Red Sox Vault: Greenwell's white-hot start

May 6th, 2021

MLB.com is digging back into its massive video vault to uncover classic plays that you have loved, forgotten about or, perhaps, are discovering for the very first time. Watch these moments and many, many more on the MLB Vault YouTube page.

Oct. 1, 1985: Greenwell's first three hits are homers
Mike Greenwell had huge shoes to fill manning the Red Sox's left-field job formerly occupied by Ted Williams, Carl Yastrzemski and Jim Rice, but he couldn't have gotten off to a much hotter start. In this clip, a much younger Jon Miller asks on the broadcast, "Who is this guy?" as Greenwell notches what happens to be both his third career hit and his third career home run, putting him on a small list of players who went deep for each of their first three hits.

Greenwell's hot start proved to be a sign of things to come. He finished fourth in the 1987 American League Rookie of the Year Award vote and then second to Jose Canseco in the following year's AL MVP Award vote. Greenwell also made a couple driving appearances in the NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series in 2006.

June 2, 2001: Manny goes to SkyDome's fifth deck
Fans of a certain age will likely point to Jose Canseco's top-deck blast from the 1989 ALCS as the longest homer they've seen hit at Toronto's Rogers Centre (formerly known as the SkyDome). But don't sleep on this titanic wallop off Manny Ramirez's bat in 2001. Ramirez was only a couple months into his Red Sox tenure when he demolished a Chris Carpenter breaking ball up into the first few rows of the fifth deck in left field, an estimated 491-foot tater that some media members deemed the longest in the ballpark's history.

April 17, 1964: Conigliaro homers in first Fenway at-bat
Tony Conigliaro announced himself as one of the great prodigies in Red Sox history with this towering homer -- his first in the big leagues -- over the Green Monster in his very first at-bat at Fenway Park in 1964. The 19-year-old Massachusetts native would finish '64 with 24 home runs (still a record for any teenage season) in only 111 games, setting up a promising career before a tragic hit by pitch in '67 would alter his vision and his baseball life.

Oct. 3, 1990: Brunansky's catch clinches AL East
Right fielder Tom Brunanksy reached his greatest heights as a key contributor (32 HR, 85 RBI) to the Twins' 1987 World Series championship team, but he holds a special place in Boston for one incredibly clutch catch. The Red Sox needed a win over the White Sox in their final game of the season to clinch the 1990 AL East Division title, and Chicago had the tying run on the basepaths in the ninth inning when Ozzie Guillen lined a ball down the right-field line at Fenway Park.

The ball kept hooking, but Brunansky tracked it down and made a sliding catch in the dirt just in front of the corner fence, both ending the game and clinching the division title and a postseason berth for Boston.

Aug. 16, 2002: Ortiz's homer off Pedro plants a seed
David Ortiz and Pedro Martinez will always be closely linked together thanks to their heroics for the mid-2000s Red Sox, but of course the two close friends weren't always teammates. Big Papi hit 58 of his 541 career home runs in a Twins uniform, including one upper-deck blast off Pedro in a 2002 game at the Metrodome.

Ortiz would go on to say that this home run changed his career, as Martinez told Ortiz at dinner the following night that his ability to drive Martinez's cutter in on the hands proved to the Boston ace that Ortiz was indeed a talented slugger. Martinez lobbied the Red Sox to sign Ortiz after Minnesota released him, and the rest was history.

Oct. 19, 2013: Pedroia's clever double play
Shane Victorino will always be tied to Game 6 of the 2013 American League Championship Series, thanks to his seventh-inning grand slam that helped send the 'Boston Strong' Sox on to the World Series. But the Red Sox might have had a bigger deficit to overcome, if not for an underrated heads-up play by Dustin Pedroia during the prior inning.

The Tigers had just taken the lead and had runners on the corners with nobody out when Jhonny Peralta hit a ground ball to Pedroia at second. Pedroia faked a throw home to freeze Prince Fielder over at first base, a move that also froze Victor Martinez running right in front of him. Pedroia alertly tagged V-Mart with the ball in his throwing hand and then fired home, snaring Fielder in a rundown before catcher Jarrod Saltalamacchia chased him all the way down the line for a double play. The Tigers left that golden opportunity without a run, setting up Victorino's back-breaking slam.

Oct. 7, 1975: Yaz throws out Reggie
Come for the beautiful flashes of Oakland yellow and Boston red in early technicolor, and stay for this awesome outfield assist by Red Sox legend Carl Yastrzemski. A's slugger Reggie Jackson tried to stretch a single into a double during the fourth inning of Game 3 of the 1975 ALCS, but Yaz had other ideas, cutting down Reggie with a bullet throw to second. Yaz's assist came up big in the Red Sox's 5-3 win that clinched an ALCS sweep and set up a World Series date against the Big Red Machine.