Not everybody can play for the Boston Red Sox. In most cases, just top-tier players get the honor of calling the Green Monster home, and that's for a very good reason. Even more, it's not easy - at all - to be among the Red Sox retired numbers.
As a matter of fact, the Red Sox used to have three minimum requirements to be eligible for having your number retired. You had to be inducted into the Hall of Fame, spend at least 10 years with the franchise, and retire as a member of the BoSox.
And, while those requirements aren't mandatory anymore, there have only been 11 players (12 with Jackie Robinson) that have made it to the 'Red Sox retired numbers' list. That's a pretty exclusive club.
So, without any further introduction, let's honor those 11 legends of Fenway Park, sharing all there is to know about every retired number in Boston Red Sox history. Note: we won't talk about Jackie Robinson, whose number was retired league wide.
Ted Williams - #9
Ted Williams was one of the first two players to have their number retired by the Boston Red Sox. It happened on May 29, 1984, 24 years after his retirement. Like many other legends of their era, Williams' baseball career was interrupted to serve in World War II and the Korean War.
But when he was on the field, Williams was one of the most talented left fielders in the game. He was a 19-time All-Star, 2-time AL MVP, 2-time Triple Crown winner, 6-time AL batting champion, 4-time AL Home Run and RBI leader, and holds the MLB record for the highest OBP ever at .482. Add a .344 batting average to that resume and you'll know why they retired his number.
Joe Cronin - #4
Joe Cronin started his career with the Pittsburgh Pirates, later joining the Washington Senators, where his career took a bit of a turn. He became a player-manager for the team, and he was so successful that the Red Sox couldn't help to make him his top priority, signing him for the final 10 years of his career.
Cronin was an outstanding defender at the shortstop position and had an exceptional ability to read the game as well. He was a 5-time All-Star at Boston and the team retired his number on May 29, 1984 , along with Ted Williams'.
Bobby Doerr - #1
Bobby Doerr was yet another legendary player who put his career on stand by to serve in World War II. In fact, he was the oldest player to ever make his MLB debut right before the nation's involvement in the conflict.
Doerr spent his entire career with the Red Sox, making 9 All-Star Game appearances. He had a batting average of .288 and had 2,042 career hits. He later worked with the team as a scout and a coach. On a side note, he was the only surviving player to play in the 1930s before his passing in 2017 at 99 years old.
Carl Yastrzemski - #8
Carl Yastrzemski is one of the greatest players of all time. Notably, he's got a lot to thank Bobby Doerr for his game, as he worked with him prior to his Triple Crown season. His countless accolades made the Red Sox retire his number on August 6, 1989.
Yastrzemski was the best player in the field every night out there, whether it was on the left field or as a first baseman. He was an 18-time All-Star, Triple Crown winner, 7-time Gold Glove winner, AL MVP, AL Home Run leader, and AL batting champion. He spent his entire career with the Red Sox.
Carlton Fisk - #27
Carlton Fisk was the first player to have his number retired by the Red Sox in the 21st century. They did it on September 4, 2000, 7 years after his retirement. He was also the first player to have his number retired despite not ending his career with the franchise.
Fisk had a strong case at being the greatest catcher ever at the time of his retirement. He even held the record for most home runs for his position (351). During his time with the BoSox, he was a 7-time All-Star, AL Rookie of the Year, and won 1 Gold Glove. The Chicago White Sox also retired his number.
Johhny Pesky - #6
Johnny Pesky was, well, pesky as they come. He rarely struck out and was a versatile player in every aspect of the game, serving as a shortstop and third baseman for most of his career. He was tied to the Red Sox organization for 61 years.
With that kind of commitment, it wasn't a surprise to see the Red Sox retire his number on September 23, 2008. Pesky spent the first years of his career with the Red Sox and later served as the team's manager, coach, color commentator, instructor, consultant, and number one fan.
Jim Rice - #14
Younger fans may not remember him but back in the day, Jim Rice was one of the most terrifying sluggers in the world. He spent his entire 15-year career with the Red Sox, and that's why they finally - and deservingly - retired his number on July 28, 2009.
On top of his .298 batting average and his 2,452 career hits; rice was an 8-time All-Star, AL MVP, 2-time Silver Slugger, 3-time AL Home Run leader, and 2-time AL RBI leader. He was a scoring machine, serving as an outfielder and designated hitter.
Pedro Martínez - #45
Pedro Martínez is one of the toughest, most dominant pitchers of all time. His 7-season tenure with the Boston Red Sox was so memorable, that it was more than enough for the team to retire his number on July 28, 2015. He was the second Dominican player to be inducted into the Hall of Fame.
During his time at Fenway Park, Martínez won 2 of his 3 CY Young awards, he won the Triple Crown, led MLB in wins, led MLB in ERA 4 times, and was a 3-time AL strikeout leader. He was also a 4-time All-Star and played a huge role in the team's World Series title in 2004.
Wade Boggs - #26
Wade Boggs was a controversial figure to some diehard Red Sox fans, as he had committed the ultimate sin of joining the New York Yankees after his 10-year stint at Fenway. Even so, production-wise, there was no doubt that he deserved to have his number retired. It finally happened on May 26, 2016.
Boggs was a perennial All-Star and MVP candidate, as well as one of the greatest third-baseman ever. Even so, he didn't get to win the World Series until he joined the Evil Empire, the Red Sox' biggest rivals.
David Ortiz - #34
David Ortiz is the latest Red Sox legend to have his number retired. It happened on June 23, 2017, following his glorious 14-season tenure with Boston. He'll be remembered as one of the greatest sluggers of all time thanks to his power and ability to make contact, as well as his timely hitting
'Big Papi' served as the Red Sox's designated hitter and first baseman. He led the team to 3 World Series titles, was a 10-time All-Star, ALCS MVP, World Series MVP, 7-time Silver Slugger, led the AL in RBI in 3 times, and once in home runs. He holds the franchise record for most home runs in one season (56), among many others.