In 1983, the Red Sox reversed Dick Williams in 1967, and lost more games than they won. It was the first year since ’66 that the team finished below .500. They ended up next-to-last (sixth) in the AL East, a full 20 games behind Baltimore, with a 78-84 record.
Tony Armas had arrived from the Oakland A’s, as the team made room for Wade Boggs to take over from Carney Lansford at third base. Boggs hit for a .361 average in his first full season, and won the American League batting crown.
Wade Boggs hit .361 and won the batting title, with 210 hits, scoring exactly 100 runs, and driving in 74. Armas was big, too, living up to hopes with 36 home runs and 107 RBIs his first year in Boston, despite only batting .218.
Jim Rice led the team with 39 homers and 126 RBIs, batting .305.
John Tudor won the most games, 13, with Hurst and Ojeda winning a dozen each. The Eck, the Steamer, and Mark Clear all had losing seasons. The rest of the staff was just not that strong.
Rick Miller hit .286, but as a pinch-hitter he hit much, much better: 16-for-35, a .457 average.
Yaz was the DH. It was his 23rd year with the Red Sox and over that time he had played in 3,308 major league ball games – the most ever played by an American Leaguer. (Pete Rose holds the ML record, of 3,562, set in 1986.) He played left field in the final game on October 1, and while there were no last-moment heroics, he did hit a single in the third inning. There were, of course, ceremonies before the game, and as they concluded, Yaz ran towards the tarp and continued to run all the way around the inside of the ballpark, touching hands of the folks in the front rows as one of his ways of saying farewell.
There had been one shameful episode back in June. There was a benefit for Tony Conigliaro held on June 6. Seemingly thinking more about himself than Tony, Former trainer Buddy LeRoux announced that he was taking over the Red Sox. It had the earmarks of a coup, and several sportswriters promptly called it “Coup LeRoux”. What LeRoux did accomplish was to bring together a new ownership group in Jean Yawkey, Haywood Sullivan, and John Harrington. They contested the takeover, and in the end the trio was in and the trainer was out.By Bill Nowlin
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- Bob Ojeda, Bob Stanley, Bruce Hurst, Buddy LeRoux, Carl Yastrzemski, Carney Lansford, Dennis Eckersley, Haywood Sullivan, Jean Yawkey, Jim Rice, John Tudor, Mark Clear, Rick Miller, Tony Armas, Tony Conigliaro, Wade Boggs