1972 BOSTON RED SOX
The 1972 Boston Red Sox had spent four years as a team with a winning record, but well off the pace off the American League elite. They made marginal improvements on the field in 1972, and it added up to pennant race baseball in Fenway Park, for the first time since the Impossible Dream pennant of 1967, even if Boston came up just short in the end
In the 1971-1972 off-season, general manager Dick O'Connell continued shuffling his deck. He sent Jim Lonborg, Billy Conigliaro, George Scott, Ken Brett, Joe Lahoud and Don Pavletich to the Milwaukee Brewers for outfielders Pat Skrable and Tommy Harper, along with pitchers Marty Pattin and Lew Krausse. Pattin did a decent job, winning 17 games, while Harper became a bona fide threat on the bases.
Then on March 22nd, Sparky Lyle was traded to the Yankees for firstbaseman Danny Cater. Cater had always played well against the Red Sox, and Dick O'Connell considered him a more than adequate replacement for George Scott. By the end of the season, however, that trade would be considered a disaster and one of the worst trades in Red Sox history. Bob Burda was also picked up from the Cardinals for Mike Fiore.
Spring training began under a cloud, as the players union considered a strike. In a preliminary vote on March 12th, the Sox were one of the few teams to not support the strike unanimously. Carl Yastrzemski, then the highest-paid player in the major leagues at $166,000 per year, was one of the four Red Sox players to vote "no". Player representative, Gary Peters, explained the Red Sox vote, by telling the media it was a result of Tom Yawkey's extraordinary generosity.
When the players finally called for the strike, the Red Sox were one of four teams to not give it unanimous support. The strike started on April 1st, but after twelve days, the two sides reached agreement and baseball resumed. The owners agreed to add $500,000 to the players pension fund. They also agreed to add salary arbitration to the Collective Bargaining Agreement.
One of the over-all results of the players strike was that, because of the uneven schedule, not all teams played the same amount of games in 1972. The Detroit Tigers ended up playing one more game than the Red Sox, which enabled them to win the American League East by one half game over Boston. The Tigers won the division on the next to last day of the season, when they beat the Red Sox at Tiger Stadium.
The Red Sox’ basic formula of 1968-71 remained in place for this season. That formula could be crudely described as hit the heck out of the ball to make up for bad pitching. Boston led the American League in runs scored, and finished 11th in what was then a 12-team league, in ERA.
Other offensive players picked up the slack. Reggie Smith moved from center to right to make room for Harper, but continued to put up numbers, with a .365 on-base percentage/.475 slugging percentage. The Sox called up Carlton Fisk (.293 BA, .370 OBP) who popped 22 home runs and brought a fiery emotional spark to the team.
Harper brought speed, swiping 25 bases. The great Carl Yastrzemski (.264 BA, 12 HR), along with Rico Petrocelli, both struggled with power, but Yaz finished with a .357 OBP, while third baseman Petrocelli (.240 BA, 15 HR) was in at .339 OBP. Shortstop Luis Aparacio wasn’t an offensive threat, but the 38-year-old glove wizard stabilized the defense.
Behind Pattin, the rest of the rotation was functionable, if not great. Sonny Siebert (12-12, 3.80) and John Curtis (11-8, 3.73 ERA) each finished respectably. Ray Culp (5-8, 4.46 ERA), the staff ace in recent years, declined sharply though and was released after the ’72 season was over. Gary Peters (3-3, 4.32 ERA) played out his final season. But it was the Lyle-less bullpen that was the big problem.
If nothing else, Boston did settle on the two pitchers that would eventually help this team win the 1975 American League pennant. Bill Lee got the first regular work of his career, throwing 84 innings and finishing with a 3.20 ERA. And Luis Tiant revived his career, making 19 starts, 24 more relief appearances and winning 15 games with a dazzling 1.91 ERA.
Eddie Kasko started the year on the hot seat and stayed there through May, because the club played uninspired ball.
On opening day, Detroit's Mickey Lolich beat the Red Sox 3 to 2, when Luis Aparicio tripped over third-base trying to score on Carl Yastrzemski's hit, and was tagged out. The manner of that defeat would prove to be prophetic at the end of the season.
After losing 2 of 3 to the Indians at Fenway Park, the Sox welcomed the Yankees to town. On April 21st, Bill Lee pitched three innings in relief to save a win for Ray Culp, 5 to 4. He finished strongly, striking out Johnny Callison with the tying run on base. The difference turned out to be a triple by rookie Carlton Fisk in the seventh inning, who later was brought in by Tommy Harper's single.
The next game with the Yankees was a comedy of errors, eight of them, including four by Yanks thirdbaseman, Rich McKinney, that accounted for nine unearned runs by the Sox. Luis Aparicio's three errors were less costly, as the Sox won 11 to 7.
The Sox concluded April with a road trip that produced just one win in five games in Minnesota and then in Texas. Against the Texas Rangers, the former Washington Senators, on April 30th, the Sox got a 3 to 0 victory in 10 innings. Newcomer Lew Krausse shut out the Rangers on two hits for nine innings. Tommy Harper's double in the 10th inning, scored Carlton Fisk and Bob Burda with the winning runs that snapped a scoreless tie.
Upon returning home to start the month of May, the Sox (4-10) dropped three straight to the Twins, falling 5 games behind the leaders in the AL East.
In Anaheim on May 9th, the Sox snapped a three game losing streak against the Angels, 4 to 3. Pinch-hitter Bob Burda scored Duane Josephson with the winning run, breaking a 3-3 tie. Two nights later, Ray Culp became the first Sox pitcher to throw a complete game, as the Sox trounced the Angels, 8 to 1. Reggie Smith smacked his first homer of the season, while Tommy Harper knocked out three hits as did Bob Montgomery.
In Oakland, it took 12 innings, but the Sox beat the A's, 7 to 6. Harper again was clutch, slamming a homer to put the Sox ahead. Ken Tatum retired the Athletics in order to get the win for Bill Lee on May 12th. In the next game, John Kennedy knocked in five runs to guide the Sox to a 9 to 6 win.
In Milwaukee on May 16th, Harper stroked two doubles, including one in the 10th inning that started a winning rally, as the Sox beat his former team, the Brewers, 5 to 1. Danny Cater knocked him in with the go-ahead run. Rick Miller later followed with a two-run homer.
But the road trip ended with five straight losses and the Sox were 9-17 and fell 7 1/2 games behind the league-leading Cleveland Indians. The Sox then briefly revived themselves with a 5-2 homestand against the last place Brewers and the three-time defending AL champion Baltimore Orioles.
On May 23rd, it took ten innings to do it but in that last inning, after Reggie Smith walked and was sacrificed to second, Rico Petrocelli lined a game-winning hit to center, giving the Sox a 6 to 5 win over the Orioles. Two nights later, Marty Pattin won his first game as a member of the Red Sox, 2 to 1.
Next came the Brewers and Bill Lee defeated them, 5 to 4, in a battle for last place on May 26th. Carlton Fisk knocked in the winning run in the 8th inning, with a double off the wall, that scored Rico Petrocelli. The Brewers imploded in the next game. With the score tied in the 5th inning, they committed three errors that gave the Sox four runs, that lead to an eventual, 9-3 win. Tommy Harper had another three hit night, including a home run, while Luis Aparicio got four hits in five trips. In the third game with the Brewers on May 28th, Fisk ruined Jim Lonborg's return to Fenway, with a home run and a double, the gave the Sox a 4 to 1 victory.
On May 30th the Sox traveled down to Baltimore to have Ray Culp shutout the birds, 6 to 0. Home runs by Fisk and Harper gave him all the runs he needed. Sonny Siebert followed up Culp's gem and Doug Griffin rapped out four straight hits, beating the Orioles, 7 to 1. The Red Sox started June with a 16-19 record and cut their deficit to 4 games.
But the revival didn’t last, as they lost three straight in Kansas City. In the last game of the series, the second game of a doubleheader on June 4th, rookie John Curtis threw a seven-hitter, shutting out Kansas City, 4 to 0.
Off to Chicago and on June 6th, Sonny Siebert shut out the White Sox, 2 to 0, beating Wilbur Wood. Siebert had now pitched 18 straight innings without giving up an earned run.
After the .500 road trip, the Sox returned to Fenway to host the Angels on June 9th. Tommy Harper slammed a home run to break a 2-2 tie in the third inning. The Angels tied up the game in the top of the 6th, but Rico Petrocelli knocked one into the Angels' bullpen in the bottom half of the inning, that proved to be the game winner.
Two days later, Carlton Fisk walloped a fast ball from the Angels' Eddie Fisher into the bleachers in centerfield with the score tied at 4-4. Petrocelli also knocked in two runs on three singles, as the Sox won this game, 8 to 4.
The Sox took two of three from the Angels, but then lost two of three to the Kansas City Royals and two of three to the White Sox. In the second game of the doubleheader on June 17th, the Sox achieved their first come-from-behind win of the year. The White Sox were up 8-7 going into the eighth inning. Ben Oglivie, who had walked, was driven in by a triple from Duane Josephson to tie the game. Phil Gagliano's blooper drove in Carlton Fisk, who ran for Josephson. After John Kennedy drew a walk, Yaz drove in Gagliano with the final run on a single to center, giving the Red Sox a 10 to 8 victory.
On June 19th, the Sox slammed four homers, two by Reggie Smith, backing Sonny Siebert, who pitched a three-hitter. Rico Petrocelli and Danny Cater each hit one each, as the Sox clobbered the Rangers, 12 to 0. They finished the homestand by taking two of three from the Texas Rangers thus making their stay at Fenway a wash. They were 6 1/2 games out, in fourth place.
In Milwaukee, the Sox lost 4 of their 5 games with the Brewers. On June 26th, the Red Sox were still 25-33 and eight games off the pace in the AL East. Having just gone 8-14 in a stretch against mostly sub-.500 teams from the AL West, there was no reason for New England to expect a contender.
But then, in midseason, the club finally shook off a series of small injuries and started winning. Luis Tiant pitched his way out of the bullpen and soon anchored a starting staff that included Siebert, Lee, Pattin and rookies John Curtis and Lynn McGlothen.
It was John Curtis, who weathered a rough first inning and proceeded to toss a nifty three-hitter at the Cleveland Indians, winning 8 to 2, on June 27th. A seven run fourth inning, highlighted by Bob Burda's three-run homer, helped make Curtis' job easier.
The team returned to Fenway on June 28th and fans saw Luis Tiant overpower the Detroit Tigers, 5 to 3. He stole the show from Carl Yastrzemski, who had two hits and two RBIs and Carlton Fisk, who went 3-for-3, with two doubles. Luis pitched five innings, giving up just one hit, no runs and five strikeouts,
July started with Tiant getting the call again. On July 1st, the Brewers were at Fenway with two men on base in the ninth inning. In came Luis with Ron Thebold at the plate. He threw a fastball and a curve that didn't touch the plate, and was behind 2-0, the next pitch was grounded to shortstop Juan Beniquez, who started a game-ending doubleplay.
The Sox swept a doubleheader from the Brewers on July 2nd, 15 to 4 and 3-2 in 11 innings. It was a sweep by a combination of veteran ballplayer and from a few pushy kids. Ray Culp had a big cushion in the first game, thanks to a grand slam homer off the bat of Rico Petrocelli. The Reggie Smith hit two homers, one left-handed and one right-handed.
In the second game, young John Curtis stayed strong the whole game. The power was replaced by small ball. Five hits from Juan Beniquez in the doubleheader, were overhadowed when he drove in the winning run in the 11th inning. He drove in Ben Oglivie who had started the 11th inning rally with his sixth hit of the afternoon.
In the next game, the Minnesota Twins were the Sox victim and Luis Tiant, on July 3rd. Tiant gave nine strong innings and beat his former team, 8 to 2. He gave up eight hits and knocked in two runs himself. With runners on second and third, Luis managed to tap a ball into centerfield.
Lynn McGlothen threw a three hit shutout against the Twins the next night, 2-0, for his first major league win. And then Marty Pattin also shutout the Twins, 2 to 0, for a series sweep and the Sox' sixth straight victory. The Sox finished their homestand winning seven of the eight games they played.
Out on the west coast, the Sox lost 2 of 3 to the Angels. Then in Oakland on July 10th, the Sox were trailing, 2 to 1, with McGlothen getting no run support. Then in the eighth, with Carl Yastrzemski on base, Rico Petrocelli hit his eighth homer into the left field seats, giving the Sox a 4 to 2 win.
The next night, Reggie Jackson lined a 2-2 pitch from Marty Pattin, in the ninth inning, for a single. Gone was Pattin's no-hitter, but Pattin got the next two batters and beat the A's, 4 to 0. Carlton Fisk's 11th homer in the second inning, was all the support Pattin needed.
Fisk led the Sox by knocking out two singles, a home run and two free passes, in the final game. It all meant a 7 to 6 win and a series sweep of the Athletics.
Marty Pattin then fired a four-hitter in Minnesota and got home run help from Reggie Smith and Danny Cater, in beating the Twins, 6 to 1.
Carl Yastrzemski and Luis Aparicio were named as starters for the American League All Stars as the Sox came back to Fenway. On July 17th, John Curtis defeated the California Angels, 4 to 1. Danny Cater continued some clutch hitting, doubling home two runs to break a 1-1 tie.
The next night Sonny Siebert burned the Angels and Nolan Ryan, retiring the last 18 men he faced, allowing only four hits. Tommy Harper had three hits of Ryan and the Sox won again, 4 to 1.
The Sox swept the Angels on the back of Lynn McGlothen in the final game, 8 to 2. McGlothen walked only one batter and Carlton Fisk backed him with a home run.
Named as a reserve by Earl Weaver, on July 20th, Carlton Fisk became only the fifth Sox rookie to make the All Star team. The others were Walt Dropo (1950), Frank Malzone (1957), Don Schwall (1961) and George Scott (1966).
On that day, the Sox swept Oakland in a Fenway doubleheader. In the first game, Doug Griffin bunted one perfectly down the third base line to score the winning run in the seventh inning and give Marty Pattin his sixth straight win, 2 to 1. Griffin had three hits in the first game and four in the second game, helping the Sox win 4 to 3.
The next game, on July 21st, went 14 innings with the A's. The count was 3-2 on Carl Yastrzemski and Griffin was on first base. Yaz hit a grounder to Sal Bando, who was playing second base in this game. The ball hit his glove and rolled into right field. Griffin sped around the bases and slid home, giving the Sox a 5 to 4 win, their seventh straight.
The next day, the Sox split a doubleheader with the Athletics. In the second game, Sonny Siebert overpowered the A's with a 3-0 shutout. The A's won the final game of the six game set and the Sox ended their homestand winning seven of the nine games and going into the All Star break with a 45-41 record, in 3rd place, 5 games behind the first place Tigers.
Because of an injury to Kansas City's, Amos Otis, Reggie Smith was named as a last minute replacement for the All Star Game. The National League beat the American League, 4 to 3, in 10 innings, in Atlanta. Carlton Fisk scored a run and had to try and catch Wilbur Wood's knuckleball, along with pitches from Gaylord Perry and Dave McNally, working the last five innings.
Regression started the second half, with three losses in four games at New York, then a series loss in Detroit, followed by dropping the first two games of a four-game home series with the Yankees. The Sox were again under .500, at 47-48 and 6 1/2 games out.
But for a moment, on July 28th, trading Sparky Lyle for Danny Cater was a good deal for the Sox. In the first game of a doubleheader, the Sox were trailing 5 to 2 in the ninth inning. Mel Stottlemyre walked Reggie Smith and Rico Petrocelli. Sparky Lyle came in to try and get his 21st save. He first gave up a run scoring single to Cater. After striking out John Kennedy, Bob Montgomery stepped to the plate. Lyle threw him a slider over the outside corner and Monty sliced a fly ball into the short right field stands, to give the Sox the game winner, 6 to 5.
After losing four straight games, the Sox finally won one. It was the second game of a doubleheader with the Yankees, on August 2nd, at Fenway. Eddie Kasko decided to sit Carl Yastrzemski down and his sub, Danny Cater, responded with three hits that knocked in a couple of runs, in a 7 to 4 Sox win.
The Orioles followed the Yankees into Fenway and on August 4th, Marty Pattin subdued them with a masterful two-hitter, winning 2 to 0. In the next game, the Orioles ran into Rico Petrocelli. Rico knocked in two runs with a double in the first inning. Two innings later a poked a grandslam homer. The final score was Rico-6, the Orioles-3.
Against the Indians on August 8th, Doug Griffin looped a tie-breaking single in the eighth inning, that triggered a three run burst that broke a 1-1 tie. The victory was credited to Marty Pattin, his 10th. Sonny Siebert won his 10th the next day, as the Sox beat the Indians, 5 to 2. The Sox left for a road trip, 4 games behind.
The Sox lost 3 of 4 in Baltimore. The only win came as the result of Luis Tiant, turning and wiggling his was to a three-hitter. He retired the first nine men he faced, giving up a two out, two-run homer, to Boog Powell in the ninth.
John Curtis pitched a great game in Texas on August 15th. It was a three-hit shutout, 3 to 0. Reggie Smith accounted for all the runs with two homers. Reggie's three-run, eighth inning homer, insured a 4-3 win, two nights later.
The Sox started to turn their season around in Kansas City and made a run for the pennant. On August 22nd, they beat the Royals 10 to 7. The Sox rattled out 13 hits, including a two-run shot into the right field bleachers by Carl Yastrzemski. The win moved the Sox to 2 1/2 games within the AL East lead.
They crawled to 59-56, and then won six of eight to close August. The Sox came back to Fenway and on August 25th, Luis Tiant threw his fourth complete game in a row, beating the Texas Rangers, 4 to 0. In his last three games, he had given up a total of nine hits. Luis Aparicio hit his first home run of he year, with a man on, to give Tiant the insurance runs he needed, in the 8th inning.
Just like in 1967, when wild things were happening to the Red Sox, when it looked as though they were certain to lose and they made furious finishes, the game on August 26th was an example of what could have been ahead. The Red Sox were trailing 6 to 2 going into the ninth-inning and all of a sudden the place came alive as the local nine beat the Texas Rangers, 7 to 6. There were five runs scored in the ninth-inning and Phil Gagliano had ended it with a pinch-hit double down the left-field line, to score the final two runs, while leftfielder Larry Biittner couldn't grab the rolling ball after bobbling it twice.
The White Sox finished August with a visit to Fenway. They won the first game, but then faced Luis Tiant in the second game on August 29th. Tiant had all the crazy twitches, the nodding of his head, the slow windup along with his fast ball, curves and a great slider. It all amounted to a 3 to 0 shutout.
Lynn McGlothen struck out seven and walked only one batter, in beating the White Sox, 4-2, in the final game. It was a win that put the Sox only two games from the AL East lead.
By the time Labor Day arrived, the AL East was red-hot. Baltimore was in first, but Boston, New York and Detroit were all within a half-game of the lead. The stage was set for a dramatic September.
Marty Pattin, who was just 2-9 on June 30th, boosted his record to 14-12 by shutting out the Royals to start September. He scattered seven hits, while picking up his fourth shutout, 1 to 0, on September 1st. The deciding run came on Rico's line drive off the wall that scored Yaz in the fourth inning. The Sox completed their 7-1 home stand by taking the second game from the Royals, 5 to 3, and left Fenway only one game out of first.
In Milwaukee, Luis Tiant allowed the Sox to get the first game in a
doubleheader split on September 4th. He held the Brewers to five hits
and struck out seven in beating them, 2 to 0, for his sixth straight
win, sixth straight complete game and fourth straight shutout. Luis
shared the honors with
Carl Yastrzemski, who lined his fifth homer
into the center field seats with Luis Aparicio on base, off
Lonborg. The Sox, however, lost the second game, 6 to 2. At the end
of the day, the Sox and Yankees were tied, 1/2 game behind the Tigers
and Orioles in the AL East dog fight.
The Sox returned home to battle the Yankees on September 6th. It was Reggie again, who homered with a man on, in the fifth inning, to give John Curtis the runs he needed, to beat the Yanks, 2 to 0. Not only was there Reggie's homer, but there was Carl Yastrzemski's three rifled base hits, and most of all, there was probably the best fielding seen this year, by Doug Griffin, Luis Aparicio, Yaz and most of all Rico Petrocelli, whose diving stab in the sixth inning, saved two runs and was the absolute highlight of the game.
The Sox blasted their way into first place the next day. Home runs by Tommy Harper, who went five-for-five, and Rico Petrocelli each belted three-run homers. Sonny Siebert pitched his first complete game in a month and one half, beating the Yankees, 10 to 4.
The Sox made it a sweep of the Yankees on September 8th, by winning 4 to 2. Luis Tiant (11-4) missed his fourth shutout by finally giving up a run in the fifth inning. He had pitched 40 1/3 scoreless innings. Carl Yastrzemski hit a two-run homer in the sixth inning and singled in the first run in the first inning. It was the Sox 12th win in their last 13 games at Fenway Park.
John Curtis stepped up, with a shutout of the Yankees to conclude a three-game sweep in Fenway. Curtis then punctuated a strong week by shutting out Cleveland on Sunday, September 9th. The Sox now had a game and a half lead.
On September 10th the Sox were in Cleveland and swept a doubleheader from them, 5 to 1 in 12 innings, and 2 to 0. The double win put them ahead of Baltimore by 1 1/2 games. In the first game, after Graig Nettles tied up the game in the bottom of the 9th for the Indians, Fisk came through with a big blow in the 12th inning, his 20th homer into the left field grandstand. In the second game, Curtis pitched his second straight shutout. He went all the way, scattering five hits.
In New York, the Sox lost the first game of the set to the Yankees and then beat them in the next game, 7 to 2, on September 13th. They maintained a 1 game lead over Detroit and a 1 1/2 game lead over both Baltimore and the Yankees in the AL East, as they headed back to Fenway.
In their first home game, on September 15th, Reggie Smith cracked his 20th homer of the year, and drove in the deciding run with a 9th inning, two out, double. It scored Carl Yastrzemski from first, and gave the Sox a 4 to 3 comeback, walk-off victory over the Indians.
The next day the Sox beat Cleveland, 10-0, behind Luis Tiant. It was his fifth shutout of the year. Tommy Harper (14 HR) homered in the first inning, Carlton Fisk (22 HR) in the second and Carl Yastrzemski ( 8 HR) in the third. Dwight Evans made his first appearance for the Sox, replacing Reggie Smith in the sixth inning.
After losing two games and briefly falling out of first place, the Sox regained the AL East lead by beating the Orioles in a doubleheader on September 20th. Marty Pattin won the first game, 9 to 1, while Luis Tiant once again threw goose eggs and shutout the Birds, 4 to 0. Carlton Fisk lined a single and Dwight Evans did the same. Harrison now left the game, down 9 to 1. Fisk had two singles, a double, a walk and three RBIs.
The big series win over Baltimore, was followed by splitting four with Detroit. On September 22nd, Rico Petrocelli and Rick Miller had a huge hand in beating the Tigers, 3 to 2. Two spectacular plays by Rico, robbed Detroit of four runs. Miller saved two more runs with a skidding catch in the 8th inning. Two days later, "El Tiante" kept Tiger hitters on edge, beating them, 7 to 2.
They split with the Brewers and beat the Royals in a make-up game and left Fenway for Baltimore and Detroit. With a week to play, the race was narrowing to just the Red Sox and Tigers. The Orioles and Yankees were 2 1/2 games out and three back respectively.
The Boston media began calling manager Eddie Kasko a miracle worker and Tiant, the savior of the club. But the highest praise was reserved for Fisk, who led the team in hitting. Already seen as one of the best all around catchers in Red Sox history, he was soon recognized as the team's new leader.
In the first game with the Orioles in Baltimore, on September 29th, Luis Tiant battled Jim Palmer once again and Carl Yastrzemski's 10th inning homer won the game for the Sox, 4 to 2. The loss eliminated the Orioles from the race. Yaz homered again in the next game and drove in another run to give Marty Pattin a 3 to 1 victory. The Sox lost the last game, 2 to 1. They were 1/2 game ahead of the Tigers, so the season would be decided in the final series at Tiger Stadium.
The first game with Detroit on October 2nd, the Tigers jumped out to a quick 1 to 0 lead over John Curtis, when Al Kaline homered. In the third inning, the Red Sox rallied. With one out, Tommy Harper and Luis Aparicio singled, then Yaz ripped a Mickey Lolich fastball over the head of centerfielder Mickey Stanley. The ball hit the top of the fence then bounced back over Stanley's head again toward the infield.
Harper scored easily from third as Aparicio and Yaz tore around the bases. When Aparicio reached third, third-base coach Eddie Popowski waved him home. But Luis slipped on the bag and stumbled awkwardly into foul territory. As he scrambled to his feet, he stumbled again and fell down once more. Yaz was rounding second base, head down, thinking a triple or an inside-the-park home run. He didn't see Aparicio on the ground, because if he had, he would've held up easily and backtracked to second base. Had Yaz been alert, the Red Sox would still have had two runners in scoring position.
But as Yaz pulled into third, he was surprised to see his teammate still there. Yaz yelled at Aparicio to head for home, but as he realized that Aparicio couldn't go anywhere, he headed back for second and was easily tagged out. Reggie Smith finished the would-be rally by striking out. Yastrzemski's mistake was costly. Little leaguers run with their head down, but not major leaguers. The Sox lost 4 to 1 and fell 1/2 game behind the Tigers. Afterward Aparicio, of course, got all the blame and fans were reminded of the miscue on opening day.
The following night's game was a must win for the Red Sox. Luis Tiant was the hottest pitcher in baseball and he faced Woody Fryman of the Tigers. The Red Sox season ended abruptly in the seventh inning, when Dick McAuliffe doubled and Al Kaline knocked him in with a single, and the Tigers clinched the division title, beating the Sox, 3 to 1.
The Oakland A’s would eventually win the World Series, but Aparicio's slip and fall, along with Bucky Dent's homer in 1978, the ground ball that went through Buckner’s legs in 1986, Grady not taking out Pedro in 2003, McCarthy picking Galehouse to pitch in 1948 and Johnny Pesky's delayed row in 1946, became another in the litany of Red Sox woes.
The Sox had duplicated their 85 wins of 1971, by winning 37 of their last 59 games, and finally, however, appeared to be in a position to challenge for the pennant in 1973. Carlton Fisk was the unanimous selection as American League Rookie-of-the-Year, and placed fourth in the balloting for MVP.
On the other side of the coin, Sparky Lyle with 32 saves in 1972, became a cornerstone of a bullpen for the Yankees, that won three straight American League pennants (1976-78), two straight World Series and he grabbed a Cy Young Award in 1977. Cater batted .237 and hit eight home runs, finishing up his first season with the Sox, on the bench.
|04/11/1972||0-0||1st||-||at Cleveland Indians||cancelled|
|04/12/1972||0-0||1st||-||at Cleveland Indians||cancelled|
|04/13/1972||0-0||1st||-||at Cleveland Indians||cancelled|
|04/14/1972||0-0||1st||-||at Detroit Tigers||cancelled|
|04/15/1972||0-1||5th||-1||at Detroit Tigers||L||3-2||Marty Pattin||0-1|
|04/17/1972||0-2||5th||-2||Cleveland Indians||L||4-0||Ray Culp||0-1|
|04/18/1972||1-2||4th||-1 1/2||Cleveland Indians||W||4-2||Sonny Siebert||1-0|
|04/19/1972||1-3||6th||-2||Cleveland Indians||L||3-1||Marty Pattin||0-2|
|04/21/1972||2-3||3rd||-2 1/2||New York Yankees||W||5-4||Ray Culp||1-1|
|04/22/1972||3-3||3rd||-1 1/2||New York Yankees||W||11-7||Sonny Siebert||2-0|
|04/23/1972||3-3||3rd||-1||New York Yankees||pp|
|04/25/1972||3-4||4th||-1||at Minnesota Twins||L||12-0||Marty Pattin||0-3|
|04/26/1972||3-5||4th||-2||at Minnesota Twins||L||3-1||Ray Culp||1-2|
|04/28/1972||3-6||4th||-3||at Texas Rangers||L||9-6||Bill Lee||0-1|
|04/29/1972||3-7||4th||-4||at Texas Rangers||L||7-6||Bob Bolin||0-1|
|04/30/1972||4-7||4th||-3||at Texas Rangers||W||3-0||Lew Krausse||1-0|
|05/02/1972||4-7||5th||-2 1/2||Oakland Athletics||pp|
|05/05/1972||4-8||5th||-3 1/2||Minnesota Twins||L||5-2||Ray Culp||1-3|
|05/06/1972||4-9||5th||-4||Minnesota Twins||L||3-2||Sonny Siebert||2-1|
|05/07/1972||4-10||5th||-5||Minnesota Twins||L||8-4||Luis Tiant||0-1|
|05/09/1972||5-10||5th||-5||at California Angels||W||4-3||Bill Lee||1-1|
|05/10/1972||5-11||5th||-5 1/2||at California Angels||L||5-1||Marty Pattin||0-4|
|05/11/1972||6-11||4th||-5||at California Angels||W||8-1||Ray Culp||2-3|
|05/12/1972||7-11||4th||-4||at Oakland Athletics||W||7-6||Bill Lee||2-1|
|05/13/1972||8-11||4th||-4||at Oakland Athletics||W||9-6||Gary Peters||1-0|
|05/14/1972||8-12||4th||-5||at Oakland Athletics||L||6-5||Ken Tatum||0-1|
|05/16/1972||9-12||4th||-4||at Milwaukee Brewers||W||5-1||Ray Culp||3-3|
|05/17/1972||9-13||4th||-5||at Milwaukee Brewers||L||4-1||Sonny Siebert||2-2|
|05/18/1972||9-14||4th||-5 1/2||at Detroit Tigers||L||7-2||Lew Krausse||1-1|
|05/19/1972||9-15||5th||-6 1/2||at New York Yankees||L||6-0||Marty Pattin||0-5|
|05/20/1972||9-15||5th||-7||at New York Yankees||pp|
|05/21/1972||9-16||5th||-7||at New York Yankees||L||6-3||Ray Culp||3-4|
|9-17||5th||-7 1/2||L||3-2||Gary Peters||1-1|
|05/23/1972||10-17||5th||-7 1/2||Baltimore Orioles||W||6-5||Bill Lee||3-1|
|05/24/1972||10-18||5th||-7 1/2||Baltimore Orioles||L||4-1||Lew Krausse||1-2|
|05/25/1972||11-18||5th||-6 1/2||Baltimore Orioles||W||2-1||Marty Pattin||1-5|
|05/26/1972||12-18||5th||-5 1/2||Milwaukee Brewers||W||5-4||Bill Lee||4-1|
|05/27/1972||13-18||5th||-5||Milwaukee Brewers||W||9-3||Sonny Siebert||3-2|
|05/28/1972||14-18||4th||-5||Milwaukee Brewers||W||4-1||John Curtis||1-0|
|05/29/1972||14-19||5th||-5||Milwaukee Brewers||L||11-3||Marty Pattin||1-6|
|05/30/1972||15-19||4th||-4||at Baltimore Orioles||W||6-0||Ray Culp||4-4|
|05/31/1972||15-19||5th||-4 1/2||at Baltimore Orioles||pp|
|06/01/1972||16-19||4th||-3 1/2||at Baltimore Orioles||W||7-1||Sonny Siebert||4-2|
|06/02/1972||16-20||4th||-4 1/2||at Kansas City Royals||L||9-1||Lew Krausse||1-3|
|06/03/1972||16-21||5th||-5 1/2||at Kansas City Royals||L||10-4||Marty Pattin||1-7|
|06/04/1972||16-22||5th||-6 1/2||at Kansas City Royals||L||7-5||Ray Culp||4-5|
|06/06/1972||18-22||4th||-5 1/2||at Chicago White Sox||W||2-0||Sonny Siebert||5-2|
|06/07/1972||18-23||4th||-5 1/2||at Chicago White Sox||L||2-1||Luis Tiant||0-2|
|06/09/1972||19-23||4th||-4 1/2||California Angels||W||6-5||Marty Pattin||2-7|
|06/10/1972||19-24||4th||-4 1/2||California Angels||L||7-3||John Curtis||2-1|
|06/11/1972||20-24||4th||-4 1/2||California Angels||W||8-4||Sonny Siebert||6-2|
|06/13/1972||20-25||4th||-5||Kansas City Royals||L||4-2||Bill Lee||4-2|
|06/14/1972||21-25||4th||-5||Kansas City Royals||W||11-3||John Curtis||3-1|
|06/15/1972||21-26||4th||-5 1/2||Kansas City Royals||L||13-9||Sonny Siebert||6-3|
|06/16/1972||21-26||4th||-6||Chicago White Sox||pp|
|06/17/1972||21-27||4th||-7||Chicago White Sox||L||5-4||Ray Culp||4-6|
|22-27||4th||-6 1/2||W||10-8||Bill Lee||5-1|
|06/18/1972||22-28||5th||-7 1/2||Chicago White Sox||L||8-4||John Curtis||3-2|
|06/19/1972||23-28||3rd||-6 1/2||Texas Rangers||W||12-0||Sonny Siebert||7-3|
|06/20/1972||23-29||4th||-6 1/2||Texas Rangers||L||5-2||Marty Pattin||2-8|
|06/21/1972||24-29||4th||-6 1/2||Texas Rangers||W||10-9||Luis Tiant||1-2|
|06/23/1972||24-30||4th||-7||at Milwaukee Brewers||L||8-1||John Curtis||3-3|
|06/24/1972||24-31||4th||-7 1/2||at Milwaukee Brewers||L||5-2||Sonny Siebert||7-4|
|06/25/1972||25-31||4th||-6 1/2||at Milwaukee Brewers||W||8-1||Marty Pattin||3-8|
|06/26/1972||25-33||5th||-8||at Cleveland Indians||L||7-3||Ray Culp||4-7|
|06/27/1972||26-33||4th||-8||at Cleveland Indians||W||8-2||John Curtis||4-3|
|06/28/1972||27-33||3rd||-7||Detroit Tigers||W||5-3||Luis Tiant||2-2|
|06/29/1972||27-34||3rd||-8||Detroit Tigers||L||8-4||Don Newhauser||0-1|
|06/30/1972||27-34||4th||-7 1/2||Milwaukee Brewers||pp|
|07/01/1972||28-34||4th||-7 1/2||Milwaukee Brewers||W||5-4||Marty Pattin||4-8|
|07/02/1972||29-34||4th||-6 1/2||Milwaukee Brewers||W||15-4||Ray Culp||5-7|
|07/03/1972||31-34||3rd||-5||Minnesota Twins||W||8-2||Luis Tiant||3-2|
|07/04/1972||32-34||3rd||-5||Minnesota Twins||W||2-0||Lynn McGlothen||1-1|
|07/05/1972||33-34||3rd||-5||Minnesota Twins||W||2-0||Marty Pattin||5-8|
|07/07/1972||34-34||3rd||-4 1/2||at California Angels||W||5-3||Luis Tiant||4-2|
|07/08/1972||34-35||3rd||-4||at California Angels||L||4-3||Bill Lee||5-2|
|07/09/1972||34-36||4th||-4||at California Angels||L||3-0||Sonny Siebert||7-5|
|07/10/1972||35-36||3rd||-4||at Oakland Athletics||W||4-2||Lynn McGlothen||2-1|
|07/11/1972||36-36||3rd||-4||at Oakland Athletics||W||4-0||Marty Pattin||6-8|
|07/12/1972||37-36||3rd||-4||at Oakland Athletics||W||7-6||Bill Lee||6-2|
|07/13/1972||37-37||3rd||-5||at Minnesota Twins||L||10-0||Ray Culp||5-8|
|07/14/1972||37-38||3rd||-5||at Minnesota Twins||L||7-6||Luis Tiant||4-3|
|07/15/1972||37-39||3rd||-6||at Minnesota Twins||L||7-1||Lynn McGlothen||2-2|
|07/16/1972||38-39||3rd||-6||at Minnesota Twins||W||6-1||Marty Pattin||7-8|
|07/17/1972||39-39||3rd||-6||California Angels||W||4-1||John Curtis||6-3|
|07/18/1972||40-39||3rd||-6||California Angels||W||4-1||Sonny Siebert||8-5|
|07/19/1972||41-39||3rd||-5||California Angels||W||8-2||Lynn McGlothen||3-2|
|07/20/1972||42-39||3rd||-5||Oakland Athletics||W||2-1||Marty Pattin||8-8|
|43-39||3rd||-4 1/2||W||4-3||Don Newhauser||1-1|
|07/21/1972||44-39||3rd||-4 1/2||Oakland Athletics||W||5-4||Don Newhauser||2-1|
|07/22/1972||44-40||3rd||-5 1/2||Oakland Athletics||L||5-3||Gary Peters||1-2|
|07/23/1972||45-41||3rd||-5||Oakland Athletics||L||6-3||Lynn McGlothen||3-3|
|07/24/1972||All Star Game Break|
|07/27/1972||45-42||3rd||-6 1/2||at New York Yankees||L||6-2||Marty Pattin||8-9|
|07/28/1972||46-42||3rd||-6 1/2||at New York Yankees||W||6-5||Don Newhauser||3-1|
|07/29/1972||46-44||3rd||-6||at New York Yankees||L||8-1||John Curtis||6-4|
|07/30/1972||47-44||3rd||-6||at Detroit Tigers||W||4-3||Lynn McGlothen||4-3|
|07/31/1972||47-46||3rd||-6||at Detroit Tigers||L||5-2||Marty Pattin||8-10|
|08/01/1972||47-47||4th||-7||New York Yankees||L||10-4||Sonny Siebert||9-7|
|08/02/1972||47-48||4th||-6||New York Yankees||L||5-1||John Curtis||6-5|
|48-48||4th||-6 1/2||W||7-4||Gary Peters||2-2|
|08/03/1972||49-48||4th||-5 1/2||New York Yankees||W||7-2||Lynn McGlothen||5-3|
|08/04/1972||50-48||4th||-4 1/2||Baltimore Orioles||W||2-0||Marty Pattin||9-10|
|08/05/1972||51-48||3rd||-4 1/2||Baltimore Orioles||W||6-3||Luis Tiant||5-4|
|08/06/1972||51-49||4th||-5||Baltimore Orioles||L||11-2||John Curtis||6-6|
|08/07/1972||51-50||4th||-5 1/2||Cleveland Indians||L||6-2||Lynn McGlothen||5-4|
|08/08/1972||52-50||4th||-4 1/2||Cleveland Indians||W||4-1||Marty Pattin||10-10|
|08/09/1972||53-50||4th||-4||Cleveland Indians||W||5-2||Sonny Siebert||10-7|
|08/11/1972||53-51||4th||-4||at Baltimore Orioles||L||2-1||Don Newhauser||3-2|
|08/12/1972||53-52||4th||-4||at Baltimore Orioles||L||3-2||Marty Pattin||10-11|
|08/13/1972||54-53||4th||-5||at Baltimore Orioles||L||8-2||Sonny Siebert||10-8|
|08/14/1972||54-53||4th||-5||New York Mets (at Wash)||L||4-1|
|08/15/1972||55-53||4th||-4||at Texas Rangers||W||3-0||John Curtis||7-6|
|08/16/1972||55-54||4th||-4||at Texas Rangers||L||9-8||Ken Tatum||0-2|
|08/17/1972||56-54||4th||-3||at Texas Rangers||W||4-3||Marty Pattin||11-11|
|08/18/1972||56-55||4th||-3 1/2||at Chicago White Sox||L||8-1||Sonny Siebert||10-9|
|08/19/1972||57-55||4th||-3 1/2||at Chicago White Sox||W||3-0||Luis Tiant||7-4|
|08/20/1972||57-56||4th||-3||at Chicago White Sox||L||9-7||Marty Pattin||11-12|
|08/22/1972||59-56||4th||-2 1/2||at Kansas City Royals||W||10-7||Marty Pattin||12-12|
|08/23/1972||59-57||4th||-3 1/2||at Kansas City Royals||L||3-0||Sonny Siebert||10-10|
|08/25/1972||60-57||4th||-3||Texas Rangers||W||4-0||Luis Tiant||8-4|
|08/26/1972||61-57||3rd||-3||Texas Rangers||W||7-6||Don Newhauser||4-2|
|08/27/1972||62-57||3rd||-3 1/2||Texas Rangers||W||10-3||Marty Pattin||13-12|
|08/28/1972||62-58||4th||-4||Chicago White Sox||L||6-4||Sonny Siebert||10-11|
|08/29/1972||63-58||3rd||-3||Chicago White Sox||W||3-0||Luis Tiant||9-4|
|08/30/1972||64-58||3rd||-2||Chicago White Sox||W||4-2||Lynn McGlothen||6-4|
|09/01/1972||65-58||4th||-2||Kansas City Royals||W||1-0||Marty Pattin||14-12|
|09/02/1972||66-58||4th||-1||Kansas City Royals||W||5-3||Sonny Siebert||11-11|
|09/03/1972||66-58||2nd||-1/2||Kansas City Royals||pp|
|09/04/1972||67-58||3rd||-1/2||at Milwaukee Brewers||W||2-0||Luis Tiant||10-4|
|09/05/1972||68-59||2nd||-1/2||at Milwaukee Brewers||W||5-3||Gary Peters||3-2|
|09/06/1972||69-59||2nd||-1/2||New York Yankees||W||2-0||John Curtis||9-6|
|09/07/1972||70-59||1st||+1/2||New York Yankees||W||10-4||Sonny Siebert||12-11|
|09/08/1972||71-59||1st||+1/2||New York Yankees||W||4-2||Luis Tiant||11-4|
|09/09/1972||71-60||1st||+1/2||at Cleveland Indians||L||2-1||Gary Peters||3-3|
|09/10/1972||72-60||1st||+1/2||at Cleveland Indians||W||5-1||Bob Veale||1-0|
|73-60||1st||+1 1/2||W||2-0||John Curtis||10-6|
|09/11/1972||73-61||1st||+1/2||at Cleveland Indians||L||6-5||Bill Lee||6-4|
|09/12/1972||73-62||1st||+1/2||at New York Yankees||L||3-2||Luis Tiant||11-5|
|09/13/1972||74-62||1st||+1||at New York Yankees||W||7-2||Lynn McGlothen||7-5|
|09/15/1972||75-62||1st||+1||Cleveland Indians||W||4-3||Bob Veale||2-0|
|09/16/1972||76-62||1st||+1||Cleveland Indians||W||10-0||Luis Tiant||12-5|
|09/17/1972||76-63||1st||-||Cleveland Indians||L||9-2||John Curtis||10-7|
|09/18/1972||76-64||2nd||-1/2||Baltimore Orioles||L||5-2||Lynn McGlothen||7-6|
|09/20/1972||77-64||1st||+1/2||Baltimore Orioles||W||9-1||Marty Pattin||15-12|
|09/21/1972||78-65||1st||-||Detroit Tigers||L||10-3||Mike Garman||0-1|
|09/22/1972||79-65||1st||+1||Detroit Tigers||W||3-2||Lynn McGlothen||8-6|
|09/23/1972||79-66||1st||-||Detroit Tigers||L||7-1||Sonny Siebert||12-12|
|09/24/1972||80-66||1st||+1||Detroit Tigers||W||7-2||Luis Tiant||14-5|
|09/26/1972||80-67||1st||+1/2||Milwaukee Brewers||L||6-4||Marty Pattin||15-13|
|09/27/1972||81-67||1st||+1/2||Milwaukee Brewers||W||7-5||Bill Lee||7-4|
|09/28/1972||82-67||1st||+1 1/2||Kansas City Royals||W||3-1||John Curtis||11-7|
|09/29/1972||83-67||1st||+1 1/2||at Baltimore Orioles||W||4-2||Luis Tiant||15-5|
|09/30/1972||84-67||1st||+1 1/2||at Baltimore Orioles||W||3-1||Marty Pattin||16-13|
|10/01/1972||84-68||1st||+1/2||at Baltimore Orioles||L||2-1||Lynn McGlothen||8-7|
|10/02/1972||84-69||2nd||-1/2||at Detroit Tigers||L||4-1||John Curtis||11-8|
|10/03/1972||84-70||2nd||-1 1/2||at Detroit Tigers||L||3-1||Luis Tiant||15-6|
|10/04/1972||85-70||2nd||-1/2||at Detroit Tigers||W||4-1||Marty Pattin||17-13|
|1972 RED SOX BATTING & PITCHING|