Before the Sox started winning World Series, us fans clung tenaciously to whatever triumphs we were afforded: Pedro kicking Yankee arse in one game of the 1999 ALCS, a vitamin B-fueled Clemens striking out 20 Mariners, Mo Vaughn not being caught with a car full of strippers and cocaine and tactical nuclear devices, what have you.
One such gem was Hideo Nomo tossing a no-hitter in his 2001 Red Sox debut, made more remarkable by a stunning, how-the -hell-did-he-get-that? snag by Mike Lansing that kept the no-no alive with one out in the ninth. You can see that catch — which won Lansing a spot on Nomo’s Christmas card list for life — in the video below. A video I never tire of pimping.
Ironically, Lansing was filling in at second for the injured Chris Stynes, part of a revolving door of second basemen around that time, which included the elfin Craig Grebeck (on loan from a touring production of The Lord of the Rings), Rey Sanchez and the inimitable Todd Walker.
BTW, this game was not only Nomo’s first start for the Sox, it was Don Orsillo’s first night behind the mic for a Sox game on NESN. Auspicious beginnings all around, even if Lansing now runs a Chick-Fil-A in Nashville (I’m guessing).