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Carlton Fisk

Carlton Fisk

Position(s):
C, DH, LF, OF, 1B, 3B
Nicknames:
Pudge
Born:
December 26, 1947
Bats:
Right
Throws:
Right
Height:
6' 3"
Weight:
200 lbs
Major League Debut:
9-18-1969 with BOS
Allstar Selections:
1972 GG, 1972 ROOK, 1981 SS, 1985 SS, 1988 SS
Hall of Fame:
2000



Career Batting Stats
G AB H R HR RBI SB AVG SLG OBP OPS OPS+
2499 8756 2356 1276 376 1330 128 .269 .457 .341 .797 111.3

 

Carlton Fisk All Time Teammates:

 

Best Season: 1977

With Fisk, like most catchers, it's difficult to select a best season. In 1977 he was younger and an excellent overall hitter, but not the power hitter he became later with the White Sox. He hit a career-high (min. 100 games) .315 in 151 games behind the plate. He hit 26 homers and drove in 102 runs, both career-bests until his 1985 season (37-107 at the age of 37). Fisk didn't win Gold Glove awards (only one) in the 1970s because Thurman Munson had the reputation of being a better handler of pitching staffs (which he probably was not), and Jim Sundberg was in the league.

Fisk vs. Reinsdorf

Fisk had several skirmishes with White Sox management. He was never fond of owner Jerry Reinsdorf, who tried to trade the popular catcher, move him from behind the plate, and control Pudge's free agent status. In 1986, Reinsdorf colluded with other owners to keep Fisk and other free agents from moving to new teams or getting fair contracts. When Fisk approached the all-time games caught record late in his career, Fisk battled with the Sox to allow him to play. A week after breaking Bob Boone's mark, Fisk was released by Chicago, and at the end of the season, after his teammates clinched the AL West title, he was not allowed into the clubhouse to congratulate them. When the White Sox planned a ceremony to honor Fisk and retire his #72, the future Hall of Famer insisted that Reinsdorf and GM Ron Schueller not be present. His Hall of Fame plaque shows him wearing a Boston cap, one last shot at his troubled years in the Windy City.

Description

Fisk was one of the most interesting characters of his era. He marched to the beat of his own drummer. While with the Red Sox he earned a reputation as a tough competitor and clubhouse lawyer. In both Boston and Chicago he clashed with his GM and owners, and he was involved in the collusion case against baseball in the late 1980s. In that case, free agents like Fisk and Kirk Gibson charged that owners had conspired to limit free agent movement. The players won in a slam dunk and Fisk emerged even more bitter and suspicious.

As a player, Fisk walked like an 85-year old man, even when he was in his twenties. He was very concerned with his appearance, and he took as much time as any batter in preparing to hit. He once walked so slow to the mound to talk to his pitcher, that Rangers' manager Bobby Valentine wondered if he was "paid by the hour."

Fisk looked out of place in a baseball uniform, which was strange considering he was a throwback competitor. He wore his pants very high, showing off his socks, be they red, white, or whatever color. With the Pale Hose he lived through six or seven uniform changes, looking like a grizzled veteran in all of them.

Fisk considered himself a protector of the game's honor. On numerous occasions he challenged teammates for failing to play the game properly or (worst of all) failing to hustle. In a celebrated incident, he nearly came to blows with the entire New York team after he admonished Yankee rookie Deion Sanders for failing to run out a routine grounder. Shocked by the confrontation, Sanders later apologized for his actions.

At the end of his career, Fisk had proved most of his critics and skeptics wrong, playing more games than any other catcher in baseball history, despite injuries (many of them before the age of 30), having to fight for playing time, and a tall frame that took abuse. Over 24 seasons, his back and knees held up pretty well and he caught his last game at the age of 45. He was the Nolan Ryan of the catching profession.

 

Where He Played

Catcher; After blasting 37 homers in 1985, the ChiSox tried to make Fisk a left fielder, to make room for young catching prospect Joel Skinner. By May, the experiment was over and Fisk was back behind the mask. Skinner was traded to the Yankees and was out of baseball by his 30th birthday, three years before Fisk retired.

Born

Carlton Ernest Fisk was born on December 26, 1947, in Bellows Falls, VT.

College:  New Hampshire

Major League Debut
September 18,1969

Nine Other Players Who Debuted in 1969
Darrell Evans
Bill Buckner
Carlton Fisk
Steve Garvey
Bill Russell
Toby Harrah
Vida Blue
Jerry Reuss
Thurman Munson


Nicknames

Pudge - "Pudge," due to his chunky physique as a youth.

Uniform Numbers

Fisk wore the number 27 with the Red Sox, and when he was signed by the White Sox he decided to have a new start. He turned the number around and also said at the time that he was honoring his rookie season by wearing #72.

Similar Players

Gabby Hartnett

Related Players

Al Lopez, Ray Schalk, Bob Boone, Thurman Munson, Lance Parrish, Johnny Bench, Gary Carter, Mike Piazza... Ed Armbrister, utility man for the Reds, who collided with Fisk in Game Three of the 1975 World Series after a bunt. Fisk was charged with catcher's interference in a controversial play... Yankee rookie Deion Sanders, who got an earful from Pudge when he failed to run out a ground ball.

 

Hall of Fame Voting
Year Election Votes Pct
1999 BBWAA 330 66.4%
2000 BBWAA 397 79.6%

 

Post-Season Appearances

1975 American League Championship Series
1975 World Series
1983 American League Championship Series

Awards and Honors

1972 AL Gold Glove
1972 AL Rookie of the Year

Batting Feats

  • May 16, 1984: Cycle...

  • August 17, 1990: Special... 187th HR as White Sox - new record. 328th HR as Catcher - ML record

Notes

Fisk gave one of the longest speeches in Hall of Fame history on his induction day.

 

Injuries and Explanation for Missed Playing Time

Suffered an injury to his throwing arm on August 17, 1979. Missed playing time and did not recover his arm strength until a few months into the 1980 season.

Hitting Streaks

18 games (1976)

Transactions

January 28, 1967: Drafted by the Boston Red Sox in the 1st round (4th pick) of the 1967 amateur draft; February 12, 1981: Granted Free Agency; March 18, 1981: Signed as a Free Agent with the Chicago White Sox; November 12, 1985: Granted Free Agency; January 8, 1986: Signed as a Free Agent with the Chicago White Sox; January 22, 1988: Granted Free Agency; February 9, 1988: Signed as a Free Agent with the Chicago White Sox; November 4, 1991: Granted Free Agency; December 11, 1991: Signed as a Free Agent with the Chicago White Sox; December 19, 1992: Granted Free Agency; February 5, 1993: Signed as a Free Agent with the Chicago White Sox; June 28, 1993: Released by the Chicago White Sox. The Sox lost Fred Lynn in the same manner.

In a monumental blunder, the Red Sox failed to tender Fisk a contract on time during the 1980 off-season, which resulted in his becoming a free agent. Having already battled the team on contract issues, Fisk quickly signed with the White Sox.

All-Star Selections

1972 AL
1973 AL
1974 AL
1976 AL
1977 AL
1978 AL
1980 AL
1981 AL
1982 AL
1985 AL
1991 AL

 

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Tagged:
1975 World Series, 1983 ALCS, 2000 Hall of Fame, Boston Red Sox, Carlton Fisk, Chicago White Sox, Gold Glove, Rookie of the Year Award

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