Jack Brohamer

September 20, 2006

Jack Brohamer seems like he may be about to cry. I can’t decide if he’s losing a tug-of-war with an acned batboy or if he’s just claimed something along the lines of “I wouldn’t touch that with a ten-foot pole” and is now being forced to test that oath. If it’s the latter, I can’t help but wonder what it is he may or may not touch with his distancing tool. Has George Scott just taken a steaming dump near the on-deck circle? Is manager Don Zimmer showing off the whole body tan he got in the offseason at a nudist colony for people with metal plates in their head? Or is this simply the way Jack Brohamer has come to feel about life in general in the direct aftermath of the Red Sox’ 1978 collapse for the ages? As I may someday be able to expound upon in more detail in another of these letters to decomposing heaven (“gods too decompose,” proclaimed Ken Forsch’s favorite philosopher), my seemingly unstoppable Red Sox squandered a giant late-season lead to the Yankees, recovered in time to force a one-game playoff, took a two-run lead in the playoff game, lost the lead, then rallied but fell short trying to regain the lead. For some reason Jack Brohamer started that playoff game, a weak-hitting left-handed bench guy pitted against the Yankees’ left-handed super-ace, Ron Guidry, who was putting the finishing touches on one of the four or five greatest seasons ever posted by a starting pitcher. No wonder life seemed scary to Jack Brohamer. From October 2, 1978, onward, there would always be a part of me that felt the same way.


  1. I feel as though all of your posts are entitled to at least one comment, so (as a latecomer to your site) as I haphazardly work my way through them, when I come upon the rare uncommented entry, I’ll leave my 2 cents worth.

    It never occurred to me to wonder why Brohamer was in the lineup on that fateful day, so I just now felt obliged to do some research. It appears that he started at 3rd base because Hobson’s defense had degenerated to the point where he couldn’t be on the field. I’ve seen several references to bone chips in his elbow being so bad that Hobson would literally move them around before hitting. In any event, Zimmer had started playing our man Brohamer at third the last week of the season, and the Red Sox took eight in a row to keep pace with the Yankees, who (and I had forgotten this) won seven in a row but dropped game 162 to Brohamer’s old team, the Indians. This caused a tie in the standings that forced the legendary playoff game.

    So, I guess it was a no-brainer for Zimmer to keep Brohamer in the line up (of course, there are those less kind who would say that everything for Zimmer was a no-brainer). For me, the question is why did Zimmer bench Dwight Evans ? Granted he needed to keep Rice and Lynn in the lineup, and he probably had no choice but to keep Yaz in, but why move Yaz to left ? Why not put him at first and bench Scott, or at DH and sit Hobson ? I guess this has all been hashed and rehashed for 30 years in New England, but I’m not from those parts so I’m relatively immune to the finer points of Red Sox historical analysis. But, just to have an excuse to spend more time over at retrosheet, I’ll point out the Dewey had a lifetime .333 batting average (and .667 slugging % !) against Guidry.

    Lastly, not to revoke your artistic license or anything, but I feel obliged to point out that a card from the 1979 Topps set would necessarily be composed of photos taken before the end of the 1978 season, so whatever has got Jack spooked is not the memory of Ron Guidry. It probably is Zimmer’s tan.

  2. For anyone too young to have seen the ’78 one game playoff, The Jonathan Schwartz book, “A Day Of Light And Shadows”, gives a great description of the build-up, electricity, and drama of that historic game.

  3. Evans probably did not play because he had gone into a complete tailspin by the end of the year. He got a serious concussion due to a beaning and he came back too early. He had no business playing and would not have with today’s increased awareness of concussions.

  4. Brohamer caught the final popup to third to preserve Louie Tiant’s 2 hit shutout over Toronto to force the playof game.

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