Carlton Fisk

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Boston Red Sox catcher Carlton Fisk's famous "waved" home run against Cincinnati's Pat Darcy (right) in Game 6 of the 1975 World Series. This home run sent the 1975 fall classic to a seventh game. The Reds won.

Carlton Ernest Fisk (born December 26, 1947 in Bellows Falls, Vermont) is a former Major League Baseball catcher who played for 24 years with the Boston Red Sox and Chicago White Sox.

Although born in Vermont, Fisk is quick to point out that he is actually from Charlestown, New Hampshire, which is right across the Connecticut River from Bellows Falls, Vermont. This being the case, Fisk graduated from Charlestown High School then was a starter on the basketball team at the University of New Hampshire in addition to playing baseball.

Professional career

Template:MLB HoF Drafted by the Red Sox in 1967, Fisk played a few games for Boston in 1969 and 1971 but broke out for the Red Sox in his first full season in 1972. Fisk won the AL Gold Glove at Catcher and the AL Rookie of the Year awards that year. He played with the Red Sox until 1980. He played with the White Sox from 1981-1993.

In 1972 he led the American League with 9 triples (tied with Joe Rudi of the Oakland Athletics). He is the last catcher to lead the league in this statistical category.

In his long career, he caught 2,226 games, more than any other catcher in history. He was an 11-time All-Star. Fisk hit 376 career home runs. But the defining moment of his illustrious career came in Game 6 of the 1975 World Series at Fenway Park. Fisk was facing Cincinnati Reds pitcher Pat Darcy and hit a pitch down the left field line that appeared to be heading to foul territory. The enduring image of Fisk jumping and waving the ball fair as he made his way to first base is inarguably one of baseball's greatest moments. And it worked -- the ball struck the foul pole, giving the Red Sox a 7-6 win and forcing a seventh and deciding game of the fall classic. The next day, the Reds won the first of two back-to-back World Series championships.

After joining the White Sox, he helped the team win its first American League Western Division Title in 1983. His .289 batting average, 26 home runs, and 86 RBI, as well as his leadership on the young team helped him to finish third in the MVP voting (behind Cal Ripken, Jr. and Eddie Murray). After injuries reduced his playing time in 1984, he began a new training program which he would use for the rest of his career. In 1985, he came back to hit a career best 37 home runs and 107 RBI. Fisk often credited the training program to extending his career.

Fisk holds the record for most home runs after the age of 40 with 72. A single in the 1991 All-Star Game made him the oldest player to collect a hit in the history of All-Star competition.

Fisk was inducted into the Baseball Hall of Fame in 2000 choosing the Boston Red Sox cap for his plaque, although he played for more seasons with the Chicago White Sox.

Fisk was known to fans by two endearing nicknames. While "Pudge" is a common name given to catchers (a nickname shared, for example, by catcher Ivan Rodriguez), he is also known as "The Commander" for his ability to take control on the field.

Fisk is also one of a small minority of baseball players who are embraced by the fans of two teams. The Chicago White Sox retired his uniform number 72 on September 14, 1997. The Boston Red Sox retired his uniform number 27 on September 4, 2000. He is one of eight people to have their uniform number retired by at least two teams.

Aside from his historic home runs and his strong work ethic, Fisk was universally revered for his love and respect of the game itself. In one memorable incident, pro-football and pro-baseball player Deion Sanders hit a pop fly, and refused to run to first base, suspecting that the ball would be easily caught. Fisk yelled at Sanders to run the ball out (paraphrased here to remove an obscenity).


The Fisk Pole

On June 14, 2005, the Boston Red Sox honored their Hall of Fame catcher Carlton Fisk and the 12th-inning home run that won Game 6 of the 1975 World Series by naming the left field foul pole where it landed the "Fisk Pole". In a pregame ceremony from the Monster Seats, Fisk was cheered by the Fenway Park crowd while the shot was replayed to the strains of Handel’s Hallelujah Chorus. The Red Sox scheduled the ceremony to coincide with an interleague series against the Cincinnati Reds, who made their first trip back to Fenway Park since the '75 Series. Thirty years later, the video of Fisk trying to wave the ball fair remains one of the game's enduring images. Game 6 is often called the best game in major leagues history. Fenway's right field foul pole, which is just 302 feet from the plate, has long been unofficially named the Pesky Pole, for light-hitting former Red Sox shortstop Johnny Pesky, who had a tendency to curve fly balls around it for homers. On the field, Fisk threw out the ceremonial first pitch to his former battery-mate Luis Tiant.

The Statue

The Chicago White Sox unveiled a life-sized bronze statue of Carlton Fisk on August 7, 2005. The statue is located inside U.S. Cellular Field on the main concourse in left field. It joined similar statues depicting Charles Comiskey and Minnie Minoso

Career statistics


See also

External links