The Red Sox beat the Tigers yesterday 7-4 and for the sixth time this season they pulled even at 24-24. So tonight at Fenway Park, Daniel Bard will attempt, once again, to get the Red Sox over the .500 mark. In the way will be Justin Verlander who earlier this year allowed them two hits in eight innings.
The good news is that the Red Sox, despite being forced to play their third line in the outfield, have won 11 of their last 16 games. The bad news is well, Justin Verlander.
They started to show some chipiness this weekend manifested in a late game group discussion with the Tampa Bay Rays.
And with their first walk off home run of the season by Jarrod Saltalamacchia. It was the first ever walk off home run by the Red Sox catcher and now places him in position to become only the sixth player in Red Sox history to hit more than one walk off Red Sox homer in a season.
The king of the Red Sox walk off homer is “Big Papi” himself, who nine times has ended a game with a dinger. He is one of only two Red Sox players to have multiple walk off homers in more than one season. He had three in 2005 and a pair of them in 2006.
The other guy is Jimmie “The Beast” Foxx. The slugging first baseman, and my choice as the All Fenway first baseman, hit eight career walk off homers and in 1940 did it a season record four times. He also did it twice in 1938, the year he became the first Red Sox player to hit 50 homers in a season.
The Red Sox have had two shortstops who have had multiple walk off homers in a season.
“Junior” Stephens hit 122 home runs for the Red Sox in five seasons. Five of them were walk offs.
The first one was Vern Stephens, who twice in the 1948 season hit walk offs and 50 years later, Nomar Garciaparra hit a pair of them as well.
Nomaaaah, an all time favorite of the Fenway Faithful.
The fifth and last Red Sox player to hit more than one walk off homer in a single season is the most interesting. He appeared on these pages just last week and that’s because he is a pitcher who hit home runs.
Wes Ferrell (right) chats with Lefty Grove before a game in 1935. In 1935 he went 25-14, with a 3.52 ERA. He led the league in wins, starts, complete games and innings pitched. He also hit .347 with seven home runs and 32 RBI. Two of his homers ended games.
Wes Ferrell twice hit game ending home runs in 1935, Tom Yawkey’s second year owning the team. He also was the first Red Sox player to end a game with a home run, more than once in the same season. He finished second in the 1935 AL MVP voting behind the Tigers Hank Greenberg.
There are some pretty hefty Fenway names on the list of Walk Off leaders. Five of them have their numbers watching over Fenway Park from the venerable right field Fenway facade.
Number 9, three career walk offs.
Number 1, six career walk offs.
Number 8, four career walk offs.
Number 14, five career walk offs.
Number 27, two career walk offs.
Williams, Doerr, Yastrzemski, Rice and Fisk had a combined 20 career walk off home runs but never had more than one in a season.
There are 13 other Red Sox players with multiple career game ending home runs. Some are all time Red Sox greats and thus Fenway household names like, Jackie Jensen, Dwight Evans, Wade Boggs, Rico Petrocelli, Mo Vaughn and Frank Malzone. One is a recently retired soon to be named Red Sox all time great Jason Varitek and another is current player Kevin Youkilis. And then there are those who showed flashes of brilliance in the midst of good to average careers. Names such as Jimmy Piersall, Jim Tabor, Troy O’Leary, Gary Geiger, and Kevin Romine.
Quite a collection of names but none of them had more than one on a season.
“Salty” celebrates .
Jarrod Saltalamacchia hit his first career walk home run this past weekend. he is now in a position to do what only five players in Fenway Park history have ever done.
How bout tonight “Salty”, let’s get it over with!
And so it is on this day in Fenway Park history, May 29, 2012, getting over .500 day?