But an early morning auto accident involving Moret last August evidently confirmed worst suspicions of the Red Sox brass about Moret. The rap against him is available for the asking from Sox spokesman Crowley. “He’s got great physical ability but his feet aren’t on the ground,” said Crowley. “Maybe he’ll mature some day.”
And so, even after Moret won six games and lost but three subsequent to his accident, he was put on the trading block last winter. There are many who feel it was a mistake. Said one sportswriter: “The trade meant that, as far as the Sox are concerned, it’s all right if you’re Bill Lee and you do whatever you want, but if you’re Roger Moret, you’re gone.” Another strong critic of Boston’s handling of Moret is Bob Veale, who in 1974 became the Red Sox organizations first black coach (on a minor league team) and who now holds a similar position in the Atlanta Braves organization.
“The relationship between Moret and [the former Boston manager] Darrell Johnson was very strange to me, said Veale. “Johnson didn’t like him, but I can’t see jeopardizing a man’s career because you don’t like him.”
Veale said Moret had, in his opinion, “one of the best left arms in the business” and was consistently misused by the Sox, who twice failed to insert Moret into the starting rotation until well into the season.
“Johnson didn’t use Moret as he should have,” said Veale bluntly. “If you’re gonna pitch your best, why dabble with your second best.”
The trade was primarily the work of the now departed Johnson; general manager Dick O’Connell said as much at the time. But O’Connell shared the responsibility and seemed to share the prevalent view of Moret. “O’Connell was on my show once,” said Guy Maniella of WBZ radio, “and he made some remarks about Moret that struck me as patronizing. He referred to Moret as a boy.
“They traded him because they couldn’t understand him,” Maniella continued. “Now here’s a player who had a language problem and was probably lonely. When he was in the bushes he should have been put in language school. They say it cost three-quarters of a million to develop a major league ballplayer. Why not spend another five grand to teach him English?”
We put that question to Sox spokesman Crowley. “We’ve though about that,” he replied. “I agree with the idea entirely. There are teams that do that.”
During the summer of the Impossible Dream, Royal Bolling Jr. was in the ice cream business. “I used to sell ice cream down on the Common at civil rights marches, antiwar rallies – things like that,” he remembered. “Then my aunt said, ‘Why don’t you check out Fenway Park?’
“So I did,” said Bolling. “I called up and talked to some guy on the phone and asked about being a vendor, and asked whether jobs were open to blacks in general. And he said, ‘If you want blacks over here, you go get them yourself.’ I sent some kids looking for jobs over there, possibly five to seven kids. I said, ‘Go down there and see what happens.’ I remember one kid coming back and saying he wasn’t treated well, that he was given a section where the business wasn’t that good for hot dogs or ice cream or whatever.”