Globe reader Larry Ruttman recently published a memoir titled “My Eighty-Two Year Love Affair with Fenway Park: From Teddy Ballgame to Mookie Betts.” This excerpt is reprinted by permission from the author.
Home grown players arrived during those years [2014-16] whose swift rise to stardom appeared to signal another era of Red Sox dominance.
First among those was the unlikely emergence of the relatively diminutive Markus “Mookie” Betts, second baseman become Gold Glove outfielder overnight, as a slugger and icon of the game with nonpareil talents in all phases of the game.
It appears I might have had a hand in Mookie Betts’s retention by the Red Sox. When he first appeared with them in the midst of the 2014 season, the most extravagant report assayed his future to be as a major leaguer for sure, but not as the spectacular one he quickly developed to be, with his apogee still not yet in sight at this writing. Somehow, who knows why, I envisioned Mookie’s future back then in 2014 just as it has happened, power and all, along with feeling the attraction of his outgoing and grounded personality, which already is making him the face of the game.
At that time the Sox were considering him as trade bait. Only weeks into his rookie season I strongly wrote my predictions to then GM Ben Cherington, asserting that, “This kid will soon be great! I’ve never seen anybody that size who could hit the ball with such authority, and very few with his natural ability afield or at bat, and I’ve been watching since the days of Teddy Ballgame.”
Ben respectfully responded on the same day, “Thanks for the note Larry. I don’t think we’re that far away.”
It turned out that Mookie was not traded, and the rest is still an ongoing history which bids fair to bring this amazing player to the very top of the greasy pole.
Along with thousands of fans everywhere, I’m thrilled every time I see him perform miraculous feats on every side of the ball.
Larry Ruttman is the author of “American Jews and America’s Game: Voices of a Growing Legacy in Baseball,” and an attorney who lives in Brookline.