Today is a national holiday for Yankees fans.
Because on this day, 30 year ago, Bucky Dent hit a 3-run home run to lead the Yankees to a 5-4 victory over the Boston Red Sux and win the American League East Title.
On July 19, the Red Sux held an comfortable 14 game lead over the Yankees in the AL East. A late-July crumble reduced that lead to 6½ games on Aug. 1. Following a stunning three game sweep of Boston at Fenway, by mid-September, The Red Sux trailed New York by 3½ games, a remarkable 17½ game reversal.
Boston managed to pull even with the Yankees at the end of the season, forcing a one game playoff.
I remember running home from school to catch the game on TV. I got in just in time to watch Dent foul a pitch off his foot. The pitch broke his bat. My favorite Yankees player, Mickey Rivers, gave him one of his bats to swing at. With two men on base and Boston’s Mike Torrez pitching, I could hear Yankees announcer Bill White call the shot every time I see it on TV.
“Deep to left…Yastremski will not get it…IT’S A HOME RUN! A THREE-RUN HOME RUN AND THE YANKEES LEAD IT THREE TO TWO!”
The Fenway crowd was silenced. The only noise you could hear was from the Yankee dugout and their fans. I was going nuts at home.
The Yankees held on and won the one game playoff. The Yankees would go on to win their second straight and 22nd World Series title that year.
Red Sux fans have regretted this day for many years and many refer to him as Bucky “bleeping” Dent. After all, Dent was the most unlikeliest of hitters to hit a home run. He was never a power hitter, and he only hit 45 home runs in his career.
But on that day, he could have been called, “the Bambino”, as the curse would continue for Boston that year.
So even though my Yankees are sitting at home this fall, we all can enjoy a great retrospect on one of the finest moments in Yankees history.
Today, October 2nd, 1978.