Mike Torrez

Dickie Thon described it this way: “It was like a boom … a dead sound. Like a thud.”

Today, the boxscore reads HBP (hit by pitch) but, for Thon, it was more than that. The Astros All-Star shortstop had been hit by a pitch major league pitches four times prior to April 8, 1984. No. 5 — a fastball by New York Mets pitcher Mike Torrez — fractured Thon’s orbital bone around his left eye, changing his life and career.

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Despite leading the American League Eastern division by 14 ½ games as late as mid-August, the summer of 1978 may go down in history as one of the most miserable in Boston Red Sox history.

Over the next six weeks, the second-place Yankees would catch fire while the Red Sox watched the wheels fall off their seemingly impassable lead.

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