Thursday, March 8, 2007

100 Greatest Red Sox >> #40 George Scott

George “The Boomer” Scott, 1B, #5, 15 (1966-1971, 1977-1979)

1192 G, 1088 H, 154 HR, 562 RBI, .257 Avg, .324 OBP, .421 SLG, All-Star (1966, 1977)


Born George Charles Scott, March 23rd, 1944, the “Boomer”, as he became known, signed as an amateur free agent with the Red Sox in 1962. Growing up on a farm in Greenville, MS, Scott played three sports, baseball, football, and basketball. Scott claims to have been recruited by John Wooden at UCLA, but signed with the Red Sox in lieu of a basketball career. His minor league playing days were spent most productively in Pittsfield of the Eastern League, where the Red Sox had their AA team. In 1965 he became the third Triple Crown winner in the history of the Eastern League while leading his team to that year’s pennant.

In 1966 he was promoted to the big league ball club, where he played in every single one of the Sox’ games and led the league in strikeouts, with 152. He was the starting first baseman for the AL All-Star team, just the second rookie to cop that honor. The right-handed Boomer quickly became one of the most popular fixtures in the city along with one of the slickest fielding first-sackers of all time, relying on his favorite glove, which he named “Black Beauty”.

An integral part of the “Impossible Dream” squad of 1967, Scott was renowned for his defensive wizardry, his physical presence, his buoyant personality and free spirit, and, later in his career, his Fu Manchu (this came during his stay in Milwaukee; facial hair was banned by Sox’ manager Dick Williams in the late ‘60s). Williams, in fact, said that “talking to Scott was like talking to cement”, such was the mercurial nature of his personality. The Boomer also popularized the term “tater”, referring to tape-measure home runs, while with the Sox. Scott won Gold Gloves in 1967 and 1968 and finished 10th in the MVP balloting in ‘67, but his power output dropped sunk in 1968 (from 19hr/82rbi/.839ops in ’67 to 3/25/.437 in ’68) and he never matched the production of his first two seasons with the Sox; this hastened Scott’s initial departure from the Sox.

In December of 1971, after another injury-filled season in 1970 (in which Scott missed 36 games) and a 1971 season in which he played 146 games but saw little rebound in his power numbers (he did win his third Gold Glove in five years), Scott was shipped to the Milwaukee Brewers in a massive eleven player deal, the focal point for the Sox being Tommy Harper. Harper, a speedy outfielder and accomplished base-stealer, came to Boston (along with several others) in return for the Boomer, Billy Conigliaro, Ken Brett, Joe Lahoud, Don Pavletitch, and Jim Lonborg. During his time in Milwaukee Scott returned to form with thunder (even stealing a career-high 16 bases in 1972!), winning Gold Gloves in five consecutive years and putting up career power numbers. In 1973 and 1975 he led the AL in total bases, and in 1975 he hit .285 with AL-leading totals of 36 home runs and 109 rbis, finishing 8th in the MVP vote.

In the ’76-’77 offseason, Scott was traded back to the Red Sox at the behest of Don Zimmer (along with 1975 World Series hero Bernie Carbo), in exchange for first baseman Cecil Cooper. This 1977 season would be his last fully productive year in professional baseball, and the Boomer knocked 33 homers and drove in 96 runs. In 1978 he hit a mere .233, and in 1979 he split time with the Sox, the Royals, and eventually the Yankees, before retiring from the game. Scott’s career total of 8 Gold Gloves is currently second only to Don Mattingly’s nine.

Following his retirement from baseball, Scott managed in the Mexican League. In the mid 90s, he also skippered the Massachusetts Mad Dogs, where he was named Manager of the Year in 1996. And in October 2006, forty years after debuting for Boston, Scott was inducted into the Red Sox Hall of Fame.

The Boomer currently resides in New Bedford, Massachusetts.

Sources:

“Red Sox Heroes of Yesteryear”, by Herbert Crehan
www.thebaseballpage.com
www.baseball-reference.com
Dick Bresciani, Vice President of the Boston Red Sox
Wikipedia

This 100 Greatest Red Sox biography was written by Andy B from Yanksfan vs. Soxfan.

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