Sunday, March 17, 2013

March 17- Boston Red Sox

Tonight’s post will be taken with a different approach. While a few of the others in the past have involved me enjoying a good beer that I nursed throughout the writing process, with this one I will be completely inebriated. I’ve slugged down two Pabst Blue Ribbons, a pint of Guinness and a shot of Jameson… all on an empty stomach. I know I don’t need to do this. Hell, there may not even be anything really that original about it. Nonetheless, it’s St. Patrick’s Day and I’m Irish. Like the famous Irish writers who have come before me (James Joyce, Flann O’Brien and William B. Yeats) I have elected to follow in their footsteps and try to come up with something profound… but probably won’t. Enjoy!

Boston has been long known as a hot bed for the Irish immigrants and their families who sailed across the Atlantic in the hopes of making it big in America. Like their ancestors who came before them, professional baseball players are hardly different. Both had a particular skill or talent, and both had dreams of making it big in the country which has always been overtly prosperous. However, like Irish of old, sometimes you’re never given your shot; sometimes hard times and the unfortunately reality that your time has come to an end lies in your path.
This cap was first used on St. Paddy's in 2004 and every subsequent March 17th since.

#48- Unless you’re an extreme baseball historian, I highly doubt that any of you know who Tim Lollar is or was. Hell, prior to three days ago I didn’t even have a clue. But, in keeping with the day, and what I said in the previous paragraph, I doubt very few of you will forget him.

For the longest time I had always thought that the Boston Red Sox were the first team to introduce the green St. Patrick Day uniforms to Spring Training. The reality was that the Los Angeles Dodgers had done it briefly in the 1960s with their warm-up uniforms, but it was the 1978 Cincinnati Reds that first donned the actual St. Paddy’s unis in a game against the previous year’s World Series champion New York Yankees. But, as years passed and more and more teams jumped in the St. Paddy’s Day bandwagon it was only a matter of time before the Red Sox took notice as well. 1994 was the first year the Red Sox partook to be exact.

In keeping with the date and team I had to search intently through years of facts, numbers and stores in order to put together a legitimate St. Patrick’s Day story for the Red Sox. Unfortunately, no matter which book I combed through, and no matter which Web sites I pillaged, all I could find was this name, Tim Lollar.

Lollar was born on St. Patrick’s Day of 1956 in Poplar Bluff, Missouri. He attended the University of Arkansas in Fayetteville and was drafted as a pitcher by the Yankees in the fourth round of the 1978 amateur draft. His career only lasted seven years, at which his most notable statistical came in 1982 with the San Diego Padres when he went 16-9 with a 3.13 ERA and 150 strikeouts. Lollar had begun his career as a starting pitcher; however, by the time he got to the Red Sox in 1986 he was utilized more out of the bullpen.

Lollar pitched in 32 games in ’86, going 2-0 with a 6.91 ERA for hands down the worst year of his career. His performance that season was so questionable that his final career game came on October 5th, a few games before the season had ended. Lollar was so disregarded by the Sox that they left him off the playoff roster. The only time Lollar ever got a chance to lay in the postseason came in 1984 with the Padres in the National League Championship Series and the World Series against the Detroit Tigers. His performance in the ’94 World Series ended with 1 2/3 innings pitched, four earned runs, four hits, four walks, a home run given up and a loss. But that’s the way it goes in the Show sometimes. You have your good days, and certainly your bad ones. The one thing I can’t help but think about is Game 6 of the ’86 Series. Had Calvin Schiraldi gotten that final out against Gary Carter in the bottom of the 10th inning, Lollar would have had himself a World Series ring to at least be prideful about. For Schiraldi, that was certainly a bad day; a day that affected more than the men on the field, but the guys who never got their shot to redeem themselves in the postseason.

After Lollar’s career ended he moved to Lakewood, Colorado and got heavily into the golf scene. So much that he became a PGA pro and built a more successful career as an instructor.

Unfortunately there’s not much else to be said about him. I still find it a bit odd that this is the only St. Patrick’s Day related bit of fodder within the history of the Red Sox organization; however, since the day falls within Spring Training, I suppose there isn’t much that can be done about that.

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