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EC Hosts Panel on the ’67 Red Sox and Birth of Red Sox Nation

On Tuesday, November 7, Emmanuel College hosted a panel discussion on the history of the Boston Red Sox titled, The Impossible Season: The ’67 Red Sox and the Birth of Red Sox Nation. The event was organized by Associate Professor of History, Jeffrey Fortin, and included Official Red Sox Historian, Gordon Edes, who hosted the panel. The panel itself included Baseball Hall of Fame Writer, Dan Shaughnessy, The Boston Globe journalist, Eric Moskowitz, and creator of Impossible Dream: Red Sox Nation Begins, Bruce Cornblatt.

The event began with a video of the infamous 18 pitch at-bat leading to a home run, by Alex Cora. Cora, who was on the Dodgers at the time of the video, was a part of the 2007 World Series victory.

“[He’s] seen both highs and lows of playing in Boston,” Edes referenced of Alex Cora’s career in hopes his diverse experience will be the ultimate force behind another Championship for Boston in the future.

Leading up to the Turning Point of ‘67

Leading up to 1967 in Boston, the Red Sox were arguably underwhelming as a baseball team, and even more so as a sports town. It wasn’t until General Manager Dick Williams came to the forefront of the Red Sox organization, that the public took notice of the Red Sox.

Considering Boston was the last team to integrate players of color with the current roster, Williams didn’t have a problem with men of color on his team, but “he worked for an owner who did,” stated Dan Shaughnessy. With this new found motivation to build a better baseball team, Williams was sure to lead a team to success.

“It’s like the Wizard of Oz, going from black and white to color,” Shaughnessy stated.

Photo by Devin Nelson ’19.

The Year of Success

Unfortunately, since the Red Sox were a very poor team, Fenway only drew 8,000 fans to the home opener against the Yankees in 1967. Billy Rohr, an enticing left hander, started for Boston, plowing through to the 9th inning against New York. This looked like a new beginning for the struggling ball club.

“It wasn’t the promise of a lefty, it was the promise of look what can happen,” mentioned Bruce Cornblatt.

The Boston stud, Rohr, posted a no-hitter into the ninth, until a deep fly ball was struck into left field towards Carl Yastrzemski. Yaz proved his worth, that play, as a Red Sox legend.

“I don’t think I’ve ever seen a catch quite like that” added Cornblatt.

Later that season, Boston was managing their schedule up until a 10-game road trip after the All-Star game. The Red Sox went on to will all 10 of these games.

“Every player I talked to marks that as the turning point of the season,” Cornblatt said. “When everyone came back, [the Red Sox expected] maybe a few autograph seekers, but the had no idea of the total chaos at Logan,” added Eric Moskowitz.

Considering news travelled much slower, compared to our current age of widespread communication and media coverage, there was little to expect from fans, but there were reports of upwards of anywhere between 5,000-15,000 fans at Logan Airport that day to greet the team.

“To this day, there’s really nothing else like it” stated Dan Shaughnessy.

Photo by Devin Nelson ’19.

The Devastating At Bat

That year, Boston had a young stud of a player in Tony Conigliaro. He was hit by a poorly placed fastball. The 22 year old was up at the plate in a home game following the 10 game road trip after the All-Star game. Conigliaro showed great promise, and even was considered “a sure Hall of Famer” by his teammate Carl Yastrzemski. Conigliaro was struck in the face during his at bat, fracturing his cheek bone, and dislocating his jaw.

“The doctor said he may never play baseball again, players in the field thought he could be killed from this,” said Eric Moskowitz.

This incident hit a chord with Red Sox nation, as the feeling of an era had just concluded. Fortunately, that year Boston went on to win the pennant, foreshadowing an even more competitive era.

Today’s Red Sox Nation

Photo by Devin Nelson ’19.

Of course all Bostonians know of the 2004 World Series victory after an 86 year drought, but this was not the beginning of the story, where the ’67 Red Sox were the true originators of Red Sox Nation.

“Red Sox Nation didn’t start when Keith Foulke threw that pitch,” added Bruce Cornblatt. “Keith Foulke was the finish to this story, not the beginning.”

Since 2004, Boston won another World Series in 2007 and in 2013, an unheard of feat, especially comparing to the Sox prior to 1967. A player from the 2007 team, Alex Cora, is now the General Manager, after the firing of former manager John Farrell, who brought home the 2013 victory. It is argued though, the ultimate feat was the turning point of 1967, an accomplishment unlike any other.

“This was the birth of Red Sox Nation,” stated Gordon Edes.

Devin Nelson ’19 is a Staff Writer for The Hub. He can be contacted at nelsond@emmanuel.edu or on Twitter @nellydevin.

Posted by on November 13, 2017. Filed under Around Campus. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. You can leave a response or trackback to this entry

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