1978 – Bucky F—ing Dent?
After a dramatic pennant race in which the Red Sox went from 14 games up to ending the season tied with their hated rival the New York Yankees, the two played a one-game playoff to decide the division.
The Red Sox an early 2-0 lead with a home run by Carl Yastremski (“Yaz”) and Jim Rice RBI single against Cy Young Award winner Ron Guidry. The Red Sox were relying on the third pitcher in their rotation, Mike Torrez, who had thrown the last out for the Yankees in the 1977 World Series.
The Yankees came from behind to win on a three-run home run by their weakest hitter Bucky Dent (who unbeknownst to him was using a cork bat). Now throughout New England Dent is often referred to as BFD. Don’t believe me — just ask Ray Donovan.
Dent did not hit another home run in the post season, but did bat .417 with 7 RBIs in the World Series to earn MVP. He would only hit 2 home runs the entire next season.
The irony of it all is that despite the legend, Dent’s home run did not win the game. The Red Sox staged a two-run rally in the 8th but it was still not enough since Reggie Jackson’s 8th inning homer put the Yankees up 5-2.
In the bottom of the 9th of the 1978 tie-breaker, with two outs it was Carl Yastrzemski at bat. I remember those of us watching all felt that was how it should be – it was up to Yaz. Goose Gossage got the better of him and he popped out for the final out. Five years later to the day, adoring fans cheered their hearts out as Yaz took his final at bat. The statue of him outside Fenway commemorates that moment in 1983.