So today’s a date in Red Sox history that for as important as it was, I bet there are few fans (including myself) who could’ve picked this date out of a lineup.
2002: Dan Duquette is fired as Red Sox GM.
We all know he wouldn’t give Roger Clemens enough money to come back and had issues with pretty much every manager that came into town in his decade (or so) of running the Sox.
Before we all stand up and applaud, let’s give the man some credit. If you look at his record, he actually did a pretty good job for the Sox.
Who were three of Dan Duquette’s first free agent signings for the Sox following the strike in 1994? Hint, none of them ever played for the Sox.
In 1995, he pulled the trigger to bring Rick Aguilera to Boston. Even if it was for just a half season, Ags recorded 20 saves and all it cost the Sox was a minor leaguer, J.J. Johnson, and Frank Rodriguez, who went a combined 29-39 for his career with an ERA of 5.53.
1996: Parted ways with Ken Ryan, Lee Tinsley and Glenn Murray to get Heathcliff Slocumb and two other guys I never heard of. At the offset the trade didn’t look that great, but we know what happened next. (Of course at the time, I looked at this trade and was outraged that he gave up Ken Ryan. I thought he was gonna be awesome.)
1997: Slocumb becomes a Mariner. And Red Sox history is changed forever by the additions of Derek Lowe and Jason Varitek.
Following the 1997 season, another champion piece comes to Boston, as Duquette reels in NL Cy Young winner Pedro Martinez for Carl Pavano and Tony Armas, Jr.
Then in 1999, Duquette brought Carl Everett to Boston, shipping off Adam Everett and minor leaguer Greg Miller. While Carl Everett would end up showing us he’s a head-case, it was fun to watch other teams complain about how close he was to the plate when he stood in the box.
Then there were Duquette’s big signings: Tim Wakefield, Manny Ramirez, Johnny Damon and Dennis Eckersly have to be at the top of that list.
Really, if you look back at what Duquette managed to do, it’s rather amazing how many of the 2004 pieces came into place because of the Duke.
So on this day, March 1, 2009, let’s reflect & thank the Duke for his role (including being fired) in helping the Sox win two World Series in four years. Good day Duke wherever you are (last I knew he was GM in the Israel Baseball League, no joke!)
New Rules for free agency went into place (and were subsequently removed) during the strike of 1994 meaning the Red Sox signing of Sammy Sosa, John Wetteland and Kevin Appier were voided.
Photo courtesy Sonsofsamhorn.com