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This Date In Red Sox History: July 26 - Gene Conley And Pumpsie Green Vanish

Bill Russell is involved in today's look at Red Sox history. No, really.  (Photo by Elsa/Getty Images)
Bill Russell is involved in today's look at Red Sox history. No, really. (Photo by Elsa/Getty Images)
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Games of Note: Well, it wasn't really the game so much as what occurred after. The contest itself was a 13-3 loss to the Yankees, in New York in 1962, but following the contest, pitcher Gene Conley and infielder Pumpsie Green just... disappeared. They left the team bus while in traffic, supposedly to relieve themselves, but instead, the pair just didn't come back. Conley had pitched in the blowout, allowing eight runs in his 2-2/3 innings, and apparently wanted to get away.

To Israel.

Conley vanished with Green for 68 hours, but wasn't allowed on the flight he bought a ticket for, as he lacked a passport to Israel. Not only did he return to the Sox after his failed attempt at going AWOL, but he pitched there for another season, too. That's where he would wrap up his baseball career, after 11 seasons and 13 years, with a career 101 ERA+ in nearly 1,600 innings.

While that by itself isn't a major accomplishment, relative to other pitchers, not many other hurlers also played in the NBA (or, okay, tried to escape to Israel during a road trip). You see, Conley was 6-foot-8, something that was not just an advantage for him on the mound. Conley played for the Boston Celtics for four seasons, and two more for the New York Knicks, mostly as a bench player. In fact, he played for the Celtics before he did the Red Sox, and the Knicks while he was with the Red Sox. He averaged 16-1/2 minutes per game, and 12.9 points and 10.2 rebounds per 36 minutes.

Did I mention that he was with the C's during part of the Bill Russell era? Conley was on the 1952-1953 team, came back for the 1958-59 squad that won a championship against the then-Minneapolis Lakers, and was also part of the championship '59-60 and '60-61 squads. Yes, the same guy who pitched three years for the Red Sox and attempted to escape to Israel during a road trip after a drubbing at Yankee Stadium also was on three of the eight-consecutive championship winning Celtics' teams.

Sports are awesome.

Transactions: On July 26, 1999, the Red Sox traded Robert Ramsay to the Seattle Mariners in exchange for Butch Huskey. To that point, Huskey had been #42, but between the retirement of Jackie Robinson's number across the majors (and the fact that recently departed Mo Vaughn had been #42), Huskey had to settle for a switch to 44.

Huskey hit .266/.301/.484 in his 131 plate appearances and 44 games with the Red Sox, and while that might sound like a neat line these days, it was below-average during the offensive explosion of the late 90s and early aughts. That being said, you didn't even know Robert Ramsay existed until right now, did you?

Birthdays: Happy day of birth to former Red Sox infielder Jody Reed, who turns 50 years old today. Reed spent six of his 11 seasons in the majors with Boston, hitting a perfectly average .280/.358/.372 at shortstop and second base.

Reed was lost to the Colorado Rockies in the expansion draft following the 1992 campaign, and was subsequently traded to the Los Angeles Dodgers for another former Red Sox (well, future Sox, at this stage), Rudy Seanez. Reed then bounced between the Brewers, Padres, and Tigers before calling it quits after the 1997 season, like many middle infielders before him, at the age of 34.