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Boggs is now safely ensconced in the Bronx, where he plays for the Yankees. "I'd like to get my pants back," he told SI's Albert Kim before a game last week. "They got my wallet and credit cards and all that. They were supposed to mail it all back to me. But they never did."
Samuel Adams Malone was born in Sudbury, Mass., on May Day of 1948. Contrary to popular belief, he was named for the Boston patriot and not the Beantown beer. In his rookie season, Malone boasted to reporters that he was "birthed" in a bathtub in the same farmhouse where the Babe lived when he pitched for the Sox. But in fact, records reveal that Malone was born at Sudbury General Hospital, where his mother, Lucille, was in labor for 32 hours. Even then, Sam was having problems with his delivery.
His father was just a ghost. His only sibling was older brother Derek, with whom Sam had a Cain and Abel relationship. To this day, envy is a Green Monster that lurks behind Malone. "I've got a brother," he has said. "International lawyer. Handsome, smart, funny, speaks four languages, flies his own jet. It seems like I've spent my whole life trying to get out from under his shadow."
Sam escaped Sudbury before finishing high school, signing in 1966 with the Sox Class A affiliate in Waterloo, Iowa, four months before graduation. Malone beat around the bushes for six years, until Boston general manager Dick O'Connell called and invited him to the big leagues. It would be nice to report that Malone, then 24 years old, never looked back, but in fact, looking back is exactly what Mayday spent most of his major league career doing. Looking back, as a baseball cleared the centerfield fence.
"You wanna talk about excitement," his pitching coach in Boston, the late Ernie (Coach) Pantusso once said. "Sam, tell 'em about Opening Day in New York. You come outta the bullpen in the seventh, the bases are loaded with pinstripes, Bobby Murcer's at the plate...."
Sam: "He hit a 400-foot home run off me, Coach."
Coach: "My Cod, it was the most exciting thing I ever saw!"
In his first major league appearance, against the Detroit Tigers at Fenway Park, Malone loaded the bases with hit batsmen. ("So that's why they call it Beantown," Billy Martin, the Tiger skipper, quipped afterward.) In those first months, Malone's wildness was often mistaken for calculated ruthlessness. At least one benevolent observer, scout Twitch Halliday, still compares Mayday favorably to Sal (the Barber) Maglie. Says Twitch, "They both had the same...initials."
In September of that first season, the Red Sox were live games out with 10 to play when rookie Malone saved both ends of a doubleheader against the Baltimore Orioles. He threw only seven pitches. It was the undisputed heavyweight highlight of his career. Malone entered the first game with two out in the bottom of the ninth, runners at second and third, and the Brobdingnagian Boog Powell stepping into the box.
"I could feel the wind from his warmup swings," Malone once told ex-Sox teammate Dave Richards, a sportscaster on Channel 13 in Boston. "I mean, the guy had the heaviest bat in the league. Papers were full of him. I figure the only way I'm gonna get this guy, as good as he's going, is if I challenge him on the first pitch. If I try to get cute, he's gonna kill me." Boog grounded to third to end the first game, and Malone struck him out to end the second game—while Don Buford, the potential tying run, danced off first base. Forever after, no matter how unwarranted, Sam Malone would be Mayday.