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Doug is nowhere to be found, nowhere in sight. We land at 6: We regularly use police escorts to get the team in and out of Logan, so the traveling secretary [Jack McCormick] had an idea. He set it up. I remember guys glued to the TV in Boston that night. We have to watch this. I changed into my uniform as we were driving, from Logan all the way into Fenway. We had a helicopter over the top of us.
It was really nuts. Mirabelli — well, his driver, Sgt. A parting of the seas of sorts ensued. People were pulled over on the side of the road. They saw the police car. It was bumper to bumper, and they were pulling over letting us through. They knew I was coming in. Somebody who worked for the private jet company called into one of the talk shows and told everybody I was coming in that day. The tunnel, Storrow Drive, Boylston Street. We were pushing it.
Unfortunately I think the state troopers took some heat over taxpayer-money stuff. I felt bad about that. Massachusetts State Police via a statement: As a public safety agency, that was not an appropriate use of our assets.
Varitek warmed me up in the bullpen and I was done with warmups and it was game time. They did, like, seven ceremonial first pitches that night. I was right in the parking lot [on the corner of Van Ness Street and Yawkey Way], waiting, waiting on an update from Sgt.
If we can get him in time, Dave will get him here in time. We alerted [security] to let this guy in — of course, he was going to get in anyway with the flashing blue lights — but everybody was anticipating his arrival. We all heard what was going down. We were just waiting for the game to start. You heard rumblings about it behind the scenes: They were waiting for him to get here, he was getting a police escort.
I did not have any cleats. When I got in there, Wily Mo Pena gave me his cleats. We met him right at Van Ness. We waved him through. He walked through the gate, and we got him into the clubhouse. I walk into the dugout, and I walk into the tunnel right before the national anthem, and who do I see? Mirabelli — full uniform, full gear, full everything, just walking at me. I gave him a big hug and welcome back. It kind of hit me like holy schmoly. First pitch, originally scheduled for 7: I remember going out on the field and going through warmups.
Wakefield always threw two fastballs, a curveball, four knuckleballs and a throw-down. I catch the first ones easy, and then the first knuckleball he throws me, it hits my glove and bounces out. Is it going to be like this all night? So the next one. Then Johnny Damon comes up. I think he caught the first inning without his cup. I forgot my cup. It was in the police car. I went through the first inning without a cup, and [before the] second inning I ran in and put one on.
It worked well because the Yankees swung at a lot of early pitches early in the game to let me get settled in and get my confidence back of catching that thing again. And so had Wakefield. After taking the loss in his three previous starts, including the aforementioned four-passed ball game on April 26 when he allowed five runs in 5. He tossed a quality start — seven innings pitched, three runs allowed — and would post quality starts in his next two outings as well, including a nine-strikeout effort in the Bronx.
Everything had worked out. It was a bit of serendipity, perhaps, that it fell into place that night for the Sox. Sort of like the way a Tim Wakefield knuckleball would look like it was way high and then float into the strike zone. So call it luck or karma or whatever you want. Dougie was a great catcher.
And then we win to cap it all off. It was in our grasp the whole time. Thanks for the story! Mirabelli was a hack? I hope Theo makes this kind of a deal every time it comes up. I remember the trade, and remember hearing about how it was super rushed to get Mirabelli at Fenway for the game, but I had no idea all the details behind it including the travel arrangements and everything.
That would be insane for a superstar, but for a backup catcher? Absolutely incredible they were able to pull it off. Thanks, Tim, for the trip down memory lane! I feel like this quote from Mirabelli was said on purpose: Reminds me of this, which circulated around in In a way he was responsible for all the ensuing chaos, and perhaps was rewarded with a YES Network gig for his trouble.
No one ever brings up that in addition to the ceremonies the grounds crew fakes a sprinkler problem behind the mound to further delay the game. If Dave Mellor is out on his hands and knees pregame there has to be a serious issue. Was at the game, my god what a spectacle when Mirabelli walked on to the infield. Four years ago they had Wakefield throw out a ceremonial first pitch at Fenway.
Low rent all the way. ESPN would have gone ballistic. Another wrinkle in the story is that after the Padres traded for Mirabelli, the Padres signed Mike Piazza. Mirabelli was not happy. He considered SD to be not a big league city. So then in order to get this low life back he gets a State Police escort from Logan.
Doug Mirabelli, living proof of how we have lost all perspective with pro sports. I was at the game with my youngest brother. While with the Red Sox, he was well known as the personal catcher for knuckleballer Tim Wakefield.
He was part of the Red Sox' World Series championship teams in and After leading Valley High School in his hometown of Las Vegas to two state baseball titles, Mirabelli was originally selected by the Detroit Tigers in the 6th Round th overall of the Major League Baseball amateur draft , but did not sign. In , Mirabelli was selected by the San Francisco Giants in the 5th round st overall of the Major League Baseball amateur draft again.
He signed a contract with the club on June 24, In , Mirabelli started the year in AA, putting together an impressive season hitting. He bounced back to the AA level before earning a promotion to the major leagues in August of that year.
Mirabelli made his major league debut on August 23, against the Philadelphia Phillies. In the late s, the Giants teams often utilized a platoon at the catcher position, relying on different veterans to split time for most of the season. When Mirabelli reached the majors, he saw limited time and spent most of his season in AAA with Phoenix. In , he finally made the promotion to the majors permanent when he split time with veterans Brent Mayne and Scott Servais.
The following season, Mirabelli platooned with Bobby Estalella , but neither catcher hit above. During spring training of , the Giants signed veteran catcher Benito Santiago , who took over the starting role.
Mirabelli struggled, barely hitting above. After the season, Hatteberg signed as a free agent with the Oakland Athletics and, in , Mirabelli found himself as the designated catcher for veterans Darren Oliver and Frank Castillo. On July 23, Wakefield returned to the starting rotation after serving as a reliever for most of the season; Mirabelli made the start at catcher.
The partnership seemed to work as Wakefield went 8—2 down the stretch with Mirabelli catching for him each time. Over the next three seasons, Wakefield and Mirabelli became an effective battery. As Wakefield solidified himself in the starting rotation, Mirabelli made almost every start for him as well as spot starts in relief of Varitek. Offensively, Mirabelli provided an occasional spark; he would become the only player in Major League Baseball history to hit six or more home runs in six consecutive seasons of fewer than at-bats from to Mirabelli would be the starting catcher in Game 1 of the World Series as Wakefield was named the starting pitcher.
He batted 1-for-3 with a run scored as the Red Sox went on to win and eventually swept the St. In , Mirabelli hit just. He also missed nearly a month due to a left wrist injury. For the first time in his major league career, Mirabelli was going to be given a chance to be a starting catcher. However, in early February, General Manager Kevin Towers decided to sign veteran catcher Mike Piazza and installed him as the starter instead.
Mirabelli made just a handful of starts, hitting. Upset over Piazza's arrival and his subsequent lack of playing time, Mirabelli asked Towers to work out a deal that would send him back to Boston. This reacquisition occurred because Bard had trouble catching Tim Wakefield's knuckleball, committing 10 passed balls in just 7 games. The day the trade occurred, the Red Sox were to play their first game of the year against their rivals, the New York Yankees , at Fenway Park , and Wakefield was scheduled to start.