1975 Boston Red Sox season

Last updated

1975 Boston Red Sox
1975 AL Champions
1975 AL East Champions
Major League affiliations
Other information
Owner(s) Tom Yawkey
General manager(s) Dick O'Connell
Manager(s) Darrell Johnson
Local television WSBK-TV, Ch. 38
(Dick Stockton, Ken Harrelson)
Local radio WHDH-AM 850
(Ned Martin, Jim Woods)
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The 1975 Boston Red Sox season was the 75th season in the franchise's Major League Baseball history. The Red Sox finished first in the American League East with a record of 95 wins and 65 losses. Following a sweep of the Oakland Athletics in the ALCS, the Red Sox lost the World Series to the Cincinnati Reds in seven games. In their 4 losses in the World Series, they had at least a one run lead in each game, only to let the Reds come back and win all 4, spoiling the Sox's chances at winning the World Series for the first time since 1918, which would have ended the Curse of the Bambino. In game 7, the Red Sox had a 3-0 lead at one point, but the Reds rallied back to spoil the Red Sox chances of a major upset.



Long expectations

The 1975 baseball season should have dawned for Red Sox fans with bright hopes. The team had made a legitimate run for the pennant the previous year, and this time the team had Carlton Fisk and Rick Wise for full seasons. Rick Burleson had surprised everyone by playing outstanding shortstop and hitting higher in the majors than he ever had in the minors. In addition, the Sox had two rookies who gave every indication they would be phenoms, Fred Lynn and Jim Rice. But the memory of the collapse of 1974 still hung heavy over New England fans.[ citation needed ]

At first most of the preseason talk had to do with the decision by Tony Conigliaro to try one more comeback and with the salary hassle concerning Luis Tiant, who felt he deserved more than $70,000 he was earning and wouldn't show up at Winter Haven, Florida, causing team owner Tom Yawkey to meet with "El Tiante", agree on a raise (to $90,000) and get the Sox pitching ace back in camp.[ citation needed ]

Still, it didn't take too long before the stories and pictures coming out of Florida about the two phenoms got Sox fans thinking. The betting lines in Las Vegas had Boston as a long shot, although not the 100–1 shot they were in 1967. The odds against them went up, however, after Fisk, returning from the serious knee injury of 1974, was hit in the right arm and broke it. Even the positive talk about young Mr. Lynn couldn't drive away the gloom over Fisk's injury. Catching is absolutely vital to a successful team, and Fisk was going to be sidelined for at least a couple of months.[ citation needed ]

Youngsters and comebacks

The word out of Florida on Lynn was very positive. The young man who had gone to the USC as a football linebacker, but gave up football for baseball, seemed to be doing it all. Not only did he hit and run and field, he was a good-looking, charming young man. He was a hit with Boston and New England fans and hit with power, and with the way big Jim Rice was clobbering the baseball, Boston appeared to have a power punch that could only get better when Fisk got back into the lineup.[ citation needed ]

Rick Wise, back after a year of shoulder trouble and then a broken finger, looked ready to boost a pitching staff, which already had Luis Tiant, Bill Lee, Reggie Cleveland, and the stringbean flame-thrower Roger Moret. The bullpen also looked strong, with Dick Drago as the closer and hard-thrower Dick Pole and veteran Diego Seguí.[ citation needed ]

Additionally, the word on Tony Conigliaro was encouraging, and that boosted spirits back home. Carl Yastrzemski was at first base, and after three short trials in previous years Cecil Cooper was going to make this team and probably be the designated hitter.[ citation needed ]

Notable transactions

Regular season

Season summary


The season opened with El Tiante beating the Milwaukee Brewers, and after the first week the Sox shared first place with Milwaukee. Rice was playing some left field, and his defense left a lot to be desired; people were already saying that Rice might be a one-dimensional player who had to be the designated hitter only. On the other hand, Lynn was doing well, and the problems at catcher were not apparent yet.


The Red Sox fell out of first place in late April and didn't get back into it until the end of May. Lynn was bombing American League pitching and playing great center field, and Rice was clobbering the ball. But the Red Sox were winning a lot of high-scoring games which didn't augur well for pitching when the pennant race reached the dog days of August and September.

Denny Doyle

In June, the Red Sox made what appeared to be a minor move to bolster the bench when they bought journeyman second baseman Denny Doyle from the California Angels. The Angels got cash and a player to be named later, the quality depending on what Doyle did for the Sox. Little did anyone know this would be even better than the pickup of Jerry Adair back in 1967.

Doug Griffin

Second base was a problem. Doug Griffin was playing there and doing an adequate job, but he was injury-prone, and the Sox had been particularly anxious about him ever since he had been hit in the face by a Nolan Ryan fastball back in April 1974. Doug had seemed tentative at the plate since the beaning, and Boston had concerns about his durability and about his ability to stand in there on inside pitches.

Tony C's last stand

Doyle arrived on June 14, and to make room for him on the roster Tony Conigliaro was sent to Pawtucket in the minor leagues. Tony's attempt to come back hadn't really worked out. On his first at bat he singled for the Red Sox, but soon thereafter it became apparent that the eye damage had been too great and that the once-promising career now was over for good.

So, the Red Sox got Denny Doyle into the lineup, and no one could get him out of it for the rest of the season. He ended up hitting .310, had a 22-game hitting streak and was outstanding in the field. In fact, he cemented an infield which featured Carl Yastrzemski at first, Rick Burleson at short and Rico Petrocelli at third. A major step toward the pennant had been taken with the Doyle deal.

Fred Lynn's greatest day ever

On June 18, Fred Lynn had one of those games that players can only dream about. The Red Sox were in Detroit and had won the first two games of the series, with second-year regular Juan Beníquez having two big games – a triple to start a winning rally in the opener and a homer to win the second. Unable to sleep, Fred Lynn got up, got dressed and walked the streets of downtown Detroit for an hour or two after 6 a.m. Still restless, he had breakfast and then went to Tiger Stadium to get extra batting practice. Whatever it was in the recipe that worked, it worked remarkably well.

In the four-run first inning he crashed a homer into the upper deck in right. In the three-run second he clubbed one off the roof of the upper deck in right center. In the third he just missed when his long drive to left center hit the top of the fence and came back for a triple. In the sixth he beat out an infield single, and then in the ninth he smashed a three-run homer to the upper deck in right again. Lynn had hit his 12th, 13th and 14th home runs, had knocked in 10 runs, tying the Red Sox record for RBIs in a game, and Luis Tiant had no trouble winning his ninth game, 15–1.

The Sox went in and out of first place three different times in late June, but at the end of the month they led the New York Yankees by a game. The Baltimore Orioles were 7.5 games back, five games under .500.

Power to the Red Sox

In early July the Red Sox put Jim Rice into left field. Since Carlton Fisk had returned a week earlier, the Sox had a power-laden lineup that was the talk of baseball. But Baltimore was getting ready to make a move, looking for a third consecutive division crown. And after the Orioles clobbered Boston on July 1, 10–6, Oriole manager Earl Weaver suggested that whereas his team would emulate the 1974 Baltimore Orioles season, picking up a game a week, Boston would emulate its 1974 team and fade, which made for good reading.

Goodbye New York Yankees

Jim Rice broke in as a regular with two homers in a 6–3 win at Milwaukee, in which Wise had a no-hitter through 823 innings but lost it when George Scott homered in the ninth. The Red Sox completed a sweep of the Minnesota Twins in Minnesota and did the same to the Texas Rangers in Texas, and by the All-Star break they held a 4.5 game lead over the Yankees and Brewers.

The Sox then put together a 10-game winning streak, moved 6 ahead of the Yankees and finally put the Yankees away with a three-out-of-four series victory in New York, featuring two shutouts pitched by left-handers, on Sunday, July 27. Bill Lee beat Catfish Hunter in the first 1–0, with Lynn making a spectacular play on a Graig Nettles drive. As Lynn ran into left-center field, he dove for the ball and caught the ball in his glove. When he hit the ground, the ball popped out of the glove, but Lynn reached up and grabbed it again before it hit the ground.

The stretch drive

Roger Moret pitched his seventh win, against one loss, in a 6–0 Boston win in the nightcap, featuring Yaz's 12th home run. By the end of July Boston enjoyed an eight-game lead over the Orioles, who had moved to 51–47, over .500 for the first time.

The lead got to 9.5 games and then began to dwindle down to six by September 1. But there was no question that the fans now believed: the crowds filled Fenway. Boston next took two from the Orioles at Baltimore. Weaver was subdued, and Boston led by seven. By September 15, the Sox had not collapsed as they had in 1974, but the lead over the Orioles was down to four.

Red Sox vs. Indians

The game that may have decided the season was played on Tuesday, September 16, at hot, humid and jammed Fenway. Luis Tiant against Jim Palmer. The crowd chanted "Loo-ee!, Loo-ee!, Loo-ee!", and he responded, twirling, looking into center and then blowing the ball by the Orioles. Palmer was good, but Loo-eee! was better. Boston won 2–0 on homers by Fisk and Petrocelli.

It stayed close until Friday, September 26. It had rained for five days. Contingency plans to make up rained-out games had been made, but it became academic on Friday, for the rain had stopped. But the field at Fenway was soggy, and there was a lot of fog. Nevertheless, they played a twi-night doubleheader with Cleveland. Tiant won the opener 4–0, besting Dennis Eckersley in a game in which part of left field was in fog.

The clincher

Reggie Cleveland won the second game, also 4–0 and the Sox clinched a tie for first. The next day the Yankees finished off the Orioles, winning a twin bill at New York. Boston was thus the AL East champ, and Oakland was their next obstacle on the way to the World Series.

The postseason: Falling short yet again

After a great season, The Red Sox continued their magical season by sweeping the Oakland Athletics in 3 games in the 1975 American League Championship Series to advance to their first World Series since 1967.

In the historic World Series that followed, it came down to Carl Yastrzemski with the Red Sox trailing 4 to 3 with 2 outs in the 9th inning of Game 7. Yaz's drive fell into the hands of Reds outfielder César Gerónimo, and Boston's magical season fell one game short. Boston did not get back to the World Series for 11 years.

Season standings

AL East W L Pct. GB Home Road
Boston Red Sox 95650.59447–3448–31
Baltimore Orioles 90690.56644–3346–36
New York Yankees 83770.5191243–3540–42
Cleveland Indians 79800.49715½41–3938–41
Milwaukee Brewers 68940.4202836–4532–49
Detroit Tigers 571020.35837½31–4926–53

Record vs. opponents

1975 American League Records

Baltimore 9–96–67–410–812–47–514–46–68–104–87–5
Boston 9–96–68–47–1113–57–510–810–211–56–68–4
California 6–66–69–93–96–54–147–58–107–57–119–9
Chicago 4–74–89–97–55–79–98–49–96–69–95–13
Cleveland 8–1011–79–35–712–66–69–93–69–92–105–7
Detroit 4–125–135–67–56–126–67–114–86–126–61–11
Kansas City 5–75–714–49–96–66–67–511–77–511–714–4
Milwaukee 4–148–105–74–89–911–75–72–109–95–76–6
Minnesota 6–62–1010–89–96–38–47–1110–24–86–128–10
New York 10–85–115–76–69–912–65–79–98–46–68–4
Oakland 8–46–611–79–910–26–611–77–512–66–612–6
Texas 5–74–89–913–57–511–14–146–610–84–86–12

Opening Day lineup

20 Juan Beníquez LF
19 Fred Lynn CF
  8 Carl Yastrzemski   1B
25 Tony Conigliaro DH
  6 Rico Petrocelli 3B
24 Dwight Evans RF
10 Bob Montgomery C
  7 Rick Burleson SS
  2 Doug Griffin 2B
23 Luis Tiant P

Notable transactions


1975 Boston Red Sox



Other batters



Player stats


Starters by position

Note: Pos = Position; G = Games played; AB = At bats; H = Hits; Avg. = Batting average; HR = Home runs; RBI = Runs batted in

C Carlton Fisk 7926387.3311052
1B Carl Yastrzemski 149543146.2691460
2B Doug Griffin 10028769.240129
SS Rick Burleson 158580146.252662
3B Rico Petrocelli 11540296.239759
LF Jim Rice 144564174.30922102
CF Fred Lynn 145528175.33121105
RF Dwight Evans 128412113.2741356
DH Cecil Cooper 10630595.3111444

Other batters

Note: G = Games played; AB = At bats; H = Hits; Avg. = Batting average; HR = Home runs; RBI = Runs batted in

Bernie Carbo 10731982.2571550
Denny Doyle 8931096.310436
Juan Beníquez 7825474.291217
Bob Montgomery 6219544.226226
Tim Blackwell 5913226.19706
Bob Heise 6312627.214021
Rick Miller 7710821.194015
Tony Conigliaro 21577.12329
Tim McCarver 12218.38103
Dick McAuliffe 7152.13301
Deron Johnson 3106.60013
Steve Dillard 152.40000
Andy Merchant 142.50000
Butch Hobson 241.25000
Kim Andrew 221.50000
Buddy Hunter 110.00000


Starting pitchers

Note: G = Games pitched; IP = Innings pitched; W = Wins; L = Losses; ERA = Earned run average; SO = Strikeouts

Bill Lee 412601793.9578
Luis Tiant 3526018144.02142
Rick Wise 35255.119123.95141

Other pitchers

Note: G = Games pitched; IP = Innings pitched; W = Wins; L = Losses; ERA = Earned run average; SO = Strikeouts

Reggie Cleveland 311701394.4378
Roger Moret 361451433.6080
Dick Pole 1889.2464.4242
Steve Barr 37012.572

Relief pitchers

Note: G = Games pitched; W = Wins; L = Losses; SV = Saves; ERA = Earned run average; SO = Strikeouts

Dick Drago 4022153.8443
Diego Segui 332564.8245
Jim Burton 291212.8939
Jim Willoughby 245283.5429
Rick Kreuger 20004.501



Game 1

October 4 at Fenway Park

W: Luis Tiant (1–0)   L: Ken Holtzman (0–1)   
HR: None

Game 2

October 5 at Fenway Park

W: Roger Moret (1–0)   L: Rollie Fingers (0–1)   S: Dick Drago (1)
HR: OAK: Reggie Jackson (1) BOS: Carl Yastrzemski (1), Rico Petrocelli (1)

Game 3

W: Rick Wise (1–0)   L: Ken Holtzman (0–2)   S: Dick Drago (2)
HR: None

World Series

NL Cincinnati Reds (4) vs. AL Boston Red Sox (3)

Game Score Date Location Attendance Time of Game
1Reds – 0, Red Sox – 6October 11 Fenway Park 35,2052:27
2Reds – 3, Red Sox – 2October 12 Fenway Park 35,2052:38
3Red Sox – 5, Reds – 6 (10 inns)October 14 Riverfront Stadium 55,3923:03
4Red Sox – 5, Reds – 4October 15 Riverfront Stadium 55,6672:52
5Red Sox – 2, Reds – 6October 16 Riverfront Stadium 56,3932:23
6Reds – 6, Red Sox – 7 (12 inns)October 21 Fenway Park 35,2054:01
7Reds – 4, Red Sox – 3October 22 Fenway Park 35,2052:52

Awards and honors

All-Star Game

Farm system

AAA Pawtucket Red Sox International League Joe Morgan
AA Bristol Red Sox Eastern League Dick McAuliffe and Bill Slack
A Winston-Salem Red Sox Carolina League John Kennedy
A Winter Haven Red Sox Florida State League Rac Slider
A-Short Season Elmira Red Sox New York–Penn League Dick Berardino



  1. Juan Marichal page at Baseball Reference
  2. Danny Cater page at Baseball Reference
  3. Dave Schmidt page at Baseball Reference
  4. Denny Doyle page at Baseball Reference

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