Still Steaming at the top of the saves list
Catching up with Bob Stanley
NORWICH, Conn. -- He is the Boston Red Sox all-time saves leader with 132, but to most Red Sox fans, he is simply known as "The Steamer."
Bob Stanley played 13 seasons in the major leagues from 1977 to 1989. A native of Portland, Maine, Stanley was a first-round pick of Boston in 1974.
"I was born in Maine, but grew up in New Jersey and I was still a die-hard Red Sox fan," Stanley said. "It was ironic because my Dad was born and raised there (Maine) and my aunt to this day still lives in the house where he was born. The name of the street is Fenway Street, so it was in the cards, I guess."
This season he is on the coaching staff of the Norwich Navigators, the Double-A Eastern League affiliate of the San Francisco Giants.
"I love working with kids," Stanley said. "My goal is to get the kids where I was. If they have the talent and if I can help in any way that is my goal."
Stanley still lives in the Boston area, residing in Wenham.
"I love it here," said Stanley. "I have been here for 21 years and it's just absolutely beautiful out here. I love the changing of seasons. I am getting a little older now and enjoy the warmer weather, but it's just nice. I have a good old time out here."
He has three children, all grown. His son Kyle is in graduate school at Providence College and his youngest daughter Kerri just graduated from Keene State and is now working for The Jimmy Fund. His oldest daughter Kristin works for Ch. 5 in Needham as a news producer.
"It's the three Ks and that's the only way I could strike out the side," Stanley said. "Roger (Clemens), (who named all his kids with the letter K), stole that from me, but he is more legit because he had more strikeouts in one year than I had in my whole career."
Over his 13-year career, Stanley played only for the Red Sox.
"I showed a lot of loyalty," he said. "It's different now and the game has changed where the loyalty is not there. It's more money than anything now. I was just happy to be with one team and didn't have to move my family."
Along with being the team's all-time saves leader, Stanley is also the all-time leader in appearances with 637 and is a member of the Red Sox Hall of Fame. His best season with the Red Sox came in 1983 when he led the team with 33 saves and posted a 2.45 ERA.
"I am very surprised the saves are still up there because of the way they do saves nowadays," Stanley said. "Longevity is what did it for me. Staying with the same team for so long you get records."
Stanley finished his career with a 115-97 record.
"I didn't really care what I did just as long as I helped the club out," said Stanley. "I would do whatever they wanted me to do."
Stanley was a key member of the 1986 Red Sox team that came within one out of winning the World Series but ultimately fell to the Mets in seven games.
"It was great doing it, but the outcome wasn't too good," said Stanley about playing in the World Series. "Someone has to win and someone has to lose. It was a tough loss for us, but there are a lot of guys in the Hall of Fame that never played in a championship game. It was very exciting to have been there and I just wish the outcome had been better."
Ironically, Stanley has worked in the Mets organization, serving as the pitching coach for the Binghamton Mets (Double-A) of the Eastern League in 1999, 2001, and 2002 and the Pittsfield Mets (Short-Season A) of the New York-Penn League in 2000.
Outside of baseball, Stanley is heavily involved in the Jimmy Fund, participating in golf tournaments and dinners to help raise money. Just three months after retiring in 1990, his son Kyle was diagnosed with cancer, but in the end, Kyle won.
"The Jimmy Fund is very special to me," said Stanley. "I try to do as much as I can for them."
As far as his old team, Stanley thinks the Red Sox have a very good chance to finally win it all for the first time since 1918.
"I think the Red Sox' chances are pretty good," said Stanley. "They have better pitching than the Yankees. I am not sure about their hitting, but their pitching is definitely better and that's what usually wins it - pitching and defense. There's a long way to go, but this could be a very interesting year."
(If you would like to hear where a former New England sports star is these days, please e-mail Jon Goode at firstname.lastname@example.org)