Left The Red Sox
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.
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
- Carlton Fisk - Fisk Extends The Series To Seven Games
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