Fan favorite Kevin Youkilis felt good about the Red Sox chances for the upcoming season when he arrived at spring training in February 2007. “Things just never came together for us the season before,” he says referring to the third-place 2006 Red Sox.

“But I thought we had a really good mix of talent for the 2007 season. We had established all-stars like Papi, Manny and Schill [Curt Schilling], and we had new players like J. D. Drew, Dustin Pedroia, and, of course, Dice K.”

Looking back ten years, he says, “For me personally, I had just finished my first full season with the Red Sox after playing partial seasons in 2004 and 2005. I believed I had learned a lot, and I was confident I could make the improvements I needed,” he remembers.

Reflecting on the 2007 World Champion Boston Red Sox, Kevin says, “That was really an outstanding team. Fans remember the great season our top players had and they remember the leadership that Tek [Jason Varitek] provided, but what I remember best is the contributions we got from everyone. It really was a team achievement.”   


 Kevin Edmund Youkilis was born in Cincinnati, OH, on March 15, 1979, and he lived in the Queen City through his graduation from the University of Cincinnati in 2001. “That was my hometown,” he says, “and I have wonderful memories of family and home. It was a great place to grow up.”

He remembers playing whatever sport was in season, but baseball was his first love. “I always had a passion for baseball. My dad played in a Sunday softball league and I would go along and shag balls. And he had a share in a season ticket for the Reds and we went to Riverfront Stadium a lot.

Kevin remembers that he had to prove himself at every level. “I wasn’t the smoothest player so I could get overlooked. I just had to play harder and be more determined. I got that determined streak from my father and my mother,” he chuckles.

He made second team All-American in his junior year with the Bobcats, but he was passed over in the June amateur player draft. “I really thought some team would pick me up, but I used that as motivation. I played for Bourne in the Cape Cod League and I played with a chip on my shoulder. I outplayed a lot of guys from the big-time college programs.”

After an outstanding senior season the Red Sox selected Youkilis in the 8th round in the June 2001 draft. Matt Haas was the Red Sox scout who recommended drafting him. When asked what he saw in Youk he responded, “At first, not a lot. But after watching him over time I thought, ‘Throw the tools out the window. This kid can play!’”


Kevin Youkilis began his professional baseball career with the Lowell Spinners in the NY-Penn League. “Lowell was the ideal place to start a minor league career. The park was new and it was full every night. The fans were great—I really loved it there.”

His sparkling on-base-percentage of .512 earned him a promotion to Augusta (GA) for five games at the end of 2001. The following season he began in Augusta but he was quickly promoted to high-A Sarasota and he had made it to Trenton in AA by the end of the season. By 2004 he was starting his second season at Triple-A Pawtucket and on May 15th he was called up to the Red Sox.

Kevin hit a home run off former Cy Young winner Pat Hentgen of the Toronto Blue Jays n his second at-bat in his first major league game. “That was an unbelievable experience,” he says. “And to make it extra special, my parents had caught a flight from Cincinnati to Toronto and they were sitting right behind the Red Sox dugout.”

When the best-seller, Moneyball, by Michael Lewis, came out in 2003, Youkilis became something of a baseball celebrity. Moneyball focused on Oakland A’s general manager Billy Beane’s use of analytics to evaluate players and his on-base-percentage emphasis. Beane focused on Kevin’s outstanding pitch selection and referred to him as “The Greek God of Walks.” How did he react to this notoriety? “I took it as a compliment even though I’m not Greek,” he laughs.

Youkilis appeared in 65 games for the 2004 Red Sox and he was on the roster for the ALDS and World Series. He treasures his memories of that historic World Championship. “To be even a small part of that team was amazing. It really was an unforgettable experience.”


Throughout the minor leagues and his time with the Red Sox, Youkilis played almost exclusively at third base and he played it well. But in 2006 Kevin was asked to switch to first base to make room for Gold Glove-caliber third baseman Mike Lowell. Looking back, Kevin says, “I wanted to play wherever I would help the most. I knew how fortunate I was to be in the big leagues and I was determined to stay there and improve.”

Kevin made a flawless transition to first base in 2006, and he did not make an error at first base from July 4, 2006, to the end of that season. His defensive excellence at first would earn him a Gold Glove in 2007, and his errorless streak continued all season, reaching 238 games in 2008, setting a new major league record.

He got off to a slow start at the plate in 2007, batting a season-low .242 after 18 games. Then on April 25, in a game in Baltimore, he went three-for-four and began a 23-game hitting streak. His streak also included nine straight games with two or more hits, tying Jim Rice’s Red Sox record.

As Kevin’s hitting streak continued Red Sox manager Terry Francona observed, “He’s taking more of what the pitchers give him, using the whole field. He works the count as well as anyone,” Francona said, “And he’s learned to take the two-strike breaking ball to right field.”


On April 18, 2007, the Red Sox defeated the Blue Jays 4-1 in a game in Toronto, improving their record to 8-5, moving them into first place in the AL East.  The club maintained that first place position right through the final game of the season on September 30.

“That team was so deep,” Youkilis remembers. “I started slowly but players like Papi, Manny and Mike Lowell led the offense. And we got contributions from players like Coco Crisp and JD Drew.  Our pitching staff had great starters and guys like Pap [Jonathon Papelbon], Mike Timlin and Okajima [Hideki] in the bullpen to back them up.”

When Kevin’s 23-game hitting streak came to an end on June 2, the Red Sox held an 11-game lead over the Baltimore Orioles in the AL East. Towards the end of his streak he was batting .358, a career high. “You go on streaks where everything seems to fall in and times where everything you hit is right at someone—that’s baseball,” he says.

The Red Sox celebrated the Fourth of July with a 7-5 win over Tampa, increasing their AL East lead to a season-high 11.5 games. But Youkilis wasn’t celebrating—he missed the first of five-straight games to rest a tight left quad. “I wanted to play every game but sometimes you just had to listen to the medical staff,” he acknowledges.


            At the All-Star break the Red Sox enjoyed a 9.5 game lead over the New York Yankees, but Youkilis recalls that the team never let up. “We wanted to win every inning, every game and every series,” he says.

That philosophy served the club well as the surging Yankees won two-thirds (56-28) of their games in the second half. “We knew they were getting closer but when you are in the lead and you win they can’t catch you,” Kevin emphasizes. “We were strong at the start and we were even stronger towards the end of the season.

“Clay Buchholz came up in August and pitched a no-hitter for us. And Ellsbury [Jacoby] gave us a big lift in September,” he emphasizes. “And I can’t begin to tell you what the return of a healthy Jon Lester meant to us.”

Kevin’s average dropped into the .280s as the season went on. Manager Francona worried that he played so hard that he was running out of gas. “When you watch how hard he plays you wonder if he can sustain it,” he told the media. “But I want him in our lineup regardless of his average.”

The Yankees battled to the end but the Red Sox prevailed, finishing first in the AL East. The club prepared to play the Los Angeles Angels in the ALDS with the first two games at friendly Fenway.


The Red Sox kicked off the 2007 postseason by eliminating the Los Angeles Angels with three-straight wins. Josh Beckett set the tone with a four-hit shutout in Game One, Manny Ramirez contributed a three-run walk-off home run in Game Two and Curt Schilling’s masterpiece in Game Three clinched the series. 

The ALCS against the Indians looked like a repeat of the ALDS when Beckett handled Cleveland easily in the series opener, but Fenway Park went silent as the Tribe scored seven unanswered runs in the eleventh inning of Game Two, to knot the series.

Two straight wins in Cleveland put the Indians up three games-to-one, leaving the Red Sox on the brink of elimination. Looking back, Youkilis remembers a somber clubhouse after the Game Four loss. “We all realized how serious our situation was.

“I think what helped us turn the series around,” he says referring to the Red Sox comeback of three-straight wins to take the series, “is the fact that we had an off-day after Game Four. We all had a chance to regroup and think about what we needed to do to win the series.”

When the World Series against the Colorado Rockies began in Fenway Park on October 24, Kevin Youkilis continued the hot hitting that he began in the ALCS. In the four wins over Cleveland plus Game One of the World Series, he was 10-for-18 (.555), which included nine runs scored and seven RBI. But when the series shifted to Colorado, the Red Sox lost the DH and Youk was replaced by David Ortiz at first.

Looking back Kevin says, “Sure, I wanted to play. But I wanted the team to put the best combination of players in the game. And we won the World Series in four-straight. That’s what matters. There is no better feeling in the world for a ballplayer than winning a championship.”



Kevin Youkilis and his wife Julie live in Los Gatos, CA, not far from San Jose. “I’m very lucky. My wife Julie is a wonderful wife and mother.” He acknowledges that children Jordan, Zachary and Jeremy pretty much rule the roost. All serious Patriot fans know that Julie is also Tom Brady’s sister.

Kevin is in his second year as a part-time analyst on Red Sox telecasts alongside Dave O’Brien. He has earned high marks in that role for his insights and knowledge of the game. He is also the founder and CEO of Los Gatos, California-based Loma Brewing Company

Youkilis was all about performance and not personal statistics as a player. But his performance over nine seasons with the Red Sox places him among career leaders with the club and for MLB (see attached table). He has the highest fielding percentage (.997) at first base in Red Sox history and that fielding percentage ranks second for all first basemen in MLB history. Even serious Red Sox fans will be surprised by how high Youk’s offensive numbers rank.

Kevin really regrets charging the mound and fighting Rick Porcello, then of the Tigers. “That was not a good look. I was tired of getting hit and I lost it,” he recalls. “But that is not the image I stood for. It was a lousy example for kids.”

Beginning with his first professional game cries of “Youk, Youk” echoed throughout the stadium whenever Kevin stepped to the plate. “It’s funny, my family and all my friends call me Kevin. But it was great when I heard “Youk” from the fans. That was pretty unique.” he agrees.

What message does Kevin have for Red Sox fans? “I’m really struggling for the right words because they meant so much to me. First, thanks for your support and passion. The fans really got my adrenaline going because they were so passionate. I absolutely loved the Red Sox fans and my entire time in Boston.”




First Basemen Fielding %






On-Base Percentage



Slugging Average



OPS: On Base PLUS Slugging