Notes from the BoSox Club Luncheon - November 12, 2018

BoSox Club president Mike Vining opened the luncheon, welcoming the 230-plus members and guests who were present.  He gave voice to the shared pleasure that the Red Sox winning the 2018 World Series gave all in attendance. Mike then noted that, in addition to the day's MC, Dave O'Brien, there were two special guests – Keith Foulke of the 2004 World Champion Red Sox, the team that broke the 86-year-old drought, and NESN broadcaster and Red Sox Hall of Famer Jerry Remy, who received a two- or three-minute standing ovation from an audience which was overjoyed to have heard the good news from just three days earlier, that "the Rem-Dawg" had been declared cancer-free.

Mike then introduced the two military guests, both from the US Marine Corps, on this Veterans Day luncheon.

Poet Laureate Dick Flavin then stepped to the podium. He noted how unusual it was for the opposing team's manager to receive a standing ovation before a World Series game – but that was how Dave Roberts of the Dodgers was welcomed at Fenway Park before both Game One and Game Two of the 2018 World Series. Red Sox fans, of course, know that it was his stolen base in Game Four of the 2004 ALCS that began to turn things around that year for the Red Sox as they then reeled off eight consecutive wins to take the pennant and World Series. Dick then read a poem celebrating that stolen base.

All present observed a moment of silence in honor of longtime Red Sox photographer Jack Maley, who had passed away the week before.

The Brad Jernegan Award – now named the Bruce Donahue/Brad Jernegan Award – was presented to current BoSox Club board member Bob Roussel for many years of service, who has been a member of many different Board committees over time. Several members of Bob's family had been invited to the luncheon and thus had the opportunity to see him receive this important honor.

Past president Steve Hollingsworth then opened the annual business meeting. Incoming officers for next year were noted as:

Jim Parker - president

Rick Leco – first vice president

Debbie Courteau – second vice president

Three new board members for the coming year will be Amy Allen, Scott Cyr, and Mike Curtis.

All were elected by the full membership present.

Mike then introduced Bruce Donahue, who has been a member of the club for 50 years and attended 57 consecutive Red Sox opening days.

There was a very special guest in attendance as well – the 2018 World Championship Trophy – and all present had the opportunity to have their photograph taken with the trophy.

Dave O'Brien then took over as MC for the luncheon.  He has been a voice of the Red Sox since the year 2007. He observed that everyone believed the 2018 team had great potential and noted that right from the early days of spring training, the team began to become "a team in every sense of the word." It was an "unusually special group of guys" who quickly began to build the quiet self-confidence that characterized the 2018 ballclub.  It was a team for which, over the course of the season and all the way through the playoffs, so many different guys stepped up to play their role.

Dave then introduced Keith Foulke. He mentioned the current debate as to which team might have been the better team, the 2004 Red Sox or the 2018 Red Sox, but said that – no matter what – "all I know is the Red 2004 Red Sox don't do it without Keith Foulke."

Dave said that Game Three of this year's World Series – the one that lasted 7 hours, and 20 minutes, and 18 innings, and saw the Red Sox lose – might have crushed any other team. Keith said that he looked at it the same way many of the players did – it took the Dodgers 18 innings and the best they had to beat the Red Sox. He praised David Price for saying, "Put it on me" to win another game for them. Keith added how nice to was to see Chris Sale not only throw the first pitch of the Red Sox season but also the last (he struck out the side in the bottom of the ninth to win the final game of World Series.)

Having watched this year's win as a fan, Keith said it is way easier to be a player than to be fan watching the games. As a player, you're doing what you've been trained to do and so you just do it. He talked about how he felt about catching the last ball hit in the 2004 World Series ("stabbed by Foulke..."), and then throwing to first base to record the final out that won the Red Sox their first world championship in 86 years.

Dave then said how over the course of his career in broadcasting, doing baseball and basketball and working at many levels over the years, "I've never worked with an analyst as good as Jerry Remy." He talked about learning that Remy had been diagnosed with cancer during the season and how badly everyone felt, but then how good everyone felt when we all learned on Friday that he was cancer-free once more. Another standing ovation followed.  Jerry held in his emotions but was visibly moved, talking about how much it meant to him and his wife Phoebe that so many cards and good wishes had been sent their way.

Talking about the 2018 team, he thought way back to when he was growing up in Massachusetts and a member of the Red Sox: "We never had any idea what the trophy LOOKED like!" It is a credit not just to the players but to the entire Red Sox organization, he said. He also said he will never, ever forget how much it meant to him when back in 2004 the players from that team said that they had won it for all the players who had come before, and given their all, but who hadn't won it.

Then he showed some partisanship, after joking that he might get in a little trouble for his remarks. He said, to the current Red Sox team, "You beat the s--- out of the Yankees." He mentioned the story of Aaron Judge, after the Yankees managed to win one game – "one game" – playing Sinatra's "New York, New York" outside the Red Sox clubhouse.

Then he launched into an anti-Dodgers diatribe, more or less saying how glad he was to see the Red Sox beat the Dodgers, never having forgotten how arrogant he felt they had been back in the days when he had been on the Angels, manager Tommy Lasorda talking about "the Triple-A team down the street" that were the Angels  From that point on, he said, he wanted the Dodgers to lose every game they ever played.

Incoming club president Jim Parker then accepted a captain's cap from Mike Vining and formally took over as club president. After a few remarks, including the hope that the 2019 Red Sox would repeat as world champions, he turned the meeting over to Rick Leco to run the raffle, sending many club members home with other mementoes from the luncheon.

--Bill Nowlin

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