The Gold Dust Twins were the talk of Boston. Both Jim Rice and Fred Lynn had played a bit in September the year before, but 1975 was the rookie year for them both. Fellow outfielders, Rice in left and Lynn in center, their stats seemed twin-like. Lynn hit .331; Rice hit .309. Rice hit 22 homers, and Lynn hit 21. Lynn drove in 105 and Rice drove in 102. Ten of Lynn’s RBIs came all in one game in Detroit, on June 18, when he went 5-for-6 with three homers, a triple, and a single. But they all counted. His 16 total bases in one game tied an AL record.
Rice might have topped Lynn in RBIs, and added another couple of home runs, had he not been hit by a Vern Ruhle fastball on September 21 and suffered a broken left hand. Denny Doyle won that day’s game with a bases-loaded double in the top of the ninth.
Rice had real power; his home run on July 18 was only the third ball any Boston hitter had ever hit totally out of Fenway Park over the center-field wall and bleachers. Had Rice been around for the World Series, it might have made a world of difference.
Carlton Fisk came to camp ready to get back into action, after missing the second half of 1974 – but his arm was broken by a pitch during spring training and it was the last week in June when he returned. He hit for the same .331 average as Fred Lynn, and drove in 52 runs, but he’d only played the second half of the season.
There was another player who made the team in spring training – Tony Conigliaro. He’d been out of baseball entirely since the middle of 1971, but he decided to try a comeback and was given a courtesy invite to spring training. He made the team. But he really couldn’t make it against big-league pitching, and he left in mid-June, batting .123.
Except for a brief hiccup of four games in late June, the Red Sox had been in first place since the end of May. From June 29 on, they held it throughout and won the division with a degree of ease. Baltimore came in second.
Rick Wise was 19-12, Tiant was 18-14, and Bill Lee won 17 games for the third season in a row (17-9), while the enigmatic Roger Moret was 14-3 (he’d been 13-2 in 1973, then 9-10 in ’74). Moret made headlines on August 5 when he crashed his car into a parked trailer at 4:30 in the morning in southern Connecticut, the day he was supposed to start a game. They didn’t have a 20-game winner, but they won the pennant.
Fred Lynn was named both Rookie of the Year and MVP, both in the same year, though he nearly ended his career crashing into the outfield wall during the World Series.By Bill Nowlin
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- Bill Lee, Carlton Fisk, Denny Doyle, Fred Lynn, Jim Rice, Luis Tiant, Rick Wise, Roger Moret, Tony Conigliaro, World Series