What if you could change one thing - Red Sox edition

HfxBob

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My answers are already covered.

Take back the pitch that hit Tony C.
Yaz takes Goose deep.
 

pk1627

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I’m can’t complain. It all came together in 4 games in 2004.

However, to answer the question I was never more excited than to see Yaz come to bat in the bottom of the ninth, Game 163. The outcome of that at bat is the one thing I’d change.
 

Yo La Tengo

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And Dwight Evans should have never, ever been forced to wear a different team's uniform.
 

Toe Nash

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One that hasn't been mentioned is what if the Red Sox traded for, or signed as a free agent, Bernie Williams in 1997-98.

Williams was a 6+ WAR guy every year from 98-03, while Sox CFers were Darren Lewis and Carl Everett until they got Damon. Lewis was a good fielder but couldn't hit.

Maybe the Yankees trade for Johnny Damon instead and those teams were stacked anyway, so it may not have made a difference in the outcome of those years, but it's possible the 1999 LCS goes differently if Lewis isn't going 2-17 in 5 games.
 

YTF

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That was more of a joke than anything. The Yankees would have gotten Blue, and who knows what would have followed.
Yeah the whole thing was sort of uncharted territory. It was the dawn of free agency and Charlie Finley sensed that his A's dynasty was coming to an end and tried to sell off players before losing them. As you said, who knows what would have followed. Looking a year forward to the '77 season, the Sox won 97 games (tied with Baltimore) and finished 2.5 games behind New York at a time when just the two division winners played for the league championship to advance to the World Series. As you pointed out, the Yanks would have gotten Vida Blue so who knows how it all would have played out or how long any of the three players may have remained with their new teams. The Sox also brought in Bill Campbell who saved 31 games in the '77 season. Would Fingers have done any better? Who knows? George Scott was brought back in '77 to play 1B. Would the Sox have been any better with Rudi vs Scott? Perhaps not.
 

Yelling At Clouds

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A probably-not-realistic one: with the 7th pick in the 2013 draft, instead of picking Trey Ball, Cherington goes for signability and selects an outfielder from Fresno State named Aaron Judge.
 

jbupstate

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September 21, 1975. Tiger pitcher Vern Ruhle comes inside and hits Jim Rice. Broken hand, not available for playoffs. Sox lose to Reds in Series.

My first year as an everyday Sox fanatic. Jim Rice was my favorite player.

I like to think if Rice plays, we win the Series and it removes almost 30 years of gut punches delivered to my fandom.

78715
 

NYCSox

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If you want impact look at ownership.

If someone other than Harry Frazee owned the Red Sox in 1919-22, then Babe Ruth, Waite Hoyt, Wally Schang, Joe Bush, Sam Jones, Everett Scott, Joe Dugan, George Pipgras, and Herb Pennock aren't traded or sold to the Yankees between 1920 and 1922. With those players staying in Boston, then Boston remains a highly competitive team through the 1920s instead of finishing last in 9 of the next 11 years. If they remain competitive, then there is no sale of the team to Tom Yawkey in 1933. That means, of course, that the racist, drinking-buddy front office of the 1930s through early 1960s maybe doesn't happen. Maybe Pee Wee Reese joins the Sox infield, since Joe Cronin isn't around to protect his job. Maybe the Sox sign Willie Mays. There are lots of maybes here, but if Frazee doesn't transfer the best players on the Red Sox to the Yankees, then the most dominant force in Red Sox history, doesn't appear.

And oh yes -- if that mass transfer of Babe Ruth, Waite Hoyt, Wally Schang, Joe Bush, Sam Jones, Everett Scott, Joe Dugan, George Pipgras, and Herb Pennock doesn't happen, there is no Yankee dynasty.

So my choice would be for a competent, deep-pocketed owner to have purchased the Red Sox from Joe Lannin in 1916.
I mean this has to be it right. Imagine an ordinary Yankees franchise instead of what we had to suffer through.
 

RS2004foreever

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There isn't a single thing I would trade if it meant Roberts got thrown out at second in 2004.
That win >>>> all the losses.
 

LogansDad

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I don't bring it up ever because as much as it still hurts me it is just thread pollution at this point, but this seems like the right thread for it, and for me the one thing I would change is that Mookie would still be here.

I have loved the Sox for my entire 44 years, but I am not quite old enough to truly remember 1986. The end of 2003 sucked, but it made 2004 that much sweeter. Basically everything from 2004 until 2018 was just sublime, outside of one month at the end of 2011.

I understand "why" the Mookie trade happened, but I think not getting to watch his entire career unfold in Fenway is going to haunt me to my grave. I am not nearly as vocal about it as many others, but it definitely had an affect on the way that I consume baseball. I was already becoming more of a fan of the sport than just the Red Sox when it happened, and in the years since that has just solidified that feeling in me.

I will always root for the Sox no matter who they are playing, but I am just as likely to watch a different game at this point because there is a good pitching matchup, or a prospect debuting for another team, or Julio Rodriguez or Bobby Witt Jr are involved. I don't know if Mookie still being on the Sox would have changed that trajectory by much, but it may have slowed it down.

Second for me would be never having Tito leave (again, fuck you, 2011), and third would be Orsillo staying.
 

trekfan55

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What if the Sox had signed Willie Mays in 1949, when scout George Digby recommended him? Passing on Jackie Robinson in 1945 was wrong, but it's more understandable not having the guts to make a sea change in the sport. But two years after Jackie Robinson integrated MLB and Larry Doby integrated the AL, passing on Mays was inexcusable.
As I understand it, he was basically signed until the owner vetoed it and the rest is history. That is a big one.

My take is sign Beltre, keep Youk at 1st and bring up Rizzo slowly. No trade for Agon. Already metioned here.

Also, break the bank for Betts.
 

Yo La Tengo

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I thought hoisting #24 up with the others would be a good one.
A little cap tip to Manny, too.
Full support for retiring #24 along with a campaign to get him into the Hall of Fame. Here is some cut/pasted numbers:


During the 1980s, Evans led all major leaguers in extra-base hits and ranked second to Rickey Henderson in times on base, with 2,447. For the decade, he ranked second in Weighted Runs Above Average to Wade Boggs, HOF. He led the league in Weighted Runs Created. He led the American League in homers (256) and was second in RBI (900), total bases (2,657), and walks (919). Eddie Murray had more RBI, Robin Yount had more total bases, Rickey Henderson reached base more often, all en route to Cooperstown.

He was the only player in the ’80s with 900 RBI and 900 walks; the first to do so since Harmon Killebrew in the 1960s. He won five Gold Gloves in those years, eight for his career.

He reached base 3890 times, 25th in history among righthanded batters — at the time he retired, he was 11th on the list. Career extra-base hits? Thirteenth when he retired, and still twenty-ninth, above Joe DiMaggio. When he left the game, he ranked in the top 25 outfielders in walks, homers, times on base, doubles and RBIs.

For the span of his career, from 1972-1991, he was first in the AL in walks, second in homers, third in RBI, second in runs scored, third in doubles.

He played in two World Series for Boston, in which he hit .300/.397/.580/.977, with 15 hits and 14 RBIs in 14 games.
 

BosoxFaninCincy

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This is just a great thread, with all the emotion and heartfelt comments of the Win It for Thread. The comments about Wake and Jerry being still able to hug their families and enjoy a ballgame really got to me. Still, to go down the list we have a lot of what if's. I fell in love with the Sox in 1975, the son of a rabid MFY fan who somehow saw the light. I do not wish anyone physical harm, but I hope that Vern Ruhle gets audited every year and that billions of cicadas descend on his home annually.
 

yeahlunchbox

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I wish the Sox had gotten a new park. Imagine not needing to consult charts before going to a game, just buying tickets and knowing the view will be good. And imagine having actual room to walk on a concourse because you're in a stadium properly designed and built for the baseball experience and crowds of this century. Fenway is tolerable for a baseball game because of the history, but the baseball watching experience could and should be so much better than it is, and it is absolutely wretched for the cultural center it wants to be with hosting concerts and what not.

I wish Larry Lucchino and Fenway Sports Group never bought the PawSox.

I wish Nicholas Mattiello wasn't a world class dipshit while also being the most powerful person in Rhode Island.
 

John Marzano Olympic Hero

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From 1986: Tom Seaver not getting hurt and pitching in the World Series against his former team would've been sublime. Speaking of, the whole John MacNamara experience; what a terrible manager and just a sour person. At least Grady Little seemed like a nice enough guy.
 

bankshot1

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what if Tony C sat that Friday night in August 67?
what if Louis Aparicio hadn't tripped over 3rd?
what if the Gerbil learned to tolerate Fergie and hadn't forced Deadwood to trade him after '77?
what if Lou Pinella wasn't the luckiest SOB to ever play one of the worst sunfields in MLB?
 

Hank Scorpio

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Some fun "what ifs" from the 90s...
- The Red Sox never trade away Jeff Bagwell.
- The 1994-1995 signings of Sammy Sosa, Kevin Appier, and John Wetteland do not get voided.
 

cannonball 1729

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What if Frank McCourt had won the bid instead of Henry’s group? Is Fenway even around or do we have some stale stadium near the water? And does the team even come close to winning a title?
Or Charles Dolan? Apparently he actually outbid John Henry group but was denied because of reasons. The Red Sox could have been the Knicks North!
 

Seels

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A probably-not-realistic one: with the 7th pick in the 2013 draft, instead of picking Trey Ball, Cherington goes for signability and selects an outfielder from Fresno State named Aaron Judge.
I thought about posting that too. I hated that Trey Ball pick so much when they made it. Same thing as the Casey Kelly pick from a few years before it.
 

Gene Conleys Plane Ticket

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1986, Game 6. Top of the 8th, Red Sox batting and leading 3-2. With the bases full and 2 outs, McNamara sends up Don Baylor to pinch hit for Bill Buckner against Jesse Orosco. Orosco was utterly dominant against lefties. Buckner was basically helpless against him and stranded the bases loaded. Orosco was also tough on righties, but significantly less so. If nothing else, Baylor set a record being hit by 35 pitches that year. Maybe he could have leaned into one, brought a run in and kept the inning alive with Jim Rice coming up. Could have changed the entire trajectory of that game and with it, Red Sox history. We'll never know. But it seemed like an obvious move at the time, and McNamara just sat on his hands.
 

HfxBob

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1986, Game 6. Top of the 8th, Red Sox batting and leading 3-2. With the bases full and 2 outs, McNamara sends up Don Baylor to pinch hit for Bill Buckner against Jesse Orosco. Orosco was utterly dominant against lefties. Buckner was basically helpless against him and stranded the bases loaded. Orosco was also tough on righties, but significantly less so. If nothing else, Baylor set a record being hit by 35 pitches that year. Maybe he could have leaned into one, brought a run in and kept the inning alive with Jim Rice coming up. Could have changed the entire trajectory of that game and with it, Red Sox history. We'll never know. But it seemed like an obvious move at the time, and McNamara just sat on his hands.
Yes, that was a horrible non-move.
 

Red(s)HawksFan

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1986, Game 6. Top of the 8th, Red Sox batting and leading 3-2. With the bases full and 2 outs, McNamara sends up Don Baylor to pinch hit for Bill Buckner against Jesse Orosco. Orosco was utterly dominant against lefties. Buckner was basically helpless against him and stranded the bases loaded. Orosco was also tough on righties, but significantly less so. If nothing else, Baylor set a record being hit by 35 pitches that year. Maybe he could have leaned into one, brought a run in and kept the inning alive with Jim Rice coming up. Could have changed the entire trajectory of that game and with it, Red Sox history. We'll never know. But it seemed like an obvious move at the time, and McNamara just sat on his hands.
McNamara stubbornly wanted his starters on the field when they won that night. It's why he didn't pinch hit for Buckner and why he didn't replace him defensively as he had in every other win that post-season. The really stupid thing is Baylor was also a regular starter who deserved to be involved just as much as Buckner did and his ass was inexplicably stapled to the bench during the games at Shea. His only AB was in the top of the 8th of Game 7, pinch hitting for Spike Owen with two outs, a runner on second, trailing 6-5. A defensible move. The next move Mac made was indefensible: putting Al Nipper in to start the 8th against Strawberry.

Fuck John McNamara.
 

Gene Conleys Plane Ticket

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McNamara stubbornly wanted his starters on the field when they won that night. It's why he didn't pinch hit for Buckner and why he didn't replace him defensively as he had in every other win that post-season. The really stupid thing is Baylor was also a regular starter who deserved to be involved just as much as Buckner did and his ass was inexplicably stapled to the bench during the games at Shea. His only AB was in the top of the 8th of Game 7, pinch hitting for Spike Owen with two outs, a runner on second, trailing 6-5. A defensible move. The next move Mac made was indefensible: putting Al Nipper in to start the 8th against Strawberry.

Fuck John McNamara.
I was going to mention the Nipper move, but because they were already behind it may not have made any difference. But it was a "giving up on the game" move that was absolutely inexcusable. I always thought in the 8th inning of the 7th game of the World Series, you throw your best pitcher in there, who was Clemens. He had a day of rest and probably could have given a solid inning or even, in that era, two.
 

Red(s)HawksFan

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I was going to mention the Nipper move, but because they were already behind it may not have made any difference. But it was a "giving up on the game" move that was absolutely inexcusable. I always thought in the 8th inning of the 7th game of the World Series, you throw your best pitcher in there, who was Clemens. He had a day of rest and probably could have given a solid inning or even, in that era, two.
Yup. Clemens was in the pen ready to go. The call never came for him.

A case could be made that Clemens should have gotten the call in the seventh when the game was 3-3. Had to be a better bet than a totally gassed Schiraldi.
 

KillerBs

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My mind goes to 1986 too. I will change one of Mookie Wilson's Game 6 10th inning 2-strike foul balls into an out of any kind thereby entirely eradicating the subsequent "wild pitch" and slow roller to first. The Steamer on the mound at Shea closing out the Series with Scully on the call.
 

Toe Nash

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I wish the Sox had gotten a new park. Imagine not needing to consult charts before going to a game, just buying tickets and knowing the view will be good. And imagine having actual room to walk on a concourse because you're in a stadium properly designed and built for the baseball experience and crowds of this century. Fenway is tolerable for a baseball game because of the history, but the baseball watching experience could and should be so much better than it is, and it is absolutely wretched for the cultural center it wants to be with hosting concerts and what not.
This is certainly a take. Hell no. If you want to see the Sox in a new stadium they play 81 games a year in those.

Also, the roof decks at Fenway are much closer to the field than at other stadiums precisely because some of the grandstand seating is obstructed by the pillars holding up the roof. That's the tradeoff.

The Pavilion Club or RF Roof Boxes are views you can only get at Fenway* because at any other field the upper decks would be 30 feet further away from the field. One of the most unequal changes in sports architecture since the 80s is that new arenas and stadia can't have any lower bowl seats obstructed so all the cheaper seats get moved back. I'm sad that I'm too young to have ever watched a hockey game from the upper level at center ice at the Boston Garden or sat in the RF bleachers overhanging Tiger Stadium.

*Or Wrigley, which is admittedly better since fewer of these seats are club / suites
 

snowmanny

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What if the Sox had signed Willie Mays in 1949, when scout George Digby recommended him? Passing on Jackie Robinson in 1945 was wrong, but it's more understandable not having the guts to make a sea change in the sport. But two years after Jackie Robinson integrated MLB and Larry Doby integrated the AL, passing on Mays was inexcusable.
Just to add to the cost of the Red Sox racist history, eliminating the ridiculous Earl Wilson for Don Demeter trade would have deprived us of the insane four-team razor thin 1967 pennant race, because the Sox would have finished first by five games. They also would have pitched Lonborg three times on normal rest in the Series
Not the thing, but two of the top ten I would change, trading Cecil Cooper and his sweet swing for George Scott, and letting Ellis Burks go.
Burks leaving too soon was preceded by Reggie Smith leaving too soon and followed by Mookie leaving too soon. As a wise philosopher once said : “The history book on the shelf is always repeating itself.”
 

ookami7m

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Yea it is Nomar for me. Neck and neck with Jeter for 5+ more years and finding himself in the Hall.
Nomar was coming up right after I came back from living overseas for 2 years and re-ignited my love for baseball in highschool. He was such a force of nature and it is still sad how things ended here for him.
 

Ale Xander

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Yup. Clemens was in the pen ready to go. The call never came for him.

A case could be made that Clemens should have gotten the call in the seventh when the game was 3-3. Had to be a better bet than a totally gassed Schiraldi.
Maybe he was saving the league’s CY and MVP for Game 8?
 

Sandy Leon Trotsky

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During Pedro's great tenure he was usually the only good pitcher on the Sox. I wished every offseason that they'd pony up and add another consistent "no. 2". It was always Pedro.... and a bunch of mid rotation guys (at best). It wasn't until Derek Lowe in '02 but by that time Pedro was in a slight decline. He deserved to be THE guy on a World Series team. I'm happy as hell for him (and us) that he did get one, but by then he was clearly the no. 2 behind a jackass turd of a human. Prime Nomar was robbed because of that also and there still haven't been two Red Sox players I just absolutely loved like those two.

--- adding that I remember I think maybe there was a 2000 Sports Illustrated that had Pedro on the cover with a "Prediction why the Sox would win the World Series" and the reason no. 1- Pedro Martinez. I remember thinking at the time...."no... they'll finish behind the Yankees again because they don't have a legit no. 2". There were flashes of some other members of the rotation during his peak of being that guy but they just were just a few weeks of good pitching and would end up being the bottom of the rotation types that they really were.
 

Humphrey

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No, because it wouldn't have necessarily changed anything.
What if there was no wild pitch/passed ball? Does Buckner catch that dribbler? Or, taking the other approach, how many people join Chuck Stuart in the Mystic River if that error had prevented them from winning the World Series then and there?
 

Humphrey

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Yeah the whole thing was sort of uncharted territory. It was the dawn of free agency and Charlie Finley sensed that his A's dynasty was coming to an end and tried to sell off players before losing them. As you said, who knows what would have followed. Looking a year forward to the '77 season, the Sox won 97 games (tied with Baltimore) and finished 2.5 games behind New York at a time when just the two division winners played for the league championship to advance to the World Series. As you pointed out, the Yanks would have gotten Vida Blue so who knows how it all would have played out or how long any of the three players may have remained with their new teams. The Sox also brought in Bill Campbell who saved 31 games in the '77 season. Would Fingers have done any better? Who knows? George Scott was brought back in '77 to play 1B. Would the Sox have been any better with Rudi vs Scott? Perhaps not.
The question is, would Fingers have held up to Zimmer's abuse of his arm; which Campbell did not.
 

GB5

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I am glad it never happened but how do you think it would have gone for the Sox if the rumored Williams for DiMaggio trade went through?