PHOENIX, AZ: Former MLB player Nomar Garciaparra looks on during the Gatorade All-Star Workout Day at Chase Field in Phoenix, Arizona. (Photo by Norm Hall/Getty Images)
We're going to try something new here at Over the Monster, to help you start off your mornings. Almost all of the content you see here focuses on the present day, on what the Red Sox have done this season, and likely this week. That's why, each day at 7 in the morning, you'll now see this column appear, with the focus on the past. We'll look at noteworthy events, news stories, transactions, and hey, even birthdays, because who knows who we'll remember that we've forgotten from Red Sox history.
Game of Note: The legendary 1967 Red Sox win games nine and 10 in a row by sweeping a doubleheader of the Cleveland Indians, putting Boston just half-a-game behind the first place Chicago White Sox. In an event that might seem strange these days, at least for a regular season game, 10,000 Sox fans were waiting at Logan for the Red Sox to touch down following their sweep of Cleveland. This was the Red Sox club that made multi-generation lifers out of Boston families, though, so, in retrospect, we shouldn't be surprised by this kind of adoration, even after July games.
Transactions: In 1987, Bill Bucker was cut by the Red Sox. Buckner was in the midst of a .273/.299/.322 season with the Red Sox, coming off of a 1986 season capped by his non-play at first base. It was unfair for Buckner to shoulder the blame for the loss, since he wasn't solely responsible for what came to pass. That doesn't mean it didn't affect him, as his time with Boston in 1987 hints at, and his rebound .306/.337/.432 with the California Angels in the second half basically screams.
The waiving of Buckner also means the promotion of Sam Horn from Triple-A Pawucket. Horn crushed the ball following his call-up, hitting .278/.356/.589 in 46 games and 177 plate appearances, setting the record for most homers in a season (14) by someone who played fewer than 50 games. The tall lefty managed just a .223/.317/.432 showing (99 OPS+) over parts of three seasons with the Red Sox, though, and was out of the league entirely after failing to make an impact in 1995 with the Rangers. The only time he'd surpass that initial 14-homer outburst was in 1991, when he went yard 23 times in 121 games with the Orioles as a 27-year-old.
Despite this, Horn had a fascinating professional career, leading the International League, Mexican League, and the Taiwan Major Leagues in homers in a season, finishing up, majors, minors and international, with 313 dingers. And, of course, there's the whole eponymous message board thing.
Birthdays: Nomar Garciaparra turns 39 today. Garciaparra spent eight-plus years with the Red Sox, winning Rookie of the Year honors in his freshman campaign, and finishing up his tenure in Boston with a .323/.370/.553 line and a World Series ring. With Boston, Nomar ranks fourth in batting average, fifth in slugging, 12th in homers (178), 10th in doubles (279), and 16th in hits (1,281) despite ranking 34th in games played (966).