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Baseball Dinner to mark '75 Series

New Hampshire Union Leader

November 16. 2017 3:05AM

The holiday season is approaching and with it comes plenty of reflection and reunions. Saturday’s Granite State Baseball Dinner at the Radisson Expo Center in Manchester is aiming to do just that.

There’s usually no rhyme or reason to the dinner’s guest list, but this year’s event certainly has a unique theme with five participants from the epic 1975 World Series between the Boston Red Sox and the Cincinnati Reds. The group is highlighted by former Hall of Famer Tony Perez, who starred at first base for the Reds in 1975, while those attending from the 1975 Red Sox include Bernie Carbo, Luis TIant, Bill Lee and Rico Petrocelli.

The mini-reunion will not be the first of its kind for the the Red Sox alumni. The Red Sox commemorated the 40-year anniversary of the ’75 club during the 2015 season. The Red Sox alumni are no strangers to Saturday’s event either as each member has appeared at a past Granite State Baseball Dinner, including Carbo.

“This is probably my fourth or fifth time coming up,” said Carbo, who now resides in Alabama. “I’m looking forward to it and always have. It’s a great event that Art Solomon (the owner of the New Hampshire Fisher Cats) always does a great job with.”

Of course, Carbo holds a prominent role in that 1975 World Series, which the Reds won in seven games. Carbo’s game-tying, pinch-hit three-run home run with two outs in the eighth inning of Game 6 set the stage for Carlton Fisk’s epic game-winning homer in the 12th inning. The Red Sox went on to drop the decisive seventh game after three days of rain-outs, but Game 6 is regarded as one of the greatest games played in the history of Major League Baseball.

“I really believe Game 6 put baseball back on the map,” Carbo said. “It was hard to think of it this way at that time but I hit my homer before midnight and Carlton hit his after. So I hit the greatest home run on October 22nd and then he had the greatest for October 23rd.”

While Fisk’s homer has been immortalized, the tying homer by Carbo was no small feat. Many regard Carbo’s blast to center as quite the shock, given he had come nowhere near solid contact on previous swings before he clobbered the 2-2 offering.

“I was with Rawly Eastwick about a month ago at a signing and he said ‘You missed a pitch, then I made a pitch and you hit it,” Carbo said. Eastwick gave up the homer after Carbo nearly struck out on the pitch prior, which Hall of Fame catcher Johnny Bench let slip out of his mitt after Carbo fouled the pitch off.

“I used to hit marbles over the fence as a kid, thinking about playing in the World Series and hitting a homer to win the game. You never think it would happen to you but when it did happen (on the tying blast), it was like a dream come true.”

Aside from Carbo and his former Red Sox teammates, Perez is sure to draw plenty of attention from Saturday’s crowd. The seven-time All-Star and 23-year veteran posted three homers and seven RBIs in the ’75 World Series despite posting an uncharacteristic .193 batting average. Perez made a name for himself as a run-producer throughout his career, registering 385 homers and 1,677 RBIs combined between his regular-season and postseason at-bats. He spent three seasons (1980-82) with the Red Sox.

“He was good, man,” Tiant said. “We’re talking about a guy that went 11 straight seasons with 90 RBIs. I found a way to get him out in the three games I pitched in during that series in 1975, but our other guys weren’t so lucky.”

Tiant pitched to a 3.60 earned run average and hurled a pair of complete games, including a shutout, in the ’75 World Series against a Reds team that featured Perez, Bench and fellow Hall of Famer Joe Morgan.

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Saturday’s event carries an assortment of pro baseball personalities with ties to New Hampshire. Former Cy Young Award winner Chris Carpenter, of Bedford, is back to participate in Saturday’s event while Pittsburgh Pirates prospect Ben Bengtson, of Concord, and Baltimore Orioles prospect Cody Dube, a former Keene State pitcher, will also be in attendance. Jonathan Davis and Tim Mayza will represent the New Hampshire Fisher Cats. Other former Red Sox joining the fun are Bob Stanley, Rich Gedman and Dennis “Oil Can” Boyd.

Tickets for the event are $80 and can be purchased at the New Hampshire Fisher Cats box office, on the Fisher Cats website or by calling 641-2005. Doors to the event open at 5 p.m. with a two-hour silent auction and autograph session. The dinner and evening’s program begin at 7 p.m.

Fisher Cats Red Sox/MLB Manchester