Thursday, March 24, 2005

March 24th, 1958

Bruce Hurst Born

Bruce Hurst holds the unfortunate distinction of being one of great “What-might-have-been” stories of the last twenty years. After a good year (13-8, 2.99) in 1986, Hurst started Game One of the World Series. Facing the Mets, who had led the National League in runs scored by a sizable margin, Hurst did not allow a run in eight innings and got the 1-0 win after Calvin Schiraldi pitched a scoreless ninth. Hurst then started Game Five and pitched a complete game allowing just two runs. Hurst had now won two of Boston’s three wins and going into Game Six had a 1.05 ERA. During the famous (or infamous, I suppose, for Red Sox fans) tenth inning of Game Six, the Shea Stadium scoreboard briefly offered congratulations to Hurst for winning the 1986 WS MVP award. Of course, its traditional to wait until the Series is over to vote on the MVP award and that proved Hurst’s undoing.

He started Game Seven on short rest and pitched relatively well, tiring and surrendering three runs in the sixth inning, his final one of the Series. Despite this, had the Sox managed to win the Series, Hurst who was far and away the most effective of the Sox pitchers going 2-0, 1.96 ERA in three games probably would’ve taken the MVP. Instead, Ray Knight won the award and Hurst was doomed to what-might-have-been status. He played two more seasons for the Sox before leaving for San Diego as a free agent, and ended his career after ineffective performances for the Rockies and Rangers in the early 90s.

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