. DAVID WELLS
David Wells is and always will be one of the best left-handed pitchers the game has ever seen. His 239-157 win/loss record, career 4.13 ERA, 2,201 strikeouts, three All-Star Game appearances, 1998 ALCS MVP title and two World Series rings are all you really need to know.
He did all that – and also added the 15th perfect game in MLB history in a 4-0 blanking of the Minnesota Twins in 1998 as a member of the New York Yankees – over a prolific 21-season career. His most notable seasons came during his Yankees and Blue Jays years, but he also made several other stops along the way, including parts of two years with the Red Sox.
He went 17-10 in 38 starts with the Sox, posting a 4.56 ERA and adding 131 strikeouts from 2005 to 2006 and then retired after the 2007 season.
His life-after-the-Red-Sox journey has taken him behind the booth as a baseball analyst for TBS, and behind the whistle as a baseball coach at his alma mater, Point Loma High School in San Diego.
14 14. SCOTT PODSEDNIK
Texas native Scott Podsednik did some great things during his career and even had an above-average season during his final year in the majors in 2012 when he laced ‘em up for the Red Sox. But that was the year during which He Who We Do Not Speak Of managed the team to an abysmal 69-93 record and finished a distant 26 games back of the AL East-winning New York Yankees, so a lot of fans have understandably blocked that entire season from their memory
Podsednik only made 216 plate appearances over 63 games that year, but he did manage a .302 batting average, beating out everyone but David Ortiz in that category, and added 12 home runs.
Nowadays, he lives in Texas and does work as a public speaker and occasional baseball analyst for the White Sox while enjoying life as the spouse to former Playboy Playmate and current sportscaster Lisa Dergan. Poor guy.
13 13. MARK KOTSAY
When Mike Lowell went down for the season with an injury in 2008, the recently acquired Mark Kotsay stepped into the first baseman role to save the day, while Kevin Youkilis was moved over to the hot corner.
Kotsay batted .226/.286/.345 in 22 regular season games to finish out the season, which was good enough to get the nod at first base for the playoffs. The postseason saw him play decent defense, and he improved his batting average to .250, but he encountered a rash of bad luck, hitting several hard balls right at opposing fielders.
The following season, he played in 27 more games before being dealt to the Chicago White Sox. He would go on to play parts of two seasons in Chicago, one in Milwaukee and two more in San Diego before hanging it up on his playing career and becoming a hitting coach for the Padres.
After a stint as a San Diego bench coach in 2015, Kotsay moved on to a similar role for the Oakland Athletics in 2016.
12 12. EDWARD MUJICA
Should 32-year-old setup man Edward Mujica just accept his fate and move on from trying to make it in Major League Baseball? Since the end of 2015, the guy has signed minor-league contracts with the Philadelphia Phillies, Kansas City Royals, Minnesota Twins and now the Detroit Tigers. In that time, he has seen action in 102 minor-league games and a total of zero in The Show.
In fact, Mujica’s two-year, $9.5 million contract he signed with the Red Sox in 2013 was the last one he had at the Major-League level. Before he was traded to the Athletics early in the 2015 season, Mujica made 75 mostly forgettable mound appearances, tossing 73.2 innings and posting a 3-5 record with a 4.03 ERA.
He’s currently in the Tigers’ Spring Training camp as a non-roster invitee and actually has a decent shot at making the opening day roster. He’s got a lifetime 3.85 ERA and is looking fairly good, so you never know.
11 11. HIDEO NOMO
Japan’s “Tornado” Hideo Nomo made a big splash when he debuted as a pitcher in MLB in 1995 with his unique, back-turned windup that consistently fooled batters all across the league. He was tops in baseball his rookie season with the Dodgers, finishing first in strikeouts while adding an impressive 2.54 ERA.
Nomo remained relatively successful through his first six years in the Majors, playing with the Dodgers, Mets, Brewers and Tigers before signing with the Red Sox in 2001. That year, he threw his second career MLB no-hitter in his Boston debut on April 4 and wound up once again leading the league in strikeouts while posting a 13-10 record and a 4.50 ERA.
He wasn’t long for the Sox, though, and re-signed with the Dodgers the very next season, and that’s where his legacy is best remembered. Today, he’s a baseball operations advisor for the San Diego Padres, assisting with their international reach, but he’ll always have that no-hitter for the Red Sox in 2001.
10 10. GABE KAPLER
Outfielder Gabe Kapler wasn’t quite a nightly starter for the Red Sox when he played there between 2003 and 2006, and he was a middle-of-the-pack hitter at best with .270/.321/.391 numbers in a Boston uniform, but the one trivia question he can forever lay claim to is that he was one of nine players on the field when the Sox finally broke the Curse of the Bambino in 2004, finally winning the World Series after 86 years of futility.
Kapler’s best years career-wise came a bit earlier, when he suited up for the Texas Rangers and Colorado Rockies. He batted a cumulative .280 for both teams and had his best slugging numbers even earlier in his career.
These days, he’s the director of player development for the LA Dodgers. He’s a healthy lifestyle guru, and he also started a charity, the Gabe Kapler Foundation, with his wife, Lisa, but the two divorced in 2013, with the charity apparently falling as collateral damage.
9 9. MARK LORETTA
In the grand scheme of things, Mark Loretta went about playing 15 incredibly consistent seasons in Major League Baseball about as quietly as a two-time All-Star and lifetime .295 hitter could.
After the Brewers took him in the seventh round of the 1993 draft, Loretta played well above his draft stock and became an everyday starter in 1997. After seven seasons in Milwaukee, Loretta made stops in Houston and San Diego before landing in Boston for the 2006 season.
With the Red Sox, he was a solid second-baseman, hitting .285, knocking in 59 runs and swatting five homers, which earned him his second trip to the All-Star Game in three seasons.
He retired after the 2009 season to rejoin the Padres in a front-office role and is now a special assistant for baseball operations as the team tries to get back into the postseason for the first time in over a decade.
8 8. JOSE CANSECO
In case you forgot, yes, controversial former player and admitted steroid-user Jose Canseco did play for the Red Sox. During the 1995 and 1996 seasons, after stints with Oakland and Texas, Canseco added some much-needed power-hitting to the Sox’s lineup. He had 24 home runs and batted at a .306 clip in 1995 but had the following season cut short due to injury.
After two years with Boston, Canseco went on to play for the Athletics for another season, the Blue Jays, Devil Rays, Yankees and White Sox before officially ending his MLB career in 2002.
Since then, he’s been a bit of a mess. He’s written two books about his PED use, made several attempts to return to pro ball with independent-league teams in both the U.S. and Mexico, challenged other celebrities in very random yet organized boxing matches and once accidentally shot himself in the hand while cleaning his gun.
In his most recent public decree, Canseco warned the globe about the existential threat that robots pose to humanity. Yeah. So whether Sox fans claim him or not, he really did play in Boston in the mid-1990s.
7 7. MATT STAIRS
Talk about covering the map. When a guy plays for an MLB-record 13 teams (12 franchises), it can be hard to remember all of them. Stairs entered the league in 1992 with the Montreal Expos and made his brief stop in Boston in 1995 before his career really took off.
After that, it was a whirlwind career for Stairs that took him from coast to coast and back again more times than once, as he became the all-time leader in pinch-hit home runs with 23, earning him the auspicious nickname, “Matt Stairs, Professional Hitter.”
Once his 19-year pro ball career finally wound down in 2011, Stairs worked as a baseball analyst for NESN and then with the Philadelphia Phillies’ broadcasting crew alongside Jamie Moyer. Today, he’s imparting his priceless batting wisdom to young players as the hitting coach for the Philadelphia Phillies.
6 6. JEFF SUPPAN
You tend to forget about a guy’s early years when he never really found much success until later in his career. That’s the case with starting pitcher Jeff Suppan. He was drafted by the Red Sox in 1993 and started just 29 games during his first three seasons in the league with Boston from 1995 to 1997.
It wasn’t until six years and four other teams (including a second short stint with the Sox in 2003) later that Suppan would finally break out as an ace in the St. Louis Cardinals’ rotation.
In 2004, Suppan recorded the best season of his career to that point, posting a 16-9 record and a 4.16 ERA with 110 strikeouts in 188 innings. He helped the Cardinals win the 2004 World Series and then improved the following year, going 16-10 with a 3.57 ERA in 194.1 innings pitched.
He retired in 2014 and started a restaurant, Soup’s Grill, with his wife in Woodland Hills, California. Currently, he’s the pitching coach for the minor league Idaho Falls Chukars of the Pioneer League.
5 5. RICH GARCES
Remember Rich “El Guapo” Garces? This lovable, huggable relief pitcher was a fan favorite in Beantown for most of his seven seasons there between 1996 and 2002. He wasn’t the most fit or athletic player in a Sox uniform, but he sure could paint the corners. Really, he was Bartolo Colon before Bartolo Colon was cool.
During his time with the Red Sox, Garces put up a respectable 23-8 record and a 3.78 ERA in 317 innings pitched. They weren’t world-record numbers by any means, but the reason you might not remember him well is that his jersey No. 34 was next worn by the legendary David Ortiz, so El Guapo’s legacy clearly falls by the wayside next to Big Papi’s.
Since retiring from his playing days, Garces has been coaching in Mexico and his native Venezuela and recently signed on as the pitching coach for the Bridgeport Bluefish of the independent Atlantic League.
4 4. JEREMY GIAMBI
It was short, but it wasn’t sweet. Jeremy Giambi’s 50 games with the Boston Red Sox in 2003 were insignificant to say the least and forgettable to say the most, especially considering the Sox snapped their 86-year championship drought the following season.
Giambi, younger brother of the far more notable Jason, was a 6th-round pick of the Kansas City Royals in 1996. Despite several off-field issues, he played parts of two seasons for the Royals, three for the Oakland Athletics and one for the Philadelphia Phillies before being dealt to his final MLB destination, Boston, in 2002.
In Beantown, Giambi played below even his own subpar standard, racking up a measly .197 batting average with 15 RBI and five home runs in 156 plate appearances. His only claim to fame – other than his elder sibling – was his role in Michael Lewis’ book “Moneyball,” as one of Athletics GM Billy Beane’s replacement players with the A’s. The 2003 season was Giambi’s last action in the majors.
These days, he keeps a pretty low profile, which makes sense if he’s at all embarrassed about the revelation of his repeated past steroid use.
3 3. JAVY LOPEZ
It was only 18 games at the tail-end of his illustrious career, but it still counts. Catcher Javy Lopez closed out his 15-year career with the Red Sox in 2006, making 65 plate appearances and recording 12 hits and four RBI after being traded there from the Orioles midway through the season.
It was an unceremonious end to a prolific career most notably marked by his 12 years with the Atlanta Braves, during which he helped them win 12 of their record 14 consecutive division titles, as well as their 1995 World Series championship.
Now 46 years old, Lopez lives a simple life in the Atlanta suburbs with his second wife, Gina, and their two kids, Brody and Gavin. He can occasionally be seen around town, playing in charity golf tournaments and sometimes making an appearance at Braves games.
2 2. EDGAR RENTERIA
You probably know Edgar Renteria best as the shutdown shortstop for the World Series-winning Florida Marlins in 1997 or San Francisco Giants in 2010, or maybe even as the three-time All-Star during his St. Louis Cardinals years. But did you also realize he played a season with the Red Sox back in 2005?
After six relatively successful seasons with the Cardinals from 1999 to 2004, the two-time Gold Glove and three-time Silver Slugger Award winner signed a hefty four-year, $40 million contract with Boston prior to the 2005 season.
He batted .276 that year with 172 hits in 623 at-bats, but he also led the majors with 30 errors, prompting a trade to the Braves, thus ending his brief time in Boston.
He retired in 2011 and now lives with his family, splitting time between his native Colombia and Miami.
1 1. BARTOLO COLON
There’s no stopping Big Sexy! The Jaromir Jagr of baseball (or is Jagr the Bartolo Colon of hockey?), Colon is 43 years old, going on 44, and shows no signs of slowing down.
After 19 season in the Bigs, Colon has never really been hindered by his, erm, rotund physique. He’s pushing 300 pounds – and pretty much always has been – but the ageless wonder is a four-time All-Star with an AL Cy Young Award (2005) to his credit and is the oldest active player in MLB.
Over the course of his lengthy career, Colon has played for nine teams, including the Red Sox. It’s been nine years since he donned a Boston uniform, but sure enough, he made seven starts for the Sox in 2008, going 4-2 with a 3.92 ERA while giving up 44 hits. Unfortunately, he skipped out on his Sox responsibilities late that season when he went home to his native Dominican Republic and decided to stay, violating his contract and effectively ending his time in Boston.
After the past three seasons with the New York Mets, Colon late last year signed a one-year deal with the Atlanta Braves and has performed admirably in Spring Training thus far, as he embarks impressively on his 20th MLB season.
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