‘Ey, Bruce!

Quick. What Red Sox pitcher led the team in strikeouts-per-inning in 1986?

If you answered Roger Clemens, that year’s Cy Young and MVP winner after his 24-4 masterpiece of a season, you’d be wrong. The answer is Bruce Hurst, who struck out 8.6 per 9 innings to Clemens’ 8.4.

What makes Hurst’s hiring today as a special instructor for the Red Sox more encouraging is his unique status as one of the few left-handed starters to find success in Fenway Park. In the six seasons from 1983-88, Hurst outperformed the league and team ERAs in Fenway four times, and outperformed the league average five times. In 1983 and 1986-88, he actually pitched better at Fenway than on the road.

1983 was Hurst’s first full-time season in the bigs, and after 1988 he left for San Diego. During that time, he posted a 3.89 ERA at Fenway, compared to a team average of 4.18 and a league average of 4.56.

Why is this important? The answer is after the jump.

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Hurst’s job is to scout and work with minor leaguers, granted, but the more time Jon Lester can spend with Hurst this spring training, the better.

10 comments… add one

  • Good move on their part. It certainly can’t hurt.
    One more note on his surprising success at Fenway: His walk rate also tended to be much better there. He probably knew that if he put men on base, he was going to be in trouble. So he threw strikes. He also didn’t tend to give up very many homeruns. That’s a good combination for success wherever you pitch.
    I can’t say I’m rooting for Lester. But I wouldn’t be too upset if he did well (except against the Yanks).

    A YF February 25, 2008, 5:00 pm
  • Hurst looks like Kramer after he hung out with the Cubans for too long. He looks about 70 years old in that shot.

    SF February 25, 2008, 6:50 pm
  • Hursty looks like Paul Sorvino in that shot.
    I’m glad to have him associated with the team again. Back in the mid-80s, before he left because of the lack of cohesion on the Red Sox, he was probably their most dependable starter. He didn’t have Clemens’ flash, but you always believed he’d win.

    I'mBillMcNeal February 25, 2008, 11:09 pm
  • I see Walter Matthau… excellent to have him working with Lester, though.

    Jackie (SF) February 26, 2008, 2:08 am
  • Yep, Buttermaker. Good call. Who’s Lupus?

    SF February 26, 2008, 7:04 am
  • Better yet, who is Tanner Boyle?
    That kid had a foul mouth and could curse like a sailor: “All we got on this team are a buncha Jews, spics, niggers, pansies, and a booger-eatin’ moron!”

    SoxFan February 26, 2008, 8:09 am
  • Who’s Lupus? Come on SF, that’s so easy. Pedroia.

    LocklandSF February 26, 2008, 8:17 am
  • I nominate Schilling as the booger-eating moron, only because he has an entire blog up for public consumption.

    no sleep til brooklyn SF February 26, 2008, 11:10 am
  • Wasn’t he once the next MVP of the World Series?

    Anonymous February 26, 2008, 1:51 pm
  • Have to go to NYY for Tanner: Posada.

    I'm Bill McNeal February 26, 2008, 5:15 pm

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