“DIARY OF A WINNER”
THE CURSE OF
THE BAMBINO, PART 9
July 14, 1986 ... The omission of Oil Can Boyd, and his subsequent tantrum, were topics of discussion at today's massive All-Star press conference.
Wade Boggs, who bats second for the Red Sox, will bat in the No. 3 spot for the All-Stars. Clemens is batting ninth and should get a chance to hit off Dwight Gooden. Clemens took batting practice today. The batting-practice pitcher was John McNamara.
This the second All-Star Game at the Astrodome. The game was also played here in 1968. This is the fourth time the game has been played inside. Former Phillies player Garry Maddox was presented the Roberto Clemente Award for humanitarianism by Mrs. Clemente.
The National League won the second annual Home Run Derby, 8-7, on a Hubie Brooks blast in the final inning. Strawberry hit four home runs, as did Joyner. One of Strawberry's homers traveled over 500 feet. Jose Canseco, the Oakland A's rookie strongboy, opened a few eyes, but says he has respect for the Dome.
July 15, 1986 ... Twenty-three-year-old Roger Clemens started the 57th All-Star Game against 21-year-old Dwight Gooden. He won the fastball festival, pitching the maximum three innings and facing the minimum nine batters as he captured the victory in the American League's 3-2 decision over the National League.
It was the dream matchup, a possible World Series preview, and a duel of strikeout aces. It was heat vs. heat. Youth vs. youth. Cover boy vs. cover boy. The Red Sox stopper vs. the Mets stopper in a summer when the Red Sox and Mets have the best records.
Nobody seemed to care that it was a midsummer exhibition game in which neither pitcher was allowed to hurl more than three innings. And little was made of the fact that Clemens was pitching with only two days' rest.
Sox manager John McNamara might have to think about using Clemens on two days' rest sometime soon. The pride of Spring Woods High School in Houston came through with one of the tidiest efforts in All-Star history. Clemens threw 25 pitches, 21 for strikes. He tossed 14 straight strikes at one juncture and retired four men who have won National League MVP awards. He struck out only two.
Meanwhile, Gooden gave up three hits in his three innings. With two outs, first base open and Clemens on deck in the second, Lou Whitaker cranked an 0-2 Gooden curve into the right-field grandstand. Gooden struck out Clemens on four pitches to end the inning but, like Clemens, Dr. K only had one other strikeout.
Little did he suspect that this last blow would be the margin of victory. Or that the game would not be decided until the same Frank White started a game-ending double play, getting the final putout by throwing over mountainous Dave Parker of the Reds, who had singled with one out and put the tying run on third.
Until the eighth inning, the thrill for the fans was the sight of the hometown boy putting on a clinic with his 97 m.p.h. fastball. Maybe it was an illusion, for Gooden is no slouch. But a couple of times Clemens unleashed a powerful fastball that King Kong couldn't have hit with the Empire State Building in his hands.
One of them went past Ryne Sandberg of the Cubs, who had no chance on a called third strike as the No. 2 batter in the first inning. Darryl Strawberry also was a strikeout victim in the second and that one will stick in Clemens mind because he is one of the NL's finest hitters.
Clemens threw 13 pitches in the inning, 11 fastballs. His last 10 pitches were strikes. In the second inning he needed only eight pitches; in the third, just four. Gooden threw 52 pitches, and was clearly outclassed on this night.
Gooden was rolling along, retiring the first two batters. But then New York's Dave Winfield woke up the crowd with a line double to right on a 1-2 pitch. Gooden got ahead of Whitaker, 0-2, and tried a breaking ball. Whitaker responded as if the distant wall in the Dome was like the short porch in Tiger Stadium.
The American League seemed in complete command until the eighth when Charlie Hough of the Rangers began to self destruct. Manager Dick Howser inserted Boston's Rich Gedman into the game, since Lance Parrish of Detroit had worked the first seven innings. What he apparently didn't know was that Gedman had never caught a knuckleball pitcher.
The combination of Hough and Gedman was dazzling and also devastating. Hough got three strikeouts in the inning, yet had to be lifted in favor of lefty Dave Righetti of New York, who retired the side after the Nationals had scored two runs.
Chris Brown of San Francisco led off with a double off the wall in left, and moved to third as Chili Davis struck out. Gedman dropped his knuckler and Brown went to third on the throw to first.
Hubie Brooks of the Expos also struck out. But this time in dropping the ball, Gedman elected to throw home to Hough, who was late covering. Brown scored. Brooks reached first and Gedman was charged with a passed ball.
Hough then balked, moving Brooks to second. Tim Raines of Montreal struck out. But then the Dodgers' Steve Sax singled up the middle, scoring Brooks. Righetti replaced Hough and got the Astros' Glenn Davis to foul to third.
When it ended, the AL streamed out of the dugout to exchange handshakes. Baltimore's Don Aase got the save and White earned new respect. Clemens got the Most Valuable Player trophy, and on a night when Fernando Valenzuela of the Dodgers struck out five batters in a row, that is an honor.
July 16, 1986 ... John McNamara is as anxious as anyone to learn the results of today's Red Sox workout at Fenway Park that will mark the start of the second half for the American League East Division leaders. He expects pitchers Bruce Hurst, Sammy Stewart and Oil Can Boyd to do some throwing in the workout, which will precede a trip to Seattle tonight for a four-game series against the Mariners beginning tomorrow night. Hurst will be on his rehabilitation schedule, and the Sox are anxious to see if he can go through a simulated game for the fourth time without discomfort from his groin injury. Stewart, who was activated Sunday, will be preparing for his return to duty in middle relief.
Most eyes will be on Boyd, who hasn't thrown since last Thursday when he jumped the club in a rage after being passed over for the All- Star game, and served a three-day suspension that cost him $6,450. His performance will go a long way in determining whether he will pitch in the upcoming series.
An unknown factor is right-hander Steve Crawford, who just before the break had a cortisone shot to relieve in his right shoulder. The injury was not thought to be serious, but today will be the first test. Barring complications, Hurst will make the trip West and be activated in time for duty in Oakland next week. That would mean another roster change, which could involve Sellers, reliever Tim Lollar and/or utility infielder Dave Stapleton.
General manager Lou Gorman, who skipped the All-Star festivities, is expected to come West with the club and visit at least three of the four cities.