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Sunday, March 16, 2008

A Visit Down Memory Lane. Part Deux

Due to the fact Ciera is grounded until NEXT Sunday, Rakes has rattled my nerves so bad I resemble one of those bobble heads you see on somebodies dashboard, and I had to threaten Trot with severe corporal punishment just to get him down for a nap, I need a diversion.

So tonight I decided to post about another one of my favorite ex-Sox players.

Spaceman Bill Lee.

If you don't know his story, this guy makes Manny look normal. He played for the Red Sox from '69-'78, and the phrase "he was a character" doesn't do him justice. He may well have been the first hippie in MLB, and he was a quote machine for the media.

From talking about sprinkling pot on his cereal to calling former manager Don Zimmer "The Gerbil" Lee was, well, entertaining. Zimmer HATED Lee, and even though he was a Yankee killer, Zimmer stuck him in the bullpen in 1978. The rest is history, and if you don't know what 1978 means to a Red Sox fan? Bucky Freaking Dent is what it means.

Upon being traded to the Expos following that season, Lee said this: "Who wants to be with a team that will go down in history alongside the ‘64 Phillies and the ‘67 Arabs?" A pawn of the man he wasn't.

For all his kookiness, the man could pitch. He specialized in the Eephus pitch, alongside various other junk pitches; Nolan Ryan had nothing to worry about. If you don't know what an Eephus pitch is, go down to the local softball field this spring and watch a game. THAT is an Eephus pitch. Can you imagine the marbles it took to throw that thing to Reggie Jackson? It's sort of like watching Wake throw the knuckle ball; it looks like you should be able to hit the Mass Pike with it, but you just end up looking silly in the end.

However, the biggest reason I'm a Bill Lee fan? He HATED the Yankees. Still does. For years he blamed Graig Nettles for ruining his shoulder during a Sox/Yankees brawl, and if you ask him today what he thinks about them, get ready for an expletive filled rant at anything and anybody in Pinstripes.

The guy oughta have a statue out on Landsdowne Street.

As recently as 2007, he was playing the topic of yesterdays post, Oil Can Boyd, and a team of former major leaguers in a barnstorming tour where they honored the playing style and heritage of the Negro Leagues.

Still fighting the man at the age of 61.

God Bless, Spaceman.

19 comments:

Tex said...

now see. Thats the Older Man who I would marry. all the older men I meet just wanna do nothing.

Could you imagine Beckett and Bill chewing the fat?

Ted D said...

Lord, Tex.

Beckett and Lee?

It boggles the mind, though I'm gonna go out on a limb and say the two of them could polish a 12 pack off in about 4 minutes, give or take 30 seconds.

Tex said...

i was thinking more of a keg or two....actually I think Beckett would have the keg to himself. Lee would bring his own stash, if ya know what i mean :)

Ted D said...

Yeah, I imagine "Spaceman" would bring his own.

I've always heard that Steve Millers "Space Cowboy" was written about Bill Lee, but I've never found out if it's true or not.

Tex said...

would seem appropriate. im heading north again in the morning. ill be back tuesday afternoon...then driving towards houston on wednesday...and then to orange on friday.

i do not know how i am handling this

Ted D said...

I don't know how you are either, Tex.

Just keep your eye on the prize: Tedapalooza!

Travel safe.

Edge of Design said...

Oh no! What did she do that she's grounded?

Ted D said...

Edge,

Lying to her Mom, not cleaning her room, and general surliness.

Pick one of the three and you get bingo.

Tree Newt said...

Jr., I may be an idiot, but did that cat really join the space program?

Ted D said...

No, Oat Meal.

His nickname was "Spaceman" Bill Lee.

It's a funny.

I'm getting worried about you. ;)

Tree Newt said...

You'll have to forgive me, as I haven't yet read every book ever written about every Red Sox player from every year.

And in my defense, I was giving him the benefit of the doubt. Who's to say a pot smoking hippie couldn't go to the moon. I figured that might be a pre-requisite to do that now, in light of the problems with our space program!

Redbeard76 said...

Also now a Vermonter. Has a farm in a small town in basically the middle of nowhere - Craftsbury, VT. I took a road trip up there one time - in front of the village common were some old-fashioned looking people selling goose eggs and the biggest bulbous green onions you've ever seen. That's about all I remember about it, it was about 7 years ago, but very pretty country. God's country as they say.

Ted D said...

Newt, you make valid points. And on the flip side, I'm sure you've got some knowledge of some obscure Swedish hockey player that changed the face of the game that I have no clue who he is.

Stephen, the documentary NESN showed on Lee a year or two ago showed him on that farm, randomly shooting stuff and talking about random subjects.

It did look like beautiful country.

~**Dawn**~ said...

Do you have any idea how lucky I find myself that I was under the age of two & thus too young to actually remember Bucky Dent? I mean, I know the history but I cannot actually *remember* it.

Ted D said...

Are you implying that I'm old? ;)

~**Dawn**~ said...

Nope. Just saying that I have no memories until I was four years old. And I am grateful for that in this case.

Ted D said...

Well, I AM old. At least I feel old. And yeah, it's good you don't remember.

Off to Rakes' soccer game.

Hopefully, video later.

beckperson said...

Now you've found MY FAVORITE Red Sox! Most excellent post, my man!

And don't forget: Austinpaloooooza comes before Tedapalooooooza. And I will take good care of Tex, believe me!

Ted D said...

Glad I picked the right guy, Becks. And why am I not surprised Spaceman is your favorite.

Yeah, I forgot about Austinpalooza; you guys will have a blast!