I’d like to kick off the new year by introducing you to my new favorite obsessions: The Red Sox’ 1966 and 1967 yearbooks. My dad unearthed these puppies a couple weeks ago in the Bat Cave-like basement under my parents’ house, and I don’t think I’ve put them down since.
Compared to the slick, ESPN-ified yearbooks that get churned out today, well… these really don’t compare. The ’66 edition boasts a mere 50 pages [roughly the size of the intro section to the 2005 yearbook] and production values only slightly higher than a high school newspaper. But they do harken back to — dare I say it? — a simpler time, when “performance enhancing agents” meant “Ovaltine” or “Jim Beam” and no one had ever heard of Scott Boras or Chris Berman or The Donruss Platinum Collection with souvenir Barry Bonds pencil shavings. Today’s products go out of their way to remind us just how different these demi-gods who play the game are from you and me. Back then, at least it seems from thumbing through these pages, there was almost a conscious effort to depict the players as the sorta fellas you might run into at Dairy Queen after the game.
Folks, I won’t lie to you; I wasn’t even born when either of these books was published, so I’m not gonna cue the Bobby Vinton, put on a straw hat and start talking wistfully of days gone by. Let me just say that the photos in these yearbooks — and, in particular, the advertisments — are something to behold. And I figgered I’d share a few of my favorites here:
If this photo was taken today, both players would be up on charges. And Oprah would somehow get involved.
I’m not really sure who Kolonel Keds is — some sci-fi character? A mascot for Keds shoes? — but I’ve always felt this game got a little less interesting after the jetpack ban of ’74.
This is the sort of photo that makes me wish I had a time machine so that I could go back to 1966 and get the job to write the photo captions for this yearbook. Because I’ve got a great one in mind for this one. Controversial, but great.
I’ve always felt that a party just isn’t a party until Crazy Guggenheim shows up.
Carl Yastrzemski has a posse. But you knew this.
Next time: Some of the ads. But until then, here’s to your health and happiness in the new year. We appreciate your patronage and hope you’ll stick around for some of the interesting things we’ve got planned for 2006.