On a Red Sox championship team that won 108 games in 2018 and boasted the likes of Mookie Betts, J.D. Martinez and Xander Bogaerts in the lineup, it was easy to overlook a youngster like Rafael Devers, who was only in his second season and not even 21 years old when he became the regular third baseman.
Devers showed flashes of power in ’18 with 21 home runs in just 121 games — a harbinger of his 2019 season, when he blossomed into a star with 32 HR, 115 RBI, 201 hits and a .311 average, and led the majors with 359 total bases.
But on this day in béisbol, Oct. 18, 2018, the Dominican native stole the spotlight from the veteran sluggers on the team.
His three-run homer in the 6th inning off Justin Verlander in Game 5 of the ALCS sealed a 4-1 victory against the Houston Astros, the defending 2017 World Series champion Houston Astros (Martinez was responsible for the Sox’s other run with a solo homer).
Boston would go on to beat the Dodgers in the ’18 Fall Classic in five games, giving Devers his first and only ring.
— Robert Dominguez
Robert Dominguez is co-author of “Bronx Bummers: The Unofficial History of the New York Yankees’ Bad Boys, Blunders and Brawls” and writer of the upcoming “El Salón: The Trials and Triumphs of Baseball’s Latino Hall of Famers.”
Photo: Ian D’Andrea — Under Creative Commons License