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Posts Tagged ‘1975 World Series’


"Are you ready to listen yet?"

Peter Gammons know calls Dice-K the Riddler.  I’d prefer to call him The Enigma, though I’ve called him Diva-K in the past.  He is an incredibly talented pitcher who nonetheless drives Red Sox crazier than Manny “Money” Ramirez ever did.

Dice-K arrived as a highly touted front-line starter destined to conquer America.  He had 6 “plus” pitches.  But somewhere along the road to glory something went seriously wrong.  It started well.  He was a key component of Red Sox 2007 World Series championship (32 starts, 15-12, 4.40 ERA, 201 Ks, 1.32 WHIP) by eating up over 200 innings as advertised.  He had a mystifying 2008 season (29 starts, 18-3, 2.90 ERA, 154 Ks, 1.32 WHIP in only 167 innings).  Notice that consistency in the WHIP.  He gave up 13 fewer HRs.  He put guys on base at the same rate, but fewer scored.  The maddening aspects began to kick in.  But it was easy to look at the record and ERA and get hopeful for the future.

Then started the injuries and power struggles.  Francona has said that he essentially can’t talk with Dice-K.  There is a cultural divide that seems quite ginormous.  His WHIP and ERA have gone up, innings have gone down.  The frustration factor has correlated with the WHIP and ERA.

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A great game deserves a great book

It was perhaps one of the greatest baseball games ever.  It was definitely the greatest World Series game ever.  That game was game 6 of the 1975 Series between the Red and the Red Sox.

I was only 9, and wasn’t able to stay up all night.  I recorded it on my DVR from MLB Network before going in vacation, only to have a lightening strike wipe it out.

Mark Frost’s book Game Six: Cincinnati, Boston, and the 1975 World Series: The Triumph of America’s Pastime is long overdue.  I hope that helped him gain perspective on the game that only time can provide.

It reminds me of The Perfect Storm in many ways.  Frost takes on a variety of meaningful tangents to explain the background of players and current events.  Some of those tangents include things like Cuban-American relations (since El Tiante & Big Dog Perez were Cuban), the history of the reserve clause, the Boston busing maelstrom and more.

At first it was annoying.  He would talk about a play, and then tell a story (often interrupted by the next pitch).  Then I got it.  It was like the TV announcers for a real game.  He was writing like a real game, as if a play-by-play man and analyst.  Quite ingenious actually.

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A great read!

I am currently reading Game Six: Cincinnati, Boston and the 1975 World Series: The Triumph of America’s Pastime.  I was a 9 year old boy, in New England who had to go to school the next day and missed one of the greatest games ever.  In the book, I just finished the account of the game.

In the section leading up to Bernie Carbo’s game-tying pinch hit 3-run home run, Mark Frost mentions some of Bernie’s personal issues.  He had a number of personal demons the prevented him from realizing the potential that he had.

One of my clearest memories of our many trips to Fenway Park as a child was leaving a game early, thinking it was over.  Dad wanted to beat the traffic.  Then we heard, “Now up, Bernie Carbo.”  He was pinch hitting again.  Soon the crowd erupted as we saw a baseball fly over the netting atop the Green Monster.  The man could hit.

He has admitted in a Boston Globe article that he was high on drugs at the time of his historic home run.

“I probably smoked two joints, drank about three or four beers, got to the ballpark, took some [amphetamines], took a pain pill, drank a cup of coffee, chewed some tobacco, had a cigarette, and got up to the plate and hit,’’ Carbo said.

His story is tragic in many ways, as the article continues.

“I played every game high,’’ he said. “I was addicted to anything you could possibly be addicted to. I played the out field sometimes where it looked like the stars were falling from the sky.

“I played baseball 17 years of my life and I don’t think I ever missed a day of being high, other than when I went to Saudi Arabia and Kuwait [for a baseball clinic] in 1989. And the only reason I didn’t do any drugs there was that I was afraid that I would lose my life.’’

I ache for a man who could have done so much, but wasted it.  The man who gave Boston another shot needed to be redeemed himself.  Thankfully that is not the rest of the story.  He has been redeemed, he has found the peace that eluded him all those years.

“I threw away my career,’’ said Carbo, 62. “If I knew Jesus Christ was my savior at 17, I would have been one heck of a ballplayer, a near Hall of Famer. Instead, I wanted to die.’’

Now he uses his old love, baseball, to tell people about his new love- Jesus.  He runs a fantasy camp in Mobile, Alabama each year at Hank Aaron stadium.  He uses the proceeds from the camp to travel through New England each summer putting on clinics, speaking at youth camps, prisons, 12-step programs and more.  His story recounts the pervasiveness of drugs and alcohol in baseball in those years, as well as the sins against him that he tried to sooth with drugs.  But it also reveals the Mighty Savior who found him, able to reach him in the darkest hole.  Check it out.

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