What the New York Yankees did to the Boston Red Sox on Saturday, April 21 was not unique, as twice before they had rallied from nine run deficits to beat their arch-nemesis. While this comeback was especially satisfying to New York fans like me -- seeing how Boston handled the Yanks last season -- it was unlike the last time they pulled off such a caper.
I know, because I somewhat recall that game.
In that contest, back in 1987, New York did its damage to Boston's best starter, unlike how it decimated the Red Sox bullpen in this latest improbable venture. At the time, nothing could have made me happier, since that starter was the reigning Cy Young Award winner, Roger Clemens.
On June 26, 1987, New York hurler Tommy John failed to get out of the second inning, as Boston scored eight times off him. Sluggers Dwight Evans and Jim Rice hit homers. I always disliked Rice, being a Yankee rooter, as he routinely hit home runs against New York, much like Manny Ramirez eventually would do as well. Boston garnered what seemed like a comfortable nine-run cushion after two frames, but I kept on listening to that radio broadcast. The Yankees rewarded me by immediately taking the lead by the end of the third.
Clemens quickly became the victim of a maelstrom of Bronx Bomber base hits. He allowed a three-run homer to Dave Winfield to make the score 9-3. I do remember that home run, but the rest of the scoring is a bit blurry; I would be lying if I told you I knew the exact details from a game 25 years ago. Research tells me that the Yanks chased him with a pair of walks and three more hits. Steve Crawford and then Tom Bolton came in as relievers, but they were no more effective than Clemens was.
By the time the third inning was over, New York had scored 11 times and held a two-run advantage. Rich Bordi, one of many Yankee bullpen flops I recollect from the 1980s, came on in relief of John. Rich quickly permitted Boston to knot things up in the fourth, and the score remained at 11-11 until Wayne Tolleson singled in Mike Pagliarulo with the game winner in the 10th.
The initial time New York came back to beat Boston from nine runs in the hole occurred on April 18, 1950, long before I was born. This was opening day for both clubs as teams played but 154 games in that era. I would have loved to be around for this to occur on Opening Day at Fenway Park of all days. Boston forged its nine-run lead against ace Allie Reynolds with help from sluggers such as Ted Williams, Vern Stephens and Bobby Doerr. Reynolds lasted just three innings and after four innings it was 9-0. New York scored four in the sixth inning against the Boston lefty Mel Parnell, again the club's top moundsman. I remember Parnell as the voice of the rival Red Sox during the 1960s. After seven full, it was 10-4 Sox.
In the wild top of the eighth, New York sent a plethora of batters to the plate, scoring nine runs on the strength of eight base hits, three walks and a wild pitch. Yogi Berra, one of my father's favorite players, had two singles in the frame, while Billy Martin hit a double and later a single. Joe DiMaggio and Tommy Henrich contributed big hits and when New York scored twice more in the ninth, it had fashioned a 15-10 victory that let Boston know who would be boss for the rest of the season.
My fervent hope is that this latest Yankee comeback has the same effect, vaulting New York into prominence and sending the BoSox reeling for the remainder of 2012.
I have been a New York Yankee fan since the middle of the 1960s.