Carlton Fisk

Carlton Fisk

Infobox MLB retired
name=Carlton Fisk

birthdate=birth date and age|1947|12|26
Bellows Falls, Vermont
debutdate=September 18
debutteam=Boston Red Sox
finaldate=June 22
finalteam=Chicago White Sox
stat1label=Batting average
stat2label=Home runs
stat3label=Runs batted in
* Boston Red Sox (by|1969, by|1971-by|1980)
* Chicago White Sox (by|1981-by|1993)
* 11x All-Star selection (1972, 1973, 1974, 1976, 1977, 1978, 1980, 1981, 1982, 1985, 1991)
* Gold Glove Award winner (1972)
* 3x Silver Slugger Award winner (1981, 1985, 1988)
* 1972 AL Rookie of the Year
* Boston Red Sox #27 retired
* Chicago White Sox #72 retired

Carlton Ernest Fisk (born December 26 1947 in city-state|Bellows Falls|Vermont) is a former Major League Baseball catcher who played for 24 years with the Boston Red Sox and Chicago White Sox and was elected to the baseball Hall of Fame in 2000.

Early life

Although born in Vermont, Fisk is quick to point out that he is actually from Charlestown, New Hampshire, just across the Connecticut River from Bellows Falls, Vermont. This being the case, Fisk graduated from Charlestown High School, playing baseball for the American Legion team in Bellows Falls. At the University of New Hampshire, Fisk started for the basketball team, while also playing baseball.

Professional career

Boston Red Sox


Name = Carlton Fisk
Number = 27
Team = Boston Red Sox
Year = 2000|
Drafted by the Red Sox in by|1967, Fisk played a few games for Boston in by|1969 and by|1971 but broke out for the Red Sox in his first full season in by|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 by|1980, and with the White Sox from by|1981-by|1993.

In by|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 Fisk's long career, he caught 2,226 games, more than any other catcher in history. He was an 11-time All-Star and hit 376 career home runs.

1975 World Series

The defining moment of Fisk's illustrious career came in the 12th inning of Game 6 of the 1975 World Series at Fenway Park. He hit Cincinnati Reds pitcher Pat Darcy's second pitch down the left field line that appeared to be heading into foul territory. The enduring image of Fisk jumping and waving the ball fair as he made his way to first base is considered by many to be one of baseball's greatest moments (it is referred to in the Gus Van Sant movie "Good Will Hunting"). 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.

The image of him waving the ball fair changed the way baseball was televised. During this time, cameramen covering baseball were instructed to follow the flight of the ball. In a 1999 interview, NBC cameraman Lou Gerard admitted that the classic shot was not due to his own skills as a cameraman, but rather because he had been distracted by a nearby rat. Unable to follow the ball, he kept the camera on Fisk instead. [Bruce Lowitt, "Rats! Fisk's homer" St. Petersburg Times, November 23, 1999 ] This play was perhaps the most important catalyst in getting camera operators to focus most of their attention on the players themselves, [Seth Mnookin, "Feeding the Monster: How Money, Smarts and Nerve took a Team to the Top" pg. 40] and resulted in many future memorable World Series moments involving, among others, Kirk Gibson (1988), Joe Carter (1993) and Edgar Rentería (1997).

Chicago White Sox


Name = Carlton Fisk
Number = 72
Team = Chicago White Sox
Year = 1997|

Fisk was signed by the White Sox as a free agent on March 18, by|1981. At that time, his old number 27 was held on the White Sox by pitcher Ken Kravec. Fisk flip-flopped his old number and thus wore the unusual baseball number of 72 on his jersey. Although Kravec was traded just 10 days later, Fisk retained the number 72 throughout his career with the White Sox.

After joining the White Sox, he helped the team win its first American League Western Division Title in by|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 by|1984, he began a new training program which he would use for the rest of his career. In by|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.

Records and honors

Fisk is 2nd all-time in home runs hit after the age of 40 with 72. A single in the by|1991 All-Star Game made him the oldest player to collect a hit in the history of All-Star competition. Fisk was also the final active position player who played in the 1960s.

Fisk was inducted into the Baseball Hall of Fame in by|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 Iván Rodríguez), he is also known as "The Commander" for his ability to take control on the field. [ [ Carlton Fisk biography and statistics @baseball hall of fame; accessed 15 August 2008] ] [ [ "Fisk statue stands tall at U.S. Cellular", 7 August 2005, Scott Merkin,; accessed 15 August 2008] ]

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, by|1997. The Boston Red Sox retired his uniform number 27 on September 4, by|2000. He is one of eight people to have their uniform number retired by at least two teams. [ [ Chicago White Sox retired uniform numbers; accessed 15 August 2008] ] [ [ Bostoned Red Sox retired uniform numbers; accessed 15 August 2008] ]

In by|1999, he was selected as a finalist for the Major League Baseball All-Century Team, and finished third in the balloting. [ [ MLB All-Century Team final voting; accessed 15 August 2008] ] [ [ MLB All-Century Team results; accessed 15 August 2008] ]

In May, 2008, Fisk returned to the White Sox as a team ambassador, and a member of the team's speakers bureau. [ [ "Fisk returns as White Sox ambassador", 13 May 2008, Scott Merkin,; accessed 15 August 2008] ]

Notable feuds

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 and told Sanders during his next at-bat, "If you don't play it [the game] right, I'm going to kick your ass right here."

Fisk is also known for his longstanding feud with New York Yankees counterpart Thurman Munson. One particular incident that typified their feud, and the Yankees-Red Sox rivalry in general, occurred on August 1, by|1973 at Fenway Park. With the score tied at 2-2 in the top of the 9th, Munson attempted to score on Gene Michael's missed bunt attempt. Munson barreled into Fisk, triggering a 10-minute bench-clearing brawl in which both catchers were ejected. The feud ended in by|1979, after Munson's death in a plane crash. Years later, Fisk related that he found out about Munson's death from a fan at a Red Sox autograph session while the team was visiting the Milwaukee Brewers at Milwaukee County Stadium.

In another incident that typified the Yankees-Red Sox rivalry, Fisk was also involved in an altercation with Lou Piniella during a May 2, by|1976 game at Yankee Stadium. In the sixth inning of this game, Piniella barreled into Fisk trying to score on an Otto Velez single. Fisk and Piniella shoved each other at home plate, triggering another bench-clearing brawl. After the fight apparently died down and order appeared to be restored, Fisk's pitcher, Bill Lee, and Yankee third baseman Graig Nettles began exchanging words and punches, igniting the brawl all over again. Lee suffered a separated left shoulder in the altercation and missed a great part of the season.


The Fisk Foul Pole

On June 13, by|2005, the Red Sox honored 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 Foul 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 considered one of the best games ever played in Major League history. The crowd remembered that magical moment at precisely 12:34 a.m. ET early on the morning of Oct. 22, 1975, when Fisk drove a 1-0 fastball from Cincinnati right-hander Pat Darcy high into the air, heading down the left-field line. "The ball only took about two and half seconds," recalled Fisk. "It seemed like I was jumping and waving for more than two and a half seconds." Two and a half seconds later, the ball caromed off the bright yellow pole, ending one of the most dramatic World Series games ever played and giving the Red Sox a 7-6 win over the Reds in 12 hard-fought innings.cite web | url= | title=Sox honor Fisk with left-field foul pole | year=2007 | | accessdate=2008-09-27]

On the field, Fisk threw out the ceremonial first pitch to his former batterymate Luis Tiant. [ [ "A catchy new name in left: Fisk Pole", 14 June 2005, Marvin Pave for the "Boston Globe"; accessed 15 August 2008] ] From now on, like the Pesky Pole down the right-field line, the left-field pole will officially be called the "Fisk Foul Pole". The idea was the inspiration of the countless fans who contacted the Red Sox about recognizing the historic moment. Fenway's right field foul pole, which is just 302 feet from the plate, is named Pesky's Pole, for light-hitting former Red Sox shortstop Johnny Pesky. Mel Parnell named the pole after Pesky in by|1948 when he won a game with a home run just inside the right field pole.


After the June 13 ceremony in Boston, Fisk received an honorary World Series ring from the Red Sox commemorating their 2004 World Series victory. [ [ "A catchy new name in left: Fisk Pole", 14 June 2005, Marvin Pave for the "Boston Globe"; accessed 15 August 2008] ] On Saturday, August 12, by|2006, the Chicago White Sox presented Fisk with another ring, this one in honor of the White Sox' 2005 championship. [ [ "Ringing in the title: Sox get hardware", 4 April 2006, Scott Merkin,; accessed 15 August 2008] ]


The Chicago White Sox unveiled a life-sized bronze statue of Carlton Fisk on August 7, by|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 Miñoso and eventually Luis Aparicio, Nellie Fox, Billy Pierce, and Harold Baines. [ [ "Fisk statue stands tall at U.S. Cellular", 7 August 2005, Scott Merkin,; accessed 15 August 2008] ]


Fisk is married with three grown children. His primary hobby is in cultivating orchids, of which he has maintained a collection of 300. [ [ Carlton Fisk profile at] ] [ [ Transcript of an onilne interview with Carlton Fisk, 10 November 2004,; accessed 15 August 2008] ]

Career statistics

Carlton Fisk's career statistics. [ [ Carlton Fisk career stats; accessed 15 August 2008] ] [ [ Carlton Fisk bio & stats; accessed 15 August 2008] ]

ee also

* Boston Red Sox Hall of Fame
* Top 500 home run hitters of all time
* List of major league players with 2,000 hits
* List of Major League Baseball players with 400 doubles
* List of Major League Baseball players with 1000 runs
* List of Major League Baseball players with 1000 RBI
* List of Major League Baseball triples champions
* Hitting for the cycle
* Chicago White Sox all-time roster


External links

* [ Website: Everything Carlton Fisk!]
*baseballstats |mlb= |espn= |br=f/fiskca01 |fangraphs=1004101 |cube=F/carlton-fisk
* [ The Sporting News' Baseball's 25 Greatest Moments: Fisk Waves it Fair]
* [ Audio: Fisk's home run in Game 6 of the 1975 World Series]

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