June 4, 1968

On a rainy Monday night, Jim Lonborg made his first Fenway Park appearance of the season. He came out of the bullpen against the Detroit Tigers in the seventh, induced a bases-loaded ground ball from Willie Horton, and helped the Red Sox hold on for a 4-3 win.

Lonborg’s off-season ski injury – he tore the ligaments in his left knee – left a gaping hole in the Red Sox rotation, eliminating any chance they may have had to challenge the Tigers for the American League pennant. In the final season before expansion created two divisions and playoffs, the Red Sox finished fourth, 17 games behind Detroit.

The Tigers went on to beat the Cardinals, 4-3, in the World Series.

As for the 1967 Cy Young Award winner, Lonborg returned to the rotation and finished 6-10 with a 4.29 ERA. He eventually became a winner for the Phillies – 17-13 in 1974, 18-10 in 1976 and 11-4 in 1977 – but was never again the pitcher he was in 1967.

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