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With no one driving in more than 89 runs in 1990, maybe all the Red Sox really needed was a little more run production were they to prevail in 1991. On December 15, 1990 they signed a two-year deal with another aging, power-hitting, right-handed first baseman, 35-year-old Jack Clark. He’d had an off year in 1990, and he did lead the Red Sox in both home runs (28) and RBIs (87, two fewer than Burks had driven in during 1990). They didn’t get much of anything out of him in 1992, though. Boggs hit .332 and scored 93 runs, obviously fully-recovered from another Boggs-ian incident outside Christy’s Lounge in Winter Haven late in spring training, when he fell out of the car his wife was driving. The Globe’s Nick Cafardo saw Boggs sporting a “tire-tread pattern” on Boggs’ right elbow. There was a serious medical matter that cast a pall over the team in midseason. Reliever Jeff Gray was having an excellent year with a 2.34 ERA in 61 2/3 innings of work. On July 30, Gray suffered a stroke in the Red Sox home clubhouse. The Red Sox had lost nine consecutive home games, their worst losing streak since 1927. Carlos Quintana helped break the streak that very evening, with a third-inning grand slam off Dennis Boyd (The Can was pitching for the Rangers) and later stroked a two-run double in the same inning. Q’s six RBIs in one inning put his name in the record books, tying an M.L. record. Gray survived, but he never played baseball again. Second in Sox home runs was Brunansky, with 16. Even with Clark, the team only hit 126. Roger Clemens led the league in ERA at 2.62 and in strikeouts with 241. He won 18 and lost 10, and won his third Cy Young Award. The Red Sox never gave up. They were in fourth place on July 20, then held third place from August 2 to September 8, and second place from then to the end of the season, coming to within a half a game of first place (tied in the loss column) after beating the Yankees, 21-1, on September 21. The team ran out of gas then and there. From that point on, they won only three of the remaining 14 games and finished seven games behind Toronto, 84-78, tied for second place with the Tigers. Two days after the regular season ended, GM Haywood Sullivan fired Joe Morgan, and brought in former third baseman Butch Hobson. Sullivan was worried another team might have signed up Hobson if he didn’t act to grab him. At the end of the month, Sox counsel John Donovan let the media know that the Red Sox would be open to moving to a domed stadium and leaving Fenway Park behind. There was meant to be a “sports summit” in Boston to talk about the homes of the Red Sox, Patriots, and Celtics. In early December, the Red Sox and the City of Fort Myers reached tentative agreement to build City of Palms Park and see the Sox move there for spring training beginning in 1993.

By Bill Nowlin
 

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Tagged:
Butch Hobson, Carlos Quintana, City of Palms Park, Ellis Burks, Haywood Sullivan, Jack Clark, Jeff Gray, Joe Morgan, Oil Can Boyd, Roger Clemens, Tom Brunansky, Wade Boggs

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