Friday, July 05, 2013

White Rhino Plays Matchmaker for the Red Sox - Gomes and Carbo Share Red Sox Record For Pinch Hit Home Runs In A Season

Jonny Gomes Walk-off Home run on July 3

In my professional as an Executive Recruiter, I am known for my ability to figure out when there may be a good fit between the needs of a client company for a top quality leader and one of the high caliber candidates I have come to know.  In my personal life, those same matchmaking skills are frequently deployed. Yesterday, I had an interesting opportunity to do just that behind the scenes with my beloved Boston Red Sox.  So here is the rest of the story . . . .

Many readers of The White Rhino Report are aware of my longstanding love for the Red Sox. Chase/Champoux family lore attests to the fact that when I was 2 years of age, I could recite the entire Red Sox line-up - Ted Williams, Johnny Pesky, Bobby Doerr, Dom Dimaggio, Sammy White, et al.  My love for the Sox has remained undiminished over time - even through the lean years leading up to the 2004 and 2007 World Series triumphs.  For the past 11 seasons, I have had the privilege as a volunteer at Fenway Park of helping to run a program called Autograph Alley.  The Red Sox are unique among Major League teams in offering fans an opportunity to meet former players and get free autographs prior to each home game.  I help to manage that program for many of the games, handing out pictures of the Red Sox alumni player who is signing that day, helping with crowd control, answering questions about Red Sox history, etc.

Yesterday, the player signing autographs was 1975 World Series hero, Bernie Carbo.  Bernie has recently written a book about his life after baseball and his path to finding faith.  The book, "Saving Bernie Carbo," written with Dr. Peter Hantzis, recounts Bernie's struggles with drugs and his journey to sobriety and redemption.

When Bernie and his family arrived at Autograph Alley yesterday, along with Dr. Hantzis, I grabbed him and asked: "Bernie, did you watch Jonny Gomes' walk-off home run yesterday?" 

"Yes, that was pretty exciting."

"Are you aware that when he hit that home run, that made his third pinch hit home run of this season?  That ties  your Red Sox club record in that category!"

"I had no idea!"

"You should walk over the to the Red Sox Clubhouse right now so you can congratulate Gomes.  I know that the Red Sox will want pictures of Carbo and Gomes posing together."

"It would not be right for me to go over there without a specific invitation from the Red Sox."

At that point, I went into matchmaker mode.  I placed a call to someone I know in the Red Sox front office to see if they had made the connection that the two holders of that Red Sox record were both in the ball park today, and should be brought together. My friend answered: "Let me see what I can do."  Within five minutes, Team Historian, Dick Bresciani and Director of Publications, Debbie Matson arrived at Autograph Alley, talked with Bernie and had him escorted to the Red Sox Clubhouse for a photo session with his co-record holder, Jonny Gomes.  It was a meeting that needed to take place, and I was happy to have played a small roll in facilitating that special moment.

Jonny Gomes and Bernie Carbo, July 4, 2013

Bernie returned to Autograph Alley a few minutes later, and spent the next hour and a half delighting hundreds of fans by signing autographs for them and posing for pictures with them.

The Red Sox later that afternoon completed their sweep of the San Diego Padres, and winged their way westward for a final road trip before the All Star break, leading the American League East by 4 1/2 games over the Baltimore Orioles.

It was a good day at the old ball  park!

Go Sox!


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