RIP John McNamara

Humphrey

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Sammy Stewart was never used throughout the entire playoffs. Here is the explanation per https://sabr.org/bioproj/person/sammy-stewart/
McNamara may not have cottoned to some of his clowning in the clubhouse, but Grossfeld says Stewart told him that he wound up in the doghouse due to a time the team bus pulled out and left him behind at Fenway Park. Stewart said he’d been visiting his son Colin in the hospital, but had arrived at the ballpark on time, thrown his bag on the bus, and was parking his car when the bus pulled out without waiting. He got into bitter arguments with traveling secretary Jack Rogers and with McNamara, and may have burned a bridge or two. During the World Series, Stewart said of McNamara, “He lay down on me and it cost us the World Series. I hated to see Al Nipper come out of the bullpen when I’ve never been scored on in the postseason and my arm was feeling good.” Less than three weeks later, hello Cleveland. He had prior postseason experience. He had a poor September, but to completely give up on him? Befuddling.
I've always heard that Stewart was banished because of this incident and I'm sure it played a role in what happened to him. Plus, as you've said, why have a guy on the roster you never use? Like the Zim not using Bill Lee the final month or so of 1978 (in favor of Bobby Sprowl, among others).

However, if you look at some numbers from that season, Stewart had and ERA of 1.91 on July 27. He ended up at 4.38.

In 16 outings from that point on, he gave up 2 or more runs in 10 of them. In two others, he gave up a run, none in the other 4 games. His WHIP for the year was 1.75, and clearly higher the second half of the season.

In the abstract, sure, I'd rather have had Stewart and a few other guys out there vis a vis Al Nipper, who I never liked very much.
 

jmcc5400

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Honestly, you look at the collection of arsonists in that bullpen (https://www.baseball-reference.com/teams/BOS/1986.shtml) with no one other than Schiralidi with a sub 1.50 WH/IP and it's little wonder that McNamara squeezed the life out of Schiraldi and a miracle they came as close as they did to winning it. I'm still stunned that Crawford wriggled out of the bases loaded jam in the bottom of the 9th of Game 5 in Anaheim facing DeCinces and Grich.
 

reggiecleveland

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Trust me; if you video taped it, disaster would have struck.

My Dad used to come to my Yawkey League games, one year during the playoffs, my uncle from Arizona wanted him to videotape some of the games for him to see, my Dad told him no, it would be a total jinx, I hit a monsterous home run at the field in East Boston by the airport, my uncle was pissed for a long time he never got to see it, my Dad told him if he filmed it, I would have struck out.

It's amazing how we were all conditioned when it came to baseball pre 2004.
Here is the recovery story. I am a high school hoops coach, and was even more "it's never over" than most coaches up 6 4 seconds left, with the ball. Nailbiting, etc. Even when I coached college nobody ever shook hands etc with me, until the buzzer. Up 40, don't tell coach we won, etc.

My kid doesn't play baseball because he chose hoops (I wanted baseball since 6'5 is huge on the diamond). I went back to coach high school with him. Playoff game this year all week I said we would win by putting he ball inside, each big needed 10 points, etc. A minute left up by 12 I said to my assistant who has known me for years,

"I was wrong."
"How?"
"I said we would win with our forwards, our guards hitting 13 3s (what actually happened) is how we won it."
"Game isn't over."
"Yeah it is, these guys can't score 14 more on us."
"We need to look after the ball, rebound.."
"Yeah, they know. I have 4 seniors out there. I have two timeouts, left"
"What happened to you?"
I didn't say it but I was thinking 04,07,13,18.
 

54thMA

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Here is the recovery story. I am a high school hoops coach, and was even more "it's never over" than most coaches up 6 4 seconds left, with the ball. Nailbiting, etc. Even when I coached college nobody ever shook hands etc with me, until the buzzer. Up 40, don't tell coach we won, etc.

My kid doesn't play baseball because he chose hoops (I wanted baseball since 6'5 is huge on the diamond). I went back to coach high school with him. Playoff game this year all week I said we would win by putting he ball inside, each big needed 10 points, etc. A minute left up by 12 I said to my assistant who has known me for years,

"I was wrong."
"How?"
"I said we would win with our forwards, our guards hitting 13 3s (what actually happened) is how we won it."
"Game isn't over."
"Yeah it is, these guys can't score 14 more on us."
"We need to look after the ball, rebound.."
"Yeah, they know. I have 4 seniors out there. I have two timeouts, left"
"What happened to you?"
I didn't say it but I was thinking 04,07,13,18.
It's amazing what 04 did to our collective mindset.

Then throw in 07 for good measure, down 3-1 to Cleveland, Beckett on the mound, he was nails, the rest is history.

I remember watching the Falcons Super Bowl with a group of friends and when they were down 28-3, I told one of my friends "Hey, if the Red Sox can break an 86 year old curse by coming back down 0-3 to the Yankees, anything is possible, right?"............he said "Yeah sure, but come on, this game is over"..........Yeah; no...................
 

jmcc5400

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The funny thing is for those of us in the right age range the Sox had given us three epic comebacks from the grave - '86 ALCS, '99 ALDS, '03 ALDS - only to set us up for more acute heartache in the following series. In '04, we all felt that familiar clench in our stomach when Pedro started getting knocked around in game 7 of the ALCS and none of us felt safe until "stabbed by Foulke." It was Pavlovian.
 

Red(s)HawksFan

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The funny thing is for those of us in the right age range the Sox had given us three epic comebacks from the grave - '86 ALCS, '99 ALDS, '03 ALDS - only to set us up for more acute heartache in the following series. In '04, we all felt that familiar clench in our stomach when Pedro started getting knocked around in game 7 of the ALCS and none of us felt safe until "stabbed by Foulke." It was Pavlovian.
Forget the Pedro appearance, that stomach clench was there when Pujols singled to lead off the ninth of Game 4 of the World Series.
 

Chad Finn

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Since we’re discussing oddball scenarios, here’s mine. I always thought Red Sox should have put 1986 International League MVP Pat Dodson, a smooth-fielding lefty first baseman, on the playoff roster. He got called up in September and played in 9 games, 7 as a defensive replacement at first base. Hit .412 in 15 ABs. McNamara chose experience over youth. He preferred Stapleton, and then kept Buckner in Game 6 for sentimental reasons. He wanted Billy Buck to be on the field when Boston clinched.
Dodson hit 27 HRs that year in Pawtucket, knocked in 102 runs.That was his big season. He got two more chances in Boston and failed them both. I rooted for him, which reporters are not supposed to do. Always wondered if he would have scooped up Mookie’s grounder.
Seconded on Dodson. He was smooth, even if he was a 27-year-old "Future Star" according to Topps.
 

JohnnyTheBone

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The funny thing is for those of us in the right age range the Sox had given us three epic comebacks from the grave - '86 ALCS, '99 ALDS, '03 ALDS - only to set us up for more acute heartache in the following series. In '04, we all felt that familiar clench in our stomach when Pedro started getting knocked around in game 7 of the ALCS and none of us felt safe until "stabbed by Foulke." It was Pavlovian.
Excellent post. I'm in that age range, and this sentiment was perfectly articulated. The Pedro appearance in Game 7 induced unnecessary angst.
 

LoweTek

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Meh, he was old school much like Zimmer. Held grudges and it cost BOS the World Series (IMO).

But RIP. He had a nice MLB management career. Although his stints with other teams follow a similar pattern - maybe have a winning season or two and then have it all fall apart and get fired. He did manage and mentor some fine players (including multiple Hall of Famers) in his minor league managing career. I give him credit for that. It was probably his best role.
 

reggiecleveland

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Not to rehash 86 too much, but it is unfathomable they did not have a platoon partner for Buckner. I mean how hard is a rh 1b that can hit league average vs LH to find?
 

jmcc5400

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I don't know why I do this to myself. Up 3-2 in the 8th, bases loaded and two outs. Now check out Buckner's, Baylor's and Orosco's splits. Jesus Christ.