Saturday, November 12, 2016

The Best Red Sox Game Played on May 9

Recently, I finished the book pictured above.  The point of the book was to include one win on each date to come up with a perfect season.  It was a very interesting read.  There was just one problem: it provided an off-day for my birthdate, May 9.  So, being fairly bored and generally just wanting to know, I decided to go through the box scores and find the best games I could find for May 9 through the years.  Unfortunately, since boxscores are not readily available before 1912, I could not include any of those games.

Location: Chicago
Opponent: Chicago White Sox
Score: 10-1
Win: Wes Ferrell (3-2)
Loss: Les Tietje (1-1)
Save: NA
Home Run: Joe Cronin (1)
This was just a good, old-fashioned beatdown.  The White Sox did not score a single run until the bottom of the ninth inning and by then it was way too late.  Wes Ferrell pitched a complete game, scattering eight hits while walking five and striking out two.  He also chipped in two hits in four at-bats with two runs and an RBI.  Ferrell was always a good-hitting pitcher.  Mel Almada had three hits, including two doubles and stole a base.  Roy Johnson, Joe Cronin, and Rick Ferrell all had two hits each.  Johnson drove in three runs to lead the team and Cronin homered.  

Location: Boston
Opponent: Cleveland Indians
Score: 15-3
Win: Jim Bagby (2-1)
Loss: Denny Galehouse (1-1)
Save: NA
Home Run: Joe Cronin (2), Jimmie Foxx (6,7)
Another blowout loss, this time over the Cleveland Indians, this game featured a two-homer game by Jimmie Foxx.  He drove in five runs to lead the team.  Joe Cronin also homered in the game.  Foxx, Joe Vosmik, and Doc Cramer each had two hits.  Cramer contributed a double and Vosmik a triple.  Jim Bagby Jr. pitched a complete game, giving up just three runs.  It was not a particularly pretty game though for Bagby as he walked seven batters and struck out one.  He gave up just six hits.

Location: St. Louis
Opponent: St. Louis Browns
Score: 10-8
Win: Joe Heving (3-1)
Loss: Ed Cole (0-2)
Save: Jack Wilson (1)
Home Run: Jimmie Foxx (4), Ted Williams (4)
Ted Williams was just a rookie in 1939, but he was already a great hitter.  In this game, Williams hit a three-run home run in the top of the 10th inning to take back the lead.  St. Louis had been behind 7-3 going into the bottom of the seventh, but the Browns scored two runs in the seventh and eighth innings to tie the score.  The Browns answered with a run in the bottom of the 10th but it was too late.  Jimmie Foxx also homered for Boston and drove in three.  Jim Bagby started the game but did not figure in the decision.  Joe Heving picked up the win and Jack Wilson, the save.

Location: Boston
Opponent: Detroit Tigers
Score: 6-5
Win: Herb Hash (3-1)
Loss: Al Benton (0-1)
Save: NA
Home Run: NA
Boston refused to quit in this game.  Denny Galehouse started the game for the Red Sox and was in line for the win in the seventh when he ran into trouble.  Herb Hash came on in relief but gave up the tying runs on a single to Earl Averill.  The game stayed tied until the bottom of the 10th inning.  After Joe Cronin doubled, Bobby Doerr and Jim Tabor both walked to load the bases with one out.  Boston manager Cronin pinch hit for catcher Gene Desautels with backup catcher Johnny Peacock, who came through with a walkoff single.  

Location: Baltimore
Opponent: Baltimore Orioles
Score: 13-5
Win: Dave Sisler (4-1)
Loss: Billy O'Dell (2-3)
Save: NA
Home Run: NA
Hall of Famer George Sisler had two sons who played in the Major Leagues.  Dick Sisler was primarily a first-baseman with the Phillies, while Dave Sisler was a pitcher with the Red Sox.  Dave was off to a pretty good start in 1958 with Boston when he came across the Orioles.  He pitched a complete game, scattering 11 hits and giving up three earned runs on his way to a 4-1 record.  He also picked up two hits, including a double and an RBI, in three at-bats while the Red Sox rolled to a 13-5 victory.  Jimmy Piersall had three hits, including a double, and three RBIs.  

Location: Kansas City
Opponent: Kansas City Athletics
Score: 5-2
Win: John Wyatt (2-0)
Loss: Jack Aker (2-2)
Save: Dan Osinski (1)
Home Run: NA
1967 was a terrific season that came out of left field, so to speak.  Boston had finished just a half game out of last place in 1966, but won the AL pennant in one of the greatest pennant races of all time.  Carl Yastrzemski's Triple Crown-winning season was a big part of that.  Yaz came through in the clutch all year long and this game was no exception.  Boston trailed 2-0 going into the ninth inning.  They tied it on a single by Bob Tillman and a bases loaded walk by Joe Foy.  The next batter was Yaz, who cleared the bases with a double.  Boston held on for the 5-2 win.  Jose Santiago pitched well for seven innings, striking out seven, but did not figure in the decision.  

Location: Boston
Opponent: New York Yankees
Score: 2-0
Win: Luis Tiant (2-4)
Loss: Pat Dobson (2-5)
Save: NA
Home Run: Bernie Carbo (4)
In an outstanding pitchers' duel, Luis Tiant of the Red Sox outdueled Pat Dobson of the Yankees in Fenway Park.  Tiant and Dobson each pitched complete games with Dobson striking out six, walking one, and giving up just six hits.  One of those hits though was a home run to Bernie Carbo in the seventh inning to give Boston all the runs they would need.  Dick McAuliffe doubled later in the inning to drive in Juan Beniquez to give Boston an insurance run anyway.  The story of the game though was Tiant, who gave up just three singles, without walking anyone, and struck out four.  It was a dominating performance by the crafty veteran.  

Location: Boston
Opponent: California Angels
Score: 9-8
Win: Bill Campbell (1-1)
Loss: Dave LaRoche (2-4)
Save: NA
Home Run: Butch Hobson (1), Fred Lynn (12, 13), Carl Yastrzemski (6)
Things looked bleak for Boston going into the bottom of the ninth inning.  They led the game 7-5 going into the eighth inning but Dick Drago was not able to hold the lead.  California took a one-run lead into the bottom of the ninth with Dave LaRoche on the mound.  After striking out Fred Lynn, Jim Rice walked and Carl Yastrzemski came to the plate.  Yaz blasted a pitch into the right field stands to win the game for the Red Sox.  Lynn had a big game with three hits, including a couple of home runs of his own.

Location: Kansas City
Opponent: Kansas City Royals
Score: 2-0
Win: Roger Clemens (5-1)
Loss: Mark Gubicza (3-4)
Save: NA
Home Run: NA
The Rocket was utterly dominating in this game.  In the midst of a season in which he set a team strikeout record that stood until 1999, Clemens pitched a perfect game and notched 16 strikeouts against the Royals.  Clemens gave up just three singles and walked a batter.  Mike Greenwell drove in the first run with a triple to score Marty Barrett.  Barrett later drove in the second run after being hit by a pitch to score Rick Cerone.  Jody Reed had three hits in the game to lead the offense.

Location: Boston
Opponent: Baltimore Orioles
Score: 4-3
Win: Stan Belinda (1-0)
Loss: Armando Benitez (0-2)
Save: NA
Home Run: Wes Chamberlain (1), Mo Vaughn (5)
Boston had taken a 3-2 lead into the sixth inning when Rheal Cormier was taken out of the game.  Mo Vaughn homered in the first inning to take a lead right away.  The Orioles got to reliever Jeff Pierce to tie the game and that was the way it stayed until the bottom of the ninth.  Derek Lilliquist and Stan Belinda kept Baltimore scoreless and set the stage.  In the ninth, Jesse Orosco struck out lefty-hitting Troy O'Leary and then Armando Benitez was brought in to face Luis Alicea.  But Kevin Kennedy pinch-hit Wes Chamberlain for Alicea and the move worked.  Chamberlain homered to win the game. 

Location: Boston
Opponent: Minnesota Twins
Score: 2-1
Win: Hideki Okajima (1-0)
Loss: Jim Hoey (0-1)
Save: NA
Home Run: NA
Carl Crawford did not have a lot of highlights during his short time in Boston, but this game was one time in which he came through.  It was still early in his tenure in Boston and, though he started off slowly, he was not considered a total bust yet.  Josh Beckett gave the Red Sox seven strong, scoreless innings and the team was leading 1-0.  Minnesota tied the game off of Jonathan Papelbon in the eighth inning though.  Papelbon and Hideki Okajima kept the Twins off the scoreboard for the rest of the game.  In the bottom of the 11th, Jed Lowrie drew a walk after J.D. Drew flied out.  That brought Crawford to the plate and he doubled to score Lowrie with the winning run.  Okajima got the win in what turned out to be his final game with the Boston Red Sox. 

Location: Boston
Opponent: Oakland Athletics
Score: 14-7
Win: Clay Buchholz (2-3)
Loss: Sonny Gray (3-4)
Save: NA
Home Run: Jackie Bradley Jr. (4), Brock Holt (3)
Jackie Bradley Jr. was in the midst of his 29-game hitting streak and was on fire when this game came up.  Bradley drove in six runs on three hits, including a grand slam home run in the 4th inning off John Axford.  Boston had already roughed up A's ace Sonny Gray with seven earned runs in less than four innings.  Brock Holt also homered for Boston.  Bradley, David Ortiz, and Travis Shaw each had three hits.  Shaw and Ortiz each doubled twice.  Clay Buchholz got the easy win, despite pitching just five innings and giving up four earned runs.

If I had to pick one game that should have gone into the book for the May 9 game, I would have a hard time picking between 1988 and 1995.  We have a truly dominating performance from a terrific pitcher going up against a pinch-hit walkoff home run.  That's a tough call.  It would be understandable to go with either game.  And so, a coin flip, because it really is that close.  And the winner is:

Wes Chamberlain's pinch-hit walkoff home run!  Stand up and wave to the crowd, Wes!


  1. Great post. How'd they do on May 11

    1. The book's selection was from 2005 when Jason Varitek hit a two-run walkoff home run to beat the A's. Hard to top that.

  2. Where do you find the box scores from past years?