in the spring and was sent down to the Portland Sea Dogs, the AA farm club. Then the starting shortstop cracked his knee on a routine double play, which saw me sent up to the Pawtucket clubhouse. I was doing fine there, watching the pennant races, and improving my chances at actually making it past Spring Training for the next season. I mean, the guy the Sox were starting got in a serious slump and couldn't get out of it. While they were trying to arrange a trade for a real replacement, they brought me up as a promotional campaign against the Yankees.
I hit .647 against them, with 5 home runs. Okay, 17 at bats isn't indicative for a career, but it was against the hated Yanks. I went on to win rookie of the year, batting .429. We squeaked in as the wild card, but lost to the Yankees in the ALCS.
I signed a two year $25 million dollar contract with the Sox in the off-season - they were still concerned with my durability and thought the first season was somewhat of a fluke. I swept the Triple Crown and took the MVP in my second season, we took the AL East, but lost to the Yankees in the ALDS.
My third year, well I hit for 103 home runs in the regular season and we ended up tied for the AL East with the Yankees. We had split the regular season meetings and had to play a tie- breaker in order to determine who would take the division. Jackson, who hit in the 5 spot behind me, was on the DL, so they pitched around me during my first couple of bats, but with the bases loaded in the seventh, a signal got crossed and I air- mailed one the opposite way. I think the Boss blew a heart valve then and there. Anyway, we ended up winning the East and home field against the Yanks in the ALCS. We took the Mariners in 3 and the Tigers had taken the Bronx Bombers all the way.
We cruised through the first 3 games, the Tigers had really taken their toll, but they got off to a good start in the fourth game. Jackson was back in the line up behind me and they had to pitch more to me. So, it was the 11th inning, 2 outs, bases loaded, and they were leading by a run. I was up to bat and I crushed one just outside the foul pole. I also nearly took out the pitcher with the head of my bat when it cracked off.
When you are the two time league MVP, soon to be 3rd time, you are allowed to be a little superstitious. In my case, I don't like anyone, and I mean anyone, touching my bats. Most people think it is because they are corked, but whenever the league takes one of my bats, they never find any tampering. The real reason is that if I don't keep them under lock and key, they end up on eBay. Anyway, I only took two bats out to the field and my other had splintered in the 3rd inning.
The GM for the Yankees was trying to get the umpires to examine the remains of my bat while I was trying to explain to them why I didn't have a spare in the racks and why I wasn't going to borrow just any old bat from my teammates. He got tossed for bumping the home plate ump while shoving the bat head in his face. I said please and that did it, they called a TV timeout and I started down to the clubhouse - there was no way I was giving my locker combination out to anyone else in the stadium. I had to hustle, so I didn't even drop the remains of my bat.
A funny thing happened to me on the way. You have to remember that there were cameras on the dugout the whole time and a crew waiting in the locker room to interview us on our post- game reactions.
I never reached the locker room, they never found me, they now call that hallway the "Bermuda Corridor", and the Yankees went on to win that game and the next three. The Cubs beat them for the World Series in 4 straight.
Talk about notoriety, I've eclipsed Elvis in the tabloids. What did
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