Tuesday, July 25, 2006

Rich Are The Rooms And The Comforts There

I love this stuff... I just bought this on ebay from someone who was selling off an estate. It consisted of a lot of old negatives. A bunch of them were from baseball games in Oakland, including the one I bought (pictured) featuring the official Red Sox Cult Hero of ARSFIPT, Richard Leo Gedman.

The fun part was figuring out what game it was. I started with the obvious: the players in the photo. Rich Gedman played for the Sox for the entire 80s, pretty much. Tony Armas is the other guy in the photo (note BO/STON-style uni), and he only played for Boston from '83-'86. So it would have to have been taken during that four-year period. Then I made the assumption that Armas had just homered. The picture pretty clearly tells you that. It was a solo shot, as no one but the next hitter--clearly Gedman, with bat in hand--was at the plate to congratulate Tony. So, we'd need a Sox at Oakland game between '83 and '86 in which Tony Armas batted directly before Rich Gedman, and hit a solo home run.

Started in with the retrosheet. (Can I just reiterate what a gift from the heavens that site is? It's the site I'd bring with me in that all-too-common deserted island predicament.) There were, as we who grew up in the 80s are oh so aware, 12 games each year vs. the west in those central-less days. Two home series, two road. So I started with '83 and sifted through the two series at Oakland each year, up through '86.

There were only three games ever in which Rich Gedman followed Tony Armas in the lineup as a member of the Boston Red Sox at Oakland, California's Oakland-Alameda County Coliseum. One in '83, two in '84. We can throw out the '83 game, since Armas didn't homer--or score a run, for those that doubt the home run theory. But, come on, he's pretty clearly scoring on a homer. The next batter wouldn't get all the way up to the plate if a play was happening. And don't give me any "he could be scoring on a ground-rule double" crap. It's a home run.

So that leaves us with Saturday, April 7th and Sunday, April 8th of 1984. Now that we know it's April, we know it's a day game, as a night game would start in the dark, as opposed to summer, when it's still light at game time. Amazingly, both games fit all the criteria: Both were day games in which Gedman batted after Armas and Armas hit a solo home run.

There's no way of telling, from what we've got so far, which of the two days this picture is from. So I checked the Old Farmer's Almanac online. On 4/7/84 at the airport in Oakland, it got up to 61 degrees, with no precipiation. On 4/8, same deal, only with a trace of rain. (Alameda Naval Air Station reported 64.9 on the 7th, and an even 64 on the eighth, with 0.02 inches of rain and some fog.) Both weather stations are about the same distance from the Coliseum. So this tells us nothing.

The final data we have to work with is: the other negatives this person was selling. A bunch appear to be from that same day. There are some shots of older players in different uniforms, including Willie Mays. This makes me think it must have been Old Timers' Day. I'm gonna go out on a limb and say that would've been held on a Sunday as opposed to a Saturday, although it easily could've been either.

So I'm going with Sunday, April 8th, 1984. Tony Armas has led off the top of the second with a homer off of Steve McCatty, cutting the A's lead to 6-1. Gedman would follow with a fly out to left fielder Rickey Henderson. (Al Nipper was the pitcher for the Sox at the time, having relieved Mike Brown in the first.)

This is the second time I've done Geddy-ciphering. A while ago, I got an autographed black and white photo (on ebay, for, like, two bucks or something) of Gedman getting thrown out at third at Fenway against the White Sox. Rich had glasses on, which he only wore in '81 and '82. There were buntings on the wall, so I checked early-season games from those years. And I found it: April 12th, 1982. Opening Day. Gedman doubles to right and gets thrown out trying to stretch it to a triple. Steve Kemp, the left fielder is in the shot, backing up third, which is impressive. And the third baseman? Jim Morrison.

Dude, totally called Trot's shot...I'm sort of game-logging tonight, so if you're up, drop me some lineage...A's going to the pen in the 3rd..."Bad news for the A's!" Bring in Sarlooser...
Do I seem like the type to go to bed when the Red Sox are on?? TV???

I would listen to Castiglione and Coleman in my bed when I was in elementary school for 10:05s...
That is awesome. They should start CSI:RedSoxNation and you should be on it.

I used to fall asleep to Castiglione too. My clock radio had a timer thing that would turn off after 30 minutes.
Thanks. The next step is deciding what to do with the negative. Like, develop it into a big picture or a huge picture...

Also, since we're both from the same town, we should really figure out if we know any of the same people. Maybe big/little brothers/sisters.

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Location: Rhode Island, United States