Wednesday, July 31, 2013

The BOOMER!

I've read all the news articles and personal notes on the passing of George "The Boomer" Scott.  The man who called homeruns "taters" has gotten very little mention for the swing that once caused a storm in Hull, Massachusetts... 

It was July 2nd, 1975.  A day that went down in Helen Street history.  The venue was the English family summer home.  On the first floor was a TV perched in the corner.  3 boys sat transfixed, glued to the action.  Others came and went periodically, but for the most part, it was 3 cousins who never left the couch... 

The Boston Red Sox were battling the Milwaukee Brewers and Boston's pitcher, Rick Wise, was putting goose eggs on the scoreboard.  The first game of a doubleheader... no runs, no ---- (still can't say it), no errors... nothing but zeroes.  It was a surprising effort by the bespectacled right hander.  On the couch sat my cousin Tim, as big a Sox fan there ever was... from the 6th inning on, it was "he's going to do it!  he's going to do it!" Tim said over and over, 7th inning, still no -----, my brother Sonny agreed, "this is history!"... always the naysayer was me, who said after the 8th inning... "nah, the Boomer will break it up, the Boomer will hit one out of here!"... 

The Boomer, as you know by now, was one George Scott.  A former Sox player (and future one too, it turned out), George was a legend, even to younger Sox fans who'd never seen him play.  The legend about his bat, *Black Beauty*, and his golden first base mitt, strung together year after year with new laces, were known by all the hard core fans.  And of course, the shark teeth he wore around his neck, which he once joked to a reporter were "the teeth of a second baseman I took out during a slide..."  only added to his lore...  the Boomer had a great personality, beloved by fans and foes alike... he was truly larger than life.

Anyhow, back to Helen Street.  The living room hit a fever pitch as Wise retired the first two batters in the ninth... one out to go.  Only one roadblock remained... #15... yes, the BOOMER. "Here we go guys.. !" I shouted.  Tim was heard to say, "don't pitch to him, walk him!!"... but it was too late... I remember the Boomer looking real comfortable at the plate as he held *Black Beauty*... it wasn't a bad pitch from Wise, but there was no doubt -- as soon as the ball left the bat -- the BOOMER hit it a country mile, the no-hitter was no more, and I was about to feel the wrath of cousin Tim... 

I was in the middle of laughing and saying "told ya" when a hand quickly wrapped around my neck!  I ran from the room yelling "BOOMER" as Tim leapt over a chair in hot pursuit, cursing my name... I thought it was all in fun but Tim was angry...  the waves pounding the Hull Fire Station didn't come close to the storm from my cousin that day [think George Castanza: "the sea was angry that day"]... Tim chased me all around the house... it most likely ended with laughter, and I'm sure all three of us (ok, two of us) were pretty disappointed that Rick Wise didn't get his no-no... the memory still dials up that fateful day whenever a pitcher has a no-hitter going into the 9th...

Alas, the Boomer soon returned to Boston in exchange for Cecil Cooper, and all was forgiven.  Rumor has it Tim dons a #15 Red Sox jersey whenever he returns to Hull.  

RIP BOOMER.  Larger than life.