It’s hard for young people to fathom, but the Red Sox of the late ’50s and early ’60s were noncontenders, hardly relevant. In Buddin’s last two seasons with the Sox, they finished 32 and 33 games out of first place. They didn’t draw many fans (well under a million in ’59 and ’61). Buddin became the poster boy for bad times.
If John Lackey thinks he’s got it bad now, he should have talked with Don Buddin. Buddin was the early-day Julio Lugo. And the nasty stuff from the stands sounds louder when there are only 8,000 people in the ballpark. You hear everything.
“It was bad,’’ recalls Frank Malzone, who played third base next to Buddin for four long seasons. “He got off to a bad start and the fans gave him a hard time when he came to the ballpark. I played right next to him. Hearing all these guys hooting and hollering at him, I was thinking, ‘Better him than me.’ I would hate to walk out there and hear that every day.’’
* = Some 'vacation' - two appearances on 'The Baseball Insiders' and two CNN / SI columns, and that's not including any other TV appearances I didn't catch.