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Bob Lobel: Embarrassing Moments?

Wednesday, March 07, 2012


Embarrassing moments? We all have them, and for me there is a category for both on and off camera.

The off air moments are usually much more memorable unless, of course, you use one of the 7 words as defined on the air by George Carlin, and in that case, you’re fired!

Red Sox

I want to share with you one off air moment which occurred at the New York Hard Rock Café after the 1986 World Series 6th game. Now, the thing about game six is how much now is finally being revealed, there is a lot more to the night than just a ball going through Bill Buckner’s legs.

Red Sox manager, John McNamara had a bad night, in fact, his night was much worse than his first baseman’s. For instance, his starting pitcher, Roger Clemens, was accused of asking out of the game with blister problems. Clemens has always denied this, saying Johnny Mack wanted to get to the bull pen. And it is in fact true that Clemens actually went in to shave for a post game celebration.

That is only the start of the downhill track of Johnny Mac. We know now that he routinely replaced first baseman Bill Buckner in every other playoff game except this one. He took him out in the late innings for defensive purposes replacing him with middle infielder Dave Stapleton. Mac now claims that Stapleton had a nickname of “shaky” and therefore his best first baseman was Buckner. No member of that Red Sox team ever heard Stapleton being called “shaky,” either during that game or the other post season games when he was put at first.

We know, at that point, Buckner should not have been in the game but there is one story that has not come out until just recently. A player who was on the field that night told me during the 10th inning he saw the Mets scoreboard congratulating the Boston Red Sox as 1986 World Champions of baseball. In that same 10th inning Calvin Chiraldi was on the mound and according to Chiraldi and reliever Bob Stanley, Calvin should have been on the bench with Buckner.

Both Stanley and Chiraldi were told by Johnny Mac that Stanley would start the 10th. After all, he had been their best pitcher out of the bullpen in the post season. For some reason the manager told Chiraldi to go back in after the Red Sox had grabbed the lead on another Dave Henderson clutch home run in the top of the 10th. Stanley was jilted and Chiraldi was left surprised. Chiraldi had checked out mentally after the ninth. Stanley was ready to come in and Chiraldi was ready to come out. When Chiraldi started to struggle and the Mets started to rally with 2 outs in the ninth, McNamara finally went to Stanley.

Now it’s 2012 and ironically, there are two throws and two non-catches that have probably cost New England teams two World Championships. Of course, Brady to Welker was the most recent but in the 10th inning of the 6th game of that ‘86 World Series, Mookie Wilson was up with the tying run at third. Stanley’s pitch got by Rich Gedman allowing Kevin Mitchell to score. It’s still up for debate if Stanley’s pitch was wild or if it was a passed ball.

Two throws, two drops, two championships lost.

But there is more. Mookie Wilson is still up and he hits the ground ball up the first baseline. What you need to know, and probably didn’t, was that second baseman Marty Barrett had put on a pickoff play at second to make an attempt to get Ray Knight who was taking a big lead and representing the winning run. Second Baseman Barrett was shaded over toward second. Buckner knew the play was on and moved over toward Barrett to cover the hole between first and second. The net result was that when Stanley threw home, Buckner was out of position for the ground ball.

Next time you see highlights of the play, which you will for sure, check Buckner running to get in front of the ball. I am not making excuses, he should have had it by his own admission, but that pickoff play call made the first base play that much more difficult for the hobbled Buckner. Again, there is no excuse, but maybe this gives us a better understanding.

After a rainy day, game seven came around and it was Oil Can Boyd’s turn to pitch but McNamara passed him up for Bruce Hurst. He was quoted recently in a Tampa newspaper that Can was too drunk to pitch. Can claims that trainer Charlie Moss went to the manager and told him not to pitch Dennis for no reason given.

What a night, what a weekend.

So what happened at the Hard Rock Café the night after game 6? Well, I was responsible for getting the entire channel 4 crew kicked out, including photographers, producers, anchor Jack Williams, and yours truly. And all I did was chant “Daaarylll,” but I was warned by the bartender to shut it down.

I thought the bartender was gone but he was actually just down below fixing the beer taps. I started the chant again, “Daaarylll” – and out we went. In the end, Jack Williams had the best move of all when he turned what was left of his drink right over onto the bar.

I always liked him even more for that.


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