1967: A look back
at The Impossible Dream
My excuse is that I was just 12 years old, and the Sox were the first tragedy I had encountered to that point.
Oh, sure, I had once accidentally suffocated a pet parakeet, and I'll never forget the day my sister told me that my father had given away our Belgian shepherd, Flash, because a next-door kid was scared of him. But I still had both parents, all my siblings, and the only two grandparents I had ever known.
So I was a little unprepared when Sox pitching ace Jim Lonborg faltered in the decisive Game 7 of the 1967 World Series, the last time the Sox and Cards faced each other in the fall classic.
I cried when they lost, and I cried again the next morning when the Globe was delivered to our house in Dorchester. The paper had dubbed the team the Cinderella Sox, and after they lost the Series, the headline was inevitable but still like a dagger in a 12-year-old girl's heart:
The slipper wouldn't fit.
After the tears stopped, I vowed I would never let the Sox make me cry again until they had won it all.
That was a magical year in New England. I don't know why I decided to follow the team so closely that summer; I was 11 years old, 12 by the time the Sox won the pennant. I do know my aunt had taken me to my first game a few years before, and I was hooked.
Somebody gave me a scorecard book at the beginning of the '67 season. Teams played mostly day games back then, so on weekends - weekdays, too, after school got out - one of my little pleasures was to turn on the TV a little before 1 p.m., flop down on my belly on the parlor rug, and open my scorebook.
I filled in the Sox lineup early and quickly because it rarely changed: Andrews, Foy, Yaz, Tony C., Boomer, Smith, Petrocelli, Ryan or Gibson (and later, Elston Howard), pitcher. Then I carefully recorded each hit, fly ball, stolen base, and strikeout.
Friends couldn't understand why I wanted to stay inside much of that summer. Some days my mother, probably worried I'd get rickets from lack of sun, ordered me to play outside.
But outside was boring compared to the excitement of watching the Sox climb the American League standings. They hit a long winning streak after the All-Star break in July, and as Ken Coleman says on the Impossible Dream album, "Look at 'em go, 10 in a row, and now our kids are second."
The young Lonborg was masterful and would go on to win 22 games and the Cy Young award that year. Yaz had an unbelievable year, both in the field and at the plate, where he seemed to always come up with the clutch hit when the Sox needed it the most.
People talk today about the number of comeback victories the Yankees had this year, but the Sox had so many that year that they were called the Cardiac Kids.
Last week, tucked into the middle of a Dan Shaughnessy piece, was an almost casual throwaway line referring to the Sox's first attempt at stabilizing pitcher Curt Schilling's injured ankle: If the boot works, the slipper may fit.
It was a seemingly innocuous phrase, but powerful enough to cause a catch in the throat and a skip in the heart of anyone who lived through that '67 campaign.
And now another team has captured our imagination -- not as improbable a pennant winner as that ragtag 1967 bunch, but exciting nonetheless.
And unlike 37 years ago, I pray that this team makes me cry.Teresa M. Hanafin is the editor of Boston.com. Her e-mail address is email@example.com.