Sport: The Forgotten Man

When he walks to the plate like an outsize Little Leaguer, batting helmet resting loosely on his ears, hardly anyone in Boston cheers, or even boos. When he stands in to bat lefthanded, only the shortstop bothers to play him deep. The front office talks blandly of trading him, fans pass him blankly on the street, his manager bats him seventh and remarks flatly, "You never really know he's around." At 34, the Red Sox' James Edward ("Pete") Runnells is one of the most inconspicuous players in baseball. He is also the best hitter in the American League. Last week...

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