It may seem counter intuitive for a Red Sox fan to put a Yankees card on his blog on Christmas Eve. But hey! I am feeling generous.
Besides, I remember these Yankee teams almost as well as I remember the Red Sox of the late 1970’s. Also I was too young to appreciate the collapse of 1978. Remember this team picture is of the 1978 World Champions.
But here is a dirty little secret from your pal Sully. I have fond memories of these Yankee teams.
No really! I do.
All year, growing up in the suburbs of Boston, I saw all Red Sox all the time. But in the summer, we would go to Fairfield, Connecticut to visit my grand parents on both sides of the family and a smattering of cousins at the beach off of Long Island Sound.
THERE the TV showed Yankees and Mets games. And seeing the Yankees were star studded and amazing while the Mets stunk, we watch the Yankees.
And I had a strong bond with my grandfather but also my mother over the Yankees. My mom grew up a Yankee fan and to this day has a soft spot in her heart for the team. And the Yankees we would watch on the TV had Yogi Berra as a coach. He was my Italian American grandfather’s favorite player for reasons that should be obvious.
The sound of the TV would be Phil Rizzuto, the same announcer my mother listened to. And Billy Martin was the manager, who my mom watch play.
Well, SOMETIMES he was the manager. Even at age 6, I knew the Yankees managerial situation was bananas. This card showed Bob Lemon as manager, as he took over the team at mid season from Billy Martin and interim manager Dick Howser. Of course midway through 1979, when I got this card, Lemon was replaced by Billy Martin. In 1980 Billy Martin was replaced by Dick Howser. In 1981, Dick Howser was replaced by Gene Michael, and then Bob Lemon… you get the picture.
My aunt Mary, another relative from the Italian side of my family, would take me and my brother to Yankees games, so I would remember seeing Reggie Jackson and Thurman Munson or Roy White or Chris Chambliss or Willie Randolph or Graig Nettles and everyone else play.
They reminded me of summer.
1979 was a sad year for Yankee fans of course because Thurman Munson, the most beloved Yankee of the era, died in a plane crash. I remember I was sad. I wasn’t a Yankee fan, but he was a face of summer.
So why is this Red Sox fan honoring a card that had one of the biggest tormenting Yankee teams of all time as its image?
It makes me happy. It makes me think of my mom and of family.