The 1967 Boston Red Sox

October 1, 1967

“May I suggest the best example of brotherhood is right down the street from here. There’s a team over there in Boston Garden made up of blacks, and whites, Catholics and Protestants, coached by a Jew, and they’ve been world champions for a long time now. Everyone’s running around looking for theories and searching into history for explanations. If you want a perfect example of what we’ve been talking about, just look at the Celtics.”

-Red Sox General manager Dick O’Connell, Red Sox Fellowship Breakfast, 1967

In the Red Sox scrapbook, I started at age 11, there’s a news clipping from the Worcester Telegram that contains a photograph I feel best captures the essence of the 1967 Impossible Dream season. It immediately encompasses the full spectrum of both what differentiated them from any of their predecessors as well as what endears them to fans to this day. It shows Reggie Smith, Carl Yastrzemski, George Scott, and Mike Ryan stripped to the waist in the visitors’ clubhouse at Comiskey Park holding up teammate Joe Foy’s number “1” jersey to proclaim the Red Sox perch atop the American League on August 25th, just a week following the near-fatal beaning of teammate Tony Conigliaro.

This one image contains nothing less than the DNA of a winner. Here is a picture that depicts the soul of a team that seemed to change before our eyes. In an era before political correctness formed the parameters of our social norms, the ’67 Red Sox fully embraced integration in the spirit of winning. The team, which in earlier years rejected Jackie Robinson and Willie Mays, now featured a lineup as diverse as any in baseball, showcasing such Black stars as Reggie Smith, George Scott, Joe Foy, John Wyatt, and former American League MVP Elston Howard. 

In a manner identical to that of their Celtics counterparts, winning for these men broke down barriers and helped make the team a role model whose shining example rejuvenated the franchise competitively, financially, and spiritually while also saving Fenway Park.

About the Curator’s Corner

Richard Johnson’s “Curator’s Corner” is  where you will find videos featuring Richard and Sports Museum Executive Director, Rusty Sullivan, discussing Boston sports history, as well as blog posts written by Richard himself.

Dr. Johnson had his dutiful devoted Boswell, likewise Jazz was the magnetic force which drew out the erudite ramblings of Whitney Balliet, Nat Hentoff, and Ralph Gleason, while politics prompted the ink stained deadline driven submissions of David Brodner, Mike Royko, Jimmy Breslin, Scotty Reston, and Molly Ivins..all talents perfectly suited to the their beats as well as to the events, and personages they helped define with their informed incisive prose.
January's Edition of Curator's Corner
Winning was a magnificent obsession that allowed Mr. Russell a prominent platform from which to advocate for social justice and fairness at a time when such stances weren’t universally embraced by fellow citizens.