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Tuesday, January 27, 2015

Record snows have brought seasons of woe for Red Sox

Will it be another cold October?

Ask any Red Sox fan who remembers Jim Rice 3-D Kelloggs cards to name the most excruciating seasons in team history, and chances are two years will immediately come to mind: 1978 and 2003.  

Sure, 1986 was pretty bad too, but that was against the Mets. These things always hurt worse when the Yankees are involved, and in '78 (Bucky Bleeping Dent) and '03 (Aaron Bleeping Boone) that was most definitely the case. 

When the list of record Boston snow falls began popping up on TV and computer screens a few days ago, I couldn't help but notice the top two slots were occupied by storms that took place in those same cringe-inducing years. 

Occupying the top spot is the President's Day weekend storm of Feb. 17 and 18, 2003, when 27. 6 inches hit the Hub over two days. It was a biggie, sure, but with the web warnings we all received for days and the mega-machinery in place to clean it up, it was not crippling for long.

Number two is the 27.1-inch storm which for many New Englanders who remember it will always be the pre-Internet blast against which all others pale by comparison: The Blizzard of '78.

Fenway Chill: Winter '78 (Boston Globe)

Computer satellite forecasting was in its Good Morning America infancy, and most of us (or our parents) were at school or work when this mid-day Monday storm hit on Feb. 6, 1978. Many commuters who tried to get home were left stranded in their cars on Route 128, and kids had two weeks off to play in the streets.

Fenway Chill: October '78 (Associated Press)

In a way, the reaction to the two storms was similar to how Red Sox fans got through the events of those same years. The bitter taste of 1978 took years to get over; it was really not until the April night in 1986 when a young Texan mowed down 20 Mariners that folks at Fenway could smile again.

The events of 2003, in contrast, were quickly forgotten. Within days of Boone's home run Grady Little was out and the Red Sox were in search of a manager and reinforcements to make another push at the Yankees in '04. Soon Terry Francona, Curt Schilling, and Keith Foulke were in the fold and hopes were high again.

Blizzard of Boone: October '03

Lest fans be too worried that another dismal year is in store with a mega snowfall, they can always look at the fifth-biggest storm of all time for solace. 

The date of that one? Feb. 8-9, 2013.

That October turned out pretty OK.

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