Red Sox Magic Number - 75
With the win over the Orioles last night - the Red Sox magic number is now 75. If you say 75 around any Red Sox fan they almost immediately think about the 1975 team that lost what is called the Greatest World Series ever.
I was curious how this year's team matched up against their 1975 counterpart. Here's how I see it
Manager: 75 Darrell Johnson - 2011 Terry Francona - advantage 2011
Catcher - 1975 Carlton Fisk - 2011 Jarrod Saltalamacchia - advantage 1975. This was actually closer than you may think mainly because Fisk only started 79 games for that 75 team. Getting 53 games from Bob Montgomery and Tim Blackwell will drop the overall value at the catcher's position for any team even for a team where the regular starter hit .331 for the season.
1st Base - 1975 Carl Yastrzemski - 2011 Adrian Gonzalez - advantage 2011. Yaz was nearing the end of his career while we are just learning what the combination of Adrian Gonzalez and Fenway Park is capable of producing.
2nd Base - 1975 Denny Doyle - 2011 Dustin Pedroia - advantage 2011.
Shortstop - 1975 Rick Burleson - 2011 Marco Scutaro - I'm going to be generous and call this one a tie. Sox fans have fond memories of the Rooster but the fact is he only hit .252 with an OPS+ of just 73 in 1975.
3rd Base - 1975 Rico Petrocelli - 2011 Kevin Youkilis - advantage 2011
Left Field - 1975 Jim Rice - 2011 Carl Crawford - advantage 1975
Center Field - 1975 Fred Lynn - 2011 Jacoby Ellsbury - advantage 1975. I had to give this one to Lynn since he was the MVP in 1975 but it is actually closer than you may think. Lynn hit .331 with 21 HR, 105 RBI and 103 Runs. Almost at the All-Star break and Ellsbury has a .309 BA, 10 HR, 30 RBI and 62 Runs along with a league leading 28 stolen bases. That 1975 team had a total of 66 stolen bases. Ellsbury has a shot to get that many by himself.
Right Field - 1975 Dwight Evans - 2011 JD Drew - advantage 1975.
Starting Pitching - 1975 Luis Tiant, Bill Lee and Rick Wise - 2011 Josh Beckett, Jon Lester and Clay Buccholz - advantage 2011.
Closer - 1975 Dick Drago - 2011 Jonathan Papelbon - advantage 2011. Dick Drago is best remembered today for being a deadbeat dad. People may remember 2011 as the last great season Papelbon had before he decided to leave Boston as a free agent.
So the 1975 team has a obvious advantage in the outfield while the 2011 counterpart has a better infield and pitching staff. If the 1975 team came up just short - here's hoping the 2011 edition can go the entire distance.