Going into last nights game in Seattle, the Red Sox were 40-35 six and a half games behind the Yankees in third place. Not bad really when you think about all they have endured this year. I mean really, no Ellsbury, no Crawford, no Youkilis! Pedroia has been battling a thumb injury and has underproduced, as has Adrian Gonzalez.
David Ortiz is hitting .309 with 21 homers and 53 RBI.
Papi has been rejuvenated and is once again one of the leagues best hitters and guys named Middlebrooks, Ross, Saltalamacchia, (love that name), Podsednik, Nava and Aviles, have emerged.
Daniel Nava is hitting .315 with two homers and 25 RBI.
Jon Lester and Josh Beckett are a combined 9-12 with ERAs north of 4.50 and I am hard pressed to remember the last time Lester dominated a games. Buchholz is 8-2 but with an ERA at 5.54, the highest on the staff of starters! And Daniel Bard still seeks to rediscover himself toiling in Pawtucket.
Felix Doubront is 8-4 with a 4.54 ERA and looks as if he will be around for awhile.
But guys named Doubront, Morales and Aceves have emerged and Dice K is back. The bull pen, after a horrific start, has emerged as a formidable force and these Red Sox are actually becoming very easy to root for, even the “haters” would have to admit that!
I am always trying to see of we can learn anything from history, so this morning I did a little checking back. I looked at all of the 10 Red Sox teams that have made it to the World Series since Fenway Park was born. I looked at each team after 75 games and here’s what I found out.
The 2007 team was 48-27 (eight games better than todays team) and they were in first place with an 8 1/2 game lead.
That team celebrated wildly in October of that season.
The Magical Mystery Tour of 2004 was actually 42-33, in second place 6 1/2 games out of first!
We all know what happened that October!
The 1986 team was one of three of these squads to be at the 50 win mark this early in the season. They were 50-25 and eight games up in first place!
What more need be said?
The 1975 Fenway Park entity was 42-33 in first place by a game.
Bernie Carbo ties Game 6!
The 1946 team was one of the greatest Red Sox teams of all time. Some will say the greatest. And why not, they won 104 games and after 75 games were 52-23 in first by six and a half games.
Enos “Country” Slaughter scores the winning run in Game seven of the 1946 World Series for St. Louis.
The 1918 team was only 43-32 and in first place by a sliver of a half game. The 1918 season was shortened by a month because of World War I.
The immortal 1918 Boston Red Sox World Championship team.
In 1916, the Red Sox were only one game better than today’s squad at 41-34 and they were also in third place. They were a bit closer to the top at 3 1/2 games behind.
The 1916 team beat the Dodgers in the World Series behind the arm of this southpaw.
In 1915, they were 47-28 but were still in second place two games out of first.
That squad beat the Phillies in five games to be crowned 1915 World Champs. And looked pretty spiffy in their “Stag Brand” sweaters.
The first ever Fenway Park team of 1912 won 105 games, more than any other team in Red Sox history and 75 games into their season they were 51-24 and 6 1/2 games ahead of the league. They did it behind the MVP season of Tris Speaker in centerfield and the incredible 34-5 record of fireballing right hander “Smokey” Joe Wood.
Both Speaker (L) and Wood would be traded to Cleveland.
The 1912 team beat the NY Giants in seven games to claim the title of World Champs, although actually eight games were played. Game two at Fenway ended in a 6-6 tie.
The 1912 World Champs and Joe Wood’s little girl.
Now the more astute among you are saying “hey wait a minute, what about 1967”? Of course, but don’t you always save the best for last?
The 1967 “Impossible Dream Cardiac Kids” were, are you ready for this? Exactly where your 2012 version finds itself. They were 40-35, they were in fourth place and they were 4 1/2 games behind!
The “Cardiac Kids” take the field.
Every Red Sox fan knows, or should know, the story of this phenomenal season. They know of Yaz and Lonnie and Tony C. However, like this years team, they had kids, retreads and aging veterans emerge. Kids named Smith and Andrews and Rico and Scott, and Foy; vets named Howard and Adair and Harrelson and Wyatt and Tartabull. And retreads named Siebern and Landis who stopped by to pitch in a bit here and a bit there, each carving out a little niche in the folk-lore of Fenway and the Red Sox.
The 1967 American League Champions, who like their 1946 counterparts, lost the World Series to the Cardinals in seven games. However Red Sox announcer Ken Coleman called this “the Series nobody lost.” A sentiment shared by the Fenway Faithful.
So where does that leave us? Last night the Sox lost 1-0 to Seattle, in Seattle, to drop to 40-36. In 1967, the Sox lost 4-3 to California, in California to drop to 40-36. Hmmmm, can you say serendipity? Both teams lose game number 76, by one run, on the road, on the west coast; I like it and I’ll tell you where it leaves me. It leaves me hopeful, it leaves me buoyed, it leaves me thinking they just may do it.
There is magic in 67, a magic that never ends, never dies, never dissipates. And watching these guys I have started to think, maybe, just maybe.
There is magic in 67, a magic that allows you to simply let go and believe. There is magic in 67, a magic that tells you to keep going, to stay the course, to battle through the pain, the hurts and know that through the rain there is somewhere a rainbow even if you can’t see it right now.
There is a magic in 67…..Daniel Nava believes in it…..
And so do I…..Always have…..Always will.
And so it is on this day in Fenway Park history, June 29, 2012.