Evans part of Sox's past, present
Former star outfielder making his mark in player development
BOSTON -- Now more than ever, the Red Sox organization is linking its illustrious past with its rather successful present -- and those taking part in the festivities are more than happy to see it happen.
That certainly was the case with former right fielder Dwight Evans, who walked to the mound prior to Monday's American League Championship Series Game 3 against the Tampa Bay Rays at Fenway Park. Evans, who spent nearly two decades with the Sox, threw out the ceremonial first pitch before the afternoon contest.
His grandson accompanied him to the mound, wearing a J.D. Drew T-shirt and seemingly connecting the current right fielder to his successful family lineage. Evans was more than proud to be part of the occasion.
"These guys are so much fun to be around," Evans said. "The players, organization and owners. They make it fun to be around. I'm having a great time. That they make you a part of it, I couldn't be happier right now."
Evans certainly knows what it's like to be part of the Sox's quest toward a World Series championship. He played two decades in the Majors -- 19 with the Red Sox -- and compiled a .272 batting average and, perhaps more impressively, a career .370 on-base percentage.
He was part of two AL pennant winners -- 1975 and 1986 -- yet never took home the ultimate prize.
Looking on from Fenway this decade, he has the opportunity to appreciate what this crew that won in 2004 and 2007 was able to accomplish.
"I played 19 years and I only made four playoffs and two World Series," Evans said. "These guys in the last five years have done quite a bit -- what it took me 19 years to do."
Not that he hasn't had a hand in the current success. As a member of the Red Sox player development staff, Evans said he takes pride in the fact that young talent, from Dustin Pedroia and Kevin Youkilis to Jon Lester and Jonathan Papelbon, has been able to thrive.
Evans seems to marvel at not only how good this crew of young players became, but how quickly they were able to develop.
"It's kind of neat to see them here, and not only be here but contribute," he said. "Not just be here and get 700-800 at-bats and then come around. These guys are producing from Day 1."
So as Evans walked off the mound and the Sox took the field, there was a transcendence of organizational generations that's becoming a constant part of Fenway Park in the 21st century. That, along with winning, has defined the Sox in the last six years.
Something Evans said this crew knows how to do very well.
"These guys have tremendous heart," he said. "They know how to do it; they don't get uptight. They just respond the right way."
Mark Remme is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.