Category Archives: Red Sox

Throwback ‘Stache of the Day: Dennis Lamp

Dennis Lamp 'stache

Dennis Lamp came to Boston as a 35-year-old starter-turned-reliever on the back 9 of his career. Nevertheless, Lamp was an effective option out of the bullpen for the Red Sox during his four-year tenure from 1988-1991, posting a 3.76 ERA over close to 400 innings. Most relievers today would need five or six healthy years to reach that total due to the increasing specialization that goes into building a relief corps.

What’s more, it is of course common knowledge that Lamp had the undisputed manliest, ruggedest ‘stache of any right-handed former Red Sox reliever named Dennis in league history. Thus, he was a shoe-in to make this list.

Here Lamp is hamming it up in spring training with Roger Clemens and a few other Sox pitchers.

Throwback ‘Stache of the Day: Mikey Greenwell

Mike Greenwell mustache

Moving along in Fenway Pastoral’s periodic, not quite daily, but definitely every other day or probably at least twice weekly tribute to Movember, today’s throwback Red Sox entrant is Mike “The Gator” Greenwell.

Greenwell played his entire career in Boston, spanning from 1985 until 1996. Looking back at Greenwell’s career totals is underwhelming and does no justice to just how high expectations for him were back in the day. At age 24, he came in second place in 1988 in AL MVP voting to Jose Canseco. (Greenwell has been understandably vocal about his view that Canseco should be stripped of his award in light of the myriad revelations regarding Jose’s steroid-propelled career that have come out over the past decade.)

Back when the photos provided in this column were taken, Greenwell was keeping his ‘stache close and tight. After all, the unencumbered flamboyance of the 1980s were transitioning into the calculatedly cool 1990s (Hammer Time, baby!) and Greenwell was so far doing the Fenway left-field lineage proud. There was no reason to rock the boat too much. He figured to be the bridge to the Millennium, ably receiving the same left-fielder torch passed on from Ted Williams to Carl Yastrzemski in 1960 and, later on, from Yaz to Jim Rice.

Rice, Yaz, Greenwell
It was a lot of pressure and a very large helping of unfair expectation to be heaped on anybody. Not surprisingly, Greenwell’s tenure marked the end of Boston’s eventual streak of successive Hall of Fame left fielders at three. Getting on base was never Greenwell’s problem – he had a career OBP of .368 – but staying healthy and on the field turned out to be a challenge and Mike retired from the major leagues at the age of 32.

Throwback ‘Stache of the Day: Tony Pena (with a special cameo from Joe Morgan)

Tony Pena and Joe Morgan 1990

Like many pro ballplayers who played in the ’80s, catcher Tony Pena had a respectable mustache. But let’s not beat around the bush – Pena makes it onto our list because any excuse is a good excuse to put up this incredible picture from the Boston Globe of Tony celebrating the 1990 AL East title with manager Joe Morgan.

Pena came to Boston when he was 33 years old after spending his entire career in the National League. He was known primarily for his defense behind the plate, his game-calling and management, and (mostly) the way he would stick one leg out straight out to the side to gain leverage in his catcher’s crouch.

T Pena

As a Red Sox, he hit at the bottom of the lineup, where he posted some pretty ugly OPS figures ranging from 18% below league average in 1990 to 62% below average in 1993 – his last season as a semi-regular in a major league lineup. He retired in 1997 and spent four years managing some terrible Kansas City Royals teams. Since 2009, he’s been the bench coach for the Yankees, although at no point during his tenure in New York has he been in the presence of the coolness exuded by former Sox manager Joe Morgan in the picture above.

Movember Throwback ‘Stache of the Day: Rich ‘El Guapo’ Garces

Rich Garces mustache

During the month of November, Fenway Pastoral will pay tribute to some of the most dignified and dapper mustaches to ever grace the faces of Boston Red Sox players throughout the team’s history.

Our first entry for Week 2 is lovable right-handed reliever Rich Garces aka El Guapo. For those who began growing Movember ‘staches at the start of the month, there should at the very least at this juncture be a thickness that matches early career Guapo. If not, it’s probably time to shave and try again next year.

Garces played for the Red Sox from 1996-2002 and also re-signed with the team in 2005, but did not pitch in any big league games that year. The Venezuelan was a fan favorite on the Pedro/Nomar-era teams of the late-1990s. However, over the course of his Sox career, he totaled just over 3.0 WAR. He was mainly a fastball/curveball thrower, but with an often mediocre fastball, hitters sitting on the pitch hit many balls an awful long way in some pivotal points of games.

While Guapo’s stuff was never truly ‘electric,’ his personality was, and mound presence always fired up the crowds at Fenway when he was summoned from the bullpen in the late innings. The sum was indeed greater than the parts and, well, perhaps there’s a lesson in that for those out there who have yet to see their mustaches make any meaningful connection with the rest of the face. It’s just hanging out there, exposed for the world to see and laugh at. But all the while, there’s a genuine affection that’s laced with just the right amount of irony.

The Youker Files: Hanging ‘Em Up for Good

youker

Written exclusively for Fenway Pastoral by former Red Sox third baseman Kevin Youkilis.

Retirement.

Gosh, this is a lot more emotional than I thought it would be. I feel almost sick to my stomach. Disgusted.

I’ve torn the velcro from my hulkish, oversized elbow guard for the last time. Thrown my helmet in utter disgust across a crowded dugout full of people for the last time. Ripped open my last bag of sunflower seeds. Defaced my last dugout lineup card that doesn’t have me hitting cleanup with crudely drawn dicks and middle fingers. Spat out my last juicy mouthful of chaw.

Well, OK. In the major leagues, that is…I’m still lifting and doing bench presses and stuff so that I can join one of those small town over-40 softball leagues and show everybody what a home run really looks like; yeah, I know I’m not 40 years old yet but close enough and last I checked some rinky dink town ain’t gonna be asking for a birth certificate or a printout of my baseball ref page.

I’m sure a lot of reporters are going to be calling me about my thoughts on potentially one day being inducted into the Red Sox Hall of Fame. I’m not the one to make the decision but it’s probably the right thing to do since most of the fanbase really started to appreciate the art of drawing walks for the first time because of me. I was the first third baseman who made getting on base “cool” in this town. I doubt most Bostonians would disagree.

Some may point to my relatively quick fall from grace as evidence of the cruel realities of baseball’s aging curve. But what I think most people may not know is that I was basically a man-child at a young age. Not trying to brag here. But; I gotta say it: I was really mature as a youngster and well sorry if it makes you guys a bit uncomfortable but puberty rolled through me early and by the time I was in junior high, I was just dominating these noodly armed prepubescent pitchers I went up against in local baseball leagues. Those years count in my book, and I remember them well and fondly. Wouldn’t trade them for anything.

Point is, yeah, I only hit 150 homers in the big leagues, but if you add on all those dingers from my Babe Ruth and high school years? I’ve gotta think I’m well over 500. Conservatively. Ask anybody who was paying attention to the metropolitan Cincinnati youth baseball space back in the mid-1990s. I was something to be reckoned with.

A lot of my fans have been asking me why I didn’t continue my quest to go for 500 dongs as a professional the old-fashioned way – as a late-career refugee over in Japan. Rest assured, I would have probably done that if I chose to stay over there long enough, but the whole culture in Rakuten is different from the U.S. They weren’t bowing down to me or asking for pointers on how to glide your right hand up and down the handle of the bat as a timing mechanism the way I assumed they would. They really just seemed to view me as a novelty of sorts and I didn’t like it. I felt cheap and used.

Honestly, it felt like I came from some other area of the world or something. I tried to relate, I really did. Thought I was starting to endear myself. When I told people I was married to Tom Brady’s sister and that I did yoga, they rolled their eyes and exchanged knowing glances with each other. Humiliating. Worse, when I didn’t immediately put up the numbers I did back when I was a teenager full of piss and vinegar, they turned their backs on me like an old, damaged dog from the junkyard doghound outhouse. It sucked.

So anyway, the question now is what the hell am I going to do with myself with all this free time? Well, I’m sure MLB Network and Fox Sports and all those TV channels are going to come calling. I’ll weigh those offers pretty earnestly but I’ve always believed once you start appearing in movies (Milk Money, Oscar-nominated Moneyball, Oscar-snubbed piece of  cinéma vérité Cowboy Up: The Story of the 2003 Boston Red Sox), you can’t go back to TV. It’s just not a viable career move. I think, though, a cameo here or there in which I come out on stage and put Gabe Kapler in a headlock might not completely obliterate my rep or anything like that.

As you probably guessed, I’ve also got a few book ideas in the pipeline. Tell-alls, autobiogs, retrospectives, science fiction spaceship adventure dramas. A chilling recount of love bitterly deferred, based on a true story from one fateful night that ended in the parking lot of a Little Caesar’s during a road trip when I was in the minor leagues.

Apps? Yup, got a few logs burning on the fire of that front as well. A WWKYD thingy; a tell-all retrospective science fiction spaceship adventure drama game. An Apple iPhone Maps program that tells you where the nearest Little Caesar’s is. Things like that.

Lawsuits: Sadly, yes, I’m working on a few of those. Chiefly, this article published online by The Onion in 2012, “Kevin Youkilis Takes Out Full-Page Ad in ‘Juggs’ to Thank All the Trim in Boston.” Yeah, I don’t really know where the hell that came from, but it’s completely false and made up. I keep having to tell people, including my wife, that I’ve never even seen the magazine Juggs. Don’t know what it’s even all about. So in light of those facts, tell me how the heck would I have come to pay for an ad in a magazine devoted to large-breasted women (I’m guessing that’s what it is…sounds pretty suggestive doesn’t it?).

I’ve also decided to officially go after Terry Francona for defamation. As I’ve told you guys before, I was none too pleased when he decided to tell reporters I have a small penis. Supposedly he was just joking, but sometimes it seems like that’s all anybody who I come across on a busy city street seems to want to remember. It’s very embarrassing (also not true you guys my penis is a normal length and hopefully I don’t have to prove myself in front of an entire court of law or anything but if that’s what it comes down to so be it).

Lastly, I’m most definitely going after Rick Porcello because he tried to hold me down and kiss my mouth after throwing at me during an at-bat back in 2009. I think if he just publicly apologizes and acknowledges that was a pretty weird thing to do in the middle of a brawl, maybe I’ll let that one slide. I don’t want to be one of those litigious types.

Youkilis v Porcello

But anyway. A lot of people say that when one door closes, it slams into your bare foot and you stub your toe really hard and it hurts like nothing else in the world and you hop around in sheer agony. But, once it’s over, there’s another door that opens up in its place and, even though you’re fairly sure you’ll somehow stub that same throbbing toe again going through it, that door represents opportunity. And obviously (once your toe feels better) you walk on through it.

What I’m trying to say is I’ve gotta stop wasting my life drawing 10-pitch walks and grinding down pitchers, working up pitch counts. Fighting off pitch after pitch after pitch. Laying off any and every pitch that may look enticing but is, in fact, out of the strike zone. Making bitter beer faces at umps when they call a strike on some borderline pitch and not so successfully holding in farts when I step out of the batter’s box during particularly long ABs. At the end of it all, I can’t keep taking those high and tight pitches that end up running up on the ribs or off armpit…all in the name of furthering the win probability of some baseball team.

As iconic hero Walter White said in Breaking Bad, ‘I’ve still got things left to do.‘ With that, I’m hanging ‘em up. And, well, nobody better get in my way…

Youkilis v Posada

Movember Throwback ‘Stache of the Day: Jody Reed

Jody Reed 'stach

During the month of November, Fenway Pastoral will pay tribute to some of the most dignified and dapper mustaches to ever grace the faces of Boston Red Sox players throughout the team’s history.

The fourth entry in the series is fairly obvious, but nonetheless essential for this list: infielder Jody Reed. Reed played for Boston from 1987 to 1992, during which time he spanked 180 doubles and 17 home runs in 3,067 plate appearances. Reed was eventually drafted by the Colorado Rockies in the 1992 expansion team draft, but he was immediately traded to the Los Angeles Dodgers for Rudy Seanez (remember him?).

During his playing days, Reed was listed in media guides at 5’9″, 170 lbs. – much of which was packed into the dense thicket of brush he cultivated beneath his nose. Disappointingly, present day Jody Reed appears with a naked upper lip for his work on InsideBaseball.com. In this video, he explains the dangers of the “middle hop” grounder to a player’s fielding percentage. Unlike most of the Movember participants you may see roaming the streets at this juncture, Reed somehow manages to look creepier without a ‘stache than with.

Jody Reed cleanshave

Movember Throwback ‘Stache of the Day: Steve Crawford

Steve Crawford

Welcome to Movember, brahs. As part of a recurring feature over the next four weeks, Fenway Pastoral will remember some of the most dignified and dapper mustaches to ever grace the faces of Boston Red Sox players throughout the team’s history.

Our Day 2 entry is former Red Sox bullpen arm Steve Crawford, who pitched for the team from 1980-1987 and earned victories in both the 1986 ALCS against the California Angels (The Henderson Home Run game) and in the ’86 Series against the Mets.

Unlike yesterday’s entry, nice guy Tom Brunansky, this Oklahoma native’s downward facing ‘stache gave him a decidedly less friendly look. That extracurricular, southward turn around the corners of the mouth are by design. They afford an otherwise friendly looking right-handed reliever a certain look of intimidation.

Back when Crawford first broke into the major leagues, players – particularly hard-throwing relievers – might as well have been issued this style of ‘stache along with their hats and jerseys in spring training. So while the ‘stache Crawford sported may have seemed like a rebellious expression of badassery, it was actually about as conformist as they came in the early ’80s. Grow your own Steve Crawford if you’re feeling especially docile, or if you’re in the mood for vulturing a win in one of the most famous games in ALCS history.