Monday, April 17, 2006

Game faces

Since our post titled That '70s Show ended up being the surprise box-office smash of the spring, I figured I crank out a quick Red Sox-centric sequel while I have few minutes. So here goes: Each of the following pictured players from the late '70s and early '80s either played for the Sox or is connected to the club's history in some way. As I did previously, I've offered a clue below each player's photo along with a link to his page. Without further ado, take your best shot at guessing their ID's, suckers, and shoot me an email to let me know how you did:

Okay, a fairly easy one to start. Actually, I'm just including this because the picture looks like it was taken in the basement from the movie "Saw."

Had the best arm of any shortstop the Sox have had, and he liked to show it off so much that he ended up blowing out his shoulder after he left Boston.

Best buds with Dennis Eckersley with the Indians . . . at least until he hooked up with The Eck's wife. Cleveland realized they'd better trade one of the two talented young players, and being the Indians and all, naturally they traded the wrong one.

Injuries robbed him of his promise as a hitter, but he did grow up to become a damn fine manager . . .

. . . but I sure as hell won't say the same for this obscure Expo's older brother. (Hint: Stupid is as stupid does, Forrest.)

The ultimate One-Year Wonder (and perhaps the most down-to-earth person we've ever met, let alone athlete) played out the string with the '83 PawSox after injuries robbed him of his magic.

Soft-tosser won 10 games as a rookie for the '77 Sox, was swapped to Cleveland in the Eckersley deal, and won exactly 20 more games as a big leaguer.

If you're a Sox fan of a certain age, you can't think of this '77 AL Cy Young winner without muttering "Danny Cater," likely followed by a string of expletives.

Spent one mediocre season with the Sox, 1981, right about the time he was trying to figure out how to compensate for losing 15 m.p.h. off his fastball at age 27. It wasn't easy, but he did eventually make the transition from flamethrower to junkballer and lasted a dozen more years after Boston dumped him.

After trading him to the Sox in the spring of '86, Steinbrenner famously warned that "his bat will be dead by August." Instead, his rock-steady demeanor and clutch power-hitting were major reasons the Sox played into October.

Last man in the bullpen for the '86 Sox, but he was a skilled hitter (for a pitcher, anyway) who I seem to recall coming through with a pinch single that season.

One of the scapegoats of the "Boston Massacre" in '78, the always accountable Eckersley took him off the hook for a crucial misplay of a pop fly by saying something along the lines of this to the postgame media swarm: "I'm the one who gave up 7 (bleeping) runs. Blame me. I'm the starting pitcher. Leave him the hell alone." (I'd get the quote precise if I could find my copy of Gammons's timeless "Beyond the Sixth Game" at the moment, but it's apparently buried somewhere on my desk here under old media guides, newspapers and empty Tostito bags. I think the intent and spirit of the Eck's comment is accurate, though.)

Affable, appropriately nicknamed slugger liked to claim that sweet necklace he's wearing was made out second basemen's teeth.

Hard-throwing young righty was dealt by the Sox to the Angels after the '77 season for some kid from Fall Rivah named Remy. Don't know what ever happened to him. Probably works on a fishing boat or something.

After Buckner's error in Game 6, reportedly began yelling, "I'm off the hook! I'm off the hook!" Once a dinkus, always a dinkus, I say.

Broke Jim Rice's wrist with a pitch late in the '75 season, sidelining the rookie slugger for the playoffs . . .

. . . and in a related story, this is the last thing poor Vernon Gerald Ruhle ever saw.