Last Updated on June 13, 2023 by Matt Musico
Which players are among the Red Sox home run leaders at each position in a single season? We’ve got the answers (and as many videos as we can find) all in one spot. Outside of pitcher, players at each position had to qualify for the batting title. They also had to play at least 75% of their season at that specific area on the diamond.
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Single-Season Red Sox Home Run Leaders
Catcher: Carlton Fisk (1973, 1977): 26 Home Runs
Carlton Fisk‘s most famous moment as a member of the Red Sox came during the 1975 World Series. But he was pretty good throughout the rest of his career, too. So says his plaque in Cooperstown. The longevity is what’s most impressive of all, especially for a catcher. He debuted with Boston in 1969 as a 21-year-old, and last played in the big leagues as a 45-year-old in 1993.
His 1973 season was important because it was the first time he slugged 26 homers, but it was also accompanied by a .750 OPS. The next time he did it in 1977, it was a much more impressive overall performance. Fisk slashed .315/.402/.521 with those 26 homers, 102 RBI, and 106 runs scored in 632 plate appearances.
In victories during this campaign, Fisk slugged 20 of his homers and collected 86 of his RBI while posting a 1.013 OPS. When the Red Sox lost, his OPS dropped to .768 with six homers and 16 RBI.
Pitcher: Wes Ferrell, 1935: 7 Home Runs
Wes Ferrell is a name we’ve talked about a bunch already. He holds the MLB record for most homers by a pitcher in a single season and in a career. Ferrell finished second in MVP voting in 1935, and it was because of both what he did on the mound and in the batter’s box.
While toeing the slab, Ferrell led the league in wins (25), games started (38), complete games (31), and innings pitched (322.1), all with a 3.52 ERA. At the plate, he slashed .347/.427/.533 with those seven homers, five doubles, one triple, 32 RBI, and 25 runs scored in 179 plate appearances.
This happened in the midst of a four-year span (1933-36) where Ferrell never finished with fewer than four homers in a season. He slugged 23 of his 38 career homers during this period.
First Base: Jimmie Foxx, 1938: 50 Home Runs
Until David Ortiz broke his record in 2006, Jimmie Foxx held the single-season home run record for both the Red Sox and Oakland Athletics. He’s still on top of the A’s leaderboard and probably isn’t going anywhere for a while.
This 1938 performance resulted in Foxx’s third and final MVP Award. In addition to hitting 50 dingers, he led the league with 175 RBI and a .349/.462/.704 line. Two things always stand out to me when looking at this campaign from Foxx, though.
One was that the right-handed slugger absolutely loved hitting at Fenway Park. He hit 35 of his 50 homers in Boston during 1938. It was accompanied by a ridiculous .405/.512/.887 line. The other is the slow start he encountered. Foxx played in just 11 April games. Once the calendar flipped to May, he had just one homer to his name. He then posted a slugging percentage of at least .740 four times over the season’s final five months.
Second Base: Felix Mantilla, 1964: 30 Home Runs
Felix Mantilla‘s career at the plate is fascinating. Between 1956 and 1963, he averaged four homers per year while slashing .253/.310/.362. His highest homer output was 11, which he did for the 1962 New York Mets.
Then, he came out of nowhere with this 30-homer campaign and a .289/.357/.553 triple slash through 470 plate appearances. Mantilla played two more seasons after this memorable performance. He hit another 18 homers for the Red Sox in ’65, followed by six in ’66 for the Houston Astros.
This all happened because of a huge second half. Mantilla owned a .989 OPS at the All-Star break, but it included just nine homers through 134 plate appearances. He came back from the midsummer respite and slugged 21 dingers in 336 trips to the plate. July was his most powerful month — the second baseman slugged 10 homers.
So, his power production in that one month out-performed what he did in eight of his 11 big-league seasons.
Shortstop: Rico Petrocelli, 1969: 40 Home Runs
Rico Petrocelli spent his entire career with the Red Sox. He was pretty consistent in the power department, slugging double-digit homers for 10 straight years (1965-74). His peak was evident, though, and it started with this 40-homer performance in ’69. He followed that up with 29 and 28 homers in ’70 and ’71, respectively. If we do the math, 46% of his 210 career homers came during this three-year period.
Petrocelli didn’t enjoy a double-digit homer month in ’69. Outside of slugging just three in July, he hit no fewer than seven during every other month. Interestingly enough, he was at his best when batting with nobody out. The shortstop slugged 22 of his 40 homers in this situation, followed by nine with one out and nine with two outs.
Third Base: Rafael Devers, 2021: 38 Home Runs
Two years after setting a career-high mark for homers with 32 in 2019, Rafael Devers broke that mark in 2021 with 38 dingers. He also added 37 doubles, 113 RBI, 101 runs scored, and an .890 OPS in 664 plate appearances. This performance earned him his first Silver Slugger Award, his first All-Star Game selection, and an 11th-place finish in AL MVP voting.
His OPS at home (.895) and on the road (.886) was nearly identical, but 22 of his 38 dingers came as a visiting player. Devers was the picture of consistency when looking at his monthly power numbers. There were no double-digit homer outbursts, but no dips in production. He never hit fewer than five or more than eight dingers in one month.
That consistency stayed true throughout the course of games, too. Devers hit 13 dingers from innings 1-3, another 12 from innings 4-6, and 13 from innings 7-9.
Single-Season Red Sox Home Run Leaders
Left Field: Jim Rice, 1978: 46 Home Runs
The 1978 season was a banner one for Jim Rice in many ways. It was the only time he took home the AL MVP Award, and it was the second straight year he led the league in home runs. Rice was also at the top of the leaderboard in hits (213), triples (15), RBI (139), slugging percentage (.600), and OPS (.970). This was right in the middle of a three-year stretch where he hit at least 39 homers per season. Rice actually averaged 41 homers and 128 RBI with a .972 OPS during this period.
The outfielder hit the majority of his homers at home (28) compared to on the road (18). However, he slugged exactly 23 dingers in both the first and second half. And, as you can imagine with being the MVP, the Red Sox won when Rice was clobbering the baseball.
In Boston victories, Rice collected 35 homers and 98 RBI with a .352/.410/.691 line. That’s in stark contrast to the 11 homers, 41 RBI, and .253/.305/.451 line he posted in losses.
Center Field: Tony Armas, 1984: 43 Home Runs
Tony Armas won the only Silver Slugger Award of his career with the Red Sox in 1984. His 43 homers and 123 RBI led the league, as did his 156 strikeouts. This was off the heels of slugging 36 homers with 107 RBI during his first year in Beantown. It was the only time he reached the 30-100 mark in consecutive years as a big leaguer.
Armas had just 10 homers on June 1st, but that’s when he went to work. He hit nine in June, another nine in July, and finished strong with 15 over the final two months (seven in August, eight in September/October).
Similar to Armas’ start to the year, most of his homers came in the latter portion of games. He hit 10 dingers in the first three innings, meaning 33 came from the fourth inning on (16 from innings 4-6, 15 from innings 7-9, two in extras).
Right Field: Tony Conigliaro, 1970: 36 Home Runs
The 36 homers, 116 RBI, and 89 runs scored by Tony Conigliaro in 1970 all ended up being single-season career-high marks. He split his homer production right down the middle for home and road games (18 each), and nearly did the same for his first-half (17) and second-half (19) performances.
Conigliaro’s production was quite consistent regardless of how many outs were on the board. With no outs, he owned an .838 OPS with 12 homers and 39 RBI. Those numbers settled in at .818, nine, and 41, respectively, with one out. And with two outs, he posted an .811 OPS with 15 homers and 36 RBI.
He especially pummeled Washington Senators pitching during this campaign. In 18 games played, Conigliaro slugged eight homers with 22 RBI and a .359/.432/.797 line. He hit five against Cleveland, but didn’t hit more than four against any other team.
Designated Hitter: David Ortiz, 2006: 54 Home Runs
David Ortiz is not just the single-season Red Sox home run leader for designated hitters. He’s also the MLB’s record holder for designated hitters and franchise single-season record holder. Big Papi hit 24 of his 54 taters between July and August. July was the best of the bunch — he slugged 14 dingers with a .339/.429/.798 triple slash.
Ortiz’s biggest homer numbers came against the Tampa Bay Rays (eight) and the Toronto Blue Jays (seven). He also hit nine homers during 18 inter-league games. Either way, it didn’t matter if Papi was facing a winning team or a losing team — he crushed just the same.
Against teams with a winning record, Ortiz posted a 1.050 OPS with 26 homers, 73 RBI, and 57 runs scored. When facing with a .500 or below winning percentage, those numbers are eerily similar at 1.048, 28, 64, and 58, respectively.