Bobby Doerr, RIP: The last of “The Teammates”

Bobby Doerr (left) with (left to right) Dominic DiMaggio, Johnny Pesky, and Ted Williams, in the portrait on the cover of The Teammates.

Bobby Doerr (left) with (left to right) Dominic DiMaggio, Johnny Pesky, and Ted Williams, in the portrait on the cover of The Teammates.

A certain Yale University professor of Renaissance literature turned Yale president had no such ambition when he was a boy in New England. “I wanted more than anything,” baseball’s eventual commissioner A. Bartlett Giamatti once said, “to be Bobby Doerr.”

When Giamatti became president of the National League, before his sadly short-lived commissionership, he met the former Red Sox second baseman and told him, shamelessly, that he admired him more than any baseball player he ever saw growing up.

The unafraid Alex Cora

Alex CoraHowever Alex Cora fares as the Red Sox’s new manager, in one way Red Sox Nation can say thank you to Manny Ramirez for at least half the likelihood that Cora got the job in the first place. Try to stop laughing.

After the Indians signed Cora as a free agent for 2005, the more than useful utility infielder was dealt to the Red Sox almost a month before the 2005 non-waiver trade deadline.

If you can’t beat him, hire him

The Astros' bench coach will manage the Red Sox in 2018. First, though, there's a World Series to win . . .

The Astros’ bench coach will manage the Red Sox in 2018. First, though, there’s a World Series to win . . .

If Alex Cora ever needs to remind himself about determination, he has only to look at an at-bat he had as a Dodger against the Cubs 12 May 2004. On that date, at 9:23 Pacific time, in that at-bat, he graduated from utilityman to mini-legend.

With Matt Clement on the mound, Cora looked at ball one up and away. Then it went: called strike. Ball two. Foul. Foul. Foul. Foul. Foul. Foul. Foul. Foul. Foul. Foul. Foul. Foul. Foul. Foul. Two-run homer.

The ballad of John Farrell’s execution

John Farrell---executed.

John Farrell—executed.

You can’t fire a third of the team, so it’s believed, so the Red Sox did the next best thing the day after they were shoved to one side by the Astros in a division series. They fired the manager who finally lost his way and control of the Red Sox clubhouse. Even if a lot of it wasn’t his fault.

A lot.

John Farrell was just too convenient a whipping boy for Red Sox Nation. To the point where enough believe he’d have been executed after 2015 if not for his courageous battle against cancer.

Belief isn’t enough, except to the Astros

The Astros celebrate after putting the Red Sox to bed for the season Monday . . .

The Astros celebrate after putting the Red Sox to bed for the season Monday . . .

For a few moments it looked as though Astros manager A.J. Hinch made a big mistake in the bottom of the fifth in Fenway Park Monday. With one out and one on for the Red Sox, he brought in Justin Verlander, his Game One starter and winner—who’d never thrown an inning of relief in his life until now.

Later, in the bottom of the ninth, it looked like Hinch made a mistake asking closer Ken Giles for a six-out save when Red Sox rookie Rafael Devers stepped up to the plate to lead off.

Boston believes, for now

Ramirez hoisted a call to arms, then backed it up going 4-for-4 on behalf of his Red Sox mates throttling the Astros in Game Three . . .

Ramirez hoisted a call to arms, then backed it up going 4-for-4 on behalf of his Red Sox mates throttling the Astros in Game Three . . .

It was as if the Red Sox called a conference before Game Three at Fenway Park and said, If you don’t mind, we’ll decide if and when we’re dead and buried. Designated hitter Hanley Ramirez’s exclamation point was the “Believe in Boston” sign he carried out during pre-game lineup introductions.

The biggest little kid on the Astros’ block

After a three-bomb Game One . . . ya think?

After a three-bomb Game One . . . ya think?

Justin Verlander was an eyewitness to the last time anyone hit three out in a single postseason game. Matter of fact, he was the victim twice, when he was a Tiger and Pablo Sandoval was a still-productive Giant. Kung Fu Panda’s three bombs in Game One of the 2012 World Series launched the Giants to a Series sweep.

Verlander thinks it’s far more fun to be just the eyewitness. Especially when he’s the beneficiary, as he was in Game One of his Astros’ American League division series against the Red Sox. And, perhaps even more, when it’s Jose Altuve hitting the three.

Tough for even the best to hit the Indians’ pitching

Get your runs now---Miller Time is coming . . .

Get your runs now—Miller Time is coming . . .

If good pitching beats good hitting, the Indians go into this postseason with a distinct advantage over the competition. Even over those yummy young Yankees. And if good hitting beats good pitching, a few postseason bullpens have key vulnerabilities. Rather than bore you with why I think everyone else can just hurry up and wait for the Indians to claim this year what they nearly did last, let’s expand upon those two thoughts.

The Red Sox win the AL East—the hard way

A champagne shampoo for the AL East champion Red Sox . . .

A champagne shampoo for the AL East champion Red Sox . . .

Nobody has ever accused the Red Sox of doing things the easy way. Why should clinching this year’s American League East be any different? Of course, the Red Sox don’t necessarily see it that way.

We didn’t play meaningful baseball games at the end of the year last year,” says David Price, moved to the bullpen of late after a few hiccups and elbow issues as a starter this year. “You play meaningful baseball games for 160 to 162 games, that keeps everybody on their toes.”

Fifty years ago, the Hawk’s forgotten sneak preview

Ken Harrelson, a young Kansas City Athletic, before Charlie Finley inadvertently shoved him to show a sneak peek at what players could get on a fair and open market in 1967 . . .

Ken Harrelson, a young Kansas City Athletic, before Charlie Finley inadvertently shoved him to show a sneak peek at what players could get on a fair and open market in 1967 . . .

When you think of the advent of baseball’s free agency era, you think of Curt Flood, Catfish Hunter, and Andy Messersmith first, and in that order. As Ted Simmons phrased it, following the Messersmith ruling of 1975, “Curt Flood stood up for us. Jim Hunter showed us what was out there. Andy showed us the way.”