Celebrating Boston Red Sox baseball great Carl Yastrzemski.

Tuesday, October 11, 2005


Well, the 2005 season is officially over for Red Sox. Disappointing ending yes, but at least we no longer have to suffer the gnawing desperation of being one year closer to death without ever seeing a Red Sox World Championship. And thankfully the Yankees are gone, too! Good luck to the White Sox. They played a superior ALDS. It's their turn to get the World Series monkey off their fans' backs.

The Waterbury Republican-American caught up with Gary Waslewski at the Bobby Bonds Memorial Scholarship Classic on Sunday. "Waz", a rookie righthander who would go on to only start 42 games in the Major Leagues, was the surprise choice of manager Dick Williams to start Game 6 of the the 1967 World Series for the Red Sox trying to stave off elimination by the St. Louis Cardinals.

[Waslewski] hadn't pitched in a month, and as he recalls today, "Cliff Keane, a poison-pen scribe, wrote, 'Waslewski has as much a chance of winning as Custer.'" He laughs now. He claims he laughed then. He even claims he wasn't shocked when WIlliams gave him the ball. He'd be the only one.

"In Toronto (Boston's Triple AAA affiliate) I pitched a lot of big games," Waslewski recalled.

Waz, as they called him, won 18 games in Toronto with Williams managing. But in Toronto he wasn't facing guys named Brock, Flood, Maris and Cepeda.

Waslewski pitched the game of his life in the Series. He left in the sixth inning giving up only four hits and leading 4-2. He tired and walked Maris and McCarver. John Wyatt bailed him out. But Wyatt gave up a game-typing homer to Lou Brock in the seventh and ultimately he earned the victory, not Waslewski. The Sox rallied to win, 8-4, in a game where Rico Petrocelli, Carl Yastrzemski and Reggie Smith hit homers in the same inning to set a Series record.

Waslewski was traded by the Boston Red Sox to the Cardinals after the 1968 season and bounced around the majors until retiring in 1972. Waz may be only a minor hero in the Red Sox pantheon, but he's a hero nonetheless.


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