Notes from the BoSox Club Luncheon - April 12, 2017

Noting that it was the 50th anniversary of the BoSox Club, and thus also of the 1967 Impossible Dream Red Sox, Dick Flavin offered a poem he had first delivered – from the Fenway Park pitcher's mound no less – on the 35th anniversary. In other words, 15 years ago. Speaking of words, here are Dick's, offered to us here, both for those unable to attend and for enjoyment again from the rest of us who were able to be in person for Dick's rendition.

1967 AND THE BOSOX CLUB

Listen, Sox Nation, and you shall hear

About sixty-seven, one hell of a year

It began with the team in a terrible fix

They'd finished in ninth place in sixty-six.

But a bunch of Sox diehards here in the Hub

Refused to lose faith, so they formed a new club

The BoSox Club started and set a great precedent

When Dom DiMaggio became its first president.

People joined up with Dom's name on the door

Now all they lacked was a team to root for.

Then the season began and that little known team

Set out to achieve the impossible dream.

They gave us more thrills than any team has

With Lonborg and Rico and the man they called Yaz.

Folks here in Boston recall sixty-seven

As the greatest of all, the season from heaven.

The year that fulfilled a long-suffering thirst

When the Red Sox traveled from ninth place to first.

And the BoSox Club has gone on to expand

Into the greatest fan club in the land.

So Red Sox Nation, do not despair,

There's another miracle out there somewhere.

When things don't go well and the future looks blue,

Remember, the Impossible Dream can come true.

-- Dick Flavin

Mike then introduced the Membership Chair, Chuck Beauregard, who has been arranging an active program of events (such as the recent one in Reading). He mentioned forthcoming events planned for both Hyannis and Natick. Details will be forthcoming. We'll hope to see some of you at these events. Chuck also recognized Linda McIntosh, one of our members who has worked at the merchandise table for the past four years. All clubs have a number of members who help out, doing important work that benefits the club and its members, and both Chuck and the full board wished to acknowledge Linda and the hours she has put in to help out. A gift certificate to the 99 Restaurants was presented to her.

Mike then introduced Bill Nowlin, who has written the recent book on the history of the club, aptly named THE BOSOX CLUB – 50 YEARS. Bill said a few words, thanking the Red Sox and Tim Samway for providing photographs and thanking others who helped with information for the book.

Autographs from Luis, Joe, and Matt were offered to all, and then the luncheon followed.

After the luncheon, Mike introduced Joe Castiglione as the day's emcee. Joe began by remembering fellow Red Sox broadcaster Ken Coleman, who had been one of the founders of the BoSox Club back in 1967 – indeed, Ken brought his experience with the Cleveland Indians' Wahoo Club to Boston and helped inspire the formation of the BoSox Club.

Joe shared his view that we were all looking forward to a very good year, and quickly brought up Red Sox reliever Matt Barnes – like Joe, a Connecticut native. Matt is a former #1 draft pick of the Red Sox (2011) and last year his 62 mound appearances led the team. He described some of his background at UConn, and praised the university for its recruiting efforts in getting so many good baseball players to commit to UConn. Over a two-year period, he said there were as many as 10-11 players drafted by professional baseball teams. Matt talked some as well about the transition from being the starter he had always been to becoming a reliever, an oft-used one at that, someone who might be called on at almost any time. When asked about life in the bullpen, with guys trying to keep things loose, he said a lot about Robbie Ross in just four words: "one of a kind!". Matt also called over to Luis Tiant and said he was astonished that Luis had once pitched 311 2/3 innings in one season, saying that, "I might not have pitched that many in my whole career." (For those inclined to look it up, through the night before the luncheon, Matt had pitched 521 2/3 innings of pro ball.) Both Joe and Matt expressed some degree of satisfaction that what with the flu bug that has knocked out several players, injuries, and a number of unfortunate bereavements, the team has only seemed to be playing with half its regular personnel for the first seven games, and yet are 4-3.

Joe then introduced El Tiante – Luis Tiant. Joe said he had been able to visit Havana for four days this winter and so asked Luis about his own return to his native country, as chronicled in the video LOST SON OF HAVANA. Joe asked him what had impressed him most about returning to Cuba after so many years away. "Nothing," said El Tiante. He then took the discussion in a more serious vein, mentioning that it had been sad to see that some of the nice houses in the area he lived had become rundown. The decades-long embargo of Cuba just caused suffering among the people. It used to be so good –Americans would even just go to Cuba for a weekend, with no need for a visa. Luis, asked what he thought about this year's pitching staff said, "I don't like it." Kidding aside, he said that he thought it would be a very good year, as long as there weren't too many injuries.  Sometimes, he told us, he'll go watch a pitcher throw a bullpen, but if he sees anything worth noting, he'll privately tell pitching coach Carl Willis that than step on any toes. "We have a chance of going all the way this year,: he said – words that every Red Sox fan always likes to hear.

A raffle followed the luncheon, with a Brock Holt signed bat, and baseballs signed by Rick Porcello, Dustin Pedroia, Jerry Remy, and Dick Drago among the prizes taken home by happy winners.

-- Bill Nowlin

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