Part 1 of 3 video interviews with Red Sox great Kevin Millar
Join me in the part , of 3 video interviews, with Red Sox great Kevin Millar.
In this first get together; Kevin and I meander down the road on a myriad of subjects. As we setup for the story to come, we get to know Kevin on a more personal level experiencing his infectious personality and hear his thinking. In upcoming podcasts we discuss his historic World Series win and the nearly impossible manner in which that eventual win materialized in later episodes.
Kevin Millar is a special man, an elite athlete extraordinaire and an all around man’s man. He’s also one of the greatest individuals you’ll ever want to know. He always brings his infectious, upbeat, and positive, winning attitude with a willingness to share a funny story and laugh with you and your stories too. While similar folks, in his lofty position, can be inaccessible, he remains a completely accessible person.
Currently he is the host of Intentional Talk, a lively and fun show about baseball which airs M-F, 5-6pm, EST. Watch it. You cannot get a TV gig covering MLB without being an MLB star yourself, of which he was.
Kevin was an elite athlete and a Professional League Baseball Player who earned a World Series Ring (and, boy, I do mean earned!) with the Boston Red Sox, he also played for the Florida Marlins and Baltimore Orioles. His success in sports puts him in a special place among the Greats. This category belongs to those who have achieved sustained athletic success at the highest levels, the major leagues. With, no less than, one of the oldest and most storied teams in history, this kind of success is not an easy thing to achieve.
Speaking of the World Series, every year a great team wins one. However, after a couple of years pass, most of us struggle to recall the answer to the question, ‘who won the world series a couple years ago’? However, virtually no one struggles to recall who won the 2004 World Series. Why? This is because of the fashion in which it was won.
Down 4-3, during the crucial series game, in the bottom of the 9th the Red Sox were down 0-3 in the entire series with utter annihilation and the ‘broom’ in clear sight. Millar managed to engineer what is now called one of the greatest comebacks in all of sports history – and some say it was absolutely the greatest sports comeback of all sports of all time.
Millar sparked a comeback, the likes of which nobody saw approaching. That comeback was a winning streak nobody could have even imagined. It, ultimately, plowed the road in an unfathomable World Series Win (where again they were underdogs) that crushed many records along the way. Among these shattered records was the legendary “Curse of the Bambino”. In retrospect, once The Sox got started, they were like a Russian Ice Breaker. Folks, Bostonians especially (myself included), still talk about the events today; and, I dare say, will continue to do so for a millennia. It was ‘that kind’ of series.
Beginning with that game, and for the rest of the entire ALCS and WS, he was arguably the singular most import man on that team, a team steeped in superstars. These starts included, home run crusher David Ortiz, base stealing specialists Dave Roberts, pitcher Kurt Shilling who played with that, now legendary, bloody foot; Johnny Dammon, and so many more.
To stand out among that type of crowd is difficult, but, stand out, Kevin did. It was his actions, more than any others’, which sparked the MLB comeback the likes of which may never be seen again.
He was so important to this team, its utterly improbable comeback, and eventual World Series win, that lead teammate and baseball great David Ortiz to state:
“When I think about the 2004 playoffs, I think about Kevin Millar. Nothing would have been possible without this guy. What a freaking character, man. We were down 0-3 to the Yankees, and Millar was strutting around the clubhouse with a big smile on his face like, ‘Don’t worry, we got this. We got these guys right where we want them’.
I swear to God, there wasn’t a doubt in his mind that we were still in the series. It was infectious. We were a bunch of idiots. We all thought we were going to win the World Series.”
Ortiz says this because it was Kevin’s personality, in the right moment at the right time, in the first of what would eventually add up to 4 straight elimination games. Kevin possessed the kind of character and personality that was the antidote to what was, at the moment, an obvious and embarrassing sweep.
It was that personality, during that single game comeback win, which Millar inspired. It was indisputable requisite must win game #4 against the Yankees, where Kevin found the center part of the spotlight – or should I say the spotlight found Kevin.
This was not the usual World Series Win. It ended up being what I, and others, call, no simply, a typical World Series win, but a legacy win – one truly for posterity and the ages. It was ‘that’ crazy, ‘that’ unpredictable, ‘that’ over the top – and if you’ve not seen the series, you should!
Take a watch, listen, and please share! Thanks and have fun.