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, April 28, 2016

Andy Merchant

Andy Merchant was born on Ted Williams' 32nd birthday and from an early age made a name for himself on the fields of Mobile Alabama. Recruited by Auburn, Merchant once pounded out six hits in a single game and was named to the All S.E.C. team his senior year. With talent like that it wasn't long before Milt Bolling signed another prospect from the deep South to a Red Sox contract.

Despite high hopes Merchant found himself in a glut of catching talent stuck behind Carlton Fisk and only saw Major League action in three games between the 1975 and 76 seasons. After his last cup of coffee Merchant returned to Pawtucket where he platooned with Gary Allenson through the end of the 1979 season. A January 1980 phone call from the Sox front office inviting Merchant to spring training was cut short due to bad reception and led to a misunderstanding that found Merchant working full-time for Alabama Power and Red Sox management looking at his empty locker in Winter Haven wondering where he was.

5 bats down 78 to go.

Tuesday, April 19, 2016

Larry Wolfe

This past weekend my friend Craig and I made our annual pilgrimage to Wilmington, Ma for New England's largest card show. Since his family moved next door to my grandparent's home nearly forty years ago, I have been able to count Craig among my very best friends. As kids in the pre-internet, pre-cell phone days we spent countless hours outside playing baseball, riding bikes and building forts. Before suffering the malady of teen insecurity we would hop on our bikes and race down to the local store with pockets full of spare change to buy a few packs of baseball cards. Too excited to wait we would tear them open as soon as we left the store, splitting the gum and pouring over the cardboard treasure.

When I first made up a list of players whose bats I would need I accepted that there would be some players whom I never actually saw play. Larry Wolfe was one of those players. My only recollection of Wolfe is his 1980 Topps card, one I undoubtedly came across while shuffling through packs of cards with Craig. This past weekend when Craig arrived at my house he came bearing a game used Larry Wolfe bat for my collection. So while I may not remember seeing Larry Wolfe play, I will always remember how I added his bat to my collection. Thanks Craig.

4 bats down 79 to go.

Saturday, April 2, 2016

Steve Dillard

Before Bill James and his flock of devotees replaced birddogs with sabermetrics, Milt Bolling roamed the Southeast hunting down baseball talent. Milt was a baseball man of the old school variety, driving across the vast states of Alabama and Mississippi to watch young talent from old rickety bleachers. Originally drafted as an infielder by the Red Sox in 1948 it was not until the mid 1970's that his true baseball genius was revealed. Among the talent he discovered were three rookie members of the 1975 Red Sox team; Andy Merchant, Butch Hobson and Steve Dillard.

Steve Dillard hailed from Saltillo, Mississippi and developed his baseball skills on the diamond at Ole Miss. Drafted by the Sox in 1972, he made it to Fenway as part of a 1975 September call up and got two hits in the first game he started. If not for multiple shoulder injuries and a glut of talent around the infield at Fenway his career might have turned out very differently. After three season of limited playing time Dillard was traded to Detroit for two minor leaguers and cash.

3 bats down 80 to go.