What is the most important home run in Red Sox history?
This is an easy choice, people. Don’t overthink it. It’s not one of David Ortiz’s dozens of clutch home runs through the years. It’s not Carlton Fisk’s homer in Game 6 of the 1975 World Series, although that is probably the most famous home run, save for perhaps the adieu-bidding final homer of Ted Williams’s career.
It’s Johnny Damon’s grand slam in the second inning of Game 7 of the 2004 American League Championship Series. Easily.
Damon’s homer turned a 2-0 Red Sox lead into a 6-0 Red Sox lead. It eased some of the tension during arguably the most tension-packed game we could ever imagine.
Think about it: The Red Sox were down 3-0 in the series to the Yankees, came back to win the next three games, and had history at their fingertips that night in the Bronx for Game 7. There was hope, but we weren’t quite sure we should believe it.
Damon’s blast off of Javier Vazquez changed the entire tone of that game. It silenced Yankee Stadium and made us believe the Red Sox were going to actually going to win the damn thing.
That’s no easy feat given that the year before, the Sox had a 4-0 lead in Game 7 (and a 5-2 lead in the eighth inning) and lost.
Our mindset on the day of Game 7 in 2004 was that the Sox might be pulling off the miracle, but wouldn’t it be just like them to rally from down 3-0 and then blow the series in a seventh game.
Damon’s home run changed Red Sox history, and he added a second one later that made it a 10-3 game. He was the hitting hero on the night the Red Sox exorcised the ghosts right there in the old New York graveyard. We’d waited generations for someone to come through in that manner under such important circumstances against the Yankees.
Yeah, Damon joined New York as a free agent two years later. He got booed at Fenway in his later years. I never got that. Damon could have have batted .997 against the Red Sox as a Yankee and it never would have equaled what he did to the Yankees as a Red Sox player.
Johnny Damon’s grand slam in Game 7 of the 2004 ALCS is the biggest home run in Red Sox history. And it always will be. Here’s to the Idiots. Especially that one, on that night.
What does everyone else think? What was most important home run in Red Sox history? I’ll hear you in the comments.