Wednesday, March 16, 2005

Dick Radatz: 1937-2005

If ever there were a ballplayer whose fearsome nickname belied his true personality, it was Dick "The Monster" Radatz, an oversized man blessed with an oversized heart.

Radatz, a dominant and popular Red Sox relief pitcher in the early '60s, died today when he suffered severe head trauma after falling down a flight of stairs at his home. He was 67.

If there's ballpark in heaven - and what good would heaven be without one? - perhaps The Monster arrived in time to save today's ballgame. He'll close out another Sox victory with a fastball too quick for The Mick, celebrate with Tony C. and all his pals that passed too soon, then come back and repeat the sport's sweet joy tomorrow and again, 27 years old and invincible for all eternity.

Rest in peace, Monster. A solemn Nation tips its cap to you.