Who is Tom Poquette?
I remember asking that very question back in 1979. That was the first year I was truly following the ins and outs of a baseball seasons and I couldn’t help but wonder who he was.
You see, in that year, I was really starting to get to know all the players on the Red Sox. And as strange as it was seeing Bill Lee and Luis Tiant leave the Red Sox, there were some players I just knew were there and I could count on that they will always play for Boston.
Yaz, Rice, Fisk, my beloved Butch Hobson, Burleson, Remy, Evans were all Red Sox for life, or so I thought.
So was George Scott. He was BOOMER. His home runs went high and far. Plus he had all of those cool colored first base gloves.
Then on June 13, 1979, the Red Sox made a trade. Veteran George Scott was going to the Kansas City Royals. In exchange the Red Sox were getting 27 year old outfielder Tom Poquette.
Who is Tom Poquette?
He was a left handed hitting outfielder without much power or speed. Just a non descript white guy, or as I call them now, a Yawkey special.
A few months after flipping Bill Lee for Stan Papi, the Red Sox turned another fan favorite for a bench player.
Now to be fair to the Red Sox front office, George Scott, 2 years removed from an All Star campaign, was basically cooked in 1979. He had little power that season, and only lasted 44 games in Kansas City before the Yankees picked up, I guess as a middle finger to Boston.
So it wasn’t like the Red Sox could get George Brett for George Scott.
But it is hard to figure out what the plans were for Poquette. He had played for the Royals in the 1976, 1977 and 1978 playoffs, so maybe they valued the October experience. He also had a fine Rookie year where he batted .302 and earned himself a 3D Kellogg’s Card in the process.
Where he would fit in the Red Sox outfield was uncertain. Yaz was playing everyday. So was Fred Lynn, Jim Rice and Dwight Evans. And Bob Watson was at first.
I have a theory that the Red Sox wanted to see if Poquette could fill in one of the outfield roles and then offer up Fred Lynn as a trade for much needed rotation help. They would ultimately do just that after the 1980 season when the ill fated Lynn for Frank Tanana trade happened.
In limited time, he batted a solid .331 and posted a .793 for the 1979 Red Sox. In a game on August 10th, that I bet I watched, he went 3 for 4 with a game tying homer and 2 RBI.
Alas the next year he missed the entire season due to injury. He played 3 games with the 1981 Red Sox before finishing the season in Texas.
He spent 1982 with the Royals, his final year in the big leagues.
Since then he has been a coach or manager on many professional levels, usually in the Royals organization. He is also in the Wisconsin sports Hall of Fame.
I guess this whole post has been a way to answer that question I had in 1979: Who is Tom Poquette?