Friday, July 4, 2008

Where were YOU on July 4, 1983?

Dave Righetti strikes out Red Sox - Hall of Famer - Wade Boggs for the 2nd time in the game to garner his No Hitter on July 4, 1983!

The Boston Baseball Head WAS at the Yankee Stadium on July 4, 1983 for one of the wildest and greatest baseball games he ever saw. A trip to the Big Apple was planned for my Christopher Columbus HS - JV Baseball Team and many local "Dot Rats" during the July 4th Holiday. It was in the mid to high 90's & extremely humid all of the 5 days we spent touring New York.

The trip included visits to all the landmarks: St. Patrick's Cathedral; The Rockets at Radio City Music Hall; The World Trade Center & Empire State Building; a ride on the Staten island Ferry; the Museum of Natural History; AstroLand @ Conney Island; dinner at Momma Leone's and of course the Sox v Yankee games on July 3 & 4th.

The Sox led by Yaz ( the last HR I saw him hit) Dewey home runs defeated the Yankees in a Friday night game. They also defeated the Yanks in the middle game of the series on Saturday (we did not have tickets). Boston was looking for a 4th of July Sweep of the dreaded and hated Yankees on their home turf.

The Stadium was packed with a mix of Sox & Yankee fans -- 41,000 strong for the Fourth of July game on Sunday. Dave Righetti was on the hill for New York. I was there and so were 39 others from Boston. I am sure millions say they were there! BUT - WE WERE! A special day in his and my baseball life unfolded before our eyes. Al Hurt played the National Anthem on his trumpet and a multi wing fly over of Blue Angels opened the event. Jolten Joe DiMaggio tossed out the first pitch!!! If you have ever been to the Stadium -- every game is a main Event! That day was just something very- very special!

The Sox lineup included guys like: Jerry Remy leading off; Jim Rice; Dwight Evans and Tony Armas. The Sox were loaded with solid hitters and Righetti was in a tough spot. He reacted well and K'd 8 entrout to his no no. It was Yankee Cap Day - everyone got a NY Lid as they filed into the Stadium. I sat on mine all game and stupidly threw it away (it was dated).

Below is a great retrospective article I found on the No Hitter and the atmosphere at the Greatest Ball Parks ever built on July 4, 1983:

A No-Hit Fourth for Dave Righetti

(Originally published on July 5, 1983)

Six days ago, Dave Righetti had a career total of 61 starts and no shutouts. As of 4:46 yesterday afternoon, he had 63 starts and two shutouts. And, more importantly, a no-hitter.

Righetti became the first Yankee pitcher in 27 years to pitch a no-hitter yesterday, as he dominated the Red Sox in a 4-0 masterpiece viewed by a holiday crowd of 41,077 at the Stadium. Righetti's no-no was the first by a Yankee since Don Larsen had his perfecto against the Dodgers in the 1956 World Series, and the first in regular season since Allie Reynolds performed the feat against the Red Sox in September of 1951. It also was the first by a lefthander in Yankee Stadium. And, to add another first, it was the first no-hitter in the majors since Nolan Ryan tossed his fifth, against the Dodgers Sept. 26, 1981, in the Astrodome.

Not since Larsen's no-hitter had any pitcher been unhittable in the Stadium. Some, though, have come close. A bid by another young lefty, Boston's Billy Rohr, lasted until there were two outs in the ninth in the Yanks' home opener in 1967. Righetti, who struck out nine and walked four, was determined not to blow his chance.

"We had gotten a couple of runs in the eighth so I didn't have to worry about giving up a walk and then a homer and have the game tied," Righetti (10-3) said. "I was just going to let it all hang out. I wanted to keep their guys off base before the big guys like (Jim) Rice and Tony (Armas) got a chance."

He needn't have worried. Jeff Newman led off the ninth by working out a walk, bringing up Glenn Hoffman. "He broke up a no-hitter on me in the seventh inning two years ago," Righetti said. "I knew he'd be trying to go to left with the ball so I tried to keep it down and in on him and hope we'd get a grounder."

Righetti got his grounder, and it should have been a double play. But Andre Robertson's relay to first pulled Don Mattingly's foot ever so slightly off the bag, and instead of two out and nobody on, Righetti had to battle a one-on, one-out situation with the top of the Sox order coming up.
"After that first grounder, I told the guys, 'Relax, you'll get another one,'" Righetti said. "And then they did get another."

Righetti induced Jerry Remy to bounce to Robertson at second, moving the runner to second and moving Righetti just one out from immortality. His battle plan to the red-hot Wade Boggs was to throw nothing but hard stuff.

"If I'm going to lose it at that point, It's going to be off my best pitch," Righetti said. "I was going to throw hard fastballs, then a slider."

The plan worked to perfection. Boggs, who entered the game with a .361 average, worked the count to 2-2 and then went down on a slider. "He's a great hitter but I don't think he was looking for a slider there," Righetti said.

Butch Wynegar agreed. "You want him to hit your best pitch," the Yankee catcher said, "and I thought if he got fastball he could hit a flare to left. So we went with a slider."

Righetti and Wynegar knew from the start that there was something special in Righetti's left arm. The southpaw blew the Sox away in the early innings, striking out seven in the first three innings. He got a break in the fourth when Boggs hit a hard shot right at center fielder Dave Winfield and a bigger break in the sixth when Hoffman's bloop to short left held up long enough for Roy Smalley to get under it.

"I thought when that hit the bat, it was trouble," Smalley said, "but then when I got back on the grass, I knew I had a chance."

Righetti walked Rice in the seventh but induced Armas to ground sharply into a double play, and then Steve Kemp gave him an extra bit of help by climbing into the right-field seats to snare Dwight Evans' foul pop leading off the eighth. He made it through that inning, and then had to sit nearly 20 minutes while his teammates put together a two-run rally that broke the game open.
"I was sitting there thinking, 'Geez, let's go, let's get it over with one or the other,'" Righetti said. "I was anxious, pumped up, and I wanted it over with."

He did, in dramatic fashion, and the crowd erupted as Wynegar sprinted from behind the plate in a leap reminiscent of Yogi Berra's leap into Larsen's arms in 1956.

"I didn't know what to do. I wanted to cry," Righetti said. "But then I saw Butch coming and I thought he would kill me."

As it turned out, Wynegar hit him harder than the Red Sox had.


K. said...


Nice blog! Great choice of pix from the Righetti no-no. Not exactly a great memory for me, but I can't begrudge anyone who got to see a no-hitter. I myself saw Nolan Ryan pitch #5.

My son -- who is COMCAST's Northeastern intern this summer -- sent me the YBL link. He's excited about working your games. Best of luck,

Paul (Citizen K.)

K. said...

P.S. I took the liberty of adding you to my blogroll. I have all of about 25 regular readers, but what the hey!

yblprez said...

Many thanks! We appreciate the hard work and dedication of our Interns both on my monthly TV Show tapings and game of the week coverage. We would never be able to do this work without these super young people. Thanks for stopping by and have a great summer.

The Boston Baseball Head - Dave McKay