Tuesday, February 27, 2007

100 Greatest Red Sox >> #57 Billy Goodman

Billy Goodman, UT, #10 (1947-1957)

1177 G, 1344 H, 14 HR, 464 RBI, .306 AVG, .381 OBP, .387 SLG

Long before Ryan Freel and Chone Figgins made being a utility player cool, there was Billy Goodman, a man of many positions for the Sox during the post-war era. Here’s a quick trivia question for you. Who was the last player to lead the league in batting average while playing at least 20 games at 3 different positions? Yup, Billy Goodman did it when hit .354 in 1950 while playing 45 games in the outfield, 27 games at third, and 21 games at first (as well as 5 games at second and 1 at short). Goodman played in Boston for 9 full years, played five different positions, and he played them all well. As a member of the Red Sox he played 578 games at second, 393 at first, 102 in the outfield (left and right field), 50 at third, and 1 at short.

Goodman broke into the league in 1948 as the team’s regular firstbaseman and was part of a powerful Red Sox line up that scored 907 runs and finished in second place. Goodman hit .310 with a .414 OBP as a rookie although he hit just 1 HR. It was the first of many typical seasons for the utility player. He would hit .293 or better in his first 11 years in the majors (9 of them in Boston). He had absolutely no power (19 HR in 5644 major league AB’s and his career SLG of .378 was just .002 points better than his career OBP of .376), but was always able to work the count and managed to walk more than twice as many times as he struck out.

His tenure with the Red Sox ended in 1957. The team had a regular player at every position and with no place to use Goodman he had managed just 16 AB’s by June 14th when they traded him to Baltimore as part of a 7 player deal. He played in the majors for 5 more years until the age of 36.

The year of Goodman’s batting title, 1950, was also his best season as he set career highs in HR (4), RBI (68), AVG (.354), OBP (. 427), and SLG (.455). He scored 100 runs just once and his career high in steals was 8. He hit .306 as a member of the Red Sox, 11th all-time, and his .381 OBP is good enough for 14th all-time.

Goodman died from cancer at the age of 58 in Sarasota, FL in 1984.

1 comment:

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