Saturday, December 29, 2012

He Scored!

Aug 13, 1973

A while ago, I was given a 1973 Red Sox magazine/scorecard. I love getting these old magazines. This one was especially interesting because 1973 was the first year of the designated hitter. The magazine is full of articles or comments about this new rule. There’s also an ad in the magazine promoting the new burger at McDonald's, the quarter-pounder with cheese. Great stuff. Of course, I was absolutely thrilled to discover that the magazine included a (almost) completed scorecard! What better way to dip back into history than looking at an old scorecard? Let’s have a peek, shall we?

The first thing I notice is that it’s a bit sloppy. That’s certainly not a bad thing. Keeping score in a magazine on your knee isn’t the easiest thing in the world. I think it adds to the charm, and the authenticity. This wasn’t scored at home on a kitchen table. Clearly, this person was in the stands watching the game. Fantastic. The other reason the sloppiness is less annoying is that this is a team issued scorecard. They were nice enough to print the Red Sox roster right on the side. (The card also has the rosters for the Oakland A’s on the side of their card. A nice touch.) So, the fact that I can’t quite make out the name of the second batter isn’t a problem. Looking at the list, it’s obviously Aparicio. Even the eighth batter, who sure looks like “Orittin” can clearly be read as “Griffin” thanks to the list. Once you decipher them, just look at those names. Aparicio, Yaz, Cepeda, and Fisk would all end up in the Baseball Hall of Fame. Harper would wind up in the Red Sox Hall. Not a bad game at all. That’s just the Red Sox side. This was the Reggie Jackson led Athletics, after all. So the HOF count only increases if you look at both teams.

What about the scoring itself? I have to admit that I can’t quite figure it all out. I can make it through the first inning. Harper walks, and steals second.  Aparicio’s groundout to second moves Harper to third. Yaz grounds another one to second, who oddly decides to come home with it in order to get Harper at the plate. Was the infield in? In the bottom of the first? Was that just the way they did it back then? In any event, Cepeda followed with a strikeout to end the frame. Simple enough. During the second inning, things get a little tricky. Cater singles, but somehow makes an out. There appears to be an “nb” notation. Not sure what that means. I should probably try to find a game log, and figure out what exactly Cater did in the second inning. The game follows smoothly from there. An odd scoring mark here and there, but otherwise a nice card.

The player of the game? In this low scoring affair, I’m going with Tommy Harper. He got on base three times, and stole two bases. Can’t think of anything else you would want from your table setter. The goat? Well, there were a few players who failed to reach base on the day. In fact, the whole bottom of the order spent the day off the bases. But, I have to give it to Fisk. The reigning unanimous Rookie of the Year went 0-3. Worse than that, he had a chance to at least tie the game in the sixth. With runners on second and third, and only one out, he grounded the ball to third. The runners had to hold. The Sox, trailing 2-1 at the time, didn’t score in the inning.

That might have been the difference. Though the scorecard doesn’t show it, the Sox ended up losing the game 3-1. The lack of production from the bottom of the order was too much to overcome.

And the scorecard shows how it happened…for the most part.


  1. Game was 8/13/73. Boxscore/play-by-play here. Game story here, which also talks about the severe slump Fisk was in at the time. It mentions the play at the plate, but just says Harper tried to score on the grounder, doesn't say if infield was in.

    The mysterious play was "Miller hit into a double play (second to first to shortstop to first) [Cater out at second]" per retrosheet. Don't know what that "nb" is supposed to mean, but Cater must have gotten caught in a rundown after the out was made at first, killing the force at second. And the nb somehow describes that... Maybe "no base"?

  2. A couple of pictures from the game here.

  3. Thanks for the info!

    Knew I could count on you.

  4. Sure. I love that there were pics available! It would have been funny if there was a picture of Cater with the caption: "Danny Cater gets caught in a rundown against the Oakland A's, messing up scorecards throughout Fenway Park."

  5. I'm starting to wonder if "nb" is actually "rD" for "RunDown."

  6. That'd be a weird R, but maybe.


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