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  • Writer's pictureJoe Pace

New England Sports 366, #18: Dwight Evans

Dewey belongs in the Hall of Fame. This is the way.

I could go all sabermetrics here and bury you with numbers. Talk about how Evans was the best corner outfielder of the last sixty years. How his offensive productivity compares favorably to Winfield, Kaline, even Clemente (and leaves Baines in the dust). How he hit more home runs and more extra-base hits than anyone in the majors from 1980-89. How his average season between age 30 and 37 was .280/.385/.496 with 27 HR, 100 runs, 96 RBI, and 96 walks. How he had a .977 combined OPS in the 1975 and 1986 World Series.

But I won't bury you in numbers. You know the truth as much as I do. That he suffers from playing alongside Yaz and Fisk and Boggs, that he suffers from the losses in '75 and '78 and '86. That he was the least celebrated of the amazing young outfield of the 1970s, even as he had a better career than Lynn and a longer period of extended excellence than Rice. That he toiled in the era before rampant steroid use produced Nintendo offensive numbers that make his 385 home runs seem mediocre. That he was only an All-Star three times back when OPS and defense weren't as valued as today.

Evans belongs in the Hall, and his number belongs on the Fenway facade. Growing up, I wanted to be a second baseman because of Marty Barrett but I wanted to wear 24 because of Dewey. I wanted to tap my toe like him in the batter's box, I wanted to flash his easy smile and someday grow the uber-80s Tom Selleck soup-strainer mustache (I never did either).

Dewey patrolled right field in Boston for 19 seasons, with his cannon arm and his perfect positioning. His career spanned from the Aparicio-TIant-Petrocelli Sox of 1972 to the Burks-Plantier-Naehring Sox of 1990, from before I was born to when I was fifteen. Only Yaz played more games for the Rose Hose. At nearly 70, the man looks like he could still hit .240 and win a Gold Glove in right.

Dwight Evans belongs in Cooperstown. I have spoken.

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