March 3 – Happy Early Birthday Doug Bird

Since no current or former Red Sox were born on this date, we selected one from a nearby date in March (March 5th.) Not nearly as popular as another Bird who was playing in Boston at the same time, veteran reliever Doug Bird ended his eleven-season big league career as a member of the 1973 Red Sox bullpen. This tall right-hander had spent his first six big league seasons as a very effective reliever for the Royals. He appeared in 292 games for that franchise during that time, including 42 as a starter and compiled a record of 49-36 with 58 saves for Kansas City. He was also very effective for the Royals during his first five postseason pitching stints, all of which took place during KC’s three straight ALCS’s against the Yankees beginning in 1976. But in Bird’s final-ever playoff appearance in Game 3 of the 1978 ALCS, he gave up a crushing go-ahead home run to the Yankees’ Thurman Munson and I believe it was that gopher ball that convinced the Royal front office to trade the Corona, California native to the Phillies in April of 1979. After just one year in Philadelphia he spent the next two with the Yankees and then two more with the Cubs before getting traded to Boston in December of 1982. He did not pitch well for the Red Sox, going 1-6 with just 1 save and an ERA in the sixes. He was released after the 1983 season and retired.

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