The 1977 Boston Red Sox season was a season in American baseball. It involved the Red Sox finishing second in the American League East with a record of 97 wins and 64 losses. Lack of pitching depth might have been a hindrance, but the team was helped by a record-setting offense. During one ten-game span, the Red Sox hit 33 home runs. With that kind of scoring, Boston managed to compete with the Yankees and Orioles, and even held the division lead for a time. But, by season's end, not even 97 wins would be enough.
On June 18, 1977, during a nationally-televised game against the New York Yankees at Fenway Park in Boston, Jim Rice, a powerful hitter but a slow runner, hit a ball into right field. Yankees outfielder Reggie Jackson seemed to approach the ball indifferently, and Rice reached second base. Furious, Yankees manager Billy Martin removed Jackson from the game without even waiting for the end of the inning, sending Paul Blair out to replace him. When Jackson arrived at the dugout, Martin yelled that Jackson had shown him up. They argued, and Jackson said that Martin's heavy drinking had impaired his judgment. Despite Jackson being eighteen years younger, about four inches taller and maybe forty pounds heavier, Martin lunged at him, and had to be restrained by coaches Yogi Berra and Elston Howard. Red Sox fans could see this in the dugout and began cheering wildly, and the NBC TV cameras showed the confrontation to the entire country. The Red Sox went on to win the game, 10-4.