I don’t know where Rice sociology professor Bill Martin grew up but I’m pretty darn sure it wasn’t Boston, Massachusetts. So my question–if you’re out there, Bill–is why the Red Sox team picture on his office wall, especially since judging by the grey in his hair I’d put this photo about ten years later?
That was a great team for sure and that 1975 World Series was one of the best ever. The games were all day games but late enough in the afternoon (and in the Eastern time zone) that I could make it home from school in time to see most of them. I more or less worshipped Carl Yastrzemski and it was tough to see the Sox lose. But I was well over it by 1985.
That’s easy. He attended Harvard for his Ph.D work and that’s where he became a Red Sox fan. He used to mention them frequently during his classes back in the late 70s.
They might have been considered day games if you were in the Pacific Time Zone but only the first two games were day games locally. Games 1 and 2 began at 1:00 p.m. ET at Fenway. Games 3, 4, and 5 were at 8:30 p.m. at Riverfront. Game 6 was 8:15 p.m. back at Fenway.
Back in 1975 no one had a personal TV in their room. There was a television in the Wiess lounge and the place was packed every evening during the series. I had as much fun watching the crowd as the game.
In fact, I became a Red Sox fan sometime back in the 1940s. I believe the first impetus was seeing a page about Ted Williams in a comic book. Known for his incredible ability to see the ball as it came toward him, he was pictured in this little one-page spread between stories as standing at the plate holding a camera as the ball came toward him. That image stuck with me and I became a Sox fan. I listened to the World Series in 1946 after Ted had returned from the war and led the team to a terrific season. As my teams will do, they lost to the Cardinals in the Series–after leading in the eighth with two outs in Game 7. I was a Sox and Ted fan from then on. Shortly after we arrived in Boston in September 1960, I went to Fenway to see the Sox play the Yankees. Not only did Ted play; so did Mickey Mantle, Roger Maris, and Yogi Berra. I have long regretted that I did not attend Ted’s last game, in which he hit a home run in the last at-bat of his career, then refused as always to come out to receive the crowd’s long ovation. As John Updike wrote in The New Yorker, “Gods do not answer letters.” 1961 was the rookie season for Carl Yastrzemski, another marvelous ball player whom I saw play many times at Fenway over the years through the 7th game of the 1967 World Series, when the Sox lost to the Cardinals again. He was another true great player, and much more personally pleasant than The Kid, aka The Splendid Splinter. I drew great satisfaction when the Sox overcame the Curse of the Bambino and won the 2004, this time sweeping the Cardinals and enjoyed their subsequent wins, but I moved my allegiance to the Astros some time ago. I am now quite conflicted after the sign-stealing scandal. I’m not sure I will regain my feelings for baseball now.
Great story, Bill!