At home at fenway

Keeping on eye on Dustin, Papi, Youk & a few good books

Marty Barrett is still a winner

Posted by athomeatfenway on March 13, 2014

Marty Barrett

Marty Barrett has a size 13 noggin. Or there abouts. He is 56 and retains the congenial face that charmed Fenway’s female fans in the 1980’s. Deep voiced, broad smiled, he is trim and athletic looking. He is a muscular 5’10. He’s not like Pedroia physically. More like him mentally.

Barrett is crowned with a much receded hairline. It somehow doesn’t make him look all that old. The guy Bruce Hurt refers to as “Bubble” appeared at least 10 years younger than he is last night at The World Series Club of Hartford County’s hot stove meeting.

“Bubble” is the nickname Barrett earned due to his unyielding mental concentration as a player. He made the point last night that God given talent is not enough. To make it in the Bigs a player must sacrifice, be disciplined and focus. Barrett learned that the hard way when he reported to his second MLB spring camp in out-of-shape condition. Management took him off the fast track. It was back to the bushes for Marty. He never forgot that lesson.

Life turns on chance happenings. Like when Dickie Kerr turned his injured pitcher into an outfielder. (Stan Musial.). Growing up in Las Vegas, Barrett’s youth coach turned out to be an unparalleled shaper of youngsters. 9 boys on Marty’s youth team played professional baseball at the minor league level. 2 of them, Barrett included, played in the MLB. What are the odds of that occurring….1 in 50 million?

Barrett’s offensive stats with the Sox weren’t eye popping. His career went .278, 18, 314 in 10 seasons. Plus 418 runs scored and 163 doubles. He received a 1% share of the 1986 AL MVP vote. He led the AL in Sac Hits for 3 straight years, averaging 20.

There are playoff highlights. He set a postseason record with 24 hits in 14 games. He batted .433 in the World Series. He batted .367 in the ALCS and was the ALCS MVP.

He makes all of us little guys proud to be less than 6 feet tall. And though Marty only hit 18 career homers, he took HOF’er Tom Seaver yard, and he stroked 2 grand slams.

He spoke well of his old team mates.

Oil Can Boyd was an intense competitor, with a sharp baseball acumen; and, sure, Marty said with a smile, he is somewhat crazy.

Roger Clemens did not ask out of Game 7 in the World Series, according to Barrett. Roger would never do that. Barrett was right there when Clemens told McNamara that he was fine with whatever the Skipper wanted to do. He was fine to continue pitching. It was Mac’s call.

Bubble said that Mike Greenwell was an uber competitor, and deserved the 1988 AL MVP (.325, 22, 119) over the P.E.D.-besotted Jose Canseco (.307, 42, 124, 40 SB).

Barrett’s career was short. He played 5 full seasons and parts of 5 more. The equivalent of six and one half years of full time playing.

When he talked about the end of his Big League tenure, he said only that he injured his ACL. He didn’t mention that the Sox settled with him for $2.5 million because Team Doctor Arthur Pappas repeatedly shot cortisone into his knee instead of surgically repairing it.

Marty was all done at age 32. His 18th career home run was a pinch hit job off Dave Rhigetti for the Padres, the only team other than the Sox that he played for.

Arthur Pappas cheated Barrett, sticking him with the needle to keep him on the field. Perhaps he cheated Marty out of 5 years.

There is no detectable resentment in Marty Barrett. He is devoted to his children. He beams confidence and happiness. You talk to him for a few minutes and you get the feeling that Marty Barrett likes you.

I talked to him three times alone last not. About his 18 home runs. About whether Xander Boegarts can play short very well someday. (He said Xander will, yes.) And the last time was when he was leaving and walked over to shake my hand and tell me how much he enjoyed speaking with me and everyone else in the place.

They can embroider the word “WINNER” on Marty Barrett’s sports jacket as far as I am concerned. The dude is a champion.

Go Sox.

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