13 Former Red Sox Goats Thankful for 2004 World Series Title
These are the former Boston Red Sox who got on their knees and thanked the 2004 Red Sox for winning the World Series.
They were goats in Boston lore. Whether it was bad plays, calls or just moves made that set the Sox in their 86-year drought.
Today, we'll look at players, managers and owners who were forged in Red Sox history in a negative way.
The all-time winningest manager for the Yankees, left New York for archival Boston.
McCarthy was able to spin his magic for a Boston team so close to being a World Series winner.
Joe Cronin had moved from manager to general manager and McCarthy helped guide the team to a first place tie with Cleveland in 1948.
But, McCarthy would make a baffling move in the one-game playoff with the Indians.
McCarthy chose to start journeyman Denny Galehouse over rookie sensation and 15 game winner Mel Parnell or veteran Ellis Kinder.
Galehouse was an 8-7 pitcher in 1948.
Sox would go on to lose 8-3. Galehouse exited early. Parnell and Kinder declared themselves ready to pitch but never saw the mound.
If 1948 wasn't bad enough, the next year was worse. McCarthy and the Sox held a one game lead with two games left in the 1949 season with New York in second place.
Boston took on New York in Fenway. Yankees would go on and win the final two games and move on to the World Series. The Sox were sent home.
And McCarthy's legend lost a little shine in Boston.
Johnny Pesky, ‘Mr. Red Sox’, has spent well over 65 years with Boston is all facets of the organization.
Yet, before 2004, Pesky was remembered, unjustly, for one play.
Game Seven of the 1946 World Series pitted the Boston Red Sox against the St. Louis Cardinals.
With the series and the game knotted at at three a piece going into the bottom of the eighth, Enos Slaughter singled. Harry Walker stood at the plate and with Slaughter on the move, hit a ball to left-center field.
Slaughter never hesitated. He rounded second. Leon Culberson, who was in left field at the time, fumbled the ball for a second. Then threw to Pesky.
The story goes that Pesky hesitated to throw the ball home, which if he hadn’t, Pesky would have gunned down Slaughter. Instead, he did, supposedly, freeze for a second and by the time the throw went home, Slaughter scored.
The Cardinals would win 4-3 in the game and series.
Pesky was credited for the loss.
But, what really happened was that Culberson had fumbled the ball, but, he was also playing left field with a dead arm. His throw to Pesky was a lob. By the time Pesky got the ball it was too late.
Pesky deserved better. He did. The Sox did it up right for him in 2004.
Speaking of Bill Lee, the 'Spaceman' was a dominate left handed pitcher for the Red Sox.
In 1975, Lee was 17-9 with a 3.95 ERA. He was the co-ace with Luis Tiant and helped guide the Red Sox to the 1975 World Series.
In Game Two, Lee pitched a brilliant eight innings only to have Dick Drao blow the game in the ninth and allow the Reds to win 3-2.
Lee was back to pitch Game Seven.
With one on and one out in the sixth inning and the Sox leading 3-0, Lee tried to slip his famous 'Leephus' pitch past Tony Perez.
Prior to the game, Lee was instructed not to throw the 'Leephus' to Perez as he routinely pounds slow pitches and breaking stuff.
Perez took the 'Leephus' over the wall to cut the lead 3-2. Lee would give up another run to tie the game 3-3.
The Sox would lose the game in the top of the ninth and the Reds won the World Series.
Leave it to the 'Spaceman' to rebel authority.
Tom Yawkey was the hall of fame owner of the Boston Red Sox from 1933-1976.
Yawkey was instrumental in making baseball what it is in Boston. He took over a ballclub that had lost 111 games previously and turned them into a pennant winning club in 1946, 1967 and 1975.
He did a lot for the community in Boston. He made donations to local hospitals within the city.
But, he was an accused racist. His ballclub was the last team to integrate an African-American to the team (Pumpsie Green).
The Red Sox brought in the likes of Jackie Robinson and Willie Mays for a tryout. When Yawkey caught wind of this, he abruptly ended the tryouts.
In 1973, he was instrumental in the trading of outfielder Reggie Smith.
Boston was the last city an African-American wanted to play up through the 1980's.
The Sox were 'The Good Ole Boy Country Club' and they suffered for years from 1950-1966 because of Yawkey's reluctance of breaking the color barrier.
Just imagine, a line-up that would have been the greatest five-tool athlete in center field in Willie Mays hitting third and the greatest hitter of all time in Ted Williams hitting clean-up?
'The Gerbil' had taken over the Red Sox during the 1976 season.
He had guided the Sox to 90+ wins for three straight seasons.
But 1978 would be a legendary year for him.
With a 14 game lead, Zimmer would not take the foot of the pedal.
Injuries and his stubbornness would guide the Red Sox season right into a mountain.
He started Carlton Fisk 154 out of 162 games that season. Fisk had complained of horrible pains in his knees but Zim continued to keep him out there.
Zimmer would continue to start Butch Hobson at third even though Hobson had bone spurs in his throwing arm and was in agony when throwing the ball.
His hatred for Bill Lee was well known. He would not use Lee during crucial parts of the season. During the last game of the 'Boston Massacre', Carl Yastrzemski had pleaded with Zimmer to start Lee. Lee was a notorious Yankee killer and dominated the Yanks in the past.
Zimmer went with rookie Bobby Sprowls instead of Lee. Sprowls went one inning, allowing one hit, four walks and one run.
In the one game playoff, Zimmer pitched Mike Torrez instead of 20-game winner Dennis Eckersley or Yankee killers Luis Tiant or Bill Lee.
Sox would lose 5-4 and the 1978 season would go down as the biggest collapse in baseball history.
Mike Torrez was a 16-game winner for the Boston Red Sox in 1978.
The Red Sox had a 14-game lead late in June of 1978 over the New York Yankees.
The Yankees would climb back, take over first but on the last day lose while the Sox won and force a one game playoff at Fenway Park.
Both teams were 99-63.
The Red Sox led 2-0 in the top of the seventh.
Chris Chambliss and Roy White were on base. One out.
Up came light-hitting Bucky Dent. A .243 hitter with 7 homers.
Torrez hung a curve ball to Dent and Bucky hit what looked like a pop-up but the wind caught a hold of the ball and sent it over the Green Monster.
The Yankees would score two more runs and hold on to win 5-4.
Torrez would have to live with giving up a home run to a light hitting short stop.
Bill Buckner takes the rap for losing Game Six of the 1986 World Series.
But, truth be told, had Buckner been able to field the ground ball hit by Mookie Wilson, he would not have been able to beat Wilson to the bag.
Even worse, Bob Stanley got a late break running to first base. Wilson would have beat Stanley to the bag too.
Before the ball was hit to Buckner, the damage was done by Rich Gedman and the Red Sx bullpen.
The game just needed a spectacular ending.
After that night in October of 1986, Buckner’s life was never the same.
He was tormented for years, had an incident at Pawtucket with a fan when he was coaching with the Toronto Blue Jays.
Buckner moved his family to Idaho so he could get them out of the spotlight.
The suffering was undeserved.
Through all the horrors of Game Six, Game Seven wasn’t any better. Boston led by three runs in the sixth inning only to blow that lead too.
Buckner had nothing to do with that.
It’s too bad that a man who hit nearly .290 with well over 2700 hits and a border line hall of fame candidate, will have his career scrutinized over one play.
One play that should never have happened.
Calvin Schiraldi had come to the Red Sox during an offseason move in 1986, ironically with the Mets for Bob Ojeda.
It would be Calvin Schiraldi who would go on to lose Game Six and Seven for Boston
During the 1986 season, Schiraldi was lights out. He took over the closer’s role from Bob Stanley midway through the season.
In 25 appearances, he had nine saves and struck out 55 batters in 51 innings. His 1.41 ERA was impressive too.
When it came to the playoffs, Schiraldi collapsed.
He blew Game Four of the ALCS against the California Angels.
Then came Game Six of the World Series.
Two quick out in the ninth inning. Two strikes to Gary Carter and then Carter singled.
After Kevin Mitchell followed with a base hit, Schiraldi was shattered.
He possessed the classic ‘Deer in head lights’ look on his face.
Ray Knight singled off Schiraldi and that was it for him.
Knight would also tag Schiraldi with a go-ahead home run in Game Seven.
Schiraldi was never the same. He floundered around the majors for a few more years, never recovering from 1986.
All it took was one batter to face and Bob Stanley gained fame the way he would never want.
During Game Six of the World Series, Stanley watched from the bullpen as Schiraldi got two quick outs in the ninth inning.
But, Schiraldi would deteriorate on the mound and Stanley had the chance to be the hero.
Stanley had previously lost the closer job to Schiraldi. Now, he was cleaning up his mess.
But, from Boston, every Sox fan shrieked as the ‘Steamer’ came in.
Notorious for blowing late inning leads, Stanley made every Sox fan nervous.
Out came Stanley. Again, two strikes on Mookie Wilson. Then Stanley uncorked one that catcher Rich Gedman made a haf-hearted attempt to block. The ball rolled to the backstop and Kevin Mitchell came in to tie the game.
A few pitches later, Wilson hit a slow roller to Buckner and the rest, as they say, was that.
But, Stanley got a late break on the grounder. Had Buckner fielded the ball cleanly, Wilson would have beat Stanley to the bag.
Rich Gedman was the catcher for the 1986 Red Sox.
Through all of Bill Buckner, Calvin Schiraldi and Bob Stanley blame-game, there stood Gedman quiet as a church mouse.
Not many people point a finger at Gedman.
When Stanley was on the mound uncorking a pitch to the backstop that led to the game tying run, Gedman made a half-hearted attempt to block the ball.
Gedman just stuck out his glove to one-hand the ball, DURING GAME SIX OF THE WORLD SERIES.
I could see him pulling that move in a regular season game in May, not in October, one out away and the tying run at the plate.
No attempt to shift his whole body to block the ball in the most important game of his life.
Geddy doesn’t get the blame he so deserved. He is one of the main culprits behind the collapse of the 1986 World Series.
Grady Little may have been the biggest goat in Red Sox history. He managed the Red Sox to what was the most crushing defeat in team history.
Little managed for two years with Boston (2002-2003). In both season's, he guided the Sox to 90-plus wins.
In 2003, Little and the Red Sox reached the post-season for the first time since 1999.
Boston was able to rally down 0-2 against Oakland and win in the divisional round.
The Sox and Yankees played in an epic seven game series during the ALCS.
In Game Seven, Boston led 5-2 in the bottom of the eighth. Sox ace Pedro Martinez was on the mound with one out. Martinez was notorious for crumbling after tossing 100 pitches.
Martinez was beyond the pitch count. He had given up three straight hits and a run to make it 5-3.
Little came to the mound with what looked like a pitching change. The Sox bullpen was lights out with Alan Embree and Mike Timlin ready to go.
Little walked off the mound and left Martinez in the game.
All of Boston screamed in horror and the rest was history.
Hideki Matsui hit a ground rule double and then Jorge Posada followed with another double and the game was tied 5-5.
In the 11th inning Aaron Boone sent a Tim Wakefield knuckleball out for a home run and the rest was history.
And Sox misery continued until the next year.
You can point to one player or a multitude of players for a collapse, but the ultimate blame goes to the manager.
In this case, John McNamara.
Where do you begin with the blunders McNamara pulled in Game Six?
How about removing Roger Clemens from the game after seven innings? Yet, Clemens was pitching beautifully.
Depends on who you want to believe. Clemens claimed McNamara took him out because he was due up in the top of the eighth.
McNamara claimed Clemens wanted out due to a blister on his finger.
Either way, it back fired.
How about the fact that when Clemens spot in the order was due, Johnny Mac pinch hit Clemens with rookie Mike Greenwell with one out and Dave Henderson on second base?
Don Baylor was available to pinch hit. But, he never went to Baylor.
With Stanley and Schiraldi struggling, McNamara continued to go with them in crucial spots.
Especially in Game Seven.
Schiraldi coming off the worst game of his career was put on the mound with a 3-3 game in the seventh inning. He gave up the go ahead run by Ray Knight, a solo shot.
John McNamara went with Bruce Hurst in Game Seven instead of Oil Can Boyd. When Hurst was tiring and nursing a three run lead, he left Hurst in to give up the lead in the sixth, instead of having Boyd come in when trouble appeared.
And of course the ultimate blunder, leaving Bill Buckner at first defensively instead of Dave Stapleton. Stapleton was a routine defensive replacement for Buckner throughout the playoffs.
John McNamara became the biggest goat in Sox history until...
Harry Herbert Frazee became the Boston Red Sox in 1916 for a mere $500,000.
He was a Broadway theatrical agent on top of being the Red Sox owner.
Frazee owned a Red Sox team that was in the midst of being the class of Major League baseball. It was the first real dynasty in baseball.
The Sox had won the 1916 and 1918 World Series.
But, in 1919, the Sox finished sixth and Frazee was under financial constraints.
Frazee was attempting to fund the play, "No, No, Nanette". But the play was originally a non-musical play called "My Lady Friends". Yet, Frazee ran out of money to help put the play on Boadway.
Pitcher, Carl Mays jumped ship on Boston and was later sold to the New York Yankees.
But, the death blow didn't come until a few weeks later when Frazee was forced to sell off star player Babe Ruth.
He had two options:
1. Trade Ruth to Chicago for Joe Jackson and $60,000
2. Sell Ruth to the Yankees for $100,000.
Frazee chose option two and it began the 'Curse of the Bambino'.
Frazee used the $100,000 to pay for the production of "My Lady Friend" which began in 1919.
Frazee became the biggest villain in Boston sports history.