Game 9 vs. Washington Nationals: Jackie Robinson

Jackie Robinson never played for the Red Sox, though on April 16, 1945 the team held tryouts at Fenway Park for Jackie Robinson and other black players. The tryouts were not legitimate, and serve a stark reminder that the Boston Red Sox weren't at the forefront of the integration of black players. Robinson signed with the Brooklyn Dodgers in August of 1945, and he debuted on April 15, 1947. The Red Sox would not add a black player to their roster until July, 1959.

The Washington Nationals/Zombie Expos didn't exist until 1969, but the franchise has historically been well represented by diversity, including drafting Andre Dawson, one of the best Montreal Expos of all time and a Hall of Famer. Dawson played two seasons for the Red Sox as well, but he was pretty much washed up by then. 

In 1997, MLB retired Jackie Robinson's #42, and beginning in 2009 all major league players and coaches began wearing #42 on Jackie Robinson Day. Two years before then Ken Griffey Jr. asked Rachel Robinson permission to wear #42, and it quickly spread. So while Jackie Robinson played only for the Brooklyn Dodgers, all of Major League Baseball honors Jackie Robinson on April 15.

The 2015 Red Sox season, though young, has so far been a break out for Mookie Betts. Named Markus Lynn Betts by his parents partly because he would share the initials with MLB, Betts has given hope to major league baseball's issue of not having African Americans represented more fully at the major league level. The hope here is he'll hit a few bombs, steal a few bases, and rob someone else of a home run in the finale versus the Nationals!

Game 8 vs Washington Nationals: Matt Stairs

Of the players that have worn the uniform of both the Red Sox and Nationals franchises, Matt Stairs represents a connection between the Red Sox, Nationals, and Expos. The Professional Hitter also wore the uniform of 10 other teams!

The barrel chested definition of a slugger had 265 homers over the course of his 19 year career. Amazingly, Stairs only once spent more than 3 seasons with any club, when he spent 5 with the Oakland Athletics. Matt Stairs's greatest moment came during Game 4 of the 2008 NLCS, when he cranked a pinch hit 2 run home run that put the Phillies on top for good. 

The 2015 Nationals, like the 2008 Phillies, had a lot of pre-season hype touting their rotation and the overall chances that they will reach the 2015 World Series. What nobody is saying, and probably should be, is that Matt Stairs isn't walking through that door. Matt Stairs, the MLB all time leader in pinch hit home runs, is not walking through that door to save the day when the Red Sox press their collective foot against the throat of the Nationals Hopes and Dreams tonight. 

That's because Matt Stairs retired years ago, and is now the head coach of a high school hockey team. The Nats have Bryce Harper and all the rest, but they don't have Matt Stairs. They don't have the beer league-style ballplayer who struck fear into many pitchers he faced. They'll probably lose tonight simply because they don't have that kind of talent sitting on the bench, waiting to save the day. Matt Stairs, a super hero with a bat, instead of a cape.

Game 7 vs. Washington Nationals: Bill Lee

If you visit and look at a list of players who have played for both the Red Sox and Washington Nationals, Bill Lee is listed despite never donning a Nationals uniform. The reason for this, of course, is due to the fact that the Montreal Expos relocated to Washington D.C. after the 2004 season.

So, technically, Bill Lee is one of just six players to play only for both the Red Sox and Expos/Nats.  Bill "Spaceman" Lee is, to the best of my knowledge, the only recipient of continued support via graffiti on the wall of the Green Monster.

When Bill Lee was traded to the Montreal Expos for a proverbial bag of balls named Stan Papi, someone responded by spray painting "Who The Hell Is Stan Papi?" on the back of the Green Monster. The Fenway grounds crew cleaned up the graffiti, but the sentence reappeared often during Bill Lee's career until he retired. 

Despite technically playing for only the Red Sox and Expos, Bill Lee has pitched for more than a half dozen semi-pro and celebrity teams since his retirement. In 2010, Lee pitched for the Brockton Rox and picked up the win at the age of 63.

There is no player on the Red Sox or Nationals today that comes close to being the character that is Bill "Spaceman" Lee, but perhaps one of the Red Sox relief pitchers will mix things up and bust out an Eephus pitch!