After awhile, the Boston Red Sox bench became a magic place.

"You'd just get the feeling that the time was right. You knew it was going out of the park on the next pitch. It got so people were calling the home runs right and left. Of course, when you hit 33 in 10 games maybe it isn't too hard," said pitcher Rick Wise.

"Sometimes I'd yell out, 'Deeeep' Or Luis Tiant would stop chewing on that damn cigar and holler out,'Long tater.'

"And sure enough, before you'd get it out of your mouth, the ball would disappear. Then everybody'd start going, 'Deep, deeeep.'

"It got so I was pretty good at callin' them for The Boomer and Hobson, Luis seemed to have Yaz' vibrations. But I gotta admit, nobody yelled anything before Denny Doyle hit his himer,"

The real magic, the sense that they were in the grip of some communal force that led 25 men will their strength to the man at the plate, started on a froggy Friday night in Fenway Park nine days ago.

"When we hit four in the first inning off Catfish Hunter," said Wise, "that was devastating. Everything in baseball snowballs, both the bad and the good. When you get that feeling that you're hot, that the team's hot, you start swaggering. Not with cockiness, but with a real confidence.

In this sport, you constantly have to Sometimes the person you have to improve yourself and prove yourself, convince first is yourself."

The incredible Red Sox home run streak, one that far surpassed any in the history of baseball, had a foundation.

"We were hot for a week before the Yankees came to Fenway," said Wise, "It was building."

The Red Sox were a struggling, 28-24, when they came home June 8 for a 10-game stand. "We were getting shelled early in the year," said one Sox. "Our pitching gave up 35 hits in a doubleheader. It was like being in a shooting gallery."

So when the Red Sox scored 11 runs in their second inning back in Fenway, the fuse was lit. The next night they hit four home runs off Cy Young winner Jim Palmer, the most he has ever allowed in a game. Something was brewing.

By the time the Yankees came to Biston, leading the league by a half a game, the Red Sox had won six of seven and were lying in wait for the defending champs.

"I've never seen four homers in an inning before," said Boston manager Don Zimmer. "And I sure never saw 'em in the first inning of a big series with first place at stake."

The Sox had hit five home runs in their two previous games against Chicago, splitting the pair, and few had noticed, not even the Red Sox. But the salve off Hunter was like a call to arms. Rick Burleson cleared the wall and Fred Lynn found the bullpen to open the home first., Two outs later, Carlton Fisk and George Scott hit dingers over the screen into Lansdowne

By the time Yastrzemski and Fisk connected back-to-back in the seventh, it already seemed the Boston sluggers were delivering on request.

"I was almost embarrassed I didn't hit one," said Jim Rice, feeling left out of the six-homer assault. "Too bad each game only counts as one victory," said Lynn. "We could have piled up a lot of style points tonight."

On Saturday, June 18, a pattern emreged that lasted all week, whatever was necessary to aid the streak came to pass.

The Sox might have become conscious of their incredible slugging marks after hitting five more homers Saturday, but a ludicrous shouting match between New York's Billy Martin and Reggie Jackson stole the spotlight.

Bernie Carbo's two slives into the screen were all but forgotten. You two blasts and five RBI, giving him 10 for two games, were overshadowed. Even Boomer Scott ignored his liner that almost blinded the center field TV camera, preferring to speculate on the unfinished fight: "Reggie'd have choked the little . . ."

So the Bosox caught the statistics buff unprepared the next day. The Sox were on the verge of major league records for three, four and five consecutive games, but few knew it.

When Rice, Yastrzemski and Scott closed the show with three titanic home runs in their last at-bats, breaking all three records, the Boston dug-out was as full of surprise as the Fenway stands when the magic message board gave the word.

"I've never seen anything like it," said Zimmer. "Guys were getting blisters shaking hands.

"I just sat back and watched 'em hammer," said the awed Jackson. "Those last three . . . have mercy, man."

Words spread on the reign of terror. "Teams aren't going to want to land in Boston," said Baltimore's Earl Weaver. "The pitchers are going to ask the pilots to keep on going to Nova Scotia, or some place.

Weaver thought he was safe, although Baltimore was the next stop for the movable reign of terror. But the Hose proved that the green pastures of Memorial Stadium were as congeial to them as the telephone booth called Fenlway. After four days in Maryland, the contending Birds were plucked naked, beaten four straight, and left in a hail of nine more homers.

Even the Red Sox began noticing that a sort of divinity seemed to be guiding their drives. Ture, amny a Boston blast came equipped with a three-stage launcher.But others needed help. Garbo hit three screen jobs in Boston that, Martin said, "The left fielder would have come in for at our place."

In Baltimore, Rice and Scott found ways to hit homers in that spacious pitchers' heaven that would have been Fenway outs.

A sense of euphoria had to compete with a sense of the ridiculous. "A team can flow on the sort on momentum we had," said catcher Carlton Fisk. "The guys on the bench, especially our pitchers, were having more fun than the hitters. I'll never forget Rice when he finally struck out after getting seven straight hits.

"He came back to the bench dragging his bat and somebody yelled, "It's all right, Jim. You'll break out of your slump'."

The nonsense reached its zenith Thursday night when the Rabbit Exterminators hit five home runs in one game off Jim Palmer, the best pitcher in the league.

"I'm getting whiplash," said Baltimore shortstop Mark Belanger, who watched all five of the jets leave for the left-field stands by zooming over his head.

Outfielders continued to have a special relationship to the home runs. The Orioles' Pat Kelly stood with his arms fraped over the left-field fence in repentance and despair after a Fisk line drive smacked into the center of his mitt and counced over the fence.

"All I want to know," said the Birds' Ken Singleton, "is when do these guys leave town"

As the Beantown Bombers continued to set 3 major league record for homers in consecutive gams every time they took the field, the only responses possible from the victims were incrdulity and clubhouse humor.

"I've got 'em figured out," said Yanke reserve catcher Fran Healy when the Bosox arrived here Friday. "We're getting the blindfole legalized."

Perhaps it was inevitable that the magic spell surrounding Boston could only be broken by bizarre and dramatic home runs in retaliation. The most overlooked sidelight of the entire unbelievable sidelight of the entire unbelievable week was the way Boston pitchers kept the ball in the park as adeptly as their muscled counterparts hit it out. At one stage, the Red Sox hit two unanswered home runs.

The beginning of the end came here Friday night. Tfo be sure, the Sox hit three more homers off Catfish Hunter, giving them seven off the deteriopating master in two games.

But for the first time the home run maic worked both ways. Yostrzemski caught a Paul Balir drive well above the left-field fence only to have a fan grab the glove off his hand and pull it into the bleachors.

Who could help recalling the homer that bounced off Kelly's glove in Baltimore? Was the voodoo doctor getting his signals crossed? Had Tiant involked the "Long Tater" cry once too often and offended the spirit of the bat rack?

The final answer came in the bottom of the ninth. It was a Yankee, Roy White, who hit an upper-deck job to rob Boston of what seemed like a certain 5-3 win. Boston's ace reiever, Bill Campbell, previously a symbol of invincibility, slammed his golve into the dirt, picked it up and fired it down again.

The balloon had been punctured, make no mistake. New York won in the 11th. Boston did not make a loud sound for the final seven innings.

Today it was the Yankee leadoff man who began the first inning with a home run off the facing of the upper deck. When Yank Graig Nettles hit a three-run shot three innings later, it just made the verdict official.

The most braethtaking home run tear in baseball history was over. In its wake wore a few unforgettable statistics and a score of memories for those who were there. The total of 33 homers in 10 games dwarfed all the other marks - even the 16 homers in three games - breaking as it did the old mark od 28 by such a preposterous margin.