Still waiting on… Any player/Any error: Don Buddin.
Era he might have thrived in: After 1918 and before 2004, baseball life was one long series of crushing blows for Boston and its fans, purgatory punctuated periodically by close calls. This week’s column looks at if Reese could have made a difference in some of the closest of calls: 1946, 1967, 1975, and 1986. Try and name an elite shortstop from those teams. With a guy like Reese around to provide an upgrade, it seems unlikely the Red Sox would have gone 86 years without a world championship.
Why: Johnny Pesky, Rico Petrocelli, Rick Burleson, and some combination of Rey Quinones, Spike Owen, and Ed Romero. These are the men Reese would have unseated taking over short any of the years mentioned above. Of these players, Petrocelli might have been the only one not worth having Reese stand in for, seeing as Petrocelli was good enough in 1969 to hit 40 home runs and lead all shortstops in fielding percentage. Everyone else here is replaceable.
...Would Reese have the same legacy as a man who helped welcome Jackie Robinson to Brooklyn, refusing to join his fellow Southern teammates in signing a petition protesting Robinson’s presence? Maybe not. But perhaps Reese could have brought this same spirit of tolerance to Boston and helped an organization that would ultimately wait until 1959 to field a black player, the last big league team to integrate.