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!

Saturday, January 21, 2017

Tom Poquette

"I remember seeing the pool of blood on the ground. I tried to get up, but I couldn't," is how Tom Poquette recalls a game against the White Sox on June 22, 1976. During that game Poquette chased a deep fly ball off the bat of Kevin Bell and crashed into the wall a split second before being able to make the play. Poquette's effort resulted in a broken cheekbone for him and an in the park grand slam for his opponent. In his words, "I played hard because I had to. I had to work for everything because it did not come easy." I am sure the 18,125 fans at the park that night would agree with him.

Hustling in the field may make you a suitable outfielder, but you can't hide from the truth inside the batter's box. After being pulled for a reliever in 1977, Mike Torrez summed it up when he said, "If I can't get Tom Poquette out I should quit this game." Of course Torrez didn't quit the game and a couple seasons later the two were teammates in Boston. Poquette did his best to turn things around after being traded, but a rotator cuff injury injury mid way through the 1979 campaign sidelined him until the 1981 season. The Sox were deep in outfield talent in 1981 and released Poquette after only 3 games. Poquette was quickly picked up by Texas before being moved again, this time back to Kansas City, where he retired after the 1982 season.

19 bats down 64 to go.

Tuesday, January 3, 2017

Tony Perez

You can blame pork and beans for my distrust of certain statistics, namely runs batted in. Pork and beans you say?  Stokely-Van Camps pork and beans to be precise. It was in a guard shack located on the grounds of their Kansas cannery that an unknown statistical genius named Bill James plied his craft and changed the landscape of baseball as we know it. To some James is a hero; a lone voice calling for logical interpretation of a complex game. To others he is a gratuitous hack; disputer of a simpler game and time. Regardless of how we see him, he changed how we see the game.

To Bill James, players like Tony Perez were overrated and overpaid.  Great "rbi men" as they were called, were held up on a pedestal for driving runners across the plate. James saw something different. James was the first to go on record saying that rbi's are the result of a high on base percentage by the players preceding the player credited with an rbi. Seems logical now, but by 1980's baseball standards it was positively heretical. When Tony Perez joined the Red Sox in 1980 the words of Bill James were greatly ignored by those who ran the game and Boston celebrated the arrival of their new rbi king. Three seasons and 175 rbi's later, having failed to reach the postseason even once, the Sox released Perez.

18 bats down 65 to go.