For a Sox fan in the late ’90s, there weren’t a lot of joyful postseason memories to cling to, at least any that took place in an era in which men weren’t required by law to wear stovepipe hats. We were still living off the fumes of our comeback in the 1986 ALCS, wondering if we’d ever again get so much as a sniff of some World Series action in our lifetimes, especially after a couple of ugly October meltdowns against the likes of the A’s and Indians in 1988, 1990 and 1995.
Then 1999 changed everything. We were dead–dead I say–against Clevelend in the ALDS, but then we pulled victory from our collective arses thanks to Ireland’s favorite son, Troy O’Leary, and Pedro Martinez. Then we had a date with the Yankees in the ALCS, with the winner going to the Series.
Turns out that for Sox fans, the 1999 ALCS would be a rather lopsided and maddeningly forgettable affair. Except for game three, when the prodigal son Roger Clemens returned to Fenway, squaring off against Petey. In the first inning, when the Rocket took the hill, the crowd was out for blood, launching the now-infamous “Ro-ger” chant (which would become “Where is Roger/In the shower” a few innings later). And very quickly, Clemens found himself on the business end of a 2 run deficit, thanks to an Offerman triple and an over-the-Monster blast from Johnny V himself, as the crowd worked itself into a frenzy not unlike the crowd in the scene where Snake Plissken fights Ox Baker in Escape from New York.
You can relive those fateful at bats in the video clip below, which might be a tad on the long side, but it’s just the recipe for shaking off the February chill.
Also, check the dude in the front row in the right field seats (lefthand corner of the screen as the ball drops) who busts with the Hulkamania pose as Paul O’Neill scrambles for Offerman’s triple. That guy understands.