Category Archives: Red Sox

100 Years of Awesome

With a few days to calm down after the Red Sox weekend debacle against the New York Yankees, I’ve been able to consume a ton of content surrounding the 100 year anniversary of Fenway Park. Being a Massachusetts native now living in NYC, I have to make an effort to find everything great about the Red Sox.  The NYC newspapers openly mock my team, so I can’t take a trip to the store to grab a 30 page spread about how awesome Fenway is.

For a large part, I rely on the Sons of Sam Horn. They’ve become my home away from home for the better part of 5 years. I visited the site for years before then, but it wasn’t until I moved away from Boston that I relied heavily on it to feed my needs.

There are a few members who have amazing photography skills, and some attended the events leading up to the 100 year event. This thread has some great photos and stories about players of years gone by. Perhaps my favorite story involves Harley Hisner.

85 year old Harley Hisner attended the 100 year anniversary of Fenway Park. He made exactly 1 appearance in the major leagues. He started the last game of the 1951 season for the Red Sox against the Yankees. Though he took the L on the day, he faced a lineup of 5 future Hall of Famers and struck out Mickey Mantle twice! He also had a hit in 2 ABs to secure a career .500 batting average.

This guy may have never even been to Fenway Park. He never played there, as the last game was away in New York. He might be the player with the most interesting playing time that made the trip to Fenway. A quick look at the official list of players that returned shows guys like Ed Phillips, John Lickert(Moonlight Graham-esque), and perhaps most famous for being the obscure ‘other’ Martinez on the 2004 Red Sox, Anastacio Martinez.

Overall, I think the Red Sox did a great job with the event. Millar and Pedro’s return made me think about the impossibly awesome era of 2003-2007. I’ve heard from people that the current crop of players aren’t as likeable as the Pedro/Millar/early Pedroia/Beckett group. I think it has some to do with the players, but I think it has more to do with the improbable becoming the possible, the reality, the actuality.

The 2003 team was classic Red Sox, folding at the end. The 2004 team changed everything, and I think that ‘everything’ includes the feeling of dread. This team’s monkey is off its back, for better or worse. Part of that ‘worse’ part is the expectations of being awesome, with characters who back up their attitudes.

That being said, I think the 2012 team has plenty of characters that can be well liked. They just need a chance to show it. Count me as one of the believers in the team that utterly shat the bed this weekend. If they don’t turn it around, hopefully it’ll be hilariously awful. Either way, I’ll be watching.


The End Of An Era

With apologies to Kevin Youkilis and David Ortiz, the recent retirement of Tim Wakefield and (this Thursday) Jason Varitek ushers in the new era of Boston Red Sox Baseball. Truth be told, David Ortiz transcends eras, because he will go down as one of the greatest Red Sox of all time.

That being said, Tim Wakefield and Jason Varitek combined for 30+ seasons in Red Sox uniforms, and both have secured their place in Sox history.

New York Yankees vs. Boston Red Sox

Tim Wakefield Winds Up

Tim Wakefield and Pedro Martinez, back to back in the rotation during Pedro’s first few seasons in Boston, gave me a tutorial in pitching that has stayed with me ever since. Pedro with pitches that approached 100 MPH and Wake with pitches that hit 70 MPH if he was lucky and the wind was at his back. One guy could fool you with blazing speed and location, the other guy fooled you with uncontrolled movement and barely any speed behind it.

Only Doug Mirabelli caught Wakefield more than Jason Varitek, but that’s a testament to Varitek and Wakefield’s lengthy Red Sox tenures more than anything else. Tek caught Wake for just 13 innings in 2011. He didn’t catch Wake in 2010, 2009, 1 inning in 2008, and not before then until 2005 with 21+ innings that garnered Wake an ERA near 9.00.

Tek caught Wakefield on October 16th, 2004 for 3.1 innings where the New York Yankees smashed the Red Sox to a final score of 19-8. Wake had sacrificed his own start the next day to give the bullpen a breather. 2 days later, Tek was in the game when Wakefield threw 3 scoreless innings despite 3 passed balls in the 13th inning of Game 5 of the ALCS.

In a way, the 2004 ALCS with Tek and Wake is a fantastic snapshot into the types of players they were. Wakefield took one for the team in Game 3, and then held the game scoreless two days later. Tek handled 3 passed balls in a single inning, and the Sox came away unscathed.

The above photo is Tek and Wake in Tek’s first start as catcher for the Red Sox on April 2nd, 1998. My guess is we’ll see a retirement version of this sometime during the 2012 season when the team celebrates two players that helped shape an era of a team that became World Series champions…twice!

Red Sox Game Day Connections: Game 81, Houston Astros

Source: SoSH. Used Without Permission

Jeff Bagwell never officially played with the Boston Red Sox, but he has to be considered the best player the Sox had that was given away to the Astros, right?

Short and sweet, today. There’s no reason the Red Sox should lose today. Jeff Bagwell ain’t walking through that door!

Red Sox Game Day Connections: Game 80, Philadelphia Phillies

Source: Used Without Permission

If Mike Timlin was walking through that door, he’s be pissed off. He’d be smashing heads. He’d be kicking asses and taking names.

Or maybe he’d just pat his teammates on the ass and say ‘we’ll get ’em next time,’. I’ll stick to the former, because Timlin arrived in Boston in 2003(after a brief stop in Philly in 2002) with that kind of mentality, and the Red Sox won it all twice with him in the bullpen.

The losing’s gotta stop! And Angry Mike Timlin says the time is now!

Red Sox Game Day Connections: Game 79, Philadelphia Phillies

Source: Used Without Permission

By the time Pedro Martinez pitched for the Philadelphia Phillies, he was 5 years removed from being a member of the Boston Red Sox. Before the Sox he wore Expos and Dodgers jerseys. Still, seeing him in anything but a Red Sox uni seemed weird. What wasn’t weird was his flashes of brilliance during his 2009 campaign, including a tough luck loss in Game 2 of the World Series against the New York Yankees.

Pedro was so damn nasty during his career, I used to watch scrambled NESN(yes, there was a time NESN was a premium channel!) and listen to Pedro strike out 10, 12, 15 batters in a game with such regularity that I thought every pitcher was capable of it.

John Lackey is starting for Boston, and there might not be a more hated player by fans of the Red Sox. The problem is, he’s not helping himself. If he picked up the ball and pitched his ass off tonight to help turn things around, maybe the haters won’t be hating as much.

I can wish.

Red Sox Game Day Connections: Game 78, Philadelphia Phillies

Source: Used Without Permission

Is the Red Sox / Phillies series really a World Series Preview? Perhaps. There’s a lot of baseball left, so it’s impossible to really guess.

Before the Phillies’ latest revival since 2007, they last reached the Fall Classic in 1993. At the time, Curt Schilling was just beginning his dominance over the NL and eventually the AL. His greatest successes came with the D-Backs and the Red Sox, but his first taste of the postseason was in 1993, where he showcased what he was capable of.

The Phillies have a gaggle of aces these days, and the Red Sox are pretty stacked as well. This should be an awesome series from start to finish.

Red Sox Game Day Connections: Game 77, Pittsburgh Pirates

Bronson Arroyo is a great example of recent transactions with the Pirates that have benefited the Red Sox. In February of 2003, the Red Sox plucked Arroyo off waivers and into the mix of pitchers that helped carry the Red Sox to the 2004 World Series Championship.

The Pirates would love to have a guy like him back in their rotation. Maybe the Sox would, too?

Either way, the Sox need to stop losing to the Pirates!