Lost Summer

The '67 Red Sox and the Impossible Dream

by Bill Reynolds

New York: Warner Books, 1992

This book deals with the Red Sox 1967 season, of which we are now celebrating the 25th anniversary. It seems like a good time to be reading about "The Impossible Dream", since many members of that team gathered at Fenway Park this month for an Old-Timers Game.

Reynolds begins his story by painting a picture of 1967: Mustangs sell for $2377, more soldiers are headed to Viet Nam, Muhammad Alis in trouble with the draft board, tune in, turn on, drop out, etc. Then he introduces the Red Sox:

...The Red Sox have long been a team where futility and frustration have spots on the roster. The team hasnt won a World Series since 1918 and seems forever haunted by the sale of Babe Ruth...

I need not quote the rest of the paragraph, because you already know it by heart. Its a summary of "Curse of the Dan Shaughnessy." Reading further, I found:

But now the Splendid Splinter is gone, and the Sox have become a slow, one-dimensional team that never seems to have enough pitching. In theory, its a team tailored for Fenway Park, the Red Soxs lyrical bandbox...

This was on page 13, and thats as far as I got with Mr. Reynolds book. Lyrical bandbox. That phrase is lifted directly from a story by John Updike called "Hub Fans Bid Kid Adieu." It worked in 1960, but Bill Reynolds is about the 42nd writer to use it. Why not try something different, like "musical breadbox" or "symphonic soapbox" or "poetic pillbox?"

The No No Nanette story is getting pretty old, too; Babe Ruth and Harry Frazee and Colonel Ruppert have been dead a mighty long time now. Doesnt anyone have anything original to say about the Red Sox any more?

I remember that people made sarcastic jokes about the Sox; thats how they dealt with it in those days. And when the Sox won the pennant, that was the biggest joke of all. The world turned upside down. People ran out into the street and laughed themselves silly, it was so improbable. And of course they suddenly loved their team of underdogs who proved the experts wrong.

When the Red Sox won the division in 1986 Kenmore Square was packed with policemen to quell the riot, like the one the fans had pulled in 67. But there wasnt any riot, or even a peaceful demonstration. People probably go crazy like that only once in their lives.

Whatever it was that happened in 1967, it was a lot more fun than reading this book. Maybe in a few years I will go back to the library and get Lost Summer again and try to get past page 13.

Book Review by David Nevard

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