Kevin Youkilis Joins Short List of Ex-Longtime Red Sox to Join New York Yankees

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Kevin Youkilis Joins Short List of Ex-Longtime Red Sox to Join New York Yankees
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Barring any heroics, Kevin Youkilis WILL always before remembered as a Red Sock.

COMMENTARY | New York Yankees third baseman Kevin Youkilis didn't need to clarify his recent statement that he'll "always be a Red Sock."

One day after making the remark that landed him on the back page of two newspapers, Youkilis was quick to tell reporters that he won't be remembered for only being part of the Boston Red Sox. Instead, he said, he'll be remembered for his time with three teams.

"I was basically defining that, as a player, I'll be a Red Sock, and a White Sock, and a Yankee for life," Youkilis said. "Three storied franchises. I'm excited to be part of this, and be with the Yankees."

"Trust me," Youkilis said. "There's no way that was meant to say my heart is in Boston or anything like that. My heart is here with the Yankees."

It may true, but barring any late-inning October heroics in New York, Youkilis -- who is only signed for one season with New York -- will likely join the list of former Sox-turned-Yankees who'll be remembered more for their Fenway play than their Bronx nights. Youkilis spent almost 9 years (953 games) in Red Sox Nation and now joins a short list of hitters who've played more than 900 games in a Red Sox uniform before donning Yankee pinstripes.

Only three hitters have ever appeared in more games for Boston before coming to New York:

  • Wade Boggs: The Hall of Famer played 11 seasons (1,625 games) in Boston, where he won 5 batting titles, before jumping joining New York in 1993. Boston fans remember him for having the audacity to don the pinstripes. Yankees fans remember him getting a horseback ride with a policeman after earning his only World Series ring in 1996. Hall of Fame voters probably remember Boggs as the reason why players don't get to pick what hat goes on their Hall of Fame plaque.
  • George Scott: The former Gold Glove first baseman played parts of 9 seasons (1,192 games) with Boston. Few fans remember his days in New York. Scott signed with the Yankees in August 1979, after the Red Sox traded him to the Kansas City Royals, who dumped him after a few months. Scott played the final 16 games of his career with New York.
  • George "Duffy" Lewis: Lewis played 8 seasons (1,184 games) for Boston from 1910 through 1917. During the 1915 World Series, he led the team's regulars by hitting .444. He also hit one of the club's three home runs during the series. Lewis was traded to the Yankees in December 1918 and spent two seasons in New York.

Among pitchers who spent more time in Boston before coming to New York, Roger Clemens stands alone. The Rocket went 192-111 over 13 seasons in Boston before playing 7 seasons over 2 stints with the Yankees.

Other hurlers who played for Boston before making the switch include:

Luis Tiant went 122-81 over 8 seasons for Boston, where he finished in the top 6 in the American League Cy Young vote 3 times, before joining the Yankees in 1979.

Derek Lowe was 77-55 for Boston over 8 seasons before signing as a free agent with the Los Angeles Dodgers in 2005. Last August, he signed on with the Yankees, finishing 1-1 with a 3.01 ERA over 23 and 2-3 innings.

Hall of Famer Herb Pennock pitched 7 years in Boston before spending 11 years with the Yankees (1923 through1933). He returned to the Red Sox for one more season in 1934 and ended his career 163-90 for the Yankees and 62-59 for Boston.

Howard Z. Unger is a freelance journalist in Brooklyn, New York. For the past 15 years, he has written about sports, media, and popular culture. His work has appeared in The Village Voice, New York Post, and New York Times.

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