Rick Miller and his Red Sox tenure

David Laurila

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Apologies up front for posting a link to one of my interviews -- something I very rarely do -- but this strikes me as a worthy exception. It's safe to say that Rick Miller has mixed feelings about his Red Sox beginnings, as well as a sour taste for how things ended.

 

E5 Yaz

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Little known fact --- he is Carlton Fisk's brother-in-law (married Fisk's sister).

Not sure why I mentioned that....just a useless factoid I guess.
That's okay ... I was hoping David would have brought up the time Miller and Evans collided in Milwaukee and George Scott carried Miller off the field
 

Ted Cox 4 president

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He might not have hit many home runs, but he sure hit one at a game I attended in September 1981, the year of the strike. The Yankees had won the night before and had been leading all day, but then the Sox scored a whole bunch of runs in the 7th or 8th, with Miller's three-run HR being the crowning touch. It was a great moment. Love ya, Rick!
 

Patek's 3 Dingers

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He might not have hit many home runs, but he sure hit one at a game I attended in September 1981, the year of the strike. The Yankees had won the night before and had been leading all day, but then the Sox scored a whole bunch of runs in the 7th or 8th, with Miller's three-run HR being the crowning touch. It was a great moment. Love ya, Rick!
I wasn't there, but saw it on TV and also was reminded of that game when I saw this thread. Is my memory correct in that it was a green light on 3-0? The BBREF HR log doesn't have counts.

The Sox scored 7 runs in the bottom of the 8th to erase a 5-1 lead.
 

curly2

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Sorry to be that guy, but I think it was Kiddie Corps, not Kitty Corp.

But very interesting stuff. McNamara struck me as the type of guy to be petty. I didn't think Gorman was that type.
 

Ted Cox 4 president

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I wasn't there, but saw it on TV and also was reminded of that game when I saw this thread. Is my memory correct in that it was a green light on 3-0? The BBREF HR log doesn't have counts.

The Sox scored 7 runs in the bottom of the 8th to erase a 5-1 lead.
No idea of the count, sorry. I just remember the crowd going wild: late inning, down four against the MFYs, no way they'd come back to tie, much less win. Then: Bingo! Whenever I hear "Rick Miller," that's what I think of.
 

jmcc5400

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I'll check BBRef in a second, but I have distinct memory of listening to that rally in a church parking lot with my family delaying going in while it was going on. Must have been a Saturday or Sunday afternoon game. That 1981 team under Houk was really fun - good rookies in Gedman and Ojeda, a batting champ in Lansford, an unlikely MVP in Evan's and a really strong bullpen. (Although, if I remember correctly, the wheels came off with Yaz playing CF in a few games at the age of 42)
 

phrenile

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I wasn't there, but saw it on TV and also was reminded of that game when I saw this thread. Is my memory correct in that it was a green light on 3-0? The BBREF HR log doesn't have counts.
Yes.
Then Miller stepped to the plate and watched three balls go by. The center fielder looked at Eddie Yost, the third base coach, assuming he'd see the ''take'' sign, but he saw nothing.

''I was surprised at first,'' Miller said. ''Then I said why should you be surprised? He wants you to get that extra swing.'' Houk admitted that it was ''a helluva gamble'' to let Miller swing on 3-0. ''I also have to admit,'' the manager added, ''I never expected that.''

LaRoche never expected Miller to swing at the 3-0 pitch. ''I just threw a fast ball trying to get a strike,'' he said. Miller, a left-handed hitter who had collected only 21 homers in his previous 2,994 major league times at bat, said he wanted to hit the ball on the ground up the middle or between first and second.

''I didn't want to hit it in the air like I did,'' he explained. ''I was probably so excited I got under it a little. When I hit the ball in the air, I figure it's an out because I'm not a power hitter.''

But this ball was not an out; it went out - into Boston's bullpen in right-center field.
 

Patek's 3 Dingers

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Thanks, I had thought so. Maybe it's just my perception, but hacking on 3-0 was pretty rare years ago and especially for someone like Miller. Maybe Remy being on deck was a consideration for Houk.

Even though it was only a regular season game, it's still a fond memory. Yaz said after the game that it was one of the most enjoyable games he had ever played in.
 
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Bergs

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Sorry to be that guy, but I think it was Kiddie Corps, not Kitty Corp.

But very interesting stuff. McNamara struck me as the type of guy to be petty. I didn't think Gorman was that type.
Thank you. That made no fucking sense at all.
 

DourDoerr

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If you listen to NFL announcers (hopefully not a given) doing Ryan Fitzpatrick games, then you know they simply can't refrain from mentioning at least once that he went to Harvard. Like moths to the flame. Rick Miller was the same sort of catnip to announcers during national games. He was "the reserve outfielder who would start for just about any other team." He must have loved hearing it.
 

Bernie Carbohydrate

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God, Lou Gorman sucked.
Gorman did suck, but this is on Rick Miller.

“I’d played out my contract with the Red Sox — I wasn’t re-signed by them — so my career with them was over. The Giants called Lou Gorman and said, ‘Hey, we’re interested in Rick Miller.’ Gorman told them. ‘No, he retired.’ Well, I’d never retired. I just didn’t have a contract anymore.
That's what an agent is for. You pay somebody to call around to other teams, especially teams that need a veteran OF.

Looking back on the events of 1985, it was reasonable for anyone (not just Gorman) to assume Miller's career was over. He was 37, and he'd only gotten a handful of plate appearances in his last season. On July 5, 1985 Miller was involved in a fight in the stands. Miller inured his hip in that fight and has stated that the hip injury caused him to retire:

“I got a hip injury in ’85 and I couldn’t play anymore” Miller said. “I think it was something that happened before that and I had to retire after that.”
Miller was an effective pinch-hitter before the fight (.858 OPS), but only had two hits after that incident (in 11 AB).
 

Leftsox13

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In the early 80's I lived in Mesa AZ and went to a lot of spring training games. He was with the Angels at the time and wasn't playing in one of the games. He wandered down to the bullpen, along the right field line, and started signing autographs for kids. He liked this one kids Little League hat and was talking to him about it. Next thing you know he is sitting in the stands next to the kid, with the kids hat on and the kid wearing his Angels hat. He sat there for a good inning having a ball with the kid and his parents. Something that kid will never forget.
 

jaytftwofive

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I wasn't there, but saw it on TV and also was reminded of that game when I saw this thread. Is my memory correct in that it was a green light on 3-0? The BBREF HR log doesn't have counts.

The Sox scored 7 runs in the bottom of the 8th to erase a 5-1 lead.
Yes I remember that game. On the NBC game of the week. The Sox were going for the 2nd half pennant and were tied with the Brewers the next week. @ my nephew was born early the next morning. A Yankee fan friend of mine called me half kidding and said "Im protesting the game". I forget was it off Ron Davis or Gossage? I can look it up. OK Dave Laroche. I think he used to throw high lob pitches if I'm not mistaken. They had just taken Davis out.
 
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