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!

Tuesday, March 22, 2016

Ed Jurak

Ed Jurak was drafted by the Red Sox in the third round of the 1975 amatuer draft and spent six years in the minors before finally making a Major League roster. Jurak filled the role of utility infielder for the Sox from 1982 to 1985, where he was steady with the glove but struggled offensively. With a batting average that dropped every year he played for the Sox, from a respectable .333 in 1982 to an anemic .231 during the 1985 campaign, it is no surprise that Jurak is best remembered for an incident unrelated to his playing skill.

The Chinese calendar designated 1984 as the year of the rat and ironically it was in May of 1984, with Cleveland in town and Bruce Hurst on the hill, that fans watched as a rat made its way from the bowels of Fenway onto the grass beside the Red Sox batter's box. Without hesitation Jurak came over from his position at first base, scooped up the rodent and deposited it in a dugout trashcan for safekeeping. This little bit of handiwork left Jurak with the unusual boxscore line of four at bats, no hits and one rat relocated. Jurak was released by the Sox after the 1985 season and played out the remainder of his career with Oakland and San Francisco.

2 bats down 81 to go.

Saturday, March 12, 2016

Tommy Helms

The Red Sox packed them in during the 1977 season, as over two million fans passed through Fenway's rusty turnstiles for the first time ever. Fans lined up in record numbers to see a power packed lineup that smashed 213 home runs, including 8 in a memorable Fourth of July shellacking of Toronto. With no shortage of power that season General Manager Dick O'Connell prepared for a late season pennant push by signing veteran gloveman Tommy Helms to split playing time at second base with aging fan favorite Denny Doyle.

Signed as a free agent by Cincinnati in 1959, Helms made it to the show in 1966. Six seasons later Helms had picked up a Rookie of the Year award, two Gold Glove awards and two All Star nominations. Despite his impressive pedigree, Helms was shipped off to Houston for Joe Morgan and four other players, who made up a core part of the Cincinnati's "Big Red Machine". Helms spent four seasons in Houston and part of two in Pittsburgh before coming to Boston. Despite the addition of Helms and 97 wins, the Red Sox did not see postseason play in 1977 and Helms was released during that off season.

1 bat down 82 to go.