Born: November 10, 1954
Robert William Stanley was born November 10, 1954 in Portland, Maine and grew up in Kearny, New Jersey. The Stanleys moved to the Garden State when Bob was a toddler. Kearney was his mom’s hometown. Bob was a good athlete who gravitated to baseball. His strong arm made him a valuable pitcher, infielder and outfielder on youth league teams. It also earned him a spot on the Kearny High varsity, which had a group of fine pitchers a year ahead of Bob. It was not until his senior season that he got a chance to start. He responded with a 10–1 record in 1973.
Bob was disappointed when he was not picked until the 7th round of the draft. The Dodgers selected him but he chose not to sign. The Red Sox used their #1 pick in the January draft on him and he turned pro that spring. Bob’s sinking fastball got him to the majors quickly. He skipped Triple-A and made the Red Sox out of spring training in 1977, and was a valuable swingman on the Boston pitching staff.
In 1978, Bob went 15–2, notching 12 of those victories as a reliever during a tight pennant race with the Yankees. He also had 10 saves. In 1979, he worked primarily as a starter. He responded with 16 wins, four shutouts and his first All-Star appearance. After winning 20 games (10+10) in 1980 and 1981, Bob set an AL mark for innings pitched by a reliever in 1982 with 168. He had 12 wins and 14 saves. In 1983, the Red Sox asked Bob to be their fulltime closer and he had 33 saves, good for second in the AL and a team record at the time. He also made his second All-Star appearance.
Bob was 31 when the Red Sox won the pennant in 1986. He finished four games against the Mets in the World Series, but one of them ended with the Wild Pitch that enabled New York to tie the game with two outs in the bottom of the 10th inning. Boston fans never really forgave him for that. Over the next three years, his performance declined and he retired at the end of the 1989 season having appeared in more games than any other Boston pitcher.
After baseball, Bob ran a landscaping business in Massachusetts and later worked as a pitching coach in the Blue Jays organization.