On Tuesday of this week, José Tartabull celebrated his 74th birthday. Those of us old enough to recall the true start of Red Sox Nation back in 1967 will always crack a wry smile whenever we hear his name. Why? Because Tartabull made what could be—arguably—the biggest play that season to cement the pennant for Boston. On August 27, 1967 at old Comiskey Park in Chicago, Tartabull (playing right field) nailed Ken Berry at home plate in the 9th inning to secure a 4-3 Boston win. The would-be sacrifice fly off the bat of Duane Josephson could have tied the game. Elston Howard—who had formerly worn the dreaded pinstripes—made the decisive tag with a textbook block of home. It wasn't the greatest throw in the world, but it did the trick and helped propel the Carmine Hose to their first pennant in 21 years. The pennant-winning margin? One solitary game. José played just three seasons with the Red Sox, hitting just .255 with no home runs. And in the subsequent World Series against the Cardinals, he batted just .154 in 13 at-bats. But he will forever be remembered for that amazing play in the first game of a twin-bill in Chicago. Thanks, José. And Happy Birthday.
November 28, 2012