, Salem, MA


October 2, 2013

Letter: A great season for the Sox

To the editor:

The 2013 Red Sox: what a season, from last to first in the American League East.

And that after finishing 69-93 in 2012. Compare that to the 1967 “Impossible Dream” team that in 1966 finished at 72-90 and in 1967 finished at 92-70 and lost to the St. Louis Cardinals in seven games in the World Series.

In those years, they had no playoffs; the 1967 Red Sox, who were considered 100-1 to win the pennant, won it under manager Dick Williams.

Playing for Williams in 1967 were Carl “Yaz” Yastrzemski, Triple Crown winner and MVP; Tony “Tony C.” Conigliaro, Reggie Smith, Joe Foy, Rico Petrocelli, Mike Andrews, George “Boomer” Scott, and catchers Russ Gibson and Ellie Howard, whom the Sox got from the Yankees to steady the young Red Sox pitchers late in the season.

Early in the season at Yankee Stadium, Ellie Howard broke up a no-hit bid by Billy Rohr.

For pitching in 1967, the Red Sox had AL Cy Young winner Jim Lonborg (21-9); Jose Santiago (12-4), Gary Bell, a late-season acquisition from Cleveland, etc. In the bullpen, the Sox had Sparky Lyle, whom Williams brought to the Sox in 1967 from its farm team in Toronto, and John Wyatt, etc.

Other notable performers from 1967 were sweet-swinging Dalton Jones, many key pinch hits, and Jerry Adair, a late-season acquisition.

Now, the 2013 Red Sox have Jacoby Ellsbury, Shane Victorino, Johnny Gomes, Mike Carp (a sweet swinger like Dalton Jones), Mike Napoli, Dustin Pedroia, Stephen Drew, Xander Bogaerts, Will Middlebrooks and Daniel Nava, who is becoming quite a clutch hitter.

And, of course, David “Big Papi” Ortiz, designated hitter, who, I think, is the best designated hitter in history and a first-round ballot induction into the Hall of Fame in Cooperstown, N.Y. I also think Ortiz is the best clutch hitter in Red Sox history, barring none, and that includes Babe Ruth, Ted Williams, “Yaz,” Jim Rice, etc.

The 2013 Red Sox pitchers — Jon Lester, Clay Buchholz, Jake Peavy, Brandon Workman, etc., and those tremendous relievers Koji Uehara and Junichi Tazawa. And the 2013 Sox manager John Farrell.

Now in 2013, to win the pennant you have to win playoffs, putting more pressure on the 2013 Sox, who, I think, are up to it.

In 2013, “Say it ain’t so,” MLB.

Wally Birmingham


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