Only Seven Players From the 2004 World Series Champions Remain
Last season, the Sox introduced an entirely new infield and a new center fielder. And this year, the changes keep on coming. If you'd left the country for a few years, and hadn't seen the Red Sox, you'd hardly recognize this current team.
One constancy; Jason Varitek will start at catcher for the Red Sox for the eighth straight Opening Day -- the longest streak in team history. In fact, no other catcher has even been behind the dish for seven openers, period, never mind eight consecutively.
Remarkably, Dustin Pedrioa will become Boston’s 13th different Opening Day second baseman in the last 14 years.
How many of them can you name? Give it a try before looking at this list:
2006: Mark Loretta
2005: Mark Bellhorn
2004: Mark Bellhorn
2003: Todd Walker
2002: Rey Sanchez
2001: Chris Stynes
2000: Jose Offerman
1999: Jeff Frye
1998: Donnie Sadler
1997: John Valentin
1996: Wil Cordero
1995: Luis Alicea
1994: Scott Fletcher
The Red Sox have changed quite considerably in the past couple of seasons. Some fan favorites are now gone, and few of the heroes from 2004 are returning this year.
Varitek, Manny Ramirez and David Ortiz are the sole returnees from the Red Sox’ Opening Day lineup in 2005. And aside from those three, only four other players still remain from the 2004 World Series Champion team; Curt Schilling, Tim Wakefield, Mike Timlin, and Doug Mirabelli. That's just seven players on a 25-man roster. Time changes everything, but those changes came rather quickly.
For the second year in a row, the Sox will have a new shortstop (Julio Lugo) and a new second baseman (Pedroia), and for the first time since 1999 they'll have a new right fielder (JD Drew). The bullpen has been entirely overhauled -- though there is still an absence of a bona fide closer -- and two-fifths of the starting rotation will be new this year as well (Jonathan Papelbon and Daisuke Matsuzaka).
In all, the team that takes the field this April to start the 2007 season will look very different than the ones we'd become familiar with over the course of the last three seasons. With the Sox, it seems that constant change is here to stay.
Copyright © 2007 Sean M. Kennedy. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed without the author's consent.