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1946 Red Sox set the standard for turnarounds

Posted by Peter Abraham, Globe Staff  September 16, 2013 01:51 PM

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The Red Sox have won 23 more games than they did last season with 11 left to play. That's impressive.

But the team record for a turnaround season was established by the 1946 Red Sox, who won 33 more games than the 1945 team did.

The 2012 Red Sox were done in by injuries and Bobby Valentine. The 1945 Red Sox were busy dealing with World War II.

The '45 Sox had young pitcher Dave "Boo" Ferriss and not much else. Ferriss had been in the military but was discharged because of asthma. Even with Ferriss going 21-10 with a 2.96 ERA, the Sox went 71-83.

When the war ended, Ted Williams, Dom DiMaggio, Johnny Pesky, and Bobby Doerr all returned from active duty along with starting pitchers Tex Hughson, Mickey Harris, and Joe Dobson. The Sox also obtained Rudy York from Detroit to play first base.

Flush with talent, the 1946 Red Sox went 104-50 and finished first in the American League by 12 games. The Sox then lost a seven-game World Series to the St. Louis Cardinals.

Williams, who had a 1.164 OPS during the season and was named MVP, was 5 for 25 with one RBI in the only postseason appearance of his career.

The Red Sox played an exhibition game at Fenway Park before the Series against an All-Star team, and Williams was hit on the elbow by a pitch from Mickey Haefner of the Senators. According to media reports at the time, the Splendid Splinter had a lump on his arm and was unable to swing the bat correctly.

The 2013 Red Sox are almost sure to have four days off before their first Division Series game. Note to John Farrell: No exhibition games.

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