Happy Birthday, Brandon Moss!

This post first appeared on BaseballDigest.com

Brandon Moss’ Red Sox career had a lot to do with being in the right place at the right time. When then-Red Sox outfielder Eric Hinske went on the bereavement list in the summer of 2008, it was Brandon Moss who got the call to join the big league club as a replacement. In his debut on August 6th, Moss had a hit off Angels’ reliever Scot Shields and scored later in the same inning. Though he was optioned back to the minor leagues 4 days later, Moss returned in September when the rosters expanded.

The Red Sox started the 2008 season in Japan, facing the Oakland Athletics. Regular starting right fielder J.D. Drew experienced tightness in his back, and Brandon Moss found himself in the starting lineup for the team. With the Red Sox trailing 5-4 in the 9th inning, Brandon Moss hit his first career home run to tie the game at 5. It was Moss’ first career home run, but it was also the first home run hit by a Red Sox player in 2008.

Moss ended up being optioned back to the minors following the Japan trip, but returned by the end of April. In early May, Moss had an emergency appendectomy and spent some time on the Disabled List.

Aside from Brandon Moss, other things were brewing with the Red Sox during the season. The now infamous Manny Ramirez exit from Boston involved, indirectly, Brandon Moss. The owner of the team’s first home run of the season was sent with pitcher Craig Hansen to the Pittsburgh Pirates in a three team trade that sent Ramirez to the Los Angeles Dodgers and Pittsburgh’s Jason Bay to Boston.

While Jason Bay continues to perform well with the Red Sox, and Manny Ramirez has battled public image issues with his steroid scandal, Brandon Moss had his first full season in the big leagues with mixed results. Moss started off the season with a strong May and June before tapering off. Despite this, he has shown some upside as the season comes to a close.

Wherever Moss’ career goes from here, we’ll always have his dramatic 9th inning home run on Opening Day, 2008. For that, and being part of the reason Jason Bay is Boston’s current left fielder, Happy 26th Birthday, Brandon Moss!

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