Red Sox love their Californians

Legend of the Past 576Woodland’s Pedroia has become an all-star in Boston, and will likely stay there for many more years. Check out this list to see why Red Sox fans owe a lot of gratitude to California and its unmatched baseball tradition.

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It was breaking news on Tuesday that Dustin Pedroia, the wildly popular current second baseman for the Boston Red Sox, is about to sign a seven-year, $100 million contract to stay with the team probably for the duration of his career.

Pedroia, a former all-state selection from Woodland High School near Sacramento, just brings to mind the ridiculous high number of baseball players who went to California high schools that have played and starred over the years in Boston.

We never got to see Pedroia play in person in high school, but received strong recommendations from his coach at Woodland at the time, Rob Rinaldi, who is currently the head coach at Pleasant Grove of Elk Grove. The fact that Dustin was and is short (5-foot-8) didn’t prevent him from starring in Woodland and it hasn’t stopped him from being an MVP for the American League.

Based on Pedroia’s impending contract extension, we decided to count up the number of Californians in the Red Sox’ own Hall of Fame. We counted 17, which is about half of all players (not including executives or managers). Here is a list of those players from the Golden State:
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Rick Burleson (Warren, Downey) SS
He appeared in three straight MLB All-Star Games from 1977-1979.

Joe Cronin (Sacred Heart, San Francisco) SS
Also in the MLB Hall of Fame.

Dom DiMaggio (Galileo, San Francisco) OF
Younger brother of legendary Joe DiMaggio.

Bobby Doerr (Fremont, Los Angeles) 2B
Also in the MLB Hall of Fame.

Dennis Eckersley (Washington, Fremont) P
MLB Hall of Famer mostly for his career as a reliever with the A’s also is well-known as a current Red Sox broadcaster.

Dwight Evans (Chatsworth) OF
Can be confused with Darrell Evans, a longtime MLB player who is from Pasadena.

Tommy Harper (Encinal, Alameda) OF
From the same high school and on the same team as MLB slugger Willie Stargell.

Harry Hooper (St. Mary’s, Oakland) OF
Also in the MLB Hall of Fame.

Jackie Jensen (Oakland) OF
MVP of the American League for 1947.

Bill Lee (Terra Linda, San Rafael) P
Known as “The Spaceman,” he’s still pitching in adult leagues in the Bay Area.

George “Duffy” Lewis (Alameda) OF
He once had zero homers and 90 RBIs in one season in the early 1910s.

Jim Lonborg (San Luis Obispo) P
Won Cy Young Award in 1967, a year in which the Red Sox went to the World Series.

Fred Lynn (El Monte) OF
MVP of the American League in 1975.

Reggie Smith (Centennial, Compton) OF
Part of an unbelievable pool of talent from Compton/South L.A. in the 1960s.

Vern Stephens (Poly, Long Beach) SS
He starred for the Jackrabbits when Hall of Famer Bob Lemon was pitching at Long Beach Wilson.

Frank Sullivan (Burbank) P
He tied for the A.L. lead in pitching wins in 1955 and was an All-Star in 1956, 1957.

Ted Williams (Hoover, San Diego) OF
Also in the MLB Hall of Fame and possibly the best left-handed hitter of all-time.

Keep in mind that this list does not yet include Nomar Garciaparra from St. John Bosco of Bellflower and perhaps a few others that have yet to be inducted.

In addition to Pedroia, two other prominent current Red Sox players from California are outfielder Daniel Nava (St. Francis, Mountain View) and designated hitter Johnny Gomes (Casa Grande, Petaluma).

If there’s one city and one team that should really know that California is without question the Baseball Capital of the World, then it’s Boston and the Red Sox.

Mark Tennis is the co-founder and publisher of CalHiSports.com. He can be reached at markjtennis@gmail.com. Don’t forget to follow him on Twitter: @CalHiSports


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