Hanford's Bill Landis will join other members of the 1967 Boston Red Sox in throwing out the first pitch of the World Series tonight at Fenway Park in Boston.
Landis was a pitcher for a Red Sox team that accomplished a task in baseball lore as the "Impossible Dream” 40 years ago. The Red Sox won their first American League pennant in 31 years, beating out the Minnesota Twins and Detroit Tigers by a single game.
The honor of throwing out the first pitch at a World Series is especially poignant for Landis. He was called into National Guard service the day of the World Series, and did not pitch. The Red Sox lost to the St.. Louis Cardinals in six games.
"It turned out his drill instructor was a Red Sox fan, and they spent four days watching the World Series,” Landis' brother Rick recalled. "They didn't drill or anything.”
While he did not get a chance to play, Bill Landis was voted a full World Series share and received a World Series ring.
Landis played three full seasons with the Red Sox, from 1967 to 1969, in addition to pitching a game with the Kansas City Athletics in 1963. He went on to enjoy a long career with the Kings County Sheriff's Department.
Landis played for a Red Sox team that is credited with re-energizing baseball in the New England area. The Red Sox ranked almost last in the American League in attendance in 1966, averaging only 10,000 fans per game. The team had not averaged 20,000 per game since the 1949 season.
But the "Impossible Dream” team sparked a Red Sox craze that remains to this day, drawing an average of 21,331 fans per game.
At tonight's game, Landis and the other 1967 Red Sox will throw out first pitches to members of the 2007 Red Sox. The television broadcast is scheduled to begin at 5 p.m. on Fox.
(Oct. 24, 2007)