Former Red Sox players Jason Varitek, Tim Wakefield, and the late Ira Flagstead have been selected as the 2016 Red Sox Hall of Fame inductees. Red Sox President/CEO Emeritus Larry Lucchino has been chosen as the non-uniformed inductee. David Ortiz’s 2013 game-tying grand slam in Game 2 of the American League Championship Series against the Detroit Tigers at Fenway Park has been selected as the “Great Red Sox Moment,” a memorable moment in Red Sox history that is regarded for its special significance.
The players were chosen by a 14-person panel, which includes club executives, print and broadcast media members, booster club representatives, and historians. Red Sox Hall of Fame inductions take place every other year.
Varitek, a three-time All-Star, was a Gold Glove and Silver Slugger-winning catcher for the Red Sox, leading the team to World Series Championships in 2004 and 2007. Red Sox captain for his final seven seasons (2005-11), he caught a club-record 1,488 games over 15 years from 1997-2011, and was behind the plate for the team’s last four no-hitters. The only catcher to hit at least 10 home runs every year from 2002-09, Varitek set career highs with 25 homers and 85 RBI in 2003, his first of three All-Star campaigns. A career .256 batter, he leads all Red Sox switch-hitters and ranks among all-time club leaders in games played (10th, 1,546), doubles (10th, 306), extra-base hits (9th, 513), RBI (10th, 757), home runs (11th, 193), at-bats (12th, 5,099), and walks (13th, 614). He returned to the organization as Special Assistant to the General Manager in September 2012.
Wakefield spent 17 seasons with the Red Sox (1995-2011), four more than any other pitcher in club history, and ended his career as the franchise’s all-time leader in starts (430) and innings pitched (3,006.0), second in appearances (590) and strikeouts (2,046), and third in wins (186). The only pitcher ever to make at least 200 starts and 150 relief appearances for the Red Sox, the knuckleballer was a member of World Series Championship teams in 2004 and 2007, pitching in a club-record eight different postseasons overall. An American League All-Star in 2009, Wakefield won a career-high 17 games in both 1998 and 2007. With his final victory on September 13, 2011, he reached 200 career wins. He returned to the team as Honorary Chairman of the Red Sox Foundation and Special Assignment Instructor in 2013.
Flagstead played parts of seven seasons with the Red Sox from 1923-29. An outstanding outfielder, he was known for his impressive defensive abilities, most notably on Patriots Day in 1926 when he started three double plays from center field, his primary position while with Boston. Flagstead led all outfielders with 115 assists during his time with the Red Sox, including a major league-high 33 in 1923 and an AL-best 24 in 1925 (tied). A right-handed batter, he hit .295 with a .374 on-base percentage in 789 career games with Boston, batting .312 in 1923 and .307 in 1924. He received AL Most Valuable Player votes in all five of his full seasons with the Red Sox from 1924-28 and in various seasons topped the team in runs scored (four times), doubles (twice), hits, RBI, and stolen bases. The 13-year major leaguer passed away due to illness in 1939 at the age of 46.
Lucchino was President/CEO during an historic 14-year stretch when the Red Sox won three World Championships, saved Fenway Park, and set the MLB record for consecutive sellouts (820). Under his leadership, the club played postseason baseball seven times, established the award-winning Red Sox Foundation, and created innovations in fan services and hospitality. He took to new heights the rivalry with the New York Yankees (whom he dubbed “the Evil Empire”), and helped end the 86-year wait for a World Championship in 2004. With Principal Owner John Henry and Chairman Tom Werner, Lucchino oversaw the 10 years of dramatic improvements that preserved, protected, and enhanced Fenway Park. The Pittsburgh native who was twice saved by the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute also further elevated the club’s commitment to the Jimmy Fund and myriad New England philanthropies.
In addition to the players and non-uniformed inductees, a ‘Great Red Sox Moment’ is also chosen by the panel. This year’s selection is David Ortiz’s game-tying grand slam in Game Two of the 2013 American League Division Series against the Detroit Tigers at Fenway Park. With two out in the eighth inning and the Red Sox trailing 5-1, Ortiz knotted the score with a clutch grand slam into the Red Sox bullpen, narrowly clearing the glove of tumbling Tigers right fielder Torii Hunter. Without Ortiz’s heroics, which positioned the Red Sox for a ninth-inning victory, they would have fallen behind in the series, two-games-to-none. Instead, Boston evened the ALCS at one game apiece, defeated the Tigers in six games, and went on to beat the St. Louis Cardinals in the World Series.
The newest members of the Red Sox Hall of Fame will be inducted on May 19 as part of an awards gala hosted by the Red Sox Foundation at the Sheraton Boston Hotel. The group will also be celebrated at Fenway Park during a pregame ceremony before the Red Sox-Indians game on May 20.
As part of the gala on May 19, the foundation will recognize members of the community by awarding the first-ever “Fenway Honors,” an award given to a business and an individual to recognize their charitable achievements in the community.
The gala is open to the public and benefits the Red Sox Foundation. Events details are available at redsoxfoundation.org/thefenwayhonors. Sponsorship inquiries can be directed to email@example.com or by calling 617-226-6440.