Beyond the Monster: Red Sox' Carlos Pena Walk Off Home Run


Beyond the Monster is an ongoing series where we take you back in time and look at moments in Red Sox history.

The Red Sox over the years have had players on their teams that have spent a little time with the club but provided moments that are tough to forget.  One of those players to do this was Haverhill High School’s very own, former big leaguer Carlos Peña.  He would provide dramatics for the Red Sox one September night and deliver a walk-off home run that I have never forgotten. 

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In 2006, Peña was with the dreaded New York Yankees in their farm system.  He was having a good year for the Bronx Bombers Triple-A club the Columbus Clippers; in 105 games he batted .260 with 19 home runs and 66 RBI.  Despite the good stats in the minors, he never earned the promotion to the Yankees and he opted to exercise an opt out in his contract and he became a free agent on August 16 that season.

The following day, Peña signed a minor league deal with his hometown Boston Red Sox and was assigned to Triple-A Pawtucket.  Peña would go on to play 11 games down in Pawtucket and was ripping the cover off the ball in his short stint in with the club.  He hit .459 and crushed four home runs and tallied eight RBI for the PawSox.

Peña finally got the call to play for the hometown Red Sox and he made his short stint in Beantown a memorable one.  
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Peña graduated from Haverhill High School in Haverhill, Massachusetts in 1995. The former big league first baseman went on to attend Northeastern University and played in the Cape Cod Baseball League before becoming a big league slugger.

When Peña was drafted in 1998, he was selected by the Texas Rangers tenth overall in the first round.  He took an unusual path to get to Boston, but once he got here he made the most of his short stint with the Red Sox.

It was a September night in Boston at Fenway Park, the Red Sox were playing host to the Chicago White Sox.  There was a sell-out crowd of 36,000 fans in attendance who witnessed the former Haverhill high school star walk-off for the hometown nine.

Coming into the game that night, the Red Sox trailed the Yankees by 10 games for first place in the American League East.  They also trailed the Twins and the White Sox in the AL Wild Card hunt.  This win for Boston would inch them closer to the opportunity to play in the postseason. 

What was lost in this whole game was the start from Red Sox emergency starter Julian Tavarez.  He would go on to start for Curt Schilling, who was sidelined with a strained side muscle.  Tavarez kept the Red Sox in the game all night tossing six scoreless innings until then Red Sox manager Terry Francona had a Grady Little moment and kept Tavarez out there too long.

Francona left Tavarez out and he was hit hard by the White Sox.  The inning came unraveled as the White Sox went up 2-1 after a home run from Jim Thome tied it and Joe Crede drove in Paul Konerko to bring in the go ahead run. 

The Red Sox would go on to tie it in the ninth when Mike Lowell doubled off closer Bobby Jenks to score Manny Ramirez.  They would go on to extra innings where Peña would provide the magic for the Red Sox. 

It was the bottom of the 10th and the White Sox had right hander Brandon McCarthy on the mound when Peña came to the plate.  He took McCarthy’s pitch deep into the right field seats and the Sox walked off thanks to Peña.  The home run by Peña was a lead-off dinger off McCarthy. 

Peña described the home run after the game as the most exciting moment of his career.  “Definitely the most exciting moment in my whole entire career”, said Peña. 

Following the season, Peña would go on to have the most success in his career by signing with the Tampa Bay Rays.  During his five years with the Rays, he played in 726 games, hit 163 home runs, drive in 468 RBI with a .230 batting average. 

Peña was a player that came through Boston for a short period, had a Red Sox moment and then went on to have a solid big league career. The Official Online Shop of Major League Baseball

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Boston Sports Syndicate: Beyond the Monster: Red Sox' Carlos Pena Walk Off Home Run
Beyond the Monster: Red Sox' Carlos Pena Walk Off Home Run
Boston Sports Syndicate
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