Blog #41 (Dwight "Dewey" Evans)

By Richard J. Decker on December 12, 2012 7:00 AM

This week there is no legal section of the blog.

This week's memory is from Boston Red Sox right fielder Dwight ("Dewey") Evans. Dwight played for the Red Sox for 19 years (1972-1990) before closing out his career with the Baltimore Orioles in 1991. He wore number 24 in honor of his idol Willie Mays. He was a very good hitter and a great fielder with an exceptional arm (he won 8 Gold Gloves). His two best seasons were the 1981 strike shortened season when he led the American League in total bases and tied for the league lead in home runs and 1987 when, at the age of 35, he hit .305 with 34 home runs and 123 runs batted in. He finished with 385 lifetime home runs (4 of which came on Opening Days) and was the only player to hit 20 or more home runs in every year of the 1980s. From 1980-1989, he hit more home runs than any other American League player. He is second on the Red Sox in games played (behind only Carl Yastrzemski) and was elected to the Red Sox Hall of Fame in 2000. Here is his most memorable Opening Day experience.

Evans.jpg"I had twenty Openers, and although they were all exciting, the one that was most memorable was the 1986 Opener. Our manager, John McNamara, told me about three weeks before spring training ended that I was going to start the season batting lead off, because a certain guy didn't want to. So I said, 'OK, fine.' And I proceeded to have a dream that I was going to hit a home run in my first at bat. I came into the locker room and told the guys about it. I said, 'I had a dream that I'm going to hit a home run on the first pitch of the season.' And they went, 'Yeah, yeah. Right.' And I said, 'I really did have that dream. And I am going to hit a home run.'

On Opening Day, we were facing Jack Morris in Tiger Stadium. There's 55,000 fans there, and I said to Walt Hriniak, our batting coach, who didn't like me thinking about home runs - he thought they came naturally - 'Walter, I'm gonna hit a line drive to right center!' And he smiled and said, 'Great! I like that!' I went into the on deck circle and Marty Barrett was standing there with me. I slammed the batting donut down off the weighted bat and said, 'Marty, I'm going deep on the first pitch.' I'm looking out at Jack and I said to myself, 'There's no way this guy is gonna do anything but throw a fastball down the middle for a strike in front of 55,000 Tiger fans.' The pitch came and I hit a home run to left center on the first pitch! And it was predestined from that dream I had three weeks earlier!"

Not bad. See you in two. Richie