Harvey Frommer / Players
Also Read The First World Series
Excerpts:Remembering Fenway Park: Twenties / Thirties / Forties / Fifties / Sixties / First Match Up At Fenway: April 20, 1912 (From the Vault) / Fenway Park Flashback: All Star Game 1999
THE IMPOSSIBLE DREAM RED SOX: 1967 (Part I)
By Harvey Frommer
(Excerpted from the authors Remembering Fenway Park, autographed copies-mint condition available)
It is Cardinals versus Red Sox one more time in the World Series. The last time they met in the Fall Classic the guys from Fenway swept the Midwesterners. They also had a showdown in October in 1967.
In 1966, the Sox lost
90 games and finished ninth. Attendance at
LEIGH MONTVILLE: I was a sportswriter at the New Haven Journal Courier and convinced my boss to send me to Opening Day of the 1967 season. Okay, he said, you can take the train but you have to come right back after the game is over. I dont want you staying overnight.
I had my matching sport coat and
my tie and my new portable typewriter.
I took the train up and got off at
Why are you going there?
Because Im a sportswriter and Im covering Opening Day.
The game is postponed. Too Cold, he said.
I had to get a story so I went in the locker room and talked to Dick Williams. I was terrified because I had read all this stuff about how gruff he was.
MIKE ANDREWS: Dick was a tough manager, very, very tough. He wasn't one who gave you a lot of accolades.
LEIGH MONTVILLE: I didnt know they had a press room so I went across the street to a grille to type up my story while knocking back a couple of beers.
Rookie BoSox pilot Dick Williams realized he had a tough job ahead. Coming off a 90-loss season, the Red Sox were a 100-1 shot to win the American League pennant in 1967.
The young, crew-cutted disciplinarian promised that the team would win more than it lost in 1967. He vowed changes, and said that if blowing up the Country Club atmosphere was what was needed, he would do that, too.
had been tremendous teams at
Williams said he would not allow the dimensions of Fenway to influence his managing style and the play of his ball players. "I made it clear," he said, "the Green Monster was not going to be a factor. I had seen too many players ruining themselves taking shots at the wall. I made my pitchers concentrate on pitching to right-handed batters who always came up there looking for the ball away thinking we'd get them to avoid pulling. I knew that the way to pitch at Fenway is to get the ball inside and gradually back the batter up a little."
Joe Foy 3B
George Scott 1B
Reggie Smith 2B
JIM LONBORG: It started off as a typical Red Sox season. There were 8,324 fans on a cold and dreary April 12th, Opening Day, a cold and dreary one. We beat the White Sox 5-4. Petrocelli hit a three-run homer. And I got the win.
The next day there were only 3,607 at the ballpark. And then we went on a road trip. We came back having won 10 straight games. And when our plane landed there were thousands of fans waiting at the airport. That moment was the start of the great relationship between the fans and the players.
BOB SULLIVAN: I went to
lot of the buzz in
ED MARKEY: Billy Rohr in the early part of that season became the symbol of our renaissance - the lefthander we so needed over all those years.
Markey and thousands of other Red Sox fans were at Rohrs next start on April 21st.
his promise, Rohr never won another game for the Red Sox and finished the
season in the minors. Although
Rohr wasnt in a Red Sox uniform for all of
Billy Rohr was 1967, Peter Gammons wrote, even if he only won two games and was out of town by June.
MIKE ANDREWS: My 1967 salary was 11 thousand dollars. And in July Tom Yawkey called me into his office and gave me a four thousand dollar raise. I was told he was always doing things like that.
the All-Star break,
In August, they numbered 30,000 or more.
In September, there would be standing-room sell-outs.
BISHOP JOHN DARCY: There was a tradition that every rectory
in the immediate
to pay 50 cents or a dollar to get it. You would go in and find your own seat, but it was not hard to find a seat in those days. In 1967, when the crowds came back, that was the end of that.
an even stranger sensation was at
Tony Conigliaro singled his first time up off Angels starter Jack Hamilton. In the fourth George Scott led off with a blooper to short left center field and was cut down trying to stretch the hit into a double. A fan in the leftfield grandstand tossed a smoke bomb onto the outfield grass delaying play.
When play resumed, Reggie Smith stroked a line drive single. Conigliaro batted next.
DAVE MOREHEAD: I was sitting on the top step of the dugout, charting pitches, right there by the corner closest to the on-deck circle. I was talking to Fitzie, the clubhouse man. I was watching Tony. Jack Hamilton threw the pitch.
An inside and high fastball hit Tony C. him flush on the cheek below the left eye. Dropping to the ground, his cheekbone crushed, his eye ball imploded, Conigliaro writhed in pain.
DAVE MOREHEAD: He had to have lost sight of the ball. It was frightening. His left eye was closed before our trainer, Buddy Leroux, got to him.
Coaches and players raced out to the unconscious young star. A silent and stunned crowd watched as one of their favorites was taken off the field on a stretcher.
More than a year and half later, Conigliaro would return to play baseball for the Sox. He had some small successes. But the injury left him with some brain damage and vision problems and ended what should have been a brilliant career.
About the Author
Dr. Harvey Frommer received his Ph.D. from New York University. Professor Emeritus, Distinguished Professor nominee, Recipient of the "Salute to Scholars Award" at CUNY where he taught writing for many years, the prolific author was cited by the Congressional Record and the New York State Legislature as a sports historian and journalist.
His sports books include autobiographies of sports legends Nolan Ryan, Red Holzman and Tony Dorsett, the classics "Shoeless Joe and Ragtime Baseball," "New York City Baseball: 1947-1957 (original issue)." The 1927 Yankees." His "Remembering Yankee Stadium" was published to acclaim in 2008. His latest book, a Boston Globe Best Seller, is "Remembering Fenway Park." Autographed and discounted copies of all Harvey Frommer books are available direct from the author. Please consult his home page: http://harveyfrommersports.com/remembering_fenway/