I was in kindergarten at the time, but it didn’t take my golden-laced Bobby Orr skates and black winter jacket with the spoked “B” emblem to figure out that in 1972, Boston was Bruins country. “Jesus Saves, Espo Scores on the Rebound” stickers adorned car bumpers throughout the city, and two Stanley Cup wins from the Bruins in three years left the Red Sox – five years removed from their franchise-saving “Impossible Dream” pennant – a clear notch below their cold-weather brothers in popularity. There were often plenty of empty seats at Fenway Park, and a three-day weekend series with the Twins earlier in May had failed to draw any crowd over 15,000. Though it held half the capacity, the old Garden often had bigger turnouts than Fenway -- regardless of how well the Bruins were doing.
The Sox would make major headway later in ’72 behind the brilliant performances of Tiant and Fisk, packing their ballpark to the brim throughout September in a late, close-but-no-cigar push for the AL East title. Still, it wouldn’t be until the arrival of “Gold Dust Twins” Lynn and Rice and the thrilling World Series of 1975 that the Boys of Summer became the Top Dogs in town. Not coincidentally, that was precisely when Orr’s chronic knee injuries forced him from the Bruins lineup for nearly an entire season after a decade of brilliance.
Now we’re in the age of Gonzo, Youk, and Lester at Fenway, but there appears to be plenty of room atop the Boston sports mantle for Thomas, Krejci, and Chara as well. Champions on both Causeway Street and Yawkey Way the same season? It’s never happened before, but this could be the year.