Doug Mirabelli got a police escort to Fenway Park 13 years ago today


If you thought the Boston Red Sox's current catcher situation isn't great this season ... well, we have a story for you.

Let's rewind to May 1, 2006, exactly 13 years ago Wednesday. After a five-year stint in Boston, catcher Doug Mirabelli had left to join the San Diego Padres.

But the Red Sox had a problem: Tim Wakefield was on the mound that night, and their replacement for Mirabelli, Josh Bard, couldn't catch his baffling knuckleball. So, then-general manager Theo Epstein took action, swinging a trade to bring Wakefield's former personal catcher back to Boston.

The deal went through at around 10 a.m. ET on May 1, just nine hours before the Red Sox's game with the New York Yankees. But the Sox really wanted Mirabelli to catch Wakefield -- so they immediately got him on a cross-country flight out of San Diego.

As Mirabelli recalled in The Hardball Times' terrific oral history of that day, his plane landed in Boston just 12 minutes before game time after the pilot was able to clear airspace on the flight path (seriously). 

The only way to get him from Logan Airport to Fenway Park that quickly? That's right: a police escort.

Mirabelli actually changed in the car while Massachusetts State Troopers cleared the way, setting up a hilarious scene in which the journeyman catcher triumphantly emerged from a cop car outside Fenway in full uniform ready to catch Wakefield.

All of that ridiculous effort paid off, as Wakefield pitched seven strong innings with Mirabelli back behind the dish in Boston's 7-3 win over the rival Yankees. Not that the state police would do it again, of course.

"As a public safety agency, that was not an appropriate use of our assets," a spokesperson told The Hardball Times.

We'd respectfully disagree.

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