In 1984, incoming GM Lou Gorman saw many signs of promise on the Red Sox. Manager Ralph Houk oversaw the Red Sox restored to their winning ways, 86-76, albeit with a fourth-place finish.
The team has never come into Opening Day at home in worse shape. There were three games in Anaheim, three in Oakland, and two in Seattle; the Red Sox were 3-5 on the road before they played their first game at Fenway. And this was the year the Detroit Tigers tore up the league early on, winning nine in a row and 16 of their first 17. The home opener was April 13 and they lost, to the Tigers, and were already 5 ½ games out of first place.
By May 24, Boston was 16 ½ games behind the Tigers who had just completed a 35-5 drive.
There was one week in May when the Red Sox lost two players who had both been with the team for seven seasons. May 18 was Jerry Remy’s last game. He’d hit .275 over 10 seasons, but his knees hurt too much to let him keep playing. One week later to the day, the Sox traded Dennis Eckersley to the Cubs for first baseman Bill Buckner.
On May 29, the right-field façade took on a new look when the Red Sox held an official ceremony to retire the first two numbers - #4 for Joe Cronin and #9 for Ted Williams. The game that followed got rained out – fortunately for the Red Sox, who were down 5-0 to the Twins after four innings.
Tony Armas had bumped up his hitting, leading the American League with 43 home runs, 123 RBIs, and 339 total bases. His 156 strikeouts also led the league. He only drew 32 bases on balls; with 43 HRs and 32 walks, he had 11 more homers – a record differential that still stands.
Rice, Armas, and Evans all drove in more than 100. Rice was one behind Armas, and Evans drove in 104. Three of Evans’ RBIs won the June 28 game. The Red Sox tied the game, 4-4, in the bottom of the ninth. Bob Stanley gave up a couple of runs to Seattle in the top of the 10th, but Buckner doubled in two runs in the bottom of the 10th, the final out coming when Mike Easler tried to score a third run but was thrown out at the plate. In the bottom of the 11th, Dwight Evans – who had a double, a triple, and a single earlier in the game - completed the cycle by hitting a walk-off three-run home run to end the game, 9-6.
Roger Clemens had joined the Red Sox rotation in mid-May, all of 21 years old. He was 9-4 in ’84. The ballclub had three pitchers with six dozens to their names: Oil Can Boyd finished 12-12, Bruce Hurst finished 12-12, and Bobby Ojeda finished 12-12. Al Nipper was one win and six losses short, finishing 11-6. In the right place at the right time was Mark Clear, 8-3 (4.03) in 47 appearances, while Bob Stanley had a better ERA (3.54) but bore a 9-10 record.By Bill Nowlin
- Al Nipper, Bill Buckner, Bob Ojeda, Bob Stanley, Bruce Hurst, Dennis Eckersley, Dwight Evans, Jerry Remy, Jim Rice, Joe Cronin, Mark Clear, Mike Easler, Oil Can Boyd, Ralph Houk, Roger Clemens, Ted Williams, Tony Armas