Friday, November 20, 2009

Red Sox A-Z: K is for…

Kapler, as in Gabe
Gabe Kapler joined the Sox in 2003, and made quite a splash with the Red Sox. He immediately became a fan favorite, and was part of the Curse Busting 2004 World Champions.
Kapler was a hot prospect when he came up to the bigs with Detroit. He had all the skills to become a great player. His dedication to working out was well known. He even appeared in several muscle magazines celebrating his body. Unfortunately, that apparent raw strength never really transferred to the diamond.
By the time he made it to Boston he was clearly a third or fourth outfielder. That happened to be exactly what the Red Sox needed when they grabbed him mid-season. His Red Sox debut came on June 28 of 2003 against the Florida Marlins at Fenway. Gabe put on an absolute show. He fell a homer short of hitting for the cycle, and was an integral part in the Sox building up a big lead in the game. The next day, Kapler added the home run he missed the first game. It was quite a first weekend, and placed him squarely in the hearts of many Red Sox fans.
While Kapler didn’t continue the batting dominance, and really who could, he did become a solid member of the team. He appeared in all four World Series games in 2004, and was a valuable guy to have off the bench. Kapler was also late involved in one of the odder plays you’ll see. In Toronto, Bill Mueller (I believe) hit a line drive home run. Kapler was on first, and ran hard around second, not knowing if the ball would clear the wall. In Totonto they have the goofy turf, with patches of dirt at the bases. When Kapler rounded second and reached the turf on the way to third, he blew out his knee. Mueller, in his home run trot, came upon Kapler writhing on the ground, and had to stop. Obviously, if he passed Kapler, he would have been out, and the run wouldn’t score. He had to stand there as the training staff took care of things…mid play. The injury ended Kapler season.
Gabe even had a turn as a manager in the Red Sox organization, taking a turn at the helm of the Greenville Drive. He returned to the majors after the stint, and became a fan favorite in even more baseball towns. As a part of the 2004 Championship team, he will forever live in Red Sox lore.
K is for Kapler, Gabe.

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