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!

Thursday, June 23, 2016

Reid Nichols

My grandfather liked Reid Nichols. Raised on a small farm during the depression he could be accurately described as a practical man. So when he took me to a couple of games during the 1982 season and Reid Nichols homered once in the first game and twice in the second game, Gus felt he got his money's worth.

That same summer I was trying to leave my awkward middle school persona behind by participating  in that All-American pathway to high school glory; football. Suddenly buying packs of baseball cards at Cintolo's Market wasn't so important, and for one summer following the Sox wasn't either. Things were changing fast for me and the career of Reid Nichols was barely a blip on my screen.

Reid Nichols was used primarily as a fourth outfielder and pinch hitter during his six seasons with Boston. Never able to break into the starting nine, he was dealt to the White Sox for Tim Lollar midway through the 1985 season. Although Nichols did not make a big splash with Fenway's Faithful, the old Swede I spent my summers with saw something special in him. For that Reid Nichols I thank you ... wherever you are.

11 bats down 72 to go.

Friday, June 10, 2016

LaSchelle Tarver

If not for a September surge of an age old rivalry, a liberal beer sales policy at Yankee Stadium and one Thomas J. Nihill, the month long Major League career of LaSchelle Tarver may have been lost to history. A career minor leaguer who's 13 games in the show produced an anemic .120 slugging percentage, the only evidence Tarver actually wielded a bat can be found in a September 13, 1986 police report.

On that day Jim Rice pursued a fly ball into the Yankee Stadium stands and when he emerged from the crowd he was without the ball and his hat. Madness ensued. Within seconds Rice was joined by his Red Sox teammates, including LaSchelle Tarver who was carrying a bat. When the dust settled Yankees fan Thomas J. Nihill was in cuffs, Jim Rice had his hat back and LaSchelle Tarver, having once again failed to make contact, was not charged with a crime.

10 bats down 73 to go.

Saturday, June 4, 2016

Stan Papi

Before there was Big Papi there was Stan Papi, but in the hearts of Fenway's faithful they could not have been more different. Stan Papi was brought to Boston for one reason, to move eccentric, left leaning, fan favorite Bill Lee out of town. Fans never let him forget it and instead of welcoming him with open arms he was treated with the cold shoulders of an entire city.

Papi's short lived stint with Boston also marks the period that my family temporarily moved from Framingham Massachusetts, a city of brick smokestacks and diehard Red Sox fans to a small town in central Connecticut with rolling hills of tobacco and people who actually root for the Yankees. Things could not have felt more foreign to me and I struggled to find my place in a new community. I imagine that Papi felt the same, but for his part he never complained. My mother has a different story to tell about me. After little more than a season Papi was traded to Philadelphia and I was starting a new school year back in Red Sox country. Even though both Papi and I experienced tough times in 1979 things improved for both of us with the changing of the decade.

9 bats down 74 to go.