Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Swapping Baseball Stories at Fenway - Morgan Magic in the Stands

In the midst of the Red Sox woeful play on the field against the Rays on Monday, I managed to salvage some enjoyment from the game. I found myself sitting next to former Red Sox Manager, Joe Morgan - he of "Morgan Magic" fame. During the 1988 season, the Red Sox fired Manager, John McNamara, and replaced him with Interim Manager, Joe Morgan of Walpole, Massachusetts. Under Morgan the revitalized Sox won 12 straight games, 19 of 20 games, and put together a skein of 24 straight home victories. They went on the win the AL East, and Morgan continued to manage for a total of three seasons.

So, it was a treat to be able to lean over towards Joe and ask questions about the good old days. I listed the Sox starting line-up from when I was a lad, and he made comments about each one - Bobby Doerr, Johnny Pesky, Dom Dimaggio, Ted Williams. He knew them all. We talked about why Ortiz and Varitek are struggling to catch up with the fastball in this series. We talked about why Varitek refuses to give up switch hitting, when it appears he has no chance of getting a hit from the left side of the plate. We talked about Joe's getting tossed by the umpires an average of 3 times a season during his major league career, but 8 times a year in the minor leagues. We talked about Manny's departure, and why it was inevitable. He talked about the fact the he did not expect Youkilis to be as good as he has turned out to be, and that he knew from the first time he saw him play that Pedrioa would be a winner.

At one point Morgan turned to me and asked: "That Bartlett kid at 3rd - who did the Rays trade to get him?" I answered that I thought it was Delmond Young and one or two more players. It was nice to be able to give something back to one with a great baseball mind and a reputation set in stone among Red Sox Nation.

Thanks for all the magic, Joe.

Go Sox!


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