Sports

That '70s Series

by Chip Ainsworth

The first game of the 1975 World Series was an afternoon tilt, played on Saturday, October 11. I didn’t have a ticket, so I watched from inside a watering hole around the corner from Fenway Park called Copperfield’s. There were no sports bars in those days, no Sam Adams beer, big screen TVs, cell phones, twitter, Wally the Green Monster, pink hats, Monster Seats or anything else that revolves around the highly effective but somewhat repulsive marketing tool called Red Sox Nation, which didn’t exist back then either.

ESPN was still four years away, and the only sports talk shows in town were Guy Mainella’s “Calling All Sports” and Eddie Andelman’s “Sports Huddle,” both on WBZ-AM. We read the Globe and the Herald and rooted for guys named Pudge, Yaz and Dewey against a team of future Hall-of-Famers named Bench, Morgan and Rose (who’s still waiting).

I drank Budweiser and watched on a color set perched over the far right-hand side of the bar. It wasn’t crowded, the TV volume was down and the radio was turned on. The bartender was hunched over wiping beer glasses and humming along to a pop hit called “Games People Play.”

Two blocks away, U.S. Treasury Secretary William Simon threw out the first pitch and Luis Tiant spun a six-hit shutout that lasted two hours and 27 minutes. The next day the Globe ran a cartoon of Tiant pulling the plug on Sparky Anderson’s Big Red Machine. New England fans were enthralled and reacted with a spontaneity that today has been suffocated by high prices and commercialism.

Ten days after Tiant’s gem, Bernie Carbo drove a pinch-hit three-run homer into the centerfield bleachers to tie Game Six, 6-6, in the bottom of the eighth inning. As he rounded the bases, Carbo looked at Pete Rose and said, “Don’t you wish you were this strong?”

“Ain’t this fun, Bernie?” replied Rose.

Carbo’s blast set the stage for Carlton Fisk’s homerun off the left-field foul pole that capped what was arguably the best World Series game in baseball history.

The twelve-inning classic took four hours and one minute to complete, 20 minutes under what it took for the Red Sox and Yankees to play a nine-inning game two weeks ago.

It cost $15 for a box seat to that 1975 World Series. This year the same seat will cost $275.

Invoices were mailed to season ticket holders last week, and recipients have ten days to cough up the cabbage.

The face value for a World Series bleacher seat will be $100 and a front row seat near the two dugouts will cost $800. If the Red Sox were to play the maximum possible ten games at Fenway Park this postseason, the aforementioned front row seat will cost $7,250.

That is if the Red Sox get that far. If they do, and you can’t afford to get into Fenway Park, just remember Copperfield’s is on Brookline Avenue, across the street from Ace Ticket. They didn’t have places like that around back then, either.

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Chip Ainsworth, a columnist for The Recorder of Greenfield, Mass., has covered high school, college, and professional sports in New England and beyond for four decades. Chip is the 2011 first-place winner for sports commentary, small newspaper category, in the annual New England Associated Press News Executives Association competition. He has won the award numerous times.

1 reply »

  1. I remember that game. We were living in Providence at the time, and the whole city was gripped. That series is still the best, or one of them (Twins/Braves 1991 is the one that comes closest in my mind). I’m a Boston fan, so I’m biased. But you’re right–the 1970s may have been the last decade of innocence for baseball.