Carlton Fisk was drafted by the Boston Red Sox in 1967. He was the fourth pick overall.
In 1969 "Pudge" played in two games for the Red Sox. In 1972, he played in just 14 games.
Then came 1972. Carlton batted .293 with 22 home runs. He also tied Joe Rudi for the league lead in triples with nine. He is still the last catcher to lead his league in triples. By the end of the season, Fisk became the first player in MLB history to win the Rookie Of The Year Award unanimously. He also won a Gold Glove in 1972.
Pudge's career almost ended in 1974. Leron Lee of the Cleveland Indians collided with Fisk at home plate, tearing several knee ligaments. The doctors told Carlton he would never play again. But he was back in 1975 and hit .331.
The Boston Red Sox were in the World Series in 1975 against the Cincinnati Reds. Many baseball people think this was one of the best World Series ever.
Of course it was in the 12th inning of game 6 at Fenway Park that Pudge gave us one of the greatest moments in World Series history. The score was tied as Fisk led off against the Reds Pat Darcy. He hit Darcy's second pitch down the left field line. As it appeared to be curving foul, Fisk began to "wave it fair". The ball hit the foul pole and the Red Sox won 7 to 6 and forced a game seven. The Reds won game seven and the series but Fisk's home run has gone down in MLB history as one of the most dramatic.
Over an eight year period with Boston, Carlton Fisk averaged 20 home runs and 70 runs batted in. His best season was 1977 when Pudge hit .315 with 26 homers and 102 RBIs.
Fisk was among a group of Red Sox that were lobbying for more money. When his contact expired after the 1980 season, Red Sox General Manager Haywood Sullivan mailed Fisk his contract one day after the deadline. This made Carlton a free agent.
An unhappy Fisk signed a $3.5 million contract with the Chicago White Sox in 1981. He chose to wear uniform number 72 which was the reverse of his number 27 in Boston.
In 1985, after a rigorous off season training program, Fisk hit 37 home runs and knocked in 107. He was 37 years old.
While with the White Sox, Fisk hit home run number 351 which was the most in mlb history by a catcher. Mike Piazza has since passed him. He also set the record for most games caught with 2,226. In 1991, Pudge became the oldest player to get a hit in an All Star Game. And he was the last active player in the 1990s to have played in the 1960s.
When Fisk retired, he held the record for the most homers hit after the age of 40 (72). Barry Bonds has since hit 79.
Among the sixteen catchers in the Baseball Hall Of Fame, Carlton Fisk has the most hits and runs scored.
He finished with 2,356 hits, 376 home runs and 1,330 runs batted in. He played in 11 All Star games.
Carlton Fisk was elected to Baseball's Hall Of Fame in 2000. The White Sox retired his number 72 in 1997 and the Red Sox retired his number 27 in 2000. He is one of eight players to have his number retired by two teams.
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