Curses! Ruth factor still haunts Red Sox's pennant run

THE INSIDE STUFF

September 24, 1991|By Bill Tanton

It's happening all over again, the Boston Red Sox curse that Dan Shaughnessy wrote about in his 1990 book, "The Curse of The Babe."

The Bosox last won a World Series in 1918. Then they sold Babe Ruth to the Yankees -- and they haven't won a world championship since.

The Sox, after creeping to within 1 1/2 games of Toronto last weekend, came within one strike of victory Sunday and lost to the Yankees. Last night they got off to a 2-0 lead in the first inning here, only to lose to the Orioles, 4-3.

"I don't think they'll ever win, at least not in my lifetime," says Shaughnessy, a former Evening Sun Orioles beat writer, now a Boston Globe columnist who's here covering this series. "I still believe in The Curse of The Babe."

Boston would win it all if it could pitch red-hot Roger Clemens (17-8) every night. He will go against the O's only double-digit winner, Bob Milacki (10-8) tomorrow night.

Clemens will be looking for his sixth straight win as he goes for his fourth 20-win season in six years. This late-season spurt once again has made The Rocket a leading candidate for the Cy Young Award. It would be his third. At midseason, that appeared to be out of the question.

* As the Orioles go down to the wire, aiming to draw 2.6 million, I find some of the attendance figures in Bob Creamer's current terrific book, "Baseball in '41," astounding.

St. Louis' Gas House Gang, the 1934 St. Louis Cardinals of Dizzy Dean, Pepper Martin and Joe Medwick, perhaps the most colorful team in baseball history, won the National League championship after a close pennant race. They drew 325,000.

The St. Louis Browns, forebearers of our own Orioles (the Browns came here in 1953), drew only 853,000 over an eight-season period (1932-39).

This year, with a sixth-place club that is going to lose 95 games, the Orioles will finish fifth or sixth in the majors in attendance. In the NL only the Dodgers will outdraw Baltimore.

Last night's 27,349 at the stadium brings the season's total to 2,394,655. The final weekend on 33rd Street will produce enormous crowds, with only 2,000 tickets remaining for Friday, Oct. 4, and 2,600 for the following day. The finale Oct. 6 is a sellout.

Anybody who says baseball ain't what it used to be is right. Despite the protests of people who complain about today's salaries and greedy players, baseball certainly draws a heckuva lot more people than anyone would have dreamed 50 years ago.

* Robert Woods, a member of the 1941 Navy football team, had such a good time at that team's 50th reunion last Saturday at Annapolis that he's thinking of going to West Point next year to observe another 50th.

After playing for Navy in '41, Woods went to West Point in '42 and played there, against Navy, of course. Woods was on the winning side in both Army-Navy games.

* Investment counselor Ralph W. Miller writes to say his choice for a name for the new ballpark here is Schaefer Stadium -- "to honor in a small way the one who made it all possible." And what, sir, if a $208 million monument to Gov. Schaefer would constitute honoring him in a small way, might be a big way?

* Herbert Greenberg, concert master of the Baltimore Symphony Orchestra and a huge Orioles fan (he even makes the trips to Hagerstown and Frederick to see the O's farm clubs), toured the new ballyard at Camden Yards the other day. He came away so impressed that he was trying to figure how many partners he would need to buy one of the luxury skyboxes at $55,000 to $90,000 per year. He was wondering if he could use his box as a studio to teach his violin students during the day.

The Maryland Stadium Authority's Nolan Rogers has led so many tours through the new park that he has learned how to put some comedy into his routine.

When Rogers pointed out the bullpens in left-centerfield, someone asked if there will be "little bathrooms" for the players. Said Nolan: "Yes. Remember, they do call these people relievers."

Rogers, a multi-dimensional sportsman, will leave for China Thursday in his role as general manager of the World Champion USA lacrosse team. He'll lay groundwork for a 1992 trip to China that will have the U.S. team playing eight days of demonstration games.

Says Rogers: "We look forward to building a great relationship with the People's Republic of China and to teaching young Chinese athletes to be great lacrosse players."

* A lot of people have asked me if the light rail line to Camden Yards will be ready for Opening Day '92. "Definitely," I am assured by the Department of Transportation's Missy Drissel, who is working on that very project.

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