The other day, I was going through some things in my old desk at my mother’s house and came across a plastic baggie filled with some ticket stubs from Red Sox games I attended as a kid with my dad. Water damaged, faded, torn, and crinkled, the tickets were like a trip down memory lane.
Boston Red Sox (29-38) vs. Philadelphia Phillies (29-44)
7:05 Start Time
Venue: Fenway Park
WP: John Wasdin (yes...you read that correctly)
LP: Ricky Bottalico
Before I begin, I looked up where I sat for this game and a funny story came back to me. I’m almost 100% sure I went to this game with a buddy of mine from college, Seth Cohen. Seth and I were sitting pretty much right behind home plate, albeit in the grandstands, not the box seats. We were talking MAD TRASH about Scott Hatteburg that game. Heckling him, criticising him...just letting him have it. Well, there was a group of women sitting in front of us and at one point one of the women pulled out some pictures to show to the other ladies, and there’s all sorts of shots of Hatteburg with the lady sitting directly in front of us. Yup...it was his wife. Sorry Mitzy!
Anyhoo, this Interleague matchup was an EPIC clash of two craptacular teams. The 1997 Red Sox finished 80-82 (4th place) in their first season under backwoods hick Jimy Williams. Williams was a pretty popular manager in Boston, which was weird because of how folksie and old school he was. But the guy had some awesome quotes over the years:
"When I was a kid, I used to play marbles. I know some of you think I've lost mine."
The Phillies were even worse that year, finishing an abysmal 69-94.
The top five season performers for the Red Sox that year were, in order:
When Darren Bragg is the fifth most productive player on your team, your team stinks. Bragg averaged a whopping 26 RBI in ten years of baseball.
The big offensive contributions came from one of my favorite Sox players of all time, Troy O’Leary.
After falling behind 1-0 to Philly early, Sox center fielder Shane Mack roped a solo blast to deep left field that cleared the Monster.
Turner Falls, Massachusetts native Rico Brogna then put the Phils ahead again with a triple, driving in a run.
(Fun Fact: Brogna was the first player to hit a regular season home run at Coors Field.
Another fun fact: Brogna played for the Red Sox in 2000 and hit a walk off Grand Slam against the Rays on August 15. I was bowling with my girlfriend at the time, and I went MENTAL. She broke up with me shortly after.)
The Sox were down by two runs in the bottom of the ninth, when Troy O’Leary once again came up with some heroics. After a Tim Naehring fly out, John Valentin Walked, and Scott Hatteburg doubled. O’Leary then doubled himself to score Valentin and pinch runner Mike Benjamin. This one went extras.
In the bottom of the 10th the Red Sox won the game on what must’ve been a frustrating night for Philly fans.
Mike Stanley singled, but Reggie Jefferson promptly hit into a double play. No worries though, because the Sox got a walk and two singles to load up the bases with two outs. That’s when Ricky Bottalico hit O’Leary with a pitch.
Red Sox - 5
Phillies - 4