This is my ode about the time I spent with my grandfather on Cape Cod. I hope to honor the summers we shared and the teams we rooted for by reuniting a game used bat for every Red Sox position player from 1975 to 1986. This is for you Gus!

Monday, May 16, 2016

Jeff Newman

The closer I look at the careers of the men I grew up idolizing the more I realize that their stories are less like that of Jim Rice and Carl Yastrzemski and more like Jeff Newman's. Newman was not an All Star but a craftsman who spent six years in the minor leagues learning his trade before getting the opportunity to go to work at the major league level. Once there Newman never rose above third on the catching depth chart despite spending nine years between Oakland and Boston.

Even though he never garnered the adulation that some of his teammates took for granted and the post career aches and pains that must be Newman's constant companion, I have to believe that he wouldn't trade having been a ball player for any other profession. After all he is able to claim to have pitched one scoreless inning in relief and to have utterly owned pitcher Wayne Garland, whom Newman went 13 for 18 against with two home runs. That sounds like a great career to me.

8 bats down 75 to go.

Tuesday, May 10, 2016

Marty Barrett

Some players arrive at the Major League level with bodies that look like they were carved from granite. Marty Barrett was not one of those players. In fact, Barrett looked more like Barney Rubble in a double knit jersey than an athlete, but looks can be deceiving.                                                                                                                                                                    Barrett played nine seasons of his decade long Major League career on the infield dirt at Fenway. Despite his unfortunate build he was an excellent fielder and a reliable bat for the Sox and was a fan favorite during the 1980's. Barrett played the game hard and always seemed to have a trick up his sleeve. Barrett pulled off the hidden ball trick three times in his career, including twice in July of 1985 and became a longtime fixture in the NESN highlight loop for one time stealing second base by stopping his slide early, popping up and stepping over the outstretched glove of a dumbfounded Billy Ripken.

7 bats down 76 to go.

Thursday, May 5, 2016

Marc Sullivan

Actual text message from my friend Craig, "Saw you won that Marc Sullivan bat on ebay. Nice. Good luck writing about him without a mention of nepotism." Challenge accepted.

Marc Sullivan was drafted by the Red Sox in the second round of the 1979 amateur draft after being named an All American at the University of Florida. A defensive specialist, Sullivan struggled at the plate at every level of professional baseball and never broke the Mendoza line once joining the parent club. Sullivan played a total of 137 games for the Sox during his career including just four games during a three year stretch.

After digging for information, I have come to two conclusions. First, Marc Sullivan may very well have had the most undistinguished and mediocre career of any player during my childhood. No humorous stories, memorable practical jokes or game winning home runs have been recorded to argue otherwise. Second, Craig you were right, I can't do it without a mention of nepotism. Marc and Haywood Sullivan were the first player and owner family combination in baseball since Earle and Connie Mack almost 70 years earlier.

6 bats down 77 to go.