Through the sands of time: The 1978 Red Sox v. Yankees playoff reconsidered

MLB Network is a great success, no question. From the daily coverage of Spring Training to the special documentaries and films, in-studio analysis, they’ve got the Rolls Royce of sports stations currently. Who knew?

Replays of games past has been a particularly interesting bit of programming. MLB.com did this to some degree, but nothing like the new television product. The opportunity to watch legends perorm real-time in games from the 1940s to 2001 is enlightening and, in some cases, amazing.. 

Consider then October 1978, Fenway Park; Red Sox v. Yankees playoff for the AL East. Memory, or folklore, may not gibe exactly with fact.

Bucky Dent actually hit his famous home run in the 7th Inning. It gave the Yankees a 3-2 lead, but did not win the game. He didn’t think the ball would leave the park and it barely did. I believe many people now, 31 years later, forget that, In fact, Reggie Jackson hit a later home run and the Yankees saw their 5-2 lead shrink to 5-4 in the 8th Inning.

Ron Guidry coming off a 25-3 Cy Young year was a bit less sharp than usual. (he only reason he is not in the Hall of Fame is his career was 13 years, not long enough but from 1977 to 1985. He was one of the most dominant pitchers in baseball.

Here is something that would never happen today. Closer Goose Gossage came in the 7th Inning to finish the game. The Sox had runners on First and Second in the 9th Inning after Pinella lost a fly ball in the sun. Carl Yastrzemski, who had hit a home run for the first run of the game, made the last out. The Yankees won 100 games, the Red Sox, 99.

Also not considered today. Sox manager Don Zimmer came out to the mound to talk to Mike Torres just prior to Dent’s home run and left him in the game. After the home run and another batter, he lifted Torres. And shout out to Red Sox Nation,  Jerry “Remdog” Remy had a great, clutch game.

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