NEW YORK — First walk. First hustle on the basepaths. First strikeout. First run. First RBI. First “tremendous” catch.Speaking of 1967:
How long before Dr. Charles Steinberg produces “The Ballad of Jackie Bradley Jr.?’’
How long before Yawkey Way is renamed JBJ Way?
How long before we’re eating loaves of Jackie Bradley Jr. Bread?
The kid made his major-league debut Monday afternoon and was instrumental in the Red Sox’ 8-2 Opening Day thrashing of the New York Yankees. In his first big-league plate appearance, in the second inning, Bradley turned an 0-and-2 count into a hard-earned walk off CC Sabathia that triggered a four-run Red Sox rally. Bradley beat shortstop Eduardo Nunez’s throw to second when Jose Iglesias followed with a hit into the hole. Bradley knocked in an insurance run in the seventh, doing his job when he batted in a first-and-third, one-out situation. He walked three times and saw 26 pitches in five plate appearances. He made a catch that reminded old-timers of Yaz’s iconic grab in the ninth inning of Billy Rohr’s major league debut, a one-hitter in April of 1967 at Yankee Stadium.
It’s 1967 all over again. The Cardiac Kids had rookies named Reggie Smith and Mike Andrews. They went from ninth place to Boston’s first pennant in 21 years. They had a first-year manager who said, “We’ll win more than we lose.’’ And they had a rookie pitcher who hurled a one-hitter in his big-league debut in Yankee Stadium in April.Leading up to Opening Day, Shank was wondering which team would be finishing in last place; today the Cardiac Kids have been resurrected. So much for consistency.