It was 20 years ago tonight that Alex Rodriguez made his major league debut with the Seattle Mariners at Fenway Park, a game the Red Sox won, 4-3 behind eight strong innings from Chris Nabholz (who else?). But that’s not the only reason why the game was a memorable evening in recent Red Sox history.
It was on that cool, July evening that Red Sox shortstop John Valentin turned what was then the 11th unassisted triple play in major league history.
“Every player dreams about something like that,” Valentin said. “It was something special. I guess it was my night, but not as special as what Wes Chamberlain did to end the game.”
Oh, indeed. In the ninth inning, with Ken Ryan trying to close out the Mariners, the Red Sox received dazzling defense from Scott Cooper, Tim Naehring, Lee Tinsley, and Chamberlain to end the game, each earning at least a beer from the beneficiary Ryan, who picked up his seventh save of the season.
“They were probably the most humongous plays I’ve ever seen in my life back-to-back-to-back,” an 18-year-old Rodriguez said that night.
“This is gonna be the one that turns us around,” said manager Butch Hobson after the Sox improved to 41-43 on the season. “I’ve never seen anything like this.”
Of course, the Sox would go on to win only 13 more times before the strike wiped out the season a month later.