Sometimes in the antiquity of the national pasttime, in those dark ages when managers Mugsy McGraw and Uncle Wilbur Robinson rolled in the dust in Giant-Dodger combat, there may have been three days of baseball to match these.
The Boston Red Sox completed a humilitation of the defending American League champion New York Yankees in an 11-1 fashion today that will become an instant legend and may almost heal a half-century of New England scars inflicted by the Yankees.
The Red Sox finished as they started. They hit four home runs in the first inning of Friday's opener and they closed the curtain in their last at-bats today with there of the longest home runs in Fenway Park history.
In the bottom of the eight today the Red Sox broke three major-league home-run records in one of the most breathtaking long-ball display in history.
Jim Rice, the only Bosox muscle man without a homer in this series, drove a Dick Tidrow fast ball over the wall in dead center, almost hitting flag at the top of the flag pole. It was the longest ICBM of the weekend and set Red Sox offic* ials buzzings.
"Got the message the big-league for five consecutive games (19)," shouted Sox official Bill Crowley. "Let Yaz know."
But before any electronic fingers could do the talking, Carl Yastrzemski, the man who merely drove in 10 runs this weekend, hit the longest home run of his 17-year career.
"I flat crushed it," snickered Yastrzemski. "I was a high fast ball and the wind was blowing out."
Yastrzemski stood at the plate and prayed that the ball would stay fair and that it would be the first homer in 65 years to reach the Fenway roof. He was one for two.
Umpire Nestor Chylak signaled "fair" as the ball passed over the top of the foul pole 302 feet away and nearly 100 feet up. But the facade was perhaps six inches too high.
No sooner had the crowd settled than the message board announced the record and all 34,750 souls were hysterical again.
Carlton Fisk grounded out to restore order. But Crowley was desperate again. "Gotta let the Boomer know that one more homer breaks the record for four games (17) and three games (15)."
Modern science was late again. With the stands chanting, "Boomer, Boomer," George Scott followed Yastrzemski's example by selecting a 1-0 fast ball for destruction.
This will of an entire city, a town that has suffered under the Yankee yoke for generations, seemed to wish the ball onward as it flew toward the deepest part of the ball park, the 420-foot death valley corner in right-center.
But no point of this baseball tabernacle was beyond the reach of the Red Sox today. Mickey Rivers would have needed a ticket - one at least 10 rows up - to get a glove on the Boomer's pre-eminent "Tatter."
While the Yankees sat in morose silence, contemplating their internal team strife and their 2 1/2 gamesdeficit in the American League East standings, the Red Sox were delirious.
"I've never seen anything like it," said Bosox manager Don Zimmer, veteran of 25 major-league seasons. "It got so you almost expected everybody to walk up and hit one out. Guys were gettin' blisters shakin' hands.
"I guess you'd have to say we sent some sort of message to the Yankees, wouldn't you? It wasn't just the scores or the three games, but the way we did it."
The Yankees were numb. Tidrow, who had given up only five homers all year, allowed six this series. When he walked off the mound afterstriking out Butch Hobson to end-the amazing eighth, he tipped his cap. Perhaps he knew he was the first man in history to give up 1,500 feet of home runs in one one inning.
Reggie Jackson, the target of Yankee manager Billy Martin's rage Saturday and the object of fans' ragging out in the sun field in right today, seemed dumbstruck.
"I just sat back and watch 'em hammer," Jackson said in awe."They hit some Fenway cheapies the last couple of days, byt those last three . . . have mercy, man. Rice hits a changeup 500 feet. That's into the seats in dead center in Yankee Stadium. Scott's is out of the stadium, too. And Yaz, a couple of more inches and it would have been history."
The Yankees, in third place, spent the hours before the game trying to patch up their internal bleeding. The operation was at best a partial success.
Jackson, Martin and general manager Gabe Paul had breakfast together this morning without anyone being wounded by a knife or fork. The team's official postion was a clenched teeth smile.
Jackson was back in right field, batting fifth, Martin was not fined, suspended or fired, although the consensus on Saturday's fracas was that the little manager had again blown his fuse under pressure and made a fool of himself.
"This doesn't help the team," understated Paul. "But he knows he holds all the cards - 3 million of them with George Washington's face on everyone - and he putting a gradual sleeper hold on Martin.
"Billy did what was best for the team," Jackson said in one broath, then added, "I'm 31 years old and 215 pounds. I wasn't going to right him."
Late Saturday night Jackson was in a controlled fury, saying, "The Yankees have treated me like a nigger, but I forgive them."
Today his conciliation and hisforgiveness were just as two-odged.
Jackson verified that the breakfast had not resolved any specific prolems with Martin and that the three had simply agreed on a modus vivendi for the time being.
"Can all this blow over?" Jackson was asked in reference to Saturday's incident and a previous confrontation when Jackson refused to shake hands with teammates after a home run.
"No, way," said the slugger, who had a 14-game hitting streak, second longest of his career, snapped today. Sources close to Jackson indicate that he feels certain he remains firmly in owner George Steinbrenner's good graces and that Martin has almost all the problems and all the liabilities. Jackson has not taken his arguments with Martin to Steinbrenner, these sources say, because he does not want a public black eye for going over the manager's head and he doubts Martin will last as manager until the All-Star break.
This series left a list of stupefying statistics. In three games Boston slugged 917 as a team with 99 total bases. The count on the sweet 16 home runs went: Rick Burleson one, Fred Lynn one, Rice one, Yastrzemskik, four, Fisk two, Scott three, Bernio Carbo three, Doyle one. Only Butch Hobson among the regulars was shot out.
For a 10-game home stand the Red Sox went 9-1 and doubled the score on their opponents, 60-30. The hosts hit back-to-back home runs five times, scored 11 runs in one inning and took part in the first 11-home run game in history.
As the sun set on this rarest of June days the Yankees were reduced to dark humor about Jackson's hustle and forced optimism about the Bosox cooling off. "When Reggie's new candy bar comes out," punned one New York starter, "they're not going to come in a box. They're going to come in a loaf."
"The Red Sox have to go to Baltimore for four games now," said Graig Nettles. "If any pitching staff and any ball park can slow them down, that's, it. We sure hope so."