Red Sox Fans

March 13, 1989

Before Fenway Park was declared unfit for home run hitters – first borne from construction of the 600 Club, topped by a new press box – stories out of spring training routinely at least one assessing the Red Sox sluggers and pitchers charged with shutting down visiting sluggers.

It would take a Mona Lisa Vito on air currents to give any sort of assessment on Fenway’s alleged transition to a pitchers paradise. 

(Apologies for channeling Bill Belichick’s response to a science-related query during Deflategate. He is out of sight but not quite out of mind.)

The Red Sox were hoping to bounce back from a 124-home run 1988 season. Despite the lack of punch, they led the American League with 813 runs scored. Mike Greenwell led the team with 22 dingers.

Turn the clock back to 1977 and watch the Red Sox overtake Greenwell’s total within a week.

After Joe Morgan took over as manager just after the 1988 All-Star break, they smacked 78 homers. To that point, they’d hit 56.

Morgan understood that home runs could come in handy. Walt Hrniak stepped down as hitting coach after the 1988 season, with Richie Hebner taking over. Hrniak was a devotee to what is now referred to as small-ball.

“We scored 800 runs but we also didn’t win a lot of games where we hit a lot of singles and doubles,” Morgan said in a Boston Globe story. “We could’ve won a few more games with one late in the game.”

A few of those might have given the Red Sox a shot at avoiding a sweep by the Oakland A’s in the 1988 ALCS.