Sweet 16 facts about Red Sox

Sweet 16 facts about Red Sox

The final days of Spring Training often overwhelm Major League players. Most of them, pitchers excluded, want the regular season to begin now. The NCAA basketball tournament provides a wanted respite from the tedium. The tournament will be on several clubhouse televisions this weekend, and many eyes will be focused on it.

In accordance with the Sweet 16 weekend, MLB.com presents a Red Sox Sweet 16, including a few entries that are bittersweet.

1. Other than American League MVP Carl Yastrzemski, no player put more "possible" into the Impossible Dream of 1967 than Jim Lonborg, No. 16. With acknowledgement to Ellis Kinder, who won more games than Lonborg for the Red Sox, MLB.com recognizes Lonborg as the foremost No. 16 in the history of the franchise because of his Cy Young exploits -- 22-9 record and league-leading 246 strikeouts -- in that implausibly grand run to the World Series.

2. Kinder wore No. 16 with the Sox for eight seasons, winning 86 games and, in 1949, producing a signature season comparable to Lonborg's '67. He won 23 games that year at age 35. A 24th victory at Yankee Stadium on Oct. 2, the last day of the 1949 regular season, would have put the Sox in the World Series. Kinder allowed two hits and a run in seven innings. The Yankees won, 5-3. (If Oct. 2 seems familiar, understand that the Bucky Dent Game happened on that date 29 years later.) Kinder died on Oct. 16, 1968 -- 25 years to the day before Aaron Boone's home run.

3. The big league record for successive plate appearances reaching base is 16, established by Ted Williams in September 1957 -- two singles, four home runs, nine walks and one hit by pitch.

4. The Red Sox have won 16 AL batting championships, more than any other team, since Williams won his sixth and final title in 1958.

5. Only 16 pitchers in club history have won more games for the Sox than Babe Ruth (89), not a particularly high number of pitchers given the age of the franchise.

6. Pedro Martinez (10) and Roger Clemens (six) are responsible for 16 of the 17 instances in which a Red Sox pitcher has struck out at least 15 batters in a game. Bill Monbouquette was responsible for the first one, May 12, 1961.

7. Merle "Doc" Adkins, Lefty O'Doul and Howard Ehmke each faced 16 batters in an inning for the Boston franchise, Adkins with the Boston Americans in 1902 and O'Doul and Ehmke with the '23 Sox. In each instance, the inning was the sixth.

8. A Red Sox player has hit a home run in the All-Star Game 16 times. Williams hit four. Among Sox players, David Ortiz has hit the most recent All-Star home run -- July 13, 2004, in Houston.

9. Yaz averaged just less than 16 home runs per season, 15.83, in his first six years in the big leagues and hit 16 in 1966 before hitting 44 in '67, his Triple Crown year.

10. Williams hit at least 20 home runs in 16 seasons, equaling the AL record established by Ruth and later matched by Reggie Jackson.

11. Fred Lynn had 16 total bases in one game, a club record, at Tiger Stadium on June 18, 1975. He hit three home runs, a triple, a single and drove in 10 runs.

12. Dick Radatz had 16 victories in relief, a club record, in 1964.

13. Beginning with the 1977 season and through 2000, the Sox never played an opponent more than 15 times in a season -- except in 1978. The only instance during that 24-season sequence came on Oct. 2 that year. The Bucky Dent Game was the 163rd game for the Sox and the Yankees and the 16th against each other.

14. The Sox have scored 20 or more runs in a game 16 times in their history, most recently on June 27, 2003, when the defeated the Rays, 25-8, at Fenway Park, scoring 16 runs in the first two innings.

15. The 1907 Boston Americans were winless in 18 consecutive games from Sept. 12-Oct. 2 (there's that date again). Sixteen of the games were losses; two were ties. The National League Boston franchise, the Doves, had a 16-game losing streak that year, too. The Sox never have won 16 straight games. They had a 15-game wining streak in 1946.

16. The Sox haven't played a 16-inning game since April Fool's Day 2003. They defeated the Rays, 9-8, at Tropicana Field that night in the second game of the season. Kevin Millar hit a home run against Jorge Sosa with one out in the 16th. The game was the first of -- what else? -- 16 extra-inning games the Sox played in 2003.

Marty Noble is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.