Quick. Which longtime Red Sox player hit 385 HRs, had 1,381 RBI, 2,446 career hits, and 157 outfield assists? You might have guessed “Jim Rice,” a 2009 Baseball Hall of Fame inductee. But you would be wrong. Dwight Evans put up the above numbers.
Evans, who my mom insists is the most handsome man ever to play for the Red Sox, may have been Boston’s best defensive right fielder ever. Contrary to popular myth, right field is far more difficult to play than left field at Fenway Park. No one will ever forget his amazing catch near Fenway’s right field Section 1 against Cincinnati’s Joe Morgan in the 11th inning of game six of the 1975 World Series. Evans had a such a cannon for an arm. His assists went down, because runners refused to challenge him.
Starting in 1980, working under hitting coach Walt Hriniak, Evans made himself a much more consistent hitter: working the count, drawing more walks, while boosting his average and maintaining his power. My favorite Evans moment came on Saturday June 23, 1990, at Fenway against the Orioles. Evans slugged a 10th inning, 2-run walk off HR against Baltimore closer Gregg Olson to give the Red Sox a 4-3 victory.
He could be moody and outspoken at times, but Evans gave 100 percent every time he came to the ballpark. Though he is not likely to ever make the Hall of Fame, “Dewey” had a long and distinguished career.