Bucky Dent and Mike Torrez will go down in history on opposite sides of one of the most famous at bats in the Yankees/Red Sox rivalry… But in 1977 they were teammates and both had cards in the 1977 Burger King Yankees set which were “variations” from that year’s Topps set.
We’ll start with Mike Torrez, a guy who ended up being in a lot of big trades. The Expos traded Torrez and Ken Singleton the Orioles for Dave McNally and two others, a trade that ended up weighing in the Orioles favor. The Orioles traded Torrez to Oakland in the deal that also saw Reggie Jackson and Don Baylor switching teams for a year.
In 1977, Torrez started 4 games before being traded to the Yankees in a deal for Dock Ellis, Marty Perez and Larry Murray.
Torrez would go 14-12 during the regular season and won 2 World Series games that October. He’d cash in on his success and sign a contract with the Red Sox.
Moving on to Bucky Dent… Bucky came up with the White Sox and proved himself to be one of the better shortstops in the league.
The Yankees knew they needed an outstanding shortstop, so just before the season started they sent Oscar Gamble and several other players to the White Sox for the Buckster.
Bucky Dent also helped the Yankees get to the World Series in 1977, but the historical moment I’m talking about happened the following season.
At the end of the 1978 regular season, the Yankees and Red Sox finished with identical 99-63 records. The teams played a 1-game playoff in Fenway with Mike Torrez facing up against the Yankees’ Ron Guidry.
The Sox had a 2-0 lead going into the 7th inning. Torrez got Graig Nettles to fly out to right, but then gave up singles to Chris Chambliss and Roy White and then got pinch-hitter Jim Spencer to fly out to left.
It was at that point that Bucky Dent, who had 22 career homers at that point, hit the ball over the Green Monster to put the Yankees ahead to stay, and for many people Bucky Dent’s legal name became Bucky F’ing Dent.