Yesterday I had the pleasure of attending the BLOHARDS meeting at the Yale Club, across from Grand Central Station. For those of you not in the know, the BLOHARDS (The Benevolent Loyal Order of Honorable Ancient Red Sox Diehard Sufferers) are the New York-based Red Sox fan club, made up of mostly transplanted New Englanders living here in the New York area who are passionate Red Sox fans. I was with many of them back in August for a dinner when Frank Minishak of the group asked me if I'd like to do a round of trivia at the meeting. I of course said yes, so I prepared some questions and went to yesterday's luncheon.
I've been a member of the BLOHARDS for a long time, but haven't been to a luncheon in many years. This one was attended by Joe Castiglione, the radio voice of the Red Sox, who got up on the microphone and chatted about the Red Sox and this season with the attendees. He also did an interview with Javier Lopez, the Red Sox pitcher, who was in attendance. Javier is a tall, good looking guy who was very nice to the many fans who chatted with him. Joe kidded him about not seeing him throw to the catcher Javier Lopez, who the Red Sox recently released, in a major league game. "I did throw to him in the bullpen," Javier said.
Among the other guests was Ed Randall, who hosts the "Talking Baseball" show on Sunday mornings on WFAN; Tim Shea, who has written an interesting new book about Fenway Park called "The Fenway Pole Finder," Josh Dixon and Brett Rapkin, who made a fascinating documentary called "Spaceman In Cuba," about Bill Lee and a trip he made to Cuba in 2002; and Charles Steinberg, the head of media relations with the Red Sox. We saw a clip from the Bill Lee documentary and it looks like a lot of fun. There was also a nice film clip tribute to one of the BLOHARDS' founders, the late Henry Berry (who I met years ago). During Charles Steinberg's chat with the fans, he produced a nice framed picture of a Fenway scoreboard tribute to the late Jimmy Powers, another of the BLOHARDS' legendary founders.
But of course, the highlight of the luncheon was my appearance with the round of Red Sox trivia (if I do say so myself). I was introduced by Joe Cosgriff, the luncheon's MC. I talked about Trivia Night at Professor Thom's, and how the bar was the hip place to go to watch the Red Sox games. ("Far better than the Riviera," I said.)
I wrote out 10 questions, but I ended up doing six of them, and prizes were given to the person who guessed the right answer. Here they are, in the order I did them:
1. What day of the year did the Red Sox win the World Series in 1918?
The answer is September 11. It took a while, and a lot of audience guesses before someone got the answer correct. I'm surprised that fact is not more widely known, especially after what happened five years ago.
2. What Red Sox player was the first former Little Leaguer to be elected to baseball's Hall of Fame?
The answer is Carl Yastrzemski. I heard that name mentioned almost immediately.
3. Which Red Sox utility infielder famously caught a rat on the infield of Fenway Park in the early 1980s?
The answer is Ed Jurak. No one got it, but it seemed like everyone was guessing every infielder who played for the Sox in the 1980s.
4. Which Red Sox pitcher once left the team for three days and attempted to fly to Israel in 1963, but could not because he did not have a passport?
The answer is Gene Conley. I had not reached the word "Israel" when someone yelled out "Gene Conley." The crowd at the BLOHARDS is older than I am as a group, so I wasn't surprised someone got it right away.
5. Which future Red Sox pitcher gave up Nomar Garciaparra's first career home run in 1996?
The answer is John "Way Back" Wasdin. No one was getting it until I gave out a hint: "Think of Jerry Trupiano." (His home run call: "way back, way back..") Charles Steinberg was the one who got it right.
6. Which Red Sox pitcher, who did two tours of duty in Boston, gave up Hank Aaron's 755th and final home run of his career in 1976?
The answer is Dick Drago. Joe told a funny story afterwards that Bill Lee thought he had give up Aaron's final career home run, but that was in 1975, not 1976. (Hank came back for one more year.) The Spaceman was actually disappointed by that fact.
I had a lot of fun at the BLOHARDS meeting, and I look forward to doing another round of trivia at the meetings in 2007. My thanks to Frank, Joe and Peter at the BLOHARDS for their courtesy and inviting me to attend.
For more info on the BLOHARDS, please check out their web site: www.blohards.com, and their blog site: www.blohardsblog.com.