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1978: The Boston Massacre

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  • 1978: The Boston Massacre

    Thx to Facebook, I have been re-acquainted with an old friend from high school (mainly) and he is an avid outdoorsman, he posted that hunting season starts September 1 with dove hunting. It jogged some old memories, especially 1978 when we went on a group dove hunting trip of 4 days. My memory thought it was Labor Day Weekend, but I just looked it up and found out it was Sept 7 - 10, 1978. The reason I know this is because we were all big Baseball fans and were going to miss the big Red Sox - Yankee 4 game series. This was the pre-internet pre-cell phone days and we were pretty much going to be out of touch with the outside world for 4 days. The Red Sox had jumped out to a huge lead, but the Yankees, with players returning from injuries, were climbing back and got to within a few games prior to the series. Way back then, I was a actually a big Red Sox fan, loved the Park and the unis and hats, and the team. This was prior to them joining in the dual evil empire spendathons to match the Yankees of more recent vintage, and all the east coast bias and overbroadcast of everything Red Sox and Yankees.

    I did not like the Yankees then and the big reason was the new free agent system and the Yankees acquiring every all-star they could get their hands on no matter what the cost (hmmm a 1978 version of the 2012 Dodgers?). In a few short years, they got the 3 time world champ and 5 time division champ A's Best pitcher and future Hall of Famer - Catfish Hunter, they got the perennial pennant winner and recent 2 time world series winner Reds best pitcher Don Gullett, after a 1 year hiatus in Baltimore, they got the A's best position player and future HOF Reggie Jackson, they got all star SS Bucky Dent from the White Sox, etc. etc. They were the incarnation of the evil empire.

    The Red Sox and Yankees traded pennants in 1975 and 1976 and in a very close race, closer than most remember, the Yankees nipped the Red Sox (and Orioles) in 1977 and went on to their first world championship in 15 years. The Red Sox seemed to have turned the tide in 1978, Yankee manager Billy Martin had been fired mid-season and replaced by Bob Lemon.

    So off we went on our hunting trip and we arrived back on Sunday and we got back to my house first as I recall and my dad (sort of a closet Yankee fan) told us the Yankees massacred the Red Sox in all 4 games, 3 times by frightful scores. We were dumbfounded. We thought a split would have been maybe the best the Yankees could hope for.

    The Yanks took game 1 15-3, leading 12-0 after 3 and a half innings, out-hitting the Red Sox 21-8. They took game 2 13-2 leading 8-0 after an inning and a half, this time out-hitting the Sox 17-6. They took Game 3 7-0 behind ace Ron Guidry, who improved to 21-2. The Red Sox scratched out two hits in the first then never got another hit the rest of the game. Meanwhile The Yankees exploded for 7 runs in the 4th inning against Boston's best pitcher Dennis Eckersley, getting six hits, 4 walks (2 intentional), and throw in a wild pitch and a passed ball all in that one inning. This time the Sox got out hit 11-2.

    After 3 games, the Yankees had outscored Boston 35-5, outhitting them 49-16.

    In game 4, the Yankees led 5-0 after an inning and a half, but Boston made this the only "close" game of the series losing 7-4. They were still out hit 18-5.

    Final totals: Yankees 4 wins Red Sox zero wins, Yankee - 42 runs, Red Sox - 9 runs, Yankee hits - 67 Red Sox hits - 21.

    Of course we know what happened after that. Then Boston Globe reporter and later hall of famer Peter Gammons once wrote that the 1978 1 game playoff was the most important baseball game ever (or something close to that). Of course, like Dan O'Shaughnesy who thinks the world revolves around four teams, the Red Sox, Patriots, Celtics and Bruins, Gammons from Boston might have been a little biased.

    The next spring, as usual, I got my set of Strat-O-Matic cards and the Red Sox did not impress me. Of course MVP Jim Rice was super but even then his splits were typical Fenway illusions: .361 with 28 HR and a .690 SA at home, but "only" .269 with 18 HR and a .512 SA on the road. Lynn had a decent year as did Fisk, but these were not anywhere close to their top years. Butch Hobson, Dwight Evans and especially George Scott all had sub par years. The middle infielders, Burleson and Remy were decent, Remy even adding some needed speed to the lineup, but they really contributed very little offensively. And Yaz, getting up in age had a fair year only, with a slugging average in the low .400s.

    The problem with the pitching staff was it was heavily RH favored, Eckerlsey was good but gave up a whopping 30 HR. Stanley had a good relief year, but overall this pitching staff was nothing to write home about.

    It later came to the front that Hobson had some problems with his elbow and that led to a very poor defensive year, as I recall a very low fielding percentage, Strat-O-Matic gave hm a 3B-4, E-37 rating, which was the absolute worst you could get for a 3B. I looked it up Hobson made 43 errors and fielded .899, participating in 25 DP. For comparison purposes, Graig Nettles made 11 errors, fielded .975, and participated in 30 DP. In our 1979 league (based on the 1978 season) I think I had last choice of teams out of 4 and skipped the Red Sox and took the Brewers, but I am not sure (we took stock teams then drafted about 5-7 players from the remaining teams).

    Looking up their splits the Red Sox went 59-23 at home and 40-41 on the road. In the first half they went 57-26 and in the second half 42-38. They did pretty well against most teams, but went 3-7 vs the Rangers. They also went 5-5 vs the A's, a .426 team that year.
    Last edited by 9RoyHobbsRF; 09-03-2012, 01:00 PM.
    1. The more I learn, the more convinced I am that many players are over-rated due to inflated stats from offensive home parks (and eras)
    2. Strat-O-Matic Baseball Player, Collector and Hobbyist since 1969, visit my strat site:
    3. My table top gaming blog:

  • #2
    34 years ago today, the Yankees beat the Red Sox 15-3 in what became Game 1 of the Boston Massacre
    1. The more I learn, the more convinced I am that many players are over-rated due to inflated stats from offensive home parks (and eras)
    2. Strat-O-Matic Baseball Player, Collector and Hobbyist since 1969, visit my strat site:
    3. My table top gaming blog:


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