“Please come to Boston for the spring time.
I’m stayin’ here with some friends
And they’ve got lots of room.”
Apparently, Dave Loggins’ message works, especially for former members of the Cleveland Indians. Many Tribe members have left for Boston in the spring and seen great success in Beantown. The inspiration for this article comes from the Red Sox’s newest addition, Grady Sizemore. Thinking about it, my hometown Indians have seen quite a few players leave for Boston in the last decade and a half.
The first came back in 2000, when Manny Ramirez packed up to go to Boston after being offered a $119 million dollar contract, which would’ve made him the highest paid player at the time. Manny being Manny, though, pursued an even higher contract, and was offered $160 million over 8 years to play in Boston. Manny was good in Cleveland, but he was arguably one of the greats in Boston. He played 8 seasons in both Cleveland and Boston, but won 2 World Series with the Sox and 0 with the Indians. Manny was an All-Star every single year, from 2001 to 2008, while he was a member of the Red Sox. He was the AL batting champ in ’02 and the AL homerun champ in’04 when Boston won its first World Series since 1918, where he was also named World Series MVP. Ramirez was surrounded by superstars in Cleveland, but he became a legend in Boston with Big Papi and the rest of the 2004 comeback Red Sox.
The next was in 2009 when Victor Martinez left in a trade for SP Justin Masterson and continued to be a presence behind the plate in Boston. Martinez was on pace for his best season yet in 2010, batting .302 with 20 HRs and 79 RBI before breaking his thumb. He was unable to finish the season, only playing in 127 of the 162 games that year. He was on pace for 26 HRs, 101 RBI and 82 runs, which would’ve been arguably his career best season. He also hit .336 with 41 RBI and 8 HR in just 56 games with the Sox in the 2009, which is significantly better than any other stretch of games he had in the rest of his career. He was an All-Star in his one-year stint with the Sox, and a 3 time All-Star in Cleveland. Martinez saw success in Cleveland and Boston, but the Indians saw reason to get rid of one of the best hitting catchers of the 2000s. Despite his injuries, Martinez should be considered one of the best overall players of the past decade, especially for the Indians and the Red Sox.
This next one may be a slight stretch, but the Boston Red Sox Manager, John Farrell, made his major league debut in 1987 with the Cleveland Indians. Then, from November 2001 through the end of the 2006 season, Farrell was the director of player development for the Cleveland Indians. After that, he became a pitching coach for Terry Francona and the Red Sox. He then became manager of the Blue Jays before returning to the Sox in 2013. In just one year, Farrell turned the Red Sox around from the worst in the league to the World Series champions. This former Indian saw success in Boston when he placed second in voting for the 2013 AL Manager of the Year (behind Cleveland’s Terry Francona), finishing the year with 97 wins. The upcoming year should be interesting for Farrell, and we’ll see if he continues his success in 2014.
Now, if Grady Sizemore follows the curve of these other players, he’s in for one of his best years yet. Sizemore hadn’t played since 2011, and was a disappointment for his last three years in Cleveland. Sizemore won the job for center field back right before the season started, and did not disappoint in his first game back. He went 2-4 with a homerun, his first since July 15th, 2011. Since then, Sizemore has been named the leadoff batter for the Sox, where he is currently batting .300 over 4 games. Watching Opening Day, Sizemore still looked like his old self, hitting and running the bases well. Usually, it’s difficult for guys like Sizemore to make a comeback after nearly 3 years off, but Grady has the potential to have a huge year in Boston. If he follows in the footsteps of the other former Indians that followed the path to Titletown, he should have a career year this season. ESPN only projected Sizemore to have 6 HRs, 28 RBI and 28 runs, but he’ll have to cool down significantly to have that bad of a year. Grady’s Ladies have moved to Boston, and Sizemore’s friends have made plenty of room for him in Fenway. I’m no expert, but from Sizemore’s start to the year, it’s shaping up to be one of his best. Keep an eye on Sizemore and watch for a big year from him in Boston.