For Whom the Bellhorn Tolls

For Whom the Bellhorn Tolls

Bellhorn's best

(2004 ALCS and World Series Boston Globe Photos / Jim Davis and Stan Grossfeld)

It Tolls for Thee

"All mankind is of one author, and is one volume; when one man dies, one chapter is not torn out of the book, but translated into a better language; and every chapter must be so translated...As therefore the bell that rings to a sermon, calls not upon the preacher only, but upon the congregation to come: so this bell calls us all: but how much more me, who am brought so near the door by this sickness....No man is an island, entire of itself...any man's death diminishes me, because I am involved in mankind; and therefore never send to know for whom the bell tolls; it tolls for thee." -- John Donne (1572-1631), from Devotions Upon Emergent Occasions, Meditation XVII

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(Boston Dirt Dogs Photo / Mike D'Onfro)

"Unlike David Ortiz's heroics in Games 4 and 5, without which the score would have remained tied, Bellhorn's blast in Game 6 was the difference between winning and losing. Something the boo-prone Sox fan might want to consider." -- Kevin Hench

"Hey, I was one of those guys calling for Terry Francona to bench Bellhorn in the ALCS and I don't need to ever see him flail at another pitch for the Red Sox, but the guy will never have to buy a drink in any bar I'm in as long as he lives. Why? Because without him we never would have won the World Series. And that trumps everything. (Even 109 strikeouts in 283 at bats.)

"Even as the Red Sox came off the mat to win Games 4 and 5 against the Yankees, I was still bellowing for Terry Francona to bench Mark Bellhorn in favor of Pokey Reese prior to Game 6 in Yankee Stadium. I figured if Bellhorn can't get the ball out of the infield, shouldn't we at least upgrade defensively with Pokey?

"In the first eight games of the 2004 playoffs, Bellhorn was 4-for-31 (.129) with a .194 slugging percentage and 14 strikeouts, including four in the 19-8 Game 3 massacre at Fenway. He was lost, bewildered, in a deeper funk than George Clinton doing an encore of Atomic Dog.

"But Francona — true to his dance-with-who-brung-ya loyalty — stuck with the Whiffer. And, well, the rest is history.

"Batting left-handed, the switch-hitting Bellhorn hit a three-run home run to left off Jon Lieber in Boston's 4-2 win in Game 6. Watching replays of the home run — which we saw a slew of after umpire Jim Joyce originally blew the call — it just seemed nuts that Bellhorn could hit a ball that far on a cold October night to the opposite field. (Maybe that's just what Joyce was thinking when he initially ruled the ball hadn't cleared the wall.)

"While Games 4 and 5 went straight into the history books as perhaps the two greatest playoff games of all time, Game 6 is the sleeper, the game best remembered for Alex Rodriguez's girly karate chop. Unlike David Ortiz's heroics in Games 4 and 5, without which the score would have remained tied, Bellhorn's blast in Game 6 was the difference between winning and losing. Something the boo-prone Sox fan might want to consider.

"Bellhorn's home run in Game 7 was only critical to pathologically nervous Red Sox fans. After Pedro Martinez got roughed up for two runs in the seventh to make the score 9-3, Bellhorn's solo shot off the right-field fair pole quieted the Stadium and capped the Greatest Comeback of All Time.

"The 2004 World Series will be remembered as one of the most one-sided of all time, a sweep in which the victor never trailed. But when Bellhorn came to the plate in the bottom of the eighth in Game 1 against Julian Tavarez with the score tied 9-9, the Sox were on their way to another World Series calamity. They had led 7-2 in the fourth but Manny Ramirez's bizarre misplay in left — one of four Red Sox errors — had allowed the Cardinals to tie it.

"Bellhorn hit a fly ball down the right field line that seemed so destined to be pushed foul by a howling wind that the Red Sox bench leaned forward only perfunctorily to watch its flight. Then the Clang Heard ‘Round the World reverberated throughout Red Sox Nation as the ball rattled into the fair pole.

"Bellhorn had homered for the third straight game, twice providing the winning runs in doing so, and the Sox never looked back." -- Read more from Kevin Hench on Mark Bellhorn at FOXSports.com

Bellhorn is Set Free. Thanks for the Memories Mark.

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ProJo:

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