Thursday, July 19, 2007

My Sox Memories -- Kevin Romine beats the Rangers, July 3, 1990

Over the last couple of weeks, I have been part of a couple of discussions about memorable Red Sox games that I've seen in person: two weeks ago tonight while sitting with my brother in the bleachers at Fenway (at a decidedly unmemorable game), and yesterday in a discussion on the Boston Sports Media Watch forum. I've been fortunate to have been at a number of memorable games (although none recently) and thought I'd share a few of them over the next few days.

romineOn Sunday, July 2, 1990, I went with the family to see the Red Sox take on Nolan Ryan and the Rangers. The Sox won 3-2 when Kevin Romine hit a home run off then-rookie reliever Kenny Rogers. We sat in the left field grandstand, and had a great view of the game-winning home run into the screen.

At the time, Scott and couldn't imagine why Ryan didn't come out for the ninth, having allowed just two runs. Looking back at the game story from the Globe the next day, I can't believe he went eight innings. If you've ever wondered how things are different now than they were just 17 years ago, read along:
Outside Boston, Kevin Romine is mistaken for a fancy kind of lettuce.

In Boston, he is the magic maker....

Two years later, it was his leadoff, ninth-inning home run off lefthander Kenny Rogers that gave the Red Sox a 3-2 win, ending their 11-game homestand with a 9-2 record and boosting their American League East Division lead to 4 1/2 games.

Check your astrological charts on this one. It was a game that was supposed to feature Nolan Ryan and Boddicker. Both pitched well. Boddicker, the junkballer, improved to 11-3 and 33-17 as a Red Sox, winning his 10th straight game. Ryan, who lasted eight innings and threw 144 pitches, surrendered seven hits and left a 2-2 game in the hands of Texas' interim closer, Rogers....

On 3-2, Romine sent the second-largest Fenway crowd of the year quickly into Happy Hour. In one fell swoop, he saved Boddicker some deep frustration. Boddicker, who is still pitching with a tender elbow and threw 139 pitches, allowed 10 hits and walked three. He struck out nine. To have come away with no decision would have been like fingernails on a blackboard.
(OK, one thing that hasn't changed in 17 years is Nick Cafardo's writing--or lack thereof. "Kevin Romine is mistaken for a fancy kind of lettuce." Ugh!)

144 pitches in eight innings for the 43-year-old Ryan, and 139 pitches in nine innings for Boddicker. Having a pitcher go for 139+ pitches is almost unheard of. Having two pitchers do it in the same game...well, I'll bet that hasn't happened twice this decade if at all.

It's also amazing to think that Red Sox team won the AL East for the third time in five years. Looking at the box score and play-by-play from that day and seeing that the bottom four were Tony Pena, Carlos Quintana, Kevin Romine, and Luis Rivera. The big hit before Romine's heroics was a game-tying, pinch hit double by Ware's own Billy Jo Robidoux in the seventh. Wow. Not a murders row.

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