1978 BOSTON RED SOX
(THE CURSE OF THE BAMBINO, PART 9) ...
BLEEPIN' BUCKY DENT'S HOME RUN ...

 

Jesse Haines   Joe Gordon   Pug Rentner   Tommy O'Brien
Died: Aug 5th   Died: Oct 8th   Died: Aug 24th   Died: Nov 5th
Paul Governali   George Burns   Ed Chaplin   Carl Reynolds
Died: Feb 15th   Died: Jan 7th   Died: Aug 15th   Died: May 29th
Rube Walberg   Lyman Bostock   Sam Goldman   Gene Tunney
Died: Oct 27th   Died: Sept 24th   Died: Nov 8th   Died: Nov 7th
Bob McGraw   Bill Clowers   Eddie Britt   Mike Herrera
Died: June 2nd   Died: Jan 13th   Died: Nov 21st   Died: Feb 3rd
Bill Rodgers   Fritz Coumbe   Bill Foster   Jim Gilliam
Died: Dec 24th   Died: March 21st   Died: Sept 16th   Died: Oct 8th
Josh Bard   John Lackey   Victor Martinez   Joel Piniero
Born: Mar 30th   Born: Oct 23rd   Born: Dec 23rd   Born: Sept 25th
Jason Bay   Nick Green   Kobe Bryant   Brian Scalabrine
Born: Sept 20th   Born: Sept 10th   Born: Aug 23rd   Born: Mar 18th
Casey Fossum   Dirk Nowitzki   Matt Light   Carlos Pena
Born: Jan 6th   Born: June 19th   Born: June 23rd   Born: May 17th
Brad Penny   Daniel Graham   Devern Hansack   Vernon Wells
Born: May 24th   Born: Nov 16th   Born: Feb 5th   Born: Dec 8th
             
             

It was a lazy pop fly off the bat of their indomitable captain, Carl Yastrzemski with two outs and the tying run on base in the bottom of the ninth inning on October 2nd. When the ball landed in the glove of Yankees' third baseman, Graig Nettles, it was as if a giant meteor plummeted into Fenway Park. It had the same devastating effect. It gave the hated Yankees a championship that the Sox had all but wrapped up early in the summer.

Yes, the 1978 Red Sox won 12 of their last 14, to force a one game playoff. But they had a gaudy 57-26 record and a 14 1/2 game lead over the Yankees in mid-July. Then suddenly, like a cheap baseball that had been used too often, the Sox began to unwind.

The 1978 Boston Red Sox were coming off a strong year in 77, one in which they won 97 games. But the New York Yankees won 100 and won a World Series title, so in Boston that meant some changes were necessary. Following the season, the Yawkey Trust sold the team to a group headed by Buddy LeRoux and Haywood Sullivan. Jean Yawkey added herself to the group and general manager, Dick OConnell, was released and replaced by Sullivan.

Sullivan raided the Bronx for free-agent starting pitcher, Mike Torrez, whod won two World Series games for New York in October. Free agents Dick Drago, Tom Burgmeier and Jack Brohamer were also signed. Then Sullivan made two more significant deals. He acquired second baseman Jerry Remy from the Angels for Don Aase and Rick Miller. He also packaged Rick Wise, Mike Paxton, Ted Cox and Bo Diaz into a deal with Cleveland that brought them Dennis Eckersley at the end of spring training.

The Sox were loaded and had the potential to be one of the best teams in franchise history. The pitching staff was made considerably stronger. Eckersley won 20 games with a 2.99 ERA, Torrez won 16 games, while Luis Tiant and Bill Lee filled out the rotation in what was an era when teams relied on only four starters. The bullpen was stronger with Bill Campbell, Bob Stanley (2.60 ERA), Drago and Burgmeier. But the Sox now lacked young players and any depth.

Jim Rice (.315 BA) symbolized the power of the Sox offense, emerging as one of the most dangerous sluggers in the game. He batted .361 at Fenway in 1978 and led the American League with 213 hits, 46 homers, 139 RBIs and 15 triples. He also had 406 total bases, becoming the first AL player to accomplish that since 1937. With Remy and shortstop Rick Burleson shoring up both the middle infield and the top of the order, Rice had the monster year that would eventually win him the MVP. Carlton Fisk was behind the plate and the legendary Carl Yastrzemski still was in good form. This team could score runs by the bushel.

The Sox played decent, but not spectacular, at the start of the season. They only won one game in their opening set in Chicago. In that game, on April 9th, Jim Rice blasted an upper deck home run along with a pair of singles to help Bill Lee, as he shutout the Whites Sox, 5 to 0.

After losing a game in Cleveland they then ripped off eight consecutive wins. On April 12th, Rice and Fred Lynn homered to give Mike Torrez his first Sox victory, 6 to 3.

In the home opener at windy Fenway Park, on April 14th, Claudell Washington, the rightfielder for the Texas Rangers, lost three fly balls to the sun and wind. The last was a slicing line drive from the bat of Rice that ended the game, because Butch Hobson was on third. Washington started in and then had to reverse course, only to see the ball drop at the foot of the Rangers bullpen, giving the Sox a 5 to 4 walk-off win.

The next game saw the Sox bury the Rangers, 12 to 4. Hobson and Bernie Carbo drove in four runs apiece, while Rice slammed his third homer of the young season, bringing in three more runs. In the finale, Hobson drilled a single off the wall in left center to snap a tie game, and give the Sox an eventual 8 to 6 sweep of the Rangers.

The Brewers next came to Fenway and Hobson continued his hot hitting, by smacking a homer and a double to drive in three runs, as the Sox smacked Milwaukee, 9 to 2 on April 17th.

Luis Tiant who started the season on the disabled list, having dislocated his finger in spring training, came off it on April 18th and got his first win of the year, in relief, against the Brewers. Carlton Fisk's two-out run scoring double in the ninth inning, gave Tiant and the Sox a 7-6 walk-off victory. To make room on the roster for "El Tiante" the Sox sold Reggie Cleveland to the Texas Rangers.

Bill Lee (3-0) pitched his second complete game on April 20th, to complete a sweep of the Brewers in a 10-4 romp. Hobson's three-run homer and Fred Lynn's two-run shot led the Sox hitting attack.

Carlton Fisk got another game winning hit against the Indians, who visited Fenway Park on April 21st. His two-run homer in the seventh inning broke up a tie game as the Sox beat Cleveland, 9 to 7, for their eighth consecutive win. But the Sox ended up splitting the series with Cleveland, including splitting a doubleheader on April 23rd. In the first game it was again, Fisk, who doubled in one of three eighth inning runs, that gave the Sox a 6 to 2 win.

The Sox slumped during their road trip at the end of April. They split two games with the Brewers and then lost three straight in Texas. They ended the month with an 11-9 record, in second place, three games behind the Tigers.

On May 1st against the Orioles, Jim Rice belted a pair of two-run homers to lead the Sox in a 9 to 6 win. After losing the next game with the Orioles, the Sox then went on another winning streak, winning nine of their next ten games.

Fred Lynn drilled three hits, including a tie-breaking two-run single in the sixth inning, to lead the Sox to an 11-9 defeat of the Minnesota Twins on May 3rd. The next night Rice clouted a pair of triples and knocked in three runs, as the Sox beat up the Twins, 8 to 1, to give Dennis Eckersley his first Red Sox win.

Rice belted his eighth home run of the season and drove in five runs as the Red Sow swept the White Sox in a doubleheader on May 6th. They won the opener 6 to 4 and also the nite cap, by a sore of 3 to 0, behind the pitching of rookie, Jim Wright, making his first major league start.

The Red Sox rallied to win the first game on Dwight Evans' two-run homer, with one out, in the 10th inning. Rice's  two-out single in the ninth inning drove in the tying run, setting the stage for the Evans game-winning liner into the left field screen, following a single by Fisk, the next inning. Rice drove in three runs in the first game and in the second game, he hit a two-run homer and later added a double. His five RBIs pushed his total for the year to 30.

Jim Wright, a 27-year old righthander then scattered seven hits in the second game, earning his first major league victory. He struck out three and didn't issue a walk, becoming the first Red Sox rookie to throw a shutout since Billy Rohr blanked the Yankees in 1967.

The next night Mike Torrez pitched his first complete-game victory with the Red Sox, in a 5-0 decision over the White Sox. Rice and Carl Yastrzemski each belted two-run homers. Against Kansas City, who next visited Fenway, Yaz slammed a three-run home run in the seventh inning as the Sox blasted the Royals, 8 to 4.

Eckersley pitched his second complete game on May 9th, against the Royals, beating them 4 to 3. Rice's two run homer in the seventh inning extended the Sox winning streak to seven games. The Sox winning streak was stopped by the Orioles the next day, but they rebounded on May 11th to beat the O's 5 to 4, behind Rice, who slugged his 11th homer of the season and the sixth in his last eleven games.

In Minnesota, on May 13th, the Sox moved into first place by beating the Twins, 4 to 2. The next night, Lynn blasted a three-run homer and Eckersley won his third straight game, as they beat the Twins again, 6 to 2. Lynn batted .545 including three homers, three doubles and a triple, collecting 12 hits in 22 at bats and driving in five runs to be named AL Player of the Week on May 15th.

On May 17th, Bill Lee scattered six hits in beating the Royals, 3 to 2, in Kansas City, staying undefeated with a 6-0 record. In Detroit, the Sox and Tigers split a series, and the two teams were tied for first place in the AL East. On May 21st in the final game, Luis Tiant scattered eight hits and Bob Montgomery drove in four runs with three singles and a triple, in a 9 to 3 win.
 

It wasnt until May 22nd that the Sox took the lead in the AL East alone and kept it for an extended period, as they beat the Blue Jays in Toronto, 5 to 4. Yastrzemski sealed the deal with an eight inning, three-run homer.

Now the Sox took off, and became the hottest thing going, winning eight straight games. On May 24th, homers by Fisk and Jack Brohamer beat the Jays, 8 to 2. Homers by Rice and Dwight Evans led the Sox to a 9 to 5 victory over the Jays in the series finale.

The Sox returned home to face the Tigers on May 26th. It was Rice and Evans, who once again teamed up, each slamming home runs, to beat Detroit, 6 to 3. The following night, Rice rifled a solo shot into the left field screen, accounting for the only Sox run in a 1 to 0 win. Luis Tiant scattered seven hits, recording his second shutout and third win of the year. Finally, Rice's 10th inning walk-off homer led the Sox to a 4 to 3 win in the first game of a doubleheader with the Tigers on May 28th. Then in the second game, Evans hit a two-run homer, while Jerry Remy tripled and scored the tie-breaking run, in another 4 to 3 win and a four game sweep. Rice had now hit a MLB leading, 18 homers in 46 games with 50 RBIs.

With the Blue Jays visiting Fenway Park on May 29th, Evans' eighth inning homer lifted the Sox to a 5 to 4 victory. The next game solo homers by Evans and Rick Burleson, backed Dennis Eckersley's 4-0 shutout of the Jays. Eck struck out five and didn't walk a batter, giving up only one hit over the final four innings.

Jim Clancy and the Jays beat the Sox on the final day of the month, halting the Sox homer streak of 17 in the last 10 games. Rice fell one short of Jackie Jensen's club record of 14 homers in a month, set in June, 1959 and won the American League Player of the Month. Rice drove in 33 runs, with a .760 slugging percentage, and had six game-winning hits. The Sox headed out to the west coast with a 3 1/2 game lead over the Yankees.

In Anaheim on June 2nd, Butch Hobson drove in four runs, three with a fourth inning homer to propel the Sox past the Angels and Nolan Ryan, 6 to 1. Fred Lynn hit a ninth inning home run the next night, that gave the Sox a 5 to 4 edge over the Angels.

In Seattle on June 9th, Luis Tiant (6-0) remained undefeated when he beat the Mariners, 3 to 2. Rick Burleson's bases loaded triple highlighted an eight-run fourth inning, in the next game, as the Sox clobbered the Mariners, 13 to 1. Mike Torrez (9-2) won his fourth straight, allowing just four hits and one run. Burleson and Evans clobbered homers in the final game of the series, leading the Sox to a 5 to 3 win. The win stretched the Sox lead over the Yankees to six games.

Back at Fenway on June 12th, Carlton Fisk grounded a single inside the third base bag, with the bases loaded in the ninth inning, to drive in the winning run in a 10-9 walk-off victory against the Angels. The next night, Jim Wright, pitched his second shutout for the Sox. This one was a 5 to 0, two-hit gem, with only three Angels baserunners making it as far as second base.

Luis Tiant followed that up with a 9 to 0 shutout of the Oakland A's on June 14th. Loooie struck out six, without walking a man, and allowed only four hits. Jim Rice banged out his major league-leading 20th homer. Then in the next game, on June 15th, Rice unloaded a game-tying two-run homer and then tripled home the two go-ahead runs, powering the Sox to another win against Oakland, 7 to 3. Rice also led the majors with 61 RBIs.

The differences between Don Zimmer and his young players was still simmering in the background. On June 15th, the popular Bernie Carbo was sold to the Indians and Bill Lee reacted like they had given away his best friend and walked out, threatening to quit the team. Lee hated Zimmer and his pitching performance after that, reflected his animosity.

Seattle came in the next day and Fred Lynn's double in the eight inning, drove in two runs to beat the Mariners, 6 to 3. Yaz came through in the ninth inning of the next game, on June 17th, to cap off a 5 to 4 walk-off win. He grounded a bases-loaded single to finish off the two-run come-from-behind last at bat win.

On June 19th, the Sox enjoyed a 6 1/2 game lead in the AL East over the Yankees, who started a series with them at Fenway Park. In the first game the Yanks KO'd Luis Tiant for a 4-1 fourth inning lead, but it vanished by the end of that inning and then it became a battle of the bullpens. The Sox went on to beat up Rich Gossage and Sparky Lyle, with six runs in the eighth inning, for a 10 to 4 victory.

In the second game, light-hitting Fred Stanley finished off a seven-run fourth inning with a grandslam homer, to knock down the Sox in a Yankees, 10 to 4 win.

In the series finale on June 21st, Yastrzemski and Fisk keyed a six-run third inning with consecutive doubles. Hobson, Lynn and George Scott homered, as the Sox whipped the Yankees, 9 to 2, behind the six-hit pitching of Dennis Eckersley.

Against the Orioles on June 23rd at Fenway, Fisk's three-run first inning homer, along with two spectacular catches on foul pops near the first base box seats, highlighted a Sox 5 to 1 victory, that snapped Jim Palmer's seven game winning streak. Fisk slugged another homer in the second game of the series and Hobson drove in two runs with a homer and a single, to lead the Sox to an 8 to 3 win over the Orioles. Tiant (7-0) remained undefeated, winning his sixth victory in his last seven starts. The Sox swept the Orioles by winning the final game, 4 to 1, as Mike Torrez worked out of constant trouble to hang on.

The Sox finished their 11-2 homestand and left for New York to face the Yankees again, with an 8 1/2 game lead. In the first game of the Yankees series on June 26th, Rice extended his American League home run lead by belting his 23rd homer, a two-run shot in the fifth inning. Lynn added an RBI sixth inning single to give the Sox a 4 to 1 victory. Eckersley got the win and pitched the Sox fifth consecutive complete game. The second game went 14 innings, with the Yankees coming out on top, 6 to 4, on Graig Nettles walk-off two run homer.

In Baltimore on June 29th, Dwight Evans slugged a ninth inning homer to give the Sox a 4 to 3 win. But the Sox ended June, by losing to the Orioles in 11 innings, giving Tiant, who had won 11 games in a row, his first loss of the season.

After losing 2-of-3 in Baltimore, the Sox came back to Fenway and blasted the Yankees, 9 to 5, on July 3rd. Yaz keyed a Sox barrage of base hits with a double and a pair of singles. He and Fisk, who had a double and a single, each had 3 RBIs.

Rice and Fisk were voted as starters for the American League All Stars for the game played in San Diego. All Star manager, Billy Martin, later added Yaz, Lynn, Evans and Jerry Remy to the roster.

On July 5th, the Red Sox traveled to Chicago and beat the White Sox, 9 to 2. Lynn drove in three runs with a pair of homers and Yaz capped a six-run seventh inning with a two run blast. Lynn's tie-breaking homer in the 10th inning of the next night's game, lifted the Red Sox past the White Sox, 7 to 6, giving them a 10 game lead in the AL East.

In Cleveland on July 8th, Evans drilled a tie-breaking RBI single to give the Sox a 3-2 victory and a sweep of a doubleheader. Fisk had a three-run homer and a two-run double in the opener to give the Sox a 12 to 5 win.

After the All Star break, the Sox lost two to the Rangers, but then swept four straight from the Twins at Fenway. On July 15th, Yaz sparked the Sox to a 5 to 4 win with a key home run. Bill Lee (10-3) got the win. In a doubleheader on July 16th, Lynn had an RBI single and a two-run homer to carry the Sox past the Twins, 3 to 2, for a sweep. Yaz had three singles in the opener, including the game-winner, for a 5 to 3 win. In the last game of the series on July 17th, Fisk's two-out 10th inning walk-off single, gave the Sox a come-from-behind 3 to 2 win, as they were losing by a run when they came to bat.

In Milwaukee on July 19th, Frank Duffy's single broke a 2-2 tie as George Scott slid home with the go-ahead run, in a game the Sox would win 8 to 2. But this would be the high water mark for the Red Sox, who lost nine of the next ten games. The Sox record was 62-28 and the Yankees (48-42) were in fourth place, 14 games behind, and in turmoil. They seemed like a non-factor in the AL East.

 

 

On July 24th, angered at the Yankees' .500 start, George Steinbrenner fired manager Billy Martin and replaced him with Bob Lemon. Reggie Jackson referred to himself as the straw that stirred the drink, insulting to the veterans like Yankees captain, Thurman Munson. They added Rich Gossage to their bullpen and Sparky Lyle felt disrespected by losing his closers role. Willie Randolph, Mickey Rivers and Bucky Dent were all playing hurt. Only Ron Guidry, who had been so frustrated with his progress a few years before and thought about quitting baseball, was having the kind of the year for the Yankees, that Jim Rice was having for the Red Sox.

The same kind of injury problems that had hit the Yankees earlier in the season, hit the Red Sox. Rick Burleson strained left ankle ligaments sliding into second in the first inning of a game on July 9th. On July 26th Yaz hurt his back on a swing and missed five games. He missed 13 games with a right wrist sprain on August 10th and played thereafter with his wrist heavily taped to protect his torn ligaments. Every swing, especially the missed ones, was painful for Yaz, and so was every throw to second agony for Fisk, who had a cracked rib.


Hobson would drive in 80 runs and hit 17 home runs batting ninth, but made 43 errors at third, 27 on throws to first, made tortuous by floating bone chips in his right elbow. That was in addition to cartilage and ligament damage to both knees. It got so bad that he eventually asked to be taken out of the lineup and was made the DH.

 

The Yankees then flipped the switch, and as the Sox cooled down, the Yanks became scorching hot. On August 1st, the Yankees pushed past the Orioles. The Sox lead over the second place Brewers had shrunk to only 5 games and 6 1/2 games over the third place Yankees.

The Sox then seemed to put the Yankees in their place by sweeping two games in Yankee Stadium. In the first game on August 2nd, after 14 innings the game was suspended because of a 1AM curfew. The score was tied, 5 to 5. The Sox, who trailed 5-0 after 5 innings, scored two in the fourth, two in the sixth and tied it in the eight an a double by Rice, a wild pitch from Gossage, and a sac fly by Yaz. The next day, Rice and Burleson delivered run-scoring singles in the 17th inning to give the Sox a 7 to 5 win. The Sox then cruised past the Yankees in the next game, 8 to 1, on homers by Rice, Lynn and Bob Bailey, in a rain-shortened six inning match-up. The Red Sox lead was 6 games as the Yankees and Sox would match each other over the rest of the month.

 

After the series in New York, the Sox then moved on to Milwaukee and took 2-of-3 from the Brewers. On August 5th, Remy and Dwight Evans lined two-run homers and Yaz added a solo homer and an RBI single, in an 8 to 1 romp. Eckersley (13-4) allowed six scattered hits. In the next game, Tiant shut-out the Brewers, 4 to 0.

 

Back at Fenway, the Sox took 2-of-3 from the Indians. On August 8th, Rice hit two homers as the Sox beat Cleveland, 9 to 7. On August 10th, it took 13 innings, but the Sox came from behind to win 6 to 5, with a two-run rally.

 

The Brewers lost 3-of-5 to the Sox when they then came to Fenway Park. On August 13th, Rice pounded out four hits including a two-run homer as the Sox crushed the Brewers, 11 to 4, to complete the sweep of a doubleheader. The Sox won the first game behind Jim Wright, 7 to 2. The next day, Fisk's bases-loaded grounder, past 3rd base in the 10th inning, scored Jerry Remy with the winning run, for a 4 to 3 walk-off. The Sox still held an 8 game lead over the Yankees.

 

A west coast trip next gave the Sox 2-of-3 over the California Angels. Luis Tiant won his 200th game on August 16th, beating the Angels, 4 to 2. The next night Bob Stanley (10-1) beat the Angels, 8 to 6.

 

Next, they traveled up to Oakland and took 2-of-3 from the A's. Rice blasted his 30th home run and Mike Torrez won his 15th game in a 6 to 3 victory on August 18th. But the the next Bill Lee lost his seventh straight game, 8-4. In the finale, Remy's three-run homer was the difference in the 4 to 2 win.

 

 

Back in Boston, the Sox tore off seven straight wins. In the first game on August 25th Rice's 32nd homer and Eckersley's four-hit shutout, beat the Angels, 6 to 0. Rice hit his 33rd homer in the next game, for a 7 to 1 win. The Sox swept the Angels when, in the 12th inning of the third game, on August 27th, Remy sprinted home from second base on a two-out throwing error and Hobson scored Lynn with a base hit for a 4-3 victory.

 

Against the Mariners on August 28th, Hobson doubled home two runs to finish a three-run ninth inning, giving the Red Sox a 10-9 see-saw victory over the Seattle Mariners. FLynn went 5-for-5 and scored four runs, in game marred by the beaning of Dwight Evans. George Scott's grand slam homer highlighted a 10 to 5 Sox victory over the Mariners in the next game.

 

On August 30th, the Blue Jays played the Sox at Fenway and worked a doubleheader split. Rice smashed his 35th and 36th home runs as Eckersley pitched a five hitter to gain his 16th win. Eck's Fenway record was a perfect 9-0.

 

The Sox finished the month of August pretty much as they had started the month,  with a seven game lead over the Yankees. But September then spelled the beginning of the end. Remy went down on with a chipped bone in his left wrist. Dwight Evans came back but got dizzy when he ran, the result of the beaning, and hit .161 (9 for 56) in September with one home run and three RBIs.


Now the Sox weaknesses showed. Jack Brohamer proved inadequate as a replacement for Remy, Frank Duffy flopped as Burleson's sub and Fred Kendall didn't do well enough to allow Zimmer to give Fisk much time off. The pitching staff also slumped. Lee was ineffective, and Mike Torrez won only one of his last ten starts.
 

The Yankees made up 10 games in a little over a month and trailed the Sox by only four games when they came to Fenway Park for a four-game showdown in early September. The Sox saw it as a chance to put the pennant race away and get healthy for the playoffs. But what followed would become known in New York, as the "Boston Massacre."
 

The Yanks made a quick statement in the first game, on September 7th, by bombarding former teammate Mike Torrez while Catfish Hunter was on cruse control. After three innings, the score was 7-0 and the Yankees had knocked out 13 hits. By the end of the fourth, the Sox were down 12-0 and lost 15 to 3.


Zimmer felt his team was ready for the next game on September 8th, taking solace in the fact that the beating still only counts as one game. Jim Beattie shut out the Sox for eight innings on three hits. Meanwhile, the Yankees hitters thrashed Jim Wright, then Tom Burgmeier, and Lee. The game was basically over once the Yankees took an 8-0 lead in the second. A couple of unearned runs by the Sox in the ninth made the final score 13-2.


The Red Sox appeared as hopeless as ever, and the fact that they had to deal with a pitcher in the middle of one of the greatest seasons in the history of baseball, only made matters worse. After a couple of hits in the first inning of the third game on September 9th, Ron Guidry (20-2) no-hit the Sox for the remaining 8 2/3 innings. The Sox had countered with Dennis Eckersley (16-6), but even he was blasted out of the game by the sizzling Yankee offense and a seven-run fourth inning, losing 7 to 0.

 

In the series finale, on September 10th, the Yankees incredibly had an opportunity to tie for first place, an idea that seemed inconceivable only a few weeks before. Zimmer refused to let Lee pitch and gave the ball to rookie southpaw Bobby Sprowl, for only his second career start. He didnt make it out of the first inning. By the end of the fourth, the Yankees held a 6-0 lead. The final score was 7-3, and the Yankees were officially tied for first place. The Yankees outscored the Red Sox 42-9 and out-hit them 67-21, averaging 10.5 runs and 16.75 hits per game, all at Fenway Park.

 

The Sox spiraled to 3 1/2 games back by September 16th, losing two more in Yankee Stadium before rebounding on September 17th with a Sunday afternoon win in the Bronx behind Eckersley (17-8).

Things began to change the following week though. The Sox began to chip away at the Yankee lead. On September 18th, Remy's RBI single in the 11th inning gave the Sox a 5 to 4 win in Detroit. The next day, Yaz drove in five runs with a homer and a double to power the Sox past the Tigers, 8 to 6. In the final game of the Detroit series on September 21st, Eckersley scattered six hits winning, 5 to 1.

The Sox next took 2-of-3 in Toronto, to start an eight game winning streak and cutting the Yankees lead to just one game on September 23rd. Rice belted his 43rd homer in a 3 to 1 Sox win over the Blue Jays. The next game on September 24th, went 14 innings when Hobson base hit scored Rice with the game winner, 7 to 6.

Back home, against the Tigers, the Sox swept a three game series. Eckersley shutout Detroit, while Rice belted his 44th homer in a 6 to 0 victory on September 26th. The next night Fisk's two-run triple and Scott's two-run homer gave the Sox a 5 to 2 win. Rice's 45th homer and a three-hit shutout by Mike Torrez, snapped his slump and gave the Sox a 1 to 0 victory on September 28th.

Toronto came in for the season finale on September 29th. The Yankees had kept pace and matched the Sox win-for-win and still held that one game advantage over the Sox.  The Sox won the first game 11-0. Jim Rice became the first American Leaguer to reach 400 total bases since Joe DiMaggio did it in 1937. Lynn drove in five runs with a triple and two singles. The Yankees beat the Indians, 3 to 1.

On September 30th, Dennis Eckersley won his 20th game by allowing the Jays five hits and winning, 5 to 1, but the Yankees kept the Sox on their treadmill, by beating Cleveland, 7 to 0.

The Sox finally caught the Yankees on, October 1st, the final day of the regular season. Luis Tiant shutout the Toronto Blue Jays, with a two-hitter, 5 to 0. He was supported by Burleson's two-run homer and a solo shot by Rice, his 46th.  Then the Fenway Faithful watching the scoreboard and got the good word that the Yankees lost in Cleveland 2 to 0. 

And so, after 162 games, both teams had an identical record of 99-63. A coin flip earlier had determined that a one-game playoff would take place at Fenway Park on Monday, October 2nd. It would become one of the legendary battles in MLB history. Both clubs were hot. The Sox had won 12 of their last 14 and the Yankees had gone 52-21 since July 19th.

 

 

With the Sox leading 2-0, Bucky Dent stepped to the plate and blooped a three-run homer just over the left field wall into the screen to give the Yankees a 3-2 lead in the seventh inning. That was followed with a drama-packed final three innings with the Yankees holding on 5-4 in the ninth inning., Burleson was on third base, Remy on first and Yaz, who had homered off Ron Guidry earlier in the game, at bat against

Gossage. After 15 years in a Red Sox uniform, it was his most important at bat. A hit up the middle would tie the game and a double would probably win. But
Yaz got under the ball and popped it up.

The season was a noble effort, one that marked the Red Sox as the team that had no quit in them. But now the lasting Sox memory, was not Fisk waving his dramatic home run fair over the left field wall, it was of the Bleepin Bucky Dent's home run just clearing it.

 

 

 

GAME LOG
  RECORD PLACE GB/GF OPPONENT   SCORE  PITCHER W/L
04/07/1978 0-1 5th -1  at Chicago White Sox L 6-5 Dick Drago 0-1
04/08/1978 0-2 6th -2  at Chicago White Sox L 6-5 Bill Campbell 0-1
04/09/1978 1-2 5th -2  at Chicago White Sox W 5-0 Bill Lee 1-0
04/10/1978 1-3 6th -2 1/2  at Cleveland Indians L 5-4 Reggie Cleveland 0-1
04/11/1978 1-3 4th -3  
04/12/1978 2-3 4th -3  at Cleveland Indians W 6-3 Mike Torrez 1-0
04/13/1978 2-3 4th -3  
04/14/1978 3-3 3rd -2  Texas Rangers W 5-4 Dick Drago 1-1
04/15/1978 4-3 3rd -1  Texas Rangers W 12-4 Bill Lee 2-0
04/16/1978 5-3 3rd -1  Texas Rangers W 8-6 Bob Stanley 1-0
04/17/1978 6-3 2nd -1  Milwaukee Brewers W 9-2 Mike Torrez 2-0
04/18/1978 7-3 2nd -1/2  Milwaukee Brewers W 7-6 Luis Tiant 1-0
04/19/1978 7-3 2nd -1/2  Milwaukee Brewers pp  
04/20/1978 8-3 1st -  Milwaukee Brewers W 10-4 Bill Lee 3-0
04/21/1978 9-3 1st +1/2  Cleveland Indians W 9-7 Dick Drago 2-1
04/22/1978 9-4 2nd -1/2  Cleveland Indians L 13-4 Allen Ripley 0-1
04/23/1978 10-4 2nd -1/2  Cleveland Indians W 6-3 Bill Campbell 1-1
10-5 2nd -1/2  Cleveland Indians L 10-7 Bob Stanley 1-1
04/24/1978 10-5 2nd -1/2  
04/25/1978 11-5 2nd -1  at Milwaukee Brewers W 4-3 Bill Lee 4-0
04/26/1978 11-6 2nd -1  at Milwaukee Brewers L 6-4 Mike Torrez 2-1
04/27/1978 11-6 2nd -1  
04/28/1978 11-7 2nd -2  at Texas Rangers L 5-4 Bill Campbell 1-2
04/29/1978 11-8 2nd -3  at Texas Rangers L 4-1 Dennis Eckersley 0-1
04/30/1978 11-9 2nd -3  at Texas Rangers L 2-1 Bill Campbell 1-3
05/01/1978 12-9 2nd -2 1/2  Baltimore Orioles W 9-6 Mike Torrez 3-1
05/02/1978 12-10 3rd -3 1/2  Baltimore Orioles L 3-1 Allen Ripley 0-2
05/03/1978 13-10 3rd -3 1/2  Minnesota Twins W 11-9 Tom Burgmeier 1-0
05/04/1978 14-10 2nd -3  Minnesota Twins W 8-1 Dennis Eckersley 1-1
05/05/1978 14-10 3rd -2 1/2  Chicago White Sox pp  
05/06/1978 15-10 2nd -2 1/2  Chicago White Sox W 6-4 Bob Stanley 2-1
16-10 2nd -2 W 3-0 Jim Wright 1-0
05/07/1978 17-10 2nd -2  Chicago White Sox W 5-0 Mike Torrez 4-1
05/08/1978 18-10 2nd -1 1/2  Kansas City Royals W 8-4 Bob Stanley 3-1
05/09/1978 19-10 2nd -1/2  Kansas City Royals W 4-3 Dennis Eckersley 2-1
05/10/1978 19-11 2nd -1  at Baltimore Orioles L 3-2 Tom Burgmeier 1-1
05/11/1978 20-11 2nd -1/2  at Baltimore Orioles W 5-4 Bill Lee 5-0
05/12/1978 20-11 1st -  at Minnesota Twins pp  
05/13/1978 21-11 1st +1  at Minnesota Twins W 4-2 Mike Torrez 5-1
05/14/1978 22-11 1st +1  at Minnesota Twins W 6-2 Dennis Eckersley 3-1
05/15/1978 22-12 1st -  at Kansas City Royals L 3-1 Allen Ripley 0-3
05/16/1978 23-12 1st -  at Kansas City Royals W 3-2 Bill Lee 6-0
05/17/1978 23-12 2nd -1/2  
05/18/1978 23-12 1st -  
05/19/1978 23-13 2nd -1  at Detroit Tigers L 7-5 Mike Torrez 5-2
05/20/1978 24-13 1st -  at Detroit Tigers W 6-5 Bill Campbell 2-3
05/21/1978 24-14 1st -  at Detroit Tigers L 2-1 Bill Lee 6-1
25-14 1st - W 9-3 Luis Tiant 2-0
05/22/1978 26-14 1st +1/2  at Toronto Blue Jays W 5-4 Allen Ripley 1-3
05/23/1978 26-15 1st +1/2  at Toronto Blue Jays L 2-1 Bill Campbell 2-4
05/24/1978 27-15 1st +1  at Toronto Blue Jays W 8-2 Mike Torrez 6-2
05/25/1978 28-15 1st +1  at Toronto Blue Jays W 9-5 Dennis Eckersley 4-1
05/26/1978 29-15 1st +1  Detroit Tigers W 6-3 Bill Lee 7-1
05/27/1978 30-15 1st +2  Detroit Tigers W 1-0 Luis Tiant 3-0
05/28/1978 31-15 1st +2  Detroit Tigers W 4-3 Bob Stanley 4-1
32-15 1st +2 W 4-3 Jim Wright 2-0
05/29/1978 33-15 1st +2  Toronto Blue Jays W 5-4 Mike Torrez 7-2
05/30/1978 34-15 1st +3  Toronto Blue Jays W 4-0 Dennis Eckersley 5-1
05/31/1978 34-16 1st +3  Toronto Blue Jays L 6-2 Bill Lee 7-2
06/01/1978 34-16 1st +3 1/2  
06/02/1978 35-16 1st +3 1/2  at California Angels W 6-1 Luis Tiant 4-0
06/03/1978 36-16 1st +4 1/2  at California Angels W 5-4 Mike Torrez 8-2
06/04/1978 36-17 1st +4 1/2  at California Angels L 4-2 Dennis Eckersley 5-2
06/05/1978 36-18 1st +4 1/2  at Oakland Athletics L 9-7 Allen Ripley 1-4
06/06/1978 36-19 1st +4 1/2  at Oakland Athletics L 7-1 Bill Lee 7-3
06/07/1978 36-19 1st +4  
06/08/1978 36-19 1st +4  
06/09/1978 37-19 1st +4  at Seattle Mariners W 3-2 Luis Tiant 5-0
06/10/1978 38-19 1st +5  at Seattle Mariners W 13-1 Mike Torrez 9-2
06/11/1978 39-19 1st +6  at Seattle Mariners W 5-3 Dennis Eckersley 6-2
06/12/1978 40-19 1st +6  California Angels W 10-9 Bill Campbell 3-4
06/13/1978 41-19 1st +6  California Angels W 5-0 Jim Wright 3-0
06/14/1978 42-19 1st +6  Oakland Athletics W 9-0 Luis Tiant 6-0
06/15/1978 43-19 1st +6  Oakland Athletics W 7-3 Mike Torrez 10-2
06/16/1978 44-19 1st +7  Seattle Mariners W 6-3 Bill Campbell 4-4
06/17/1978 45-19 1st +7  Seattle Mariners W 5-4 Bob Stanley 5-1
06/18/1978 45-20 1st +6 1/2  Seattle Mariners L 3-2 Jim Wright 3-1
06/19/1978 46-20 1st +7  New York Yankees W 10-4 Tom Burgmeier 2-1
06/20/1978 46-21 1st +6  New York Yankees L 10-4 Mike Torrez 10-3
06/21/1978 47-21 1st +7  New York Yankees W 9-2 Dennis Eckersley 7-2
06/22/1978 47-21 1st +6 1/2  
06/23/1978 48-21 1st +7 1/2  Baltimore Orioles W 5-2 Bill Lee 8-3
06/24/1978 49-21 1st +8 1/2  Baltimore Orioles W 8-3 Luis Tiant 7-0
06/25/1978 50-21 1st +8 1/2  Baltimore Orioles W 4-1 Mike Torrez 11-3
06/26/1978 51-21 1st +9 1/2  at New York Yankees W 4-1 Dennis Eckersley 8-2
06/27/1978 51-22 1st +8 1/2  at New York Yankees L 6-4 Dick Drago 2-2
06/28/1978 51-22 1st +8 1/2  
06/29/1978 52-22 1st +9  at Baltimore Orioles W 4-3 Allen Ripley 2-4
06/30/1978 52-23 1st +8  at Baltimore Orioles L 3-2 Luis Tiant 7-1
07/01/1978 52-24 1st +7  at Baltimore Orioles L 3-2 Mike Torrez 11-4
07/02/1978 52-24 1st +7 1/2  at Baltimore Orioles pp  
07/03/1978 53-24 1st +8 1/2  New York Yankees W 9-5 Dennis Eckersley 9-2
07/04/1978 53-24 1st +9  New York Yankees pp  
07/05/1978 54-24 1st +10  at Chicago White Sox W 9-2 Bill Lee 9-3
07/06/1978 55-24 1st +10  at Chicago White Sox W 7-6 Bill Campbell 5-4
07/07/1978 55-25 1st +9 1/2  at Cleveland Indians L 10-9 Bill Campbell 5-5
07/08/1978 56-25 1st +9 1/2  at Cleveland Indians W 12-5 Dennis Eckersley 10-2
57-25 1st +10 W 3-2 Jim Wright 4-1
07/09/1978 57-26 1st +9  at Cleveland Indians L 7-1 Allen Ripley 2-5
07/10/1978  All Star Game Break
07/11/1978
07/12/1978
07/13/1978 57-27 1st +8  Texas Rangers L 12-7 Luis Tiant 7-2
07/14/1978 57-28 1st +8  Texas Rangers L 4-3 Mike Torrez 11-5
07/15/1978 58-28 1st +8  Minnesota Twins W 5-4 Bill Lee 10-3
07/16/1978 59-28 1st +8  Minnesota Twins W 5-3 Dennis Eckersley 11-2
60-28 1st +8 1/2 W 3-2 Jim Wright 5-1
07/17/1978 61-28 1st +8 1/2  Minnesota Twins W 3-2 Bill Campbell 6-5
07/18/1978 61-28 1st +8  
07/19/1978 62-28 1st +9  at Milwaukee Brewers W 8-2 Mike Torrez 12-5
07/20/1978 62-29 1st +8  at Milwaukee Brewers L 8-6 Bill Lee 10-4
07/21/1978 62-30 1st +7  at Kansas City Royals L 9-0 Dennis Eckersley 11-3
07/22/1978 62-31 1st +6  at Kansas City Royals L 6-5 Dick Drago 2-3
07/23/1978 62-32 1st +5  at Kansas City Royals L 7-3 Jim Wright 5-2
07/24/1978 62-33 1st +5 1/2  at Minnesota Twins L 5-4 Dick Drago 2-4
63-33 1st +5 1/2 W 4-2 Andy Hassler 2-4
07/25/1978 63-34 1st +5 1/2  at Minnesota Twins L 5-2 Bill Lee 10-5
07/26/1978 63-35 1st +5 1/2  at Texas Rangers L 2-0 Dennis Eckersley 11-4
07/27/1978 63-36 1st +4 1/2  at Texas Rangers L 3-1 Luis Tiant 7-3
07/28/1978 63-37 1st +4 1/2  Kansas City Royals L 4-0 Mike Torrez 12-6
07/29/1978 64-37 1st +5 1/2  Kansas City Royals W 1-0 Jim Wright 6-2
07/30/1978 64-38 1st +4 1/2  Kansas City Royals L 2-1 Bill Lee 10-6
07/31/1978 65-38 1st +5 1/2  Chicago White Sox W 9-2 Dennis Eckersley 12-4
08/01/1978 65-39 1st +5  Chicago White Sox L 5-2 Luis Tiant 7-4
08/02/1978 66-39 1st +5  at New York Yankees W 7-5 Bob Stanley 6-1
08/03/1978 67-39 1st +6  at New York Yankees W 8-1 Mike Torrez 13-6
08/04/1978 67-40 1st +5  at Milwaukee Brewers L 6-2 Bill Lee 10-7
08/05/1978 68-40 1st +6  at Milwaukee Brewers W 8-1 Dennis Eckersley 13-4
08/06/1978 69-40 1st +7  at Milwaukee Brewers W 4-0 Luis Tiant 8-4
08/07/1978 69-40 1st +7  
08/08/1978 70-40 1st +8  Cleveland Indians W 9-7 Bob Stanley 7-1
08/09/1978 70-41 1st +7 1/2  Cleveland Indians L 5-1 Bill Lee 10-8
08/10/1978 71-41 1st +7 1/2  Cleveland Indians W 6-5 Bob Stanley 8-1
08/11/1978 71-42 1st +6 1/2  Milwaukee Brewers L 10-5 Luis Tiant 8-5
08/12/1978 72-42 1st +7 1/2  Milwaukee Brewers W 3-1 Jim Wright 7-2
73-42 1st +8 W 11-4 Bob Stanley 9-1
08/13/1978 74-42 1st +9  Milwaukee Brewers W 4-3 Mike Torrez 14-6
08/14/1978 74-43 1st +8  Milwaukee Brewers L 4-3 Bill Lee 10-9
08/15/1978 74-44 1st +7  at California Angels L 5-2 Dennis Eckersley 13-5
08/16/1978 75-44 1st +7  at California Angels W 4-2 Luis Tiant 9-5
08/17/1978 76-44 1st +7 1/2  at California Angels W 8-6 Bob Stanley 10-1
08/18/1978 77-44 1st +7 1/2  at Oakland Athletics W 6-3 Mike Torrez 15-6
08/19/1978 77-45 1st +7 1/2  at Oakland Athletics L 8-4 Bill Lee 10-10
08/20/1978 78-45 1st +8 1/2  at Oakland Athletics W 4-2 Dennis Eckersley 14-5
08/21/1978 78-45 1st +8  
08/22/1978 78-46 1st +7  at Seattle Mariners L 5-2 Luis Tiant 9-6
08/23/1978 78-47 1st +6  at Seattle Mariners L 5-3 Mike Torrez 15-7
08/24/1978 78-47 1st +6 1/2  
08/25/1978 79-47 1st +7 1/2  California Angels W 6-0 Dennis Eckersley 15-5
08/26/1978 80-47 1st +7 1/2  California Angels W 7-1 Jim Wright 8-2
08/27/1978 81-47 1st +7 1/2  California Angels W 4-3 Bob Stanley 11-1
08/28/1978 82-47 1st +7 1/2  Seattle Mariners W 10-9 Bob Stanley 12-1
08/29/1978 83-47 1st +7 1/2  Seattle Mariners W 10-5 Dick Drago 3-4
08/30/1978 84-47 1st +7 1/2  Toronto Blue Jays W 2-1 Dennis Eckersley 16-5
84-48 1st +7 L 7-6 Bob Stanley 12-2
09/01/1978 84-49 1st +6 1/2  Oakland Athletics L 5-1 Luis Tiant 9-7
09/02/1978 84-50 1st +5 1/2  Oakland Athletics L 4-3 Mike Torrez 15-8
09/03/1978 85-50 1st +5 1/2  Oakland Athletics W 11-6 Bob Stanley 13-2
09/04/1978 85-51 1st +5  at Baltimore Orioles L 5-3 Dennis Eckersley 16-6
09/05/1978 85-52 1st +4  at Baltimore Orioles L 4-1 Bobby Sprowl 0-1
09/06/1978 86-52 1st +4  at Baltimore Orioles W 2-0 Luis Tiant 10-7
09/07/1978 86-53 1st +3  New York Yankees L 15-3 Mike Torrez 15-9
09/08/1978 86-54 1st +2  New York Yankees L 13-2 Jim Wright 8-3
09/09/1978 86-55 1st +1  New York Yankees L 7-0 Dennis Eckersley 16-7
09/10/1978 86-56 1st -  New York Yankees L 7-4 Bobby Sprowl 0-2
09/11/1978 87-56 1st +1/2  Baltimore Orioles W 5-4 Bob Stanley 14-2
09/12/1978 87-57 1st +1/2  Baltimore Orioles L 3-2 Mike Torrez 15-10
09/13/1978 87-58 2nd -1/2  at Cleveland Indians L 2-1 Dennis Eckersley 16-8
09/14/1978 87-59 2nd -1 1/2  at Cleveland Indians L 4-3 Jim Wright 8-4
09/15/1978 87-60 2nd -2 1/2  at New York Yankees L 4-0 Luis Tiant 10-8
09/16/1978 87-61 2nd -3 1/2  at New York Yankees L 3-2 Mike Torrez 15-11
09/17/1978 88-61 2nd -2 1/2  at New York Yankees W 7-3 Dennis Eckersley 17-8
09/18/1978 89-61 2nd -2 1/2  at Detroit Tigers W 5-4 Andy Hassler 3-4
09/19/1978 90-61 2nd -1 1/2  at Detroit Tigers W 8-6 Bill Campbell 7-5
09/20/1978 90-62 2nd -2  at Detroit Tigers L 12-2 Mike Torrez 15-12
09/21/1978 91-62 2nd -2  at Detroit Tigers W 5-1 Dennis Eckersley 18-8
09/22/1978 91-63 2nd -2  at Toronto Blue Jays L 5-4 Andy Hassler 3-5
09/23/1978 92-63 2nd -1  at Toronto Blue Jays W 3-1 Luis Tiant 11-8
09/24/1978 93-63 2nd -1  at Toronto Blue Jays W 7-6 Dick Drago 4-4
09/25/1978 93-63 2nd -1  
09/26/1978 94-63 2nd -1  Detroit Tigers W 6-0 Dennis Eckersley 19-8
09/27/1978 95-63 2nd -1  Detroit Tigers W 5-2 Luis Tiant 12-8
09/28/1978 96-63 2nd -1  Detroit Tigers W 1-0 Mike Torrez 16-12
09/29/1978 97-63 2nd -1  Toronto Blue Jays W 11-0 Bob Stanley 15-2
09/30/1978 98-63 2nd -1  Toronto Blue Jays W 5-1 Dennis Eckersley 20-8
10/01/1978 99-63 1st -  Toronto Blue Jays W 5-0 Luis Tiant 13-8
 
AMERICAN LEAGUE EAST PLAYOFF
  RECORD PLACE GB/GF OPPONENT   SCORE  PITCHER W/L
10/02/1978 99-64 2nd -1  New York Yankees L 5-4 Mike Torrez 16-13
 
1978 RED SOX BATTING & PITCHING
 
 

 

 

FINAL 1978 A.L. EAST STANDINGS

 

 

New York Yankees 100 63 -

 

 

BOSTON RED SOX

99 64 1

 

 

Milwaukee Brewers 93 69 6 1/2

 

 

Baltimore Orioles 90 71 9

 

 

Detroit Tigers 86 76 13 1/2

 

 

Cleveland Indians 69 90 29

 

 

Toronto Blue Jays 54 102 40

 

 

 
1977 RED SOX 1979 RED SOX