Lansford: The Batting Champ Who Needed Glasses
File This Under “Stories That Make Me Sound Like My Grandfather.”
I used to spend a TON of time clipping box scores and newspaper articles about Red Sox games and glue them in a thick homemade construction paper scrapbook. It looked like an overstuffed wallet exploding with receipts and bank statements.
A significant portion of that scrapbook was devoted to new Sox third baseman Carney Lansford, who replaced my beloved Butch Hobson in 1981, but quickly won me over. Beyond his clutch hitting, I think I identified with him because he wore big clunky glasses like me. I was not thrilled with the idea of having to wear them.
I remember reading a column about Lansford’s vision and how his hitting dramatically improved after he could actually see the ball. But for some reason, this gem wasn’t glued down for posterity.
So I tried tracking the down the story from the source: Lowell Sun sportswriter Chaz Scoggins. I naturally assumed that all writers kept a personal archive of everything they wrote — and that they had meticulous filing systems.
In my childhood view, Scoggins had the best job in the world. Talking to Carney Lansford and getting paid for it. But he wasn’t in love with his own byline. At the end of the day, he threw his newspaper stories out.
I recently stumbled across a letter from Mr. Scoggins, expressing regret he could not help fill the gaping hole in my scrapbook. “Unfortunately,” he wrote. “like you I don’t save newspapers.”
The Sun didn’t index their stories in the pre-Internet era. He suggested I visit their offices and skim through the microfilm, even giving me the name of their librarian.
Here’s the letter from Chaz Scoggins in its entirety. So impressed that he took the time to type out such a detailed letter to a kid.
How We Looked Up Newspaper Articles Before The Internet (Double click to enlarge)
Scoggins, a highly respected sportswriter, went on to become the official scorer of the Boston Red Sox.
(*As an aside, I played with Star Wars figures, too!)