Jan 23, 1981: Red Sox mess up
Submitted by BTGrimes on Wed, 01/23/2013 - 6:00am
Letting Freddie go
NEW YORK, NEW YORK - It was not an auspicious offseason for the Boston Red Sox in 1981. On this date the Red Sox had to trade the only player, up to that time, to win Most Valuable Player and Rookie of the Year awards in the same season, centerfielder Fred Lynn. They didn't want to part with Lynn, but the front office failed to mail a contract to him by the deadline allowing Lynn to become a free agent if he wasn't traded. He was sent to the California Angels for Joe Rudi and Frank Tanana.
Freddie Lynn came on like gang-busters his rookie season of 1975, less than two years after being drafted by the Red Sox out of the University of Southern California. He hit .331 with 21 home runs, 105 runs batted in and 103 runs scored. Oh, he also won a Gold Glove and made the all-star team.
He was almost the perfect ballplayer, as evidenced by being awarded the Most Valuable Player and Rookie of the Year awards - the first player in history to win both (Ichiro Suzuki won MVP and ROY awards in 2001, but he had already played nine seasons in the Japanese major leagues).
Fred Lynn had a very good career, but only once did he match or surpass his rookie production, that was 1979 when he hit .333 with 39 home runs, 122 runs batted in, 116 runs scored and a .416 on-base percentage.
The Red Sox also messed up with Carlton Fisk that same off-season. That's a story for another time.
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