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Carlton Fisk - Left The Red Sox

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Meanwhile, the relationship between Fisk's agent, Jerry Kapstein, and the Red Sox's owners, Haywood Sullivan and John Harrington, grew contentious. Their troubles came to a head when the owners failed to meet a December deadline to renew Fisk's contract for the 1981 season. Fisk, at 33, was declared a free agent. Jumping at the chance to recruit the star player, the Chicago White Sox lured Fisk away from Boston with a five-year, $3 million contract. Red Sox fans mourned his departure, and Fisk, too, struggled with the decision. "It broke my heart to leave New England," Fisk told Rogers of the Chicago Tribune. "I grew up as a New England guy. All the kids I knew fantasized about wearing a Red Sox's uniform or a Celtics' uniform. To be able to do that, it was a dream come true."

Moving with his family to Lockport, Illinois, Fisk played some of his best baseball with the White Sox. His performance was particularly strong whenever he returned to Boston's Fenway Park. In his first game against Boston, he hit a three-run, eighth-inning home run to clinch the game for Chicago. Throughout his White Sox career, Fisk rattled his former team with a.310 batting average in 105 games against them, and with 27 home runs and 67 runs batted in (RBI).

Yet Fisk's relationship with the Chicago team's management was nearly as contentious as his relationship with the Red Sox's management. Relations were particularly strained between Fisk and White Sox owner Jerry Reinsdorf. Nevertheless, Fisk went on to play out 13 seasons with the White Sox. Many believed his longevity as a player was the result of his tireless weight training and stretching sessions. When a conditioning director, Steve Odgers, joined the White Sox staff in 1990, Odgers found that he had more to learn from Fisk than to teach him.

As a catcher, Fisk was known for his notoriously slow walks to the pitcher's mound, known jokingly as "Pudge Trudges." Rumor had it that games caught by Fisk ran about 20 minutes longer than an average American League game. Fisk remained proud of his catching capabilities, however, and resisted the White Sox's attempts to move him to the outfield later in his career.

After a poor start to the 1993 season, the 44-year-old player finally conceded that his age had caught up with him. He retired just after breaking Bob Boone's record for most games caught.

Career Statistics

Yr Team AVG GP AB R H HR RBI BB SO SB
BRS: Boston Red Sox; CWS: Chicago White Sox.
1969 BRS .000 2 5 0 0 0 0 0 2 0
1971 BRS .312 14 48 7 15 2 6 1 10 0
1972 BRS .293 131 457 74 134 22 61 52 83 5
1973 BRS .246 135 508 65 125 26 71 37 99 7
1974 BRS .299 52 187 36 56 11 26 24 23 5
1975 BRS .331 79 263 47 87 10 52 27 32 4
1976 BRS .255 134 487 76 124 17 58 56 71 12
1977 BRS .315 152 536 106 169 26 102 75 85 7
1978 BRS .284 157 571 94 162 20 88 71 83 7
1979 BRS .272 91 320 49 87 10 42 10 38 3
1980 BRS .289 131 478 73 138 18 62 36 62 11
1981 CWS .263 96 338 44 89 7 45 38 37 3
1982 CWS .267 135 476 66 127 14 65 46 60 17
1983 CWS .289 138 488 85 141 26 86 46 88 9
1984 CWS .231 102 359 54 83 21 43 26 60 6
1985 CWS .238 153 543 85 129 37 107 52 81 17
1986 CWS .221 125 457 42 101 14 63 22 92 2
1987 CWS .256 135 454 68 116 23 71 39 72 1
1988 CWS .277 76 253 37 70 19 50 37 40 0
1989 CWS .293 103 375 47 110 13 68 36 60 1
1990 CWS .285 137 452 65 129 18 61 61 73 7
1991 CWS .241 134 460 42 111 18 74 32 86 1
1992 CWS .229 62 188 12 43 3 21 23 38 3
1993 CWS .189 25 53 2 10 1 4 2 11 0

In January 2000, the Baseball Writers Association of America elected Fisk to the National Baseball Hall of Fame in Cooperstown, New York. Inducted that summer, Fisk chose to wear a Boston Red Sox cap on his Hall of Fame plaque—though he had played longer with the Chicago team. "New England is still where my roots are," he explained to Whiteside of the Boston Globe. "And I'm a New England person even though I don't live there." As the first New Hampshire player to be inducted, Fisk remains one of New England's finest athletes. He leaves behind a legacy as one of the greatest catchers in baseball history.

Carlton Fisk - Career Statistics [next] [back] Carlton Fisk - Fisk Extends The Series To Seven Games

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