The Boston Red Sox hold a two-games-to-none World Series lead over the Los Angeles Dodgers going into Friday’s game at Dodger Stadium, and Highland County’s own “Mr. Baseball,” Kip Young, told The Times-Gazette that the BoSox are the team to watch as the season wraps up.
“Right now, Boston, with the team hitting the way they have, is unbelievable,” the former major leaguer said. “I would hate to have to pitch against them myself, but they’ve got a nine-man lineup that has been consistent all year, and from a former pitcher’s standpoint, they don’t swing at bad pitches.”
Young, a Whiteoak High School graduate who pitched for the Detroit Tigers for two seasons, is now retired from both baseball and education, having capped a 30-year stint as a physical education teacher with the Eastern Brown School District. He spends his days now selling cars at Hillsboro Auto Sales.
“Everybody in the Boston lineup is a contact hitter and they’re a tough team to pitch against,” he said. “I think the Dodgers are gonna have their hands full.”
Young reaffirmed a comment that former Cincinnati Reds Manager Sparky Anderson made, claiming that the team that wins more than 100 games in a season will be in the October Classic.
According to statistics from Major League Baseball, three teams finished with at least 100 or more victories this year, all of them American League franchises. The Red Sox ended up winning 108 games.
“They’ve been consistent all year, and consistency always wins,” Young said. “They’ve got solid pitching, defense and hitting, and I’ve been following them all year and they’re just an impressive team in the way they work the pitchers, don’t swing at bad pitches and how they work the count… When you put the ball in play, things happen and that’s what they’ve been doing all year.”
Young remembered a game when the ball was in play at Fenway Park in September 1978, getting beat 1-0 while pitching a three-hitter with a shot “heard round the world” from future hall of famer Jim Rice.
“I was pitching against Carl Yastrzemski, Jim Rice and Fred Lynn and that bunch,” he said. “Jim Rice hit a home run off of me and I think that ball is still going… you look at center field and it’s 420 feet, and I believe it hit about 25 rows up, so when you’re watching the game if they get back to Fenway, look for a big hole in one of the seats.”
Young will turn 64 on Monday, Oct. 29 and has fond memories of staring down from the pitcher’s mound into the eyes of the best in baseball, many of whom now have plaques at Cooperstown.
“You’re on the mound and Reggie Jackson is at the plate,” he said. “Bases loaded and nobody out, and I’ve got to get Reggie out… that was a big adrenaline rush, believe me.”
Reach Tim Colliver at 937-402-2571.