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June 14, 2013

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Page16 POST-GAZETTE, JUNE 14, 2013 . . , . . . . . V by Sal Giarratani Clay Buchholz is that Good Recently, Dan Shaugh- nessy in the Boston Globe said that Buchholz is so good, you have to go back to Roger Clemens in 1986 when the Rocket won his first 14 decisions and won both the Cy Young and MVP awards that season. Dice-K won his first 8 decisions in 2008, but he was one of the luckiest pitchers in Red Sox Nation ever. We just weren't so lucky with him. Did you know that Pedro Martinez's ERA was 1.44 after his first 11 starts in 2001? I am an old Red Sox fan and I remember lefty Sonny Siebert who started the 1971 season 8-0 with a 1.62 ERA through 10 starts. Buchhotz is 8-0 with a 1.62 ERA through his first 11 starts People forget that back in 2007 at the age of 23, he pitched a no-hitter in his second Major League appearance. He only went 2-9 in 15 starts in 2008. He spent a good part of 2009 down on the farm with the PawSox but emerged as a 17 game winner and All-Star in 2010. The last two sea- sons, he has been prone to injuries but this year, he seems to be going full steam ahead. Hopefully, as the season progresses, Clay will con- tinue to show his stuff. Hopefully, this could be his Rocket-like season. We shall see. New Mantle and Maris Book There's a new book out about Mickey Mantle and Roger Marls. If you are a baby boomer like me, I remember back to those days when I was a young baseball fan and everyone loved Mickey Mantle and watched the box scores every day back in 1961 to see if Mantle or Marls would break Babe Ruth's homerun record. Most of America was rooting for Mantle as the Big Yankees slugger of 50 years ago. I will get back to you when I finish it. Francona Book My nephew George gave me his copy of "Francona" to read. He is a big Red Sox fan and thought I would appreciate it. I don't know though. It isn't an easy book to settle down with. Perhaps, Terry Francona should have waited a bit longer before doing it. Great Babe Story from Ed Shallow Recently, my long time friend and writer Eddie Shallow from Dorchester sent me a clipping from the April issue of "America in WWII." In it was a great short story about Babe Ruth's last ever home run. The story was written by Carl Zebrowski and the commen- tary is called appropriately "Babe's Last Blast." Try and find this maga- zine either at the library (Do people still use libraries today?) or on the world wide web (Much easier). Keep Iglesias Here in Boston I haven't see a young player with this much con- fidence on the Red Sox in almost 50 years. He reminds me of Tony C in 1964. He is a third baseman filling in for an injured player who is coming back. What to do with Jose Iglesias? What not to do is send him down Route 95 to the PawSox. Keep him here in Boston. We need a player like him on this team. He has the energy to spark this club when necessary. Jose Iglesias was signed as a shortstop, but he was switched to third base to replace the ailing Will Middlebrooks this season. He was known for his defense but recently he has become an offensive threat at bat too. When asked about his good hitting, he re- sponded, "No idea, I just see the ball, hit it and play the game." Sounds like a cross between Tony Conigliaro and Ted Williams to this old boomer. NEAA T-B, I Pro ram Here are some great photos of the NEAA T-Ball Program for five year olds. There are 40 players this year. The program is being run by Pat McMahon, Jim Carey and Bill Musto. They are doing a fabulous job with the program and the children. Everyone is really enjoying it. They play at Langone Park on Sundays between 10:00 am and 11:15 am. The Boston Red Sox Rookie League Program is a sponsor and provides Hats, and Shirts for each player. HOOPS and HOCKEY in the HUB by Richard Preiss They were two of the great- est players in hockey history. And they performed on Cause- way Street as beloved mem- bers of the Bruins. Their careers overlapped. It was a time frame that defined an era in this community. It was the era of Bobby Orr and Phil Esposito in Boston. A time of two Stanley Cups sandwiched around a non- championship year and a time in the spring when everything in Boston was Bruin. Just like today. But, but ... there was an- other aspect of these two men and their careers. For while they are best remembered as members of the Bruins they also played for ... Chicago. And thus there is a con- nection between these two Bostonians and the Windy City to the West. The Bruins, of course, had Bobby Orr for not only the bulk of his career but also the best years of his offensive and defensive capabilities. You might say that Bobby Orr was destined to play hockey -- and play it well. But it was the way he played it -- as a defenseman with quick- ness in his skating, com- bined with significant point production during his scoring opportunities as well as his ability to make plays happen -- that set him apart from the rest. Coming out of Canadian juniors, where he had been an all-star selection in three of his four seasons, Orr promptly made the jump in 1966 to the parent club -- the Bruins -- a team that had not won the Stanley Cup since 1941. All that would change over the next decade as the Prince from Parry Sound would lead the B's to two Stanley Cup Championships (1970 and 1972) and a third appearance (1974) in the Stanley Cup Final. Just how powerful were the Bruins during that era? During the 1970-1971 regu- lar season the B's had four players -- not just one but four (Orr, Phil Esposito, Johnny Bucyk and Ken Hodge) -- who scored over 100 points that year. Amazing. And that was on a team that did not win the Cup (upset by Montreal in the first round). Of course, Orr's Stanley Cup winning goal in the 1970 playoffs is immortalized in photography and in sculp- ture (the statue outside the present day Garden). But Orr also scored the championship clinching goal in the 1972 playoffs against the Rangers. However, what started on an upswing ended on a down- side. Injuries, surgeries and contract negotiations com- bined in an unpleasant mix and took their toll. In June 1976, Bobby signed with Chicago as a free agent and it was off to the Windy City for Robert Gordon Orr. The move did not go down well with Bruins ownership and mem- bers of Bruins Nation. It was a five-year contract that turned into a two years plus record of spotty appear- ances. Surgeries continued and missed games prolifer- ated. Bobby Orr, so closely identified with Boston, played the final six hockey games of his career during the opening month of the 1978- 1979 season while wearing a Blackhawks uniform. He scored his last NHL goal while playing against the Red Wings on October 28, 1978 at Detroit's Olympia Stadium. Given Orr's close identity with the Bruins, it's hard to believe that he actually spent over two years affiliated with the Blackhawks. But he did. Still beloved in Beantown, he now has an agency that represents over 30 NHL play- ers. Plus, he comes to games on occasion. He was on hand for the Eastern Conference clincher against Pittsburgh. And what of Orr's teammate Phil Esposito? Espo signed with the Black- hawks organization as a teen. For one Canadian Jun- ior B team he had 108 points in just 32 regular season games. He had 12 points in just one of the playoff games that followed! Eventu- ally, he spent two years with Chicago's minor league affiliate (the St. Louis Braves) where he amassed 180 points in one and a half seasons. Espo was the real deal. He was called up to Chicago in 1964 and found himself cen- tering for NHL star Bobby Hull. But his big break came when he was traded (along with Ken Hodge and Fred Stanfield) to the Bruins in 1967. It was in the Hub that he blossomed, much like Cam Neely would years later. Espo had six 100-point seasons and led the NHL in goals scored six times. He also be- came the first player to go over the 150 point mark in a season (1970-71). Like many players, Espo did not want to see his playing time decrease as the years went on. So he was traded to the Rangers where he became the team's captain, leading New York to the Stanley Cup Final in 1979 at age 37. He retired in 1981. He then worked as the GM of the Rangers in the mid 1980s, before moving on to become a co-founder of the Tampa Bay Lightning. He served as that organization's president and general man- ager from 1992 to 1998. Cur- rently, he is the color com- mentator on Lightning radio broadcasts and also hosts a daily show on satellite radio. Finally, where are you Stan Mikita? The former Chicago star, who played his entire NHL career (1958-1980) with the Blackhawks, is now a good will ambassador for the team. A tough customer who amassed a pile of penalty minutes early on, he later reformed himself in order to please his young daughter and won the Lady Byng Tro- phy (for gentlemanly play). Bruins-Blackhawks. Origi- nal Six teams. Stanley Cup Final. A great way to conclude the season. t I L ! !