Friday, February 23, 2007

100 Greatest Red Sox >> #65 Troy O'Leary

Troy O'Leary, OF, #25 (1995-2001)

962 G, 954 H, 209 2B, 117 HR, 516 RBI, .276 Avg, .330 OBP, .459 SLG

As soon as Jose signed his letter of intent declaring his plans to participate in this project, he knew he wanted Troy O’Leary. Let’s look at the facts. First, O’Leary hit one of the two batting practice balls Jose owns from his time working at Fenway in 1995. (Note: The other belongs to the then hitting coach a washed up hack named Jim Rice who could still crush batting practice.) Second, O’Leary, like Jose frequented a bar named O’Leary’s on Beacon St. just West of Kenmore Square. They have good soda bread there. Third, the rumors about the personal problems that distracted O’Leary in 2000 involve the delicious combination of Mrs. O’Leary and a speedy teammate, making this the most interesting story involving a Mrs. O’Leary that does not involve the incineration of Chicago. Fourth, his nickname “Yummy,” given for his sweet tooth, is maybe the best official Red Sox nickname of all time. Jose only regrets that he was not writing at the time, so he could have demanded that “yummy, yummy, yummy I’ve got love in my tummy” by Ohio Express become O’Leary’s theme song.

But let’s be honest, as much as Jose loves all of these things about Troy O’Leary, they are not the reason he is on this list and they are not the reason Jose wanted to write about him. No, Troy O’Leary became a legend… that’s right a legend... one night in October 1999 when the Cleveland Indians twice made a tactically perfect move. Two times they intentionally walked Nomar Garciaparra, the only frightening hitter on that Red Sox squad, in order to face the man they call Yummy. And Yummy ate them up like so many chocolate covered gummi bears. Each time he launched home runs a grand slam and a three run shot that, in combination with Pedro Martinez’s six innings of hitless relief, gave the Red Sox a 12-8 win. When asked after the game how he had overcome his poor performance earlier in the series to emerge as a star, O’Leary a black ballplayer in Boston answered with a reply that would have made any Sully in Southie proud “Luck of the Irish.”

Troy O'Leary's biography was proudly written by Jose Melendez of Keys to the Game.

10 comments:

SoxFan said...

What an exciting game that was back in 1999, I remember it well

Brian said...

Between O'Leary's homers and Pedro's 6 innings of no-hit relief work it was definately one of the best games I've ever seen.

Anonymous said...

When did he retire??

Anonymous said...

Where's the bio? That's a story about a bio to be written, not a bio.

Gij Lyons said...

Why'd he retire so young?

Anonymous said...

I went to high school with Troy. He was a great player that seemed to never return to himself following his personal problems. Eventually the team traded him away after they signed Manny.

brandy said...

This is a great guy and a great friend. One could be so lucky to have known Troy. He is a great ball player, a great father to his children, a wonderful son to his mother and a inspiring brother that is always there for his family and friends. Brandy

DROU said...

hes a great guy.. my favorite player ever. im 20 yrs old now i wrote him a letter when i was 11 an he personally called our house within a week.. great player.

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