Down through the years, I've always fixated on the Red Sox players who—while not superstars—were high quality contributors to the team's success. Players like Bill Mueller, Kevin Millar, Trot Nixon, John Valentin, and Tim Naehring. And another guy who somehow flew under The Nation's radar was Carney Lansford—who celebrates his 55th birthday today.
Lansford patrolled the hot corner for the Red Sox for only two seasons (1981, 1982), but while he was here he won a batting title (.336 in 1981), and was the consummate team player. He didn't have a lot of power (only 15 HRs in two years here), but he had a knack for getting the big hit in key situations. He was involved in two pretty big deals for the Red Sox—coming here from the Angels (along with Mark Clear and Rick Miller) for Rick Burleson and Butch Hobson. He departed in a deal that sent him to the Oakland A's in exchange for Tony Armas. He spent ten solid years with Oakland, where he won a ring in 1989. He is now hitting coach for the Colorado Rockies.
Back in the eighties when I was still playing softball, I wore the number four in honor of Lansford's two solid years at Fenway. He was the last to wear it before it was retired for Joe Cronin. Here's wishing him a Happy 55th!