Dwight Michael Evans (born November 3, 1951), nicknamed Dewey, is an American former professional baseball right fielder and right-handed batter who played with the Boston Red Sox (1972–90) and Baltimore Orioles (1991) in Major League Baseball.
Evans won eight Gold Glove Awards (1976, 1978–79 and 1981–85). In the 1970s and 1980s, Evans played in the outfield with Hall of Famer Jim Rice as well as all-stars Fred Lynn and Tony Armas.
Evans was born in Santa Monica, California. He played Pony League and Colt League Baseball in Northridge, California with Doug DeCinces. Dwight attended Granada Hills High School in the tenth grade, but was not happy with the poor treatment he received from the baseball coaches. He then transferred to Chatsworth High School and played alongside Rick Rieger. Evans started his career by winning International League MVP honors, but in his early major league career, he was primarily a defensive standout with a modest bat. In the second half of his career, he became a powerful batter, twice winning the Silver Slugger award (1981, 1987).
Evans acquired the nickname Dewey while playing for the Winston-Salem Red Sox during his third year of professional ball in 1971. It was coined by manager Don Lock who had already called Don Newhauser "Newie" and another teammate "Louie."
Evans made his Major League Baseball debut for the Boston Red Sox on September 16, 1972 in a game against the Cleveland Indians. The Red Sox won 10–0 behind the pitching of Luis Tiant who threw a 3-hit complete game. Evans pinch ran for Reggie Smith in the 6th but was stranded at 2B; he played in right field where he recorded 1 PO. Evans went 0–1 at the plate in his debut. Evans played in 18 games in 1972 for the Red Sox, and had 57 plate appearances (.263 BA, 15 H, 2 R, 6 RBI, 1 HR).
In the historic 6th game of the 1975 World Series, with the score tied 6-6 in the 11th inning, Evans made a spectacular catch of a drive hit by Cincinnati Reds second baseman Joe Morgan. He threw to first base to complete an inning-ending double play. Carlton Fisk hit the famous walk off home run in the 12th inning to win the game for the Red Sox 7-6.
Despite the strike-shortened 1981 season, Evans had his best all-around year. He paced the league in total bases (215), OPS (.937), walks (85), times on base (208), and tied Eddie Murray, Tony Armas and Bobby Grich for the home run title with 22. He also ranked second in runs scored (84) and on-base percentage (.415), and third in slugging percentage (.522). He added a .296 batting average with 71 runs batted in. In 1987, at age 35, Evans recorded career highs in batting average (.305), HRs (34) and RBI (123). He spent his final season with the Orioles, batting .270 with six homers and drove in 38 runs in 101 games.
Evans was named an Outfielder on The Sporting News AL All-Star team in 1982, 1984 and 1987 and was also tabbed as an Outfielder on the AL Silver Slugger Team by The Sporting News in 1981 and 1987. Evans would win the Gold Glove award in 1976, 1978, 1979, 1981, 1982, 1983, 1984, and 1985.
In his 20-year career, Evans batted .272, with 385 home runs, 1384 RBI, 1470 runs, 2446 hits, 483 doubles, 73 triples, and 78 stolen bases in 2606 games. Only Carl Yastrzemski (3308) played more games for the Red Sox than Evans (2505). Evans also played for the Red Sox in two World Series. In 1975 against the Cincinnati Reds, he batted .292 with excellent defensive play in right field, and in 1986 against the New York Mets, he batted .308 with 2 home runs and 9 RBI.
Evans hit a home run four times on Opening Day. On April 7, 1986, he set a major league record by hitting the first pitch of the season for a home run, eclipsing the mark held by the Chicago Cubs' Bump Wills, who hit the second pitch for a home run on April 4, 1982.
Originally Evans was assigned the uniform number 40 but quietly he wanted to wear number 24, the number of his idol Willie Mays. In 1973 the Sox gave him number 24, the number he wore for the rest of his career in Boston and one year with Baltimore. Other Red Sox players to wear the same jersey number since Evans retired include Kevin Mitchell, Mike Stanley, Manny Ramirez, and Takashi Saito.
In 2000, Dwight Evans was selected to the Boston Red Sox Hall of Fame.
In 2002, Evans served as hitting coach for the Red Sox and wore uniform number 25.
In 2003, Evans was named a Player Development Consultant for the Red Sox.
Evans was dropped from the Baseball Hall of Fame ballot when he did not receive the minimum five percent of votes in his third year of eligibility. Evans received 5.9% in 1997, 10.4% in 1998, and 3.6% in 1999. Evans' low vote total in 1999 is attributed to the appearance of future Hall of Fame players Nolan Ryan, George Brett, Robin Yount, and Carlton Fisk on the 1999 ballot. Based on his win shares metric, baseball statistician Bill James has argued that Evans is a worthy candidate for induction.Three-time All-Star (1978, 1981, 1987)
Eight Gold Glove Awards (1976, 1978–79, 1981–85)
Four Top-10 finishes in AL MVP Awards (1981–82, 1987–88)
Led league in On-base percentage (1982)
Led league in OPS (1981 and 1984)
Led league in Runs and Extra-Base Hits (1984)
Led league in Total Bases and Home Runs (1981)
Led league in Walks (1981, 1985 and 1987)
Led league in Runs Created (1981 and 1984)
Led league in Times on Base (1981 and 1982)
2,606 Games (34th All-Time MLB)
8,996 At Bats (61st All-Time MLB)
1,470 Runs (65th All-Time MLB)
2,446 Hits (95th All-Time MLB)
4,230 Total Bases (53rd All-Time MLB)
483 Doubles (59th All-Time MLB)
385 Home Runs (49th All-Time MLB)
1,384 RBI (65th All-Time MLB)
1,391 Walks (25th All-Time MLB)
1,570 Runs Created (54th All-Time MLB)
941 Extra-Base Hits (41st All-Time MLB)
3,890 Times on Base (43rd All-Time MLB)
77 Sacrifice Flies (87th All-Time MLB)
Hit for the cycle (1984)
Four home runs on opening days in his career, including one on the very first pitch of the season. The one he hit on the very first pitch was also in the first MLB game of the season, thus giving him the record for earliest home run hit in a season.
Has the 10th most career home runs hit by an American League right-handed batter (385).
Appeared on the cover of Sports Illustrated in 1988.
In the 11th inning of Game Six of the 1975 World Series against the Cincinnati Reds, Evans made a spectacular running catch deep in the right field corner near Pesky's Pole, robbing Joe Morgan of a home run, then doubled Ken Griffey, Sr. off first. The Red Sox then won the game in the 12th on Carlton Fisk's famous home run.
Evans and his wife Susan have been long-time supporters of the neurofibromatosis non-profit NF Inc., Northeast. Their sons Timothy and Justin were diagnosed with the disease in the 1980s.
In 2011, Evans appeared in the Farrelly brothers film Hall Pass as Maggie's father.