It’s Been 37 Years Since Bucky Dent Became Bucky Bleepin’ Dent
Exactly 37 years ago today, Bucky Dent sucked all the air out of Fenway Park.
On October 2, 1978, the New York Yankees faced the Red Sox—both with 99 wins apiece—in a one-game extension to the regular season to determine the winner of the AL East. After six innings, the Sox had a 2-0 lead on their rival, thanks to a homer from Carl Yastrzemski and an RBI single from Jim Rice. Sox pitcher Ron Guidry managed to hold the Yanks to two hits.
In the top of the seventh, Dent—a bottom-of-the-order shortstop whose strengths lay on the defensive side of the ball—stepped to the plate. After fouling a pitch off his foot, Dent stepped outside the batter’s box to regroup. Upon returning with a new bat, he smacked a dinger off Guidry, sailing over the Green Monster. The four-run home-run, Dent’s fifth all season, gave New York the lead, which they would not relinquish with “Goose” Gossage” providing relief.
No team since the ’78 Yankees have won a tiebreaker on their way to a World Series title. Meanwhile, another promising Sox season was cut short. Dent, later named the World Series MVP, cemented his spot on the pantheon of Boston’s greatest villains.
“Oh, I love it,” he told the Broward Palm Beach New Times in 2011. “The Red Sox people, they joke around to me, and Yankees fans, they say, ‘I was here,’ ‘I was there,’ because they remember right where they were when it happened.”
As pro-sports logo designer (and a fabulous writer on the subject) Todd Random notes on Twitter, the trauma of the one-game playoff might have changed the look of the Sox forever.
@darrenrovell Also last game for Red Sox' red caps, pullovers, & beltless pants. Cause & effect?
— Todd Radom (@ToddRadom) October 2, 2015