Embree to relive ’04 ALCS here

Prairie High grad was on mound at end of Boston’s win

By Greg Jayne, Columbian opinion editor

Published:

 
photoAlan Embree Celebrating ’04 World Series championship

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Former pitcher Alan Embree is returning home this weekend to relive the brightest moments of his lengthy major-league career.

Embree will provide commentary during a viewing of “Four Days in October,” a documentary chronicling the 2004 American League Championship Series in which the Boston Red Sox rallied from a three-game deficit to defeat the New York Yankees.

The Red Sox went on to sweep the St. Louis Cardinals in the World Series, winning the franchise’s first championship in 86 years. But for many fans and historians, even a World Series title was anticlimactic after the unprecedented ALCS comeback.

Embree, a graduate of Prairie High School, was on the mound for the final out in Game 7.

“For my teammates to storm me on the mound, to celebrate how far we had come, that was the moment for me,” Embree said. “For me to get a chance to articulate on that … it was the greatest comeback in history.”

That is what will bring Embree to Prairie High School on Saturday for a fund-raiser benefitting the Primetime traveling baseball team of 11- and 12-year-olds.

The event was the brainchild of coach Eric Sawyer, a classmate of Embree’s at Prairie. Admission is $40 at the door.

Money raised will help send Sawyer’s team to Cooperstown, N.Y., for a tournament this summer.

Local high school coaches have been offered the opportunity to sell tickets, with $10 of those sales going to their programs.

Doors will open at 5 p.m., and a silent auction will be conducted from 5:30 to 6:30, followed by Embree’s presentation. A menu that Sawyer described as “ballpark fare” is included in the ticket price.

“I was sitting on the couch watching ‘Four Days in October,’ and I thought, ‘How cool would it be to extend the couch to a bigger venue and have Alan here giving us the story behind the scenes?’ ” Sawyer said of the idea for the fundraiser.

Embree pitched in 882 games — the 29th-highest total in history — over 16 major league seasons. He compiled a 39-45 record and 25 saves with a 4.59 ERA. And he had a 1.66 ERA in 31 postseason games, appearing in the World Series in 2004 and in 1995 with Cleveland.

Embree officially retired in 2010 and lives in Bend, Ore., where he helps coach youth and high school teams.

But despite all the years in the spotlight, Saturday’s event will be a little bit out of his element.

“At first I was hesitant because the big public thing is not my forte,” Embree said. “I live in Bend now, but there were so many people who helped me and were good to me that I want to give something back. I could put myself through a night of something I normally don’t do.”