Who was the better Red Sox catcher, Carlton Fisk or Jason Varitek?
Former Red Sox captain Jason Varitek. –file/jared wickerham/getty images
Welcome to Boston.com’s Sports Q, our daily conversation, initiated by you and moderated by Chad Finn, about a compelling topic in Boston sports. Here’s how it works: You submit questions to Chad through Twitter, Facebook, email, his Friday chat, and any other outlet you prefer. He’ll pick one each day (except for Saturday) to answer, then we’ll take the discussion to the comments. Chad will stop by several times per day to navigate. But you drive the conversation.
And our inadvertent Red Sox Fan Litmus Test Week continues here at the Sports Q. Today’s question – who was the better Red Sox catcher, Carlton Fisk or Jason Varitek? — does not come from a reader, but instead seems a natural progression from our two previous topics this week, which were:
Who was the better Red Sox player, Trot Nixon or J.D. Drew?
(It was Drew. It’s always Drew.)
And: Who was the better No. 24, Dwight Evans or Manny Ramirez?
(I don’t think there is a wrong answer here, unless you say Shane Mack.)
The tale of the tape on Pudge vs. Tek:
Carlton Fisk: Pudge … Spent first 11 of his 24 seasons with the Red Sox … Actually spent more seasons with White Sox (13), which just isn’t right … Slashed .284/.356/.481 with Boston with 162 home runs and a 126 adjusted OPS … Inducted into the Baseball Hall of Fame in 2000 … Waved it fair in Game 6 in ’75 .. Enjoyed brawling with Yankees, especially Lou Piniella … AL Rookie of the Year in ’72 and won lone Gold Glove the same year … Finished in top-10 in MVP balloting three times with Red Sox, including awesome ‘77 season when he hit .315 with 26 homers and 102 RBIs … Top career statistical comp is Johnny Bench … Quintessential stoic, tough-as-gristle New England-raised catcher who grew up in Charlestown, N.H.
Jason Varitek: Tek … Spent entire 15-year major-league career with the Red Sox … Drafted in first round by both Twins and Mariners … Acquired from Mariners on July 31, 1997 along with pitcher Derek Lowe for flammable reliever Heathcliff Slocumb in one of the great trade heists in Red Sox history … Slashed .256/.341/.435 with 193 home runs and a 99 adjusted OPS … Backstopped two championship teams and caught four no-hitters … Inducted into the Red Sox Hall of Fame in 2016 … Made A-Rod eat the mitt … Top career statistical comp is Ramon Hernandez … Quintessential stoic, tough-as-gristle New England-raised catcher, which is weird since he was born in Michigan and grew up in Florida.
My choice? Fisk, easy. But I’m a child of the ‘70s and he was my mom’s favorite player, so I’ve got my biases. What are yours? Let me know in the comments.