Even eight months later, just reminiscing about the moment brought a huge smile to Bobby Kielty's face. A smile he tried to hide to appear cool in front his teammates.
"It happened so fast," he remembered during his recent rehab stint with the Lowell Spinners. "The seventh inning ended, and I heard, 'Hey Kilt, you're going to hit.' I figured, it's the World Series, and I'm going to be aggressive. I went up there, got the pitch, swung and I knew from the moment I made contact that it was gone."
In his only at-bat of the 2007 World Series, Kielty blasted a pinch-hit solo homer to left field for the run that was the difference in Boston's 4-3 victory over the Colorado Rockies in the decisive fourth game.
"I figured I would probably never be able to play in the World Series again," he said. "I had a good batting practice before the game, so there was no way I was going up there taking strikes. And it turned out pretty good."
That was the highlight of his Red Sox career, which officially came to an end yesterday when he asked for and was given his release by the Red Sox on Sunday.
The Sox signed him as a free agent last August after he was designated for assignment by Oakland in late July.
After going without an at-bat in the American League Division series, he recorded two hits in five at-bats in the ALCS, including a two-run single off 2007 Cy Young Award winner CC Sabathia in Game 1 vs. Cleveland.
"I had been in the playoffs with the Twins and Oakland and had never gotten a start," he said. "So to get a start against a pitcher I had good luck against was very exciting."
He then turned in his World Series highlight, and had the chance to celebrate a championship.
"It was a lot of music playing and champagne spraying," he said. "We had a party after, and it was the time of my life. It is something I will remember for the rest of my life.
"My father grew up in Fall River (Mass.), so having the chance to play for the Red Sox and win the World Series was especially exciting for my family. We were all brought up Red Sox fans."
But once he reported to spring training this season to battle for the No. 4 outfielder job again, he began to experience problems with a bone growth on his right hand.
"It had been something that had hung around for a few years," said the 31-year-old Kielty. "Then I suffered a fracture on it, and I decided that I needed to have surgery done for myself and my career. If I didn't do it, it would be something that would be nagging me for a long time."
Kielty underwent surgery to remove the growth in May, and sat out five weeks. Once healed, he reported to Pawtucket in early June. But after just 10 games, more trouble struck. He suffered an oblique pull that kept him out another 31/2 weeks.
"The last year has been a roller coaster," he said. "I started off at the bottom, went to the top, and now I am back at the bottom."
Kielty finally did return to the field on July 1 with an RBI triple for the Single-A Spinners. He ended up playing two games in Lowell, recording three hits and three RBIs.
He then played eight games for the Pawtucket Red Sox, going 8 for 28 (.286) with a double and five RBIs.
"You can't do anything about it when you're hurt and I have been hurt all year," he said. "But I have to play well and work my way back. I'm excited to get back out there and prove myself."