Sunday, June 12, 2011

Red Sox Magic Number - 98

The Red Sox dismantled the Blue Jays 16-4 yesterday giving even John Lackey enough run support and reducing their Magic Number to 98. What do you think about when you hear the number 98? Windows 98? The average body temperature of a human (98 degrees)? When I hear 98 - I think of one of my favorite Red Sox teams - the 1998 team.

That 1998 team had a 1-2 offensive punch of a 24-year old Nomar Garciaparra and a 30-year old Mo Vaughn. That duo combined for a blistering 75 HR and 237 RBI. The pitching was anchored by Pedro Martinez who was in the middle of a period of dominance that baseball has not known before or since. Starters Pedro, Tim Wakefield and Brett Saberhagen combined to go a 51-23 with Tom Gordon having his masterpiece career year as closer leading the AL with 46 saves. This was a very likable team that included Dennis Eckersley in his lash hurrah coming "home" for one final season as a set-up man and newcomers Derek Lowe and Jason Varitek in town for their first full season after being traded to Boston from Seattle.

That 1998 team had two fatal flaws however. 1998 also happened to be the year the Yankees fielded perhaps their best team of my lifetime. They won 114 games and swept the Padres in the World Series. The second fatal flaw for that 98 Red Sox team was the fact they had Jimy Williams as manager.

Oh by the way - that picture above is of Dirk Nowitzki's 1998 rookie trading card. I hope that's an omen for a Mavericks win tonight. Like most of the country - I can't stand the Miami Heat. It is rumored that LeBron James has become so loathed that James Dolan is considering him for an executive position with the New York Knicks.

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