The Red Sox just elected eight former players to the team Hall of Fame, including Mike Greenwell, Bill Lee (whom I once played shortstop behind on the Fenway diamond–true story) and Mo Vaughn.
Whenever I hear the name Mo Vaughn I think of two things. One is strippers. The other is the Fenway Opening Day game I attended back in 1998. The Sox were playing Seattle, with Brian Rose pitted against The Big Unit–the “dream match” as the guy who sold me the tickets called it.
The Sox couldn’t get a lot done against Johnson, and found themselves down 7-2 in the ninth. That’s when the Mariners’ bullpen imploded, with a parade of past-and-future Red Sox relievers, including Mike Timlin, Tony Fossas and Heathcliff Slocumb, giving up seven runs without recording a single out. Even worse, it was the likes of Mark Lemke, Mike Benjamin and Darren Bragg doing much of the damage.
The capper was a grand slam off Mo’s bat, a straightaway shot into the right field seats that sent every drunk left standing — most of the bleacher crowd had already dispatched to the Cask — into full-tilt revelry. For a while, at least until Game Three of the 2003 ALDS, it stood as the best damn game I’d ever attended. And whenever I hear Vaughn’s name, I think of it.
Oh and also that bit where he tripped over his own ass and broke his ankle in his first game with the Angels.