"The fans always knew baseball," said Williams. "I don't know anything about planting seeds, but I do know the fans loved us. They carried us. I realize the crowds are huge around here these days, but it was for us, too. Some of my greatest memories in baseball were right here."
Yaz, who rarely grants interviews these days, says the current Red Sox ownership deserves a lot of credit for acknowledging what the 1967 team meant to New England.
"Not only did it bring the franchise back to life, but I think it changed the whole attitude in the Red Sox organization," said the 68-year-old Yaz, who lives in Boxford. "I think the organization became winners. I think after '67 you expected to go out and win. I thought we were going to have a dynasty in '67. But Conigliaro got hit, Lonborg had a skiing accident, José Santiago popping his elbow at the beginning of the '68 season. You don't replace players like that.
"The (2007) Red Sox are a tremendous team," said Yaz. "I like the way they play the game. They are very unselfish."
But the best part is the winning, again, said Yaz.
"So much has been written about not winning a World Series," he said. "Twice in four years; it's nice not to hear that any more."
Bill Burt is executive sports editor. You can e-mail him at email@example.com.
Did you know ...
The average age of the eight positions players on the 1967 team was 24 years old.
Tony Conigliaro, only 22 at the time, had hit 104 homers before being beaned by Jack Hamilton. He hit only 62 homers after the eye injury.
The Red Sox had nine consecutive losing seasons before 1967.
Haverhill native Mike Ryan led the team in starts at catcher for the Red Sox with 79.
Attendance at Fenway Park more than doubled from 10,000 per game in 1966 to 21,000 in 1967.
The Red Sox signed free agent slugger Ken Harrelson on Aug. 28, 1967, who was released by the Kansas City Royals, to replace Tony C in right field.
Jim Lonborg's best year of his career was '67, when he was 22-9 with a 3.16 ERA, winning the AL Cy Young Award. He was 68-65 with the Sox and 89-72 after leaving the Sox.