Sox 88 – Bob Stanley

In the winter of 87-88, Sox righty Bob Stanley was trying for a comeback. Long the object of boo-birds at Fenway Park both for his weight and famous wild pitch in game 6 of the 86 Series, Stanley, who both started and relieved, was working hard with team physician Arthur Pappas to get in shape.
Perhaps still feeling the effects of that tenth inning in Shea Stadium, Stanley had fallen on hard times in 87- a 4-15 mark and a 5.01 ERA. It was by far his worst performance in a Sox career that went back to 1977. "I made a deal with him," Pappas was quoted as saying in an article by Globe columnist Leigh Montville. "I gave him the month of October off and said that then we would begin. A nutrition program. A cardiovascular program. Flexibility. Strengthening. I believe November 1 was a Sunday, but on November 2 at 9:00  he was at my office and we began…he was doing great."
But a cloud was still hanging over the 33-year-old sinkerballer. In mid-January, coming out of his house on the way to a workout, he slipped and fell on his way down the stairs. His pitching hand landed on a bottle. It broke, and the glass severed the palm of the hand.
Only a month before Spring Training, Bob had to endure four hours of surgery at UMass Medical Center. There had been damage to nerves and tendons. "The injury is in a critical area," Pappas said. "It's hard to predict what will happen. We will not know until he starts to rehabilitate." Will McDonough wrote that his baseball future was in jeapordy, and it certainly was. The story, however, does not end there.
"Steamer" would recover and have a fairly successful season in the Sox bullpen, appearing in 57 games, winning 6 and losing 4 with a 3.19 ERA, nearly two runs better than his 87 mark. He also contributed 6 saves and appeared in the ALCS against Oakland.
Stanley would spend his entire 13-year career in Boston, a rare feat in the days of free agency. He would win 115 games and save 132  more. He was durable, nine times throwing more than 100 innings and was twice chosen an AL all-star. He had 21 complete games and 7 shutouts. Unlike many of today's hurlers, Stanley seemed to move easily between starting and relieving.
Bob is presently pitching coach for the Buffalo Bisons, a farm team of the Blue Jays. Stanley was more than just the man who threw the pitch to Mookie Wilson.

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