New owner better have some answers

By Bob Ryan, Globe Columnist, 12/19/2001

You think I'd leave you hanging? You think I'd put out a 59-question quiz every prospective Red Sox owner should be required to pass before being given the keys to the kingdom and NOT reveal the answers?


1. The bases were loaded with none out in the bottom of the ninth in Game 6 of the 1975 World Series. When George Foster caught Fred Lynn's short fly, third base coach Don Zimmer yelled either ''No, no, no!'' (his version) or ''Go, go, go!'' (Denny Doyle's version). Whatever. Doyle was an easy out at the plate.

2. Last Red Sox player to steal a base is a ha-ha question. It was neither Jerry Remy nor Tommy Harper. It was James Lofton Oct. 3, 2001.

3. On a night in Cleveland when the game was delayed by heavy fog, it was Oil Can Boyd who said that's what Cleveland gets for building a stadium on the ocean.

4.''6, 2 and even'' was a favorite Joe Morgan all-encompassing explanation. It comes from a Ring Lardner story, ''The Big Town,'' in which a character says, ''They don't expect her to win. But she's 6, 2 and even, and I'm going to play her place and show.''

5. The Boston Pops has been known to perform the late Sherm Feller's composition, ''Snow, Snow, Beautiful Snow.''

6. Sean and Jerry need each other to be funny.

7. It was said of shortstop Don Buddin that ''his license plate number should be E-6.''

8. Karl Malden played Jimmy Piersall's father in ''Fear Strikes Out.''

9. Bill Lee's favorite postgame destination was the late, lamented Eliot Lounge (now a chi-chi restaurant called ''Clio's'').

10. The ball Dave Kingman hit off Reggie Cleveland remains part of our solar system.

11. ''Hi, neighbor, have a 'Gansett.''

12. When those late-night games on the Coast would stretch into the wee smalls, Ned Martin would say, ''This game is rolling along, like Tennyson's brook.''

13. Luis Tiant routinely smoked cigars while sitting in the whirlpool.

14. The red seat is located a long, long, long way from home plate (502 feet) in section 42, row 37, seat 21, and it commemorates a ball hit by Ted Williams off Fred Hutchinson June 9, 1946, that landed on the head of Joseph Boucher, who had come to the game with his grandson. The ball smashed his new straw boater. ''How far away must one sit to be safe in this park?'' Mr. Boucher inquired.

15. John Updike deserves a lifetime pass to Fenway Park because he is the author of an essay entitled ''Hub Fans Bid Kid Adieu,'' which may be the best recounting ever of a day at the ballpark - in this case, Ted Williams's last, dramatic game - ever written.

16. You get to Fenway Park via the Green Line, and only the Green Line.

17. Never take anyone with virgin ears to a Red Sox-Yankee game.

18. Tom Yawkey loved to play pepper and take batting practice when his team was on the road.

19. Angered because Ralph Houk had not chosen him for the All-Star Game, Dick Stuart ripped up the Yankee skipper's photo on live TV.

20. Three Cy Youngs and two World Series rings ago, Dan Duquette decided that Roger Clemens was in the ''twilight of his career.''

21. Joe Morgan declared himself to be ''the skipper of this nine.''

22. No one associated with the Dodge Dealers of New England ever dreamed that they'd have to cough up so many Volares in the ''Home Run Inning'' while the Red Sox were bashing 33 home runs in a 10-game stretch of the 1977 season.

23. John Kiley, not Johann Sebastian Bach or Dave ''Baby'' Cortez, was Boston's greatest sports organist.

24. Ted Williams once flipped away a bat that landed in the stands and struck Joe Cronin's housekeeper.

25. Who can forget Sammy White's bowling alley on Soldier's Field Road?

26. Nick Jacobs is the third-generation peanut vendor who should be given a lifetime spot on Yawkey Way.

27. The ever-detached Jim Rice once referred to his teammates as ''my associates.''

28. Johnny Pesky, age 82, would definitely be good for a single, a double, a stolen base, and one four-star play in the field on Opening Day 2002.

29. In Game 7 of the 1975 World Series, Darrell Johnson should never have lifted Jim Willoughby.

30. As several astute readers pointed out, back in 1967 catcher Bob Tillman hit reliever John Wyatt, not in the rear end, as I thought, but in the head, on a throw to second attempting to nail a runner. ''The ball bounced all the way to the on-deck circle,'' confirms Mike Andrews, who is still awaiting the throw, ''and Tillman collided with [first baseman] Tony Horton as they went after the ball. Runners were going around the bases. It looked like a pinball game. Dick Williams was not amused.''

31. Upset because he learned he'd been dropped from sixth to seventh in the batting order, George Scott remained in his Toronto hotel room to sulk.

32. Walter Johnson once said that ''No man alive can throw harder than Smokey Joe Wood.''

33. Only Bobby Sprowl stood between the Red Sox and the horror of a four-game Fenway sweep by the Yankees in 1978. And he couldn't get out of the first inning.

34. Ken ''Hawk'' Harrelson posed for the cover of Sports Illustrated wearing a powder blue Nehru suit.

35. Jim Burton was Darrell Johnson's choice to pitch the ninth inning of Game 7 in 1975.

36. Somewhere in the midst of going 0 for 44 in 1971, Luis Aparicio received public sympathy from president Richard Nixon.

37. In July 1951, Clyde Vollmer, an archetypical journeyman outfielder, was Ted Williams, Jimmie Foxx, and Jim Rice combined, hitting 13 of his career 69 homers and driving in 40 of his career 339 RBIs in an inexplicable burst of greatness, after which he went back to being Clyde Vollmer. His startling run included a three-homer game and a pair of grand slams, one of which won a 16-inning game for the route-going Mickey McDermott.

38. ''Playing the Field'' and ''Little Red Scooter'' were both songs recorded by Tony Conigliaro at the peak of his Boston popularity.

39. In a pregame ceremony Sept. 28, 1960, Ted Williams sneeringly referred to the Boston baseball writers as the ''Knights of the Keyboard.''

40. Wade Boggs could easily have been invented by either Philip Roth or Ray Bradbury, but he actually did exist.

41. Jess Cain should have a lifetime pass to Fenway Park because he wrote the immortal tune, ''Carl Yastrzemski, the Man We Call Yaz,'' during the fabled summer of '67.

42. Famed Red Sox switchboard operator Helen Robinson took every secret learned over a 60-year career to the grave.

43. Letting nonpareil broadcaster Jon Miller go was the second-biggest personnel blunder in Red Sox history.

44. Lou Gorman said, ''The sun will rise, the sun will set, and I'll have lunch.''

45. The 1975 American League MVP plaque given to Fred Lynn spelled his first name ''Frederick,'' when it is, in fact, ''Frederic,'' without the ''k.'' I saw it myself.

46. Ned Martin and Jim Woods were the greatest duo ever to broadcast any sport in Boston history, and neither the team nor the radio station had any idea. And still don't. And never will.

47. There is no attendant with the white hankies on duty inside the men's room at Fenway Park, but there were some nifty troughs.

48. Thousands of seats located down the right-field line at Fenway Park are horrible, but almost everything down the left-field line is excellent.

49. There is a ladder attached to the left-field wall, just left of the scoreboard. After each batting practice, a member of the grounds crew scampers up to the Wall to retrieve baseballs hit into the screen. Balls have been known to strike the ladder.

50. One of Carl Yastrzemski's late career perks was the right to head immediately for his Lynnfield home after being removed from a game. Hence, the many Yaz sightings on the Mystic Tobin Bridge while a game was in progress.

51. The 600 Club is an obscenity, period. At any given point in time, perhaps three people up there could tell you the score of the game.

52. Bernie Carbo tied Game 6 of the 1975 World Series with a three-run, pinch-hit home run off Rawley Eastwick. Carlton Fisk gets all the glory for breaking the tie four innings later, but Carbo's homer has more meaning.

53. Jackie Gutierrez whistled constantly while playing shortstop, and he could be heard in his native Colombia.

54. Luis Tiant, Roger Clemens, and Pedro Martinez are the three greatest modern Red Sox pitchers, and all have secure places in Red Sox history, and each has his passionate followers. Let the debate begin.

55. Carroll Hardy pinch hit for Ted Williams.

56. Light-hitting shortstop Spike Owen pinch hit for Jim Rice.

57. Denny Galehouse was Joe McCarthy's surprise choice to start the 1948 playoff game against the Indians. Cleveland 8, Boston 3.

58. The Baseball Tavern is first come, first served. But it is going distressingly upscale. It now actually has stools.

59. I am not authorized to disclose Peter Gammons's cellphone number. But the new owner should have it on speed dial if he knows what's good for him.

How did you, prospective owner, fare?

1-10 correct answers: Have you considered a Park League franchise?

11-30: Some day the Lowell Spinners might be on the market.

31-45: Don't bother calling, but we'll keep your number in the Rolodex.

45-50: First runner-up.

51-59: You appear to have the Right Stuff.

In the event of a deadlock, here is a tiebreaker: What Red Sox player, acquired so close to game time Fenway fans didn't know he was on the roster, hit an inside-the-park home run in his first at-bat? (No, it's not Butch Hobson.)

(I wonder if business writers ever have this much fun).

To read Bob Ryan's Dec. 14 column that asks the questions, check

This story ran on page E1 of the Boston Globe on 12/19/2001.
Copyright 2001 Globe Newspaper Company.