” To dream the impossible dream …..To fight the unbeatable foe….. To bear with unbearable sorrow…..To go where the brave dare not go.” Joe Darion

Just as his moment in the 1946 World Series defined the career of Enos “Country” Slaughter, the 1967 baseball season redefined the franchise of the Boston Red Sox!

 They had been mired in mediocrity, check that, they were abysmal. They had not had a winning season since they were 79-75 in 1958. They had hit the 1,000,000 mark in attendance only once in a decade and they had lost 90 games in 1964, 100 games in 1965 and finished in ninth place in 1966. Fenway Park was turning into a mausoleum as the 1966 edition of the Red Sox drew 16 crowds of less than 3,000 people and one game they actually had 485 people! However, late in 1966, a glimmer of hope showed in the performance of some young players. Then in the winter, they hired this man to manage the team.

” I promise we’ll have a hustling ball club” he told the press and the Fenway Faithful and “they won’t quit…..I don’t intend to have anybody quit on me here.” And then he added, “We’ll win more than we’ll lose.” A bold and brash statement about a team that in the previous three years had a combined record of 198-272 and had finished in 8th, 9th and 9th place. Most members of the media and most members of the Fenway Faithful thought he was nuts!

 The transformation on the field was led by this man, MVP Carl Michael Yastrzemski, the man called simply “Yaz”! It is hard to describe his performance in 1967. The numbers tell part of the story, a .326 average with 44 home runs and 121 RBI. Good enough for the Triple Crown, the last seen by major league baseball. His Hall of Fame manager, Dick Williams went to his grave saying that Carl Yastrzemski in 1967 was the best player he ever saw! There are still many who saw him and/or played with him that season that say the same thing.

His supporting cast was not bad either.

Jim Lonborg emerged as one of the best pitchers in baseball going 22-9 and winning the American League Cy Young Award!

George “Boomer” Scott  played Gold Glove first base with the grace of a deer and he endeared himself to the Fenway Faithful naming home runs “taters” hitting 19 of them and batting .303.

Tony Conigliaro, (see posts Jan 7-13 2012)  blossomed into an All Star before being beaned in August,

and shortstop Rico Petrocelli did as well.

Two rookies emerged with contributions which far exceeded expectations, Mike Andrews at second base and switch-hitting Reggie Smith in centerfield.

The front office made four very significant acquisitions during the season which were invaluable:

Adair provided veteran stability and leadership to a young infield.

Gary “Ding Dong” Bell went 12-8 after joining the Red Sox in June. 

“The Hawk” provided some power when Tony C went down. 

Howard brought an incalculable presence in handling the young Sox pitching staff. 

The 1967 pennant chase, perhaps the most dramatic in baseball history, went down to the last week with the White Sox, Tigers, Twins and Red Sox still alive. The Red Sox emerged victorious by taking the last two games of the season from the Twins at Fenway Park, earning all of them one of these.

However, just as they had in 1946, the Sox dropped the World Series to the St. Louis Cardinals in seven games and it was the Cards who took home the $8,314.81 winners share while the Red Sox settled for $5,115.23 each. To their credit, they voted one full World Series share to the Jimmy Fund!

The Red Sox never drew less than 1,000,000 fans again and since 1986 they have slipped below the two million mark but once. The 2008 season brought three million fans to Fenway Park and they have not slipped below that since.

And there are those that will tell you that the birth of Red Sox Nation occurred in 1967, the Summer of Love, the summer of The Impossible Dream, the summer of the Cardiac Kids, the summer to last a lifetime!

   And so it was at this time in Fenway Park history, World Series time, 1967.

About fenwaypark100

Hello and welcome, my name is Raymond Sinibaldi. An educator for more than two decades, a baseball fan for nearly 60 years, I have authored four books about baseball and her glorious history; with a fifth on the way in late spring of 2015; the first, The Babe in Red Stockings which was co-authored with Kerry Keene and David Hickey. It is a chronicle of Babe's days with the Red Sox. We also penned a screenplay about Babe's Red Sox days so if any of you are Hollywood inclined or would like to represent us in forwarding that effort feel free to contact me through my email. In 2012 we three amigos published Images of Fenway Park in honor of the 100th birthday of Fenway Park. That led to the creation of this blog. The following year, 2013 came my first solo venture, Spring Training in Bradenton and Sarasota. This is a pictorial history of spring training in those two Florida cities. The spring of 2014 brought forth the 1967 Red Sox, The Impossible Dream Season. The title speaks for itself and it also is a pictorial history. Many of the photos in this book were never published before. The spring of 2015 will bring 1975 Red Sox, American League Champions. Another pictorial effort, this will be about the Red Sox championship season of 1975 and the World Series that restored baseball in America. I was fortunate enough to consult with sculptor Franc Talarico on the “Jimmy Fund” statue of Ted Williams which stands outside both Fenway Park and Jet Blue Park Fenway South, in Fort Myers Florida. That story is contained in the near 300 posts which are contained herein. This blog has been dormant for awhile but 2015 will bring it back to life so jump on board, pass the word and feel free to contact me about anything you read or ideas you may have for a topic. Thanks for stopping by, poke around and enjoy. Autographed copies of all my books are available here, simply click on Raymond Sinibaldi and email me.
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