AT FENWAY: FLASHBACK
was the opening day lineup on
April 19th as the new decade began at Fenway Park.
was 58 degrees at the start of the game. Playing before 35, 162 against
Yankees of Roger Maris, Mickey Mantle, Bobby Richardson, Elston Howard,
Skowron, Tony Kubek and company, the Red Sox disappointed the Fenway
losing 8-4. Roger Maris slugged two homers for the New Yorkers.
SULLIVAN: I grew up in Chelmsford,
Massachusetts in the 50s and early 60s. It thought of itself then as a
My early games on TV
from Fenway had
everything to do with Curt Gowdy. I can
to this day regale one with the Narragansett Jingle. Games on the radio
Fenway were as resonant to me as going to the ballpark. My grandfather
sit on the back porch in Lowell, Mass in his Mount Vernon Street home.
have been four or five.
I remember coming home one night with my
coming into the house, Dad sitting on the couch. “Hey,
come here and listen to this.”
Home run call:
"Long drive, left field. Way up, and gone. Mercy!"
CARL LOVEJOY: We’d park in the
same spot in the area which is now for Boston University fraternities.
walk past the wooden cart with the old wagon wheel and the black guy
the salesman with an apron and a hat, sort of a bender’s hat, the
on his belt.
the crack of the bat as you were buying peanuts and
wanting to get
inside, wanting to get to your seats to see
batting practice, hoping to catch that foul ball.
loved it when the foul ball would
come down the screen and everybody would, “whoooop!”
and the bat boy would catch it.
into a public men’s room for the first
time was to be intimidated. The urinals were troughs. And there were
men and boys lined up.
BAULD: Fenway was a place that you could
go to the
same way you went to the movies. I paid
50 cents to sit in right field. The ushers were all those incredibly
florid-faced old guys. They’d dust the seat for you.
I never did give them a tip. We were working
class kids. It was hard enough for us to scrape up the 50 cents
homered in a 6-4 Sox win over Cleveland. In
the seventh inning he stole second base to become the first Major Leaguer to steal bases in four straight
SULLIVAN: Dad wanted my brother
Kevin and me to see Williams play before he retired, so he planned a
We were going to go in early and we were going to come back relatively
we were so young.
we drove down in the Oldsmobile with my
brother and I on the
back couch in
the days before seat belts and my mom sitting up front as terrified of
Dad was back then, the way Dad would have driven, I’m sure it took an
a quarter. He parked under the Common. We
took a taxi up, the first taxi we had ever taken in our
Fenway was such a dungeon down underneath that
you came out of the darkness and into the light. This
was like, oh my goodness, it was like
sending you to heaven. It was like a
religion. Ted Williams. Fenway Park. I,
of course, was a young Williams fan. And
Dad was a World War II veteran, a Master Sergeant, and he was a
devotee. There’s a myth now that all of
the Boston fanship booed Williams. He was a prickly character. But it was the sportswriters who had problems
with him, personal problems, that they took out on him in the pages of
He played hard. The fans in left-field would
heckle him and he’d spit and all the rest of it, but mostly the fans
guy. And Dad, as a veteran was eternally
devoted to this guy. His military background, his patriotism, his
sat behind first base. It was just some
game in August. There was no one in the
park; they had given
up on the team for every good reason.
we got a taxi and Dad took
us to Bailey’s for enormous ice cream sundaes, served in silver cups
gooey, dripping marshmallow.
the 25th of September Casey Stengel clinched his 10th
pennant in a
dozen seasons as manager of the New York Yankees as Ralph Terry edged
drove into the
ballpark,” Curt Gowdy recalled,” parked the car, went into the
Johnny Orlando, the clubhouse guy, said, 'Gowdy, Gowdy come here, this
Kid's last game ever.'
do you mean?
We have a series in New York this weekend.'
Yawkey told him
to take the last two games off and go fishing. This is his last game.
to promise me you won't mention it to anyone.'
promise I won't.'"
KEANEY: I was a Lynn, Mass kid who loved
Ted and trembled that his final
game might be rained out that damp, drizzly dark Wednesday. I sat with
friend Bruce Jackson on the third base side, where John Updike sat
notes for his prize-winning essay on Ted's farewell game.
warmed up with a pre-game catch
near the dugout with Willie Tasby and I loved that because Tasby lived
in Lynn, too, ironically,
MALZONE: It was a cold day, the
wind was blowing northeast in from right field, the kind of day you say
is going to hit one out.
28th, 1960, Red Sox vs. Orioles. Overcast,
dank, chilly the final day of the
final home stand of the 1960 season. Only 10,454 showed up. The game was not televised locally or
nationally. “You Made Me Love You,” playing over the loudspeaker,
Jim Pagliaroni C
Frank Malzone 3B
Lou Clinton RF
Marlan Coughtry 2B
Billy Muffett P
MALZONE: I wish there was more people
there. They didn’t realize, you know.
Gowdy, Red Sox radio and television voice,
began the spare ceremony: ''Twenty-one years ago, a skinny kid from San
California…”' Boston Mayor Collins, seated in a wheelchair, presented a
check to the Jimmy Fund, the favorite charity of Ted Williams, 42, who
given a plaque by the local sports committee. The inscription was not
read. Williams hated a fuss.
even was annoyed by the news announced to the
crowd that his uniform number, 9, would be permanently retired. It was the first time the team ever honored a player
spite of all the terrible things that have been
said about me by the knights of the keyboard up there,” Williams said
loudspeaker… “and they were terrible things, I'd like to forget them,
but I can't….
I want to say that my years in Boston have been the greatest thing in
MALZONE: Ted hit two balls good,
the first one got into the wind in the right field corner and was
and caught by the right fielder, the next one the center fielder
In the fifth inning,
Splinter” clubbed the ball 380 feet, but the centerfielder caught it in
of the visiting bullpen. “Damn,” an annoyed Williams said to first
Wertz. “I hit the living hell out of that one. If that one did not go
nothing is going out today.”
KEANEY: In the 8th inning, Tasby, a
black centerfielder obtained from Baltimore, led off with Ted's last-at
CURT GOWDY (Game Call) "Everybody quiet
now here at Fenway Park after they gave him a standing ovation of two
knowing that this is probably his last time at bat. One out, nobody on.
KEANEY: Ted dug in, wiggled his
fanny, and glared at pitcher Jack Fisher. Everyone stopped breathing.
as hard as he could, but he missed the fat pitch and nearly sprained
arms. Some dreamers said later
Ted missed on purpose, so that Fisher would be fooled into throwing
GOWDY (Game Call) Jack Fisher into his
windup, here's the pitch. Williams swings -- and there's a long drive
right! The ball is going and it is gone! A home run for Ted Williams in
last time at bat in the major leagues!"
MALZONE: He hit one a little lower and a
bit better, and the wind didn't hurt it,
and it made the bullpen.
CASALE: I was in the bullpen with Bill Monbouquette and Mike Fornieles and
We were all up front looking over the
railing. The ball went over our heads.
circled the bases as he always did in a hurry with his head down
Number 521, his final homer. The crowd stood and cheered the man and
MALZONE: When he hit a home run,
it was usually high—it wasn’t no line drive. This
time he got it all. When he hit a home run, he had a
way of loping.
This time his running was like a hop.
TED SPENCER: Williams hits
the home run. I
hear it on the radio. I said to myself,
“Damn, I should have been there.”
RYDER: I’d broken my knee in June
when I was playing baseball in the Milwaukee Braves system and was in a
recovery stage. I was a left-handed
hitter and the amazing thing was seeing how he held through right to
ROBINSON: I was playing third base. He went running around the bases, and I
looked at him as he passed second base. I had my arms folded as he
That was absolutely a magical moment to be a part of that history.
RYDER: He had that regal trot
around the bases. Didn’t tip his cap,
didn’t look at the stands, just right into the dugout.
inning ended and Williams went out to play left
field in the top of the ninth. Just before the inning began Carroll
replaced him. “The Kid” ran in. The crowd had one more standing ovation
“We want Ted.
We want Ted!" The fans chanted. But he refused to come out for a
call. Later it was reported that players and umpires tried to get him
out. No dice.
FRANK SULLIVAN: We all wanted
to stop and at least take his cap off but that sonofabitch, he just ran
the dugout. He didn’t stay around or let
us say anything. You know that
way that Ted was. He went down the
dugout steps straight into the tunnel. That was it, aloha.
We didn’t know that that was his last game
but we all suspected it. We were out of
contention, so he wasn’t robbing the team. It
was just Ted was Ted and it was tough at times.
MALZONE: Typical Ted. Whoever was close by, he shook their hands and
hands to everybody else “See you gang.” That
Harvey Frommer, a professor at
Dartmouth College in the MALS program, is in his 40th year of writing
noted oral historian and sports journalist, he is the author of 42
including the classics: best-selling “New York City Baseball,
best-selling Shoeless Joe and Ragtime Baseball,as well as his acclaimed
Remembering Yankee Stadium and best-selling Remembering Fenway Park.
praised When It Was Just a Game: Remembering the First Super Bowl was
Frommer Baseball Classic –
Remembering Yankee Stadium (Second Edition) is his newest sports
effort. A link
to purchase autographed copies of Frommer Sports Books is at: http://frommerbooks.com/
prolific author is at work on
THE ULTIMATE YANKEE BOOK (2017) http://frommerbooks.com/advance-praise.html