Carlton Fisk will forever be remembered for one game-winning home run.
But it was durability over the long run that built the Hall of Fame career for a man who retired as the player who spent more games in catcher’s gear than any other in history.
Fisk hit a dramatic game-winning home run off the left field foul pole at Fenway Park in the 12th inning of Game 6 of the 1975 World Series against the Cincinnati Reds. The at-bat is still showed on highlight reels of the best moments in baseball.
“And then after that, running around the bases, it was just one of those things. You couldn't believe what happened to you,” said Fisk. “And I look back on it, it's almost like it happened to somebody else.”
The 11-time All-Star, known for his work ethic and ability to handle pitchers, spent 24 years in the big leagues and 2,226 games behind the plate. That hard work earned him the respect of fans, competitors and teammates.
“He played the game the right way,” said Hall of Fame teammate Carl Yastrzemski. “Both behind the plate and at the plate.”
Born in Bellows Falls, Vt. on Dec. 26, 1947, Fisk attended the University of New Hampshire on a basketball scholarship, but switched games when he was drafted in the first round of the 1967 amateur draft by the Boston Red Sox.
Fisk won the Rookie of the Year Award with Boston in 1972 after leading the league in triples and hitting .293 with 61 RBI and 22 home runs.
Fisk had two home runs and three intentional walks in that 1975 World Series and provided the defining moment despite the fact that the Red Sox lost in seven games. In 1980, Fisk signed with the Chicago White Sox after a procedural error made him a free agent .
In 1985, Fisk hit a career-high 37 home runs and set a single-season record for American League catchers. He also recorded a career-high 107 RBI that season. Fisk set the record for most home runs by a catcher with 351 as well as AL records for most seasons, putouts and chances. He finished his career with 2,356 hits, 376 home runs, 1,330 RBI and a .269 batting average – along with three Silver Slugger Awards and one Gold Glove Award.
He was inducted into the Hall of Fame in 2000.