The Red Sox announced that Keith Foulke is back with the club as a Player Development Consultant. It was Foulke, most fans will remember, who was on the mound when the Sox won the 2004 World Series, their first title in 86 years.
A career reliever, Foulke came to Boston from the Athletics, where he had been an All-Star in 2003 with an American League-best 43 saves and a 2.08 ERA. Before that he had spent six seasons with the White Sox after breaking into the big leagues with the Giants, his only National League team. After his three seasons with the Red Sox (2004-06), Foulke returned for one year to Oakland before abruptly retiring.
Big season, steep drop off
From 1999-2004, Foulke’s ERA was just 2.43 with 141 saves over 420 games and a total 521.2 inning pitched. During that time his single-season ERA never went above 2.97 and his game appearances never dipped below 65.
With the Red Sox in 2004 Foulke was superb with 32 saves and a 2.17 ERA, 5th best among AL relievers that season. He pitched in 11 of 14 Red Sox postseason games going 1-0 with four saves and an 0.64 ERA, allowing just one earned run over 14.0 IP. And he accomplished all of it while dealing with significant personal problems including, as he told ESPN’s Gordon Edes, the end of his marriage in September. “My personal life was going to hell,” Foulke said, “I needed my professional life.”
The following season with Boston wasn’t pretty, however, as Foulke’s knees were shot and he stubbornly refused to have them repaired, a decision he told Edes was “the dumbest, stupidest thing” he had done..
In all, Foulke’s 11 year MLB career left him with a 41-37, 3.33 ERA and 191 saves over 619 career games (with just 8 starts in his first season).
Foulke’s 47 Red Sox saves are the 15th most in club history and 5th most since the year 2000.