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Yankee Quiz Part Three

 

 

With the Super Bowl behind us thoughts turn in New England to perhaps the area’s most beloved sports team –the Boston Red Sox. Herewith for your reading pleasure, snippets about the Old Towne Team.

Enjoy.    

Ted

Williams

and Yogi Berra

 

MEL

PARNELL
:  I was 25-years old in 1947 when I went to spring training at Sarasota, Florida, with the Red Sox. There were two spots open on the pitching staff, six of us vying. Harry Dorish got one; I got the other.

I came into Fenway

Park
for the first time and saw that leftfield fence, and I thought maybe I had signed with the wrong organization. But it helped me work on making a change in my pitching style. I came up as a fastball pitcher but soon realized I would have to use a lot more breaking stuff. Pitching at Fenway
Park
makes you a better pitcher as you move along.

I pitched  my first major league game on April 20 against  Washington. Frankie

Hayes
, an old veteran player, was my catcher. I lost that game, 3–2, on a passed ball. I guess that’s why I remember Frankie.

It truly impressed me as a rookie kid to see Mr. Yawkey on the field taking batting practice with us.  I didn’t see him hit any balls out, but he got some close to the wall. The kids who worked around the ballpark would shag flies for him. When he was done, he would give each one a twenty-dollar bill.

SAM MELE: I started my major league career on April 15, 1947.  It was against the Philadelphia Athletics at Fenway

Park
. I walked my first time at bat. Then I doubled off the left field wall. Next I singled. Then I walked again.

I was just thrilled to be there in the outfield with Dom DiMaggio and Ted

Williams
.    “Any ball you can get, you chase me the hell off,” second baseman Bobby Doerr would tell me. “But don’t yell ‘ I got it, I got it’ just once. Two or three times and I’ll get the hell out of the way.” We would never run together and never did a ball drop in.

DOM DIMAGGIO:  Sam Mele wasn’t a bad outfielder.  Ted

Williams
wasn’t a bad outfielder either especially at Fenway  – – he played that wall nicely.   I enjoyed a challenge, and Fenway
Park
did offer a challenge because of its structure. I mastered the ballpark and got along beautifully with the fences; they didn’t hurt me and I didn’t hurt them.

I did not shoot for the

Green
Monster.  No.  I was an all-around hitter, a line-drive hitter, a damn good one too.  I loved to hit in Fenway.

SAM MELE:  I was moved around by the hand signals. Ted and Dom were veterans and I was just beginning my career. Well, every team was different naturally.  Guys hit to right field no power, give me the palm, go in.  Go back against the good hitters, like Mo Skowron, go back.  He had good power to right field.

Right field, oh how fucking tough that was to play. The sun came right over the stands.  And the  carom along the right field fence… you cannot go directly towards the wall for the ball.  You gotta surround it because it curves.  And if it ever goes by you it would end up, oh, half way to centerfield.

At that time, they did not have the walls padded. I went into the right field wall and banged into it.  Right after that they padded the right field  wall. I went into the bullpen fence. Later on they padded the bullpen fence.

After every game, everybody–Dom, Pesky, me, Doerr–would all gather around

Williams
’ locker and we would talk about what happened that day. We would talk about what was going to happen tomorrow, and if Ted didn’t know about the pitcher for the next day, he would ask everyone of us, maybe we saw him and he didn’t, maybe we saw him in the minors, maybe we knew something about the guy….

I always sat next to

Williams
in the dugout.  Matter of fact he would call me over if I didn’t. “You sit here.” He used to tell me about the pitcher: “Look for this, look for that, he’s fast, but his ball doesn’t move as much as somebody else’s.“

If he didn’t know that pitcher he would go up and down the whole dugout wanting to know: “Has anybody seen this guy?  How’s his curveball?   Slow?  Does it go down and in?  Has he got a sinker?”  Things like that.

On

May
13, 1947 , Ted
Williams
more than made good on a promise to a boy in the Malden hospital that he would hit a homer for him. “The Kid” hit two home runs for the kid. Both were pounded to left field, the first pair he’d hit there in his career. The roundtrippers paced  a 19-6 walloping of the
White
Sox.

The Red Sox’s longtime owner was never enthusiastic about night baseball. As The Boston Globe’s Hy Hurwitz reported, “Yawkey is strictly in the baseball business” and added that Yawkey didn’t “believe in fashion shows, nylon hosiery, door prizes and other nonsense.”

Finally, bowing to

League
pressure, Yawkey yielded, agreeing  to 14 night games, two with each American
League
team. The Red Sox became the last club in their league to play under the lights at home.  

You can reach Harvey Frommer at:   

Email:  harvey.frommer@Dartmouth.EDU 

About the Author:

Written by acclaimed sports author and oral historian Dr. Harvey Frommer, with an introduction by pro football Hall of Famer Frank Gifford, When It Was Just a Game tells the fascinating story of the ground-breaking AFL–NFL World Championship Football game played on January 15, 1967: Packers vs. Chiefs. Filled with new insights, containing commentary from the unpublished memoir of Kansas City Chiefs coach Hank Stram, featuring oral history from many who were at the game—media, players, coaches, fans—the book is mainly in the words of those who lived it and saw it go on to become the Super Bowl, the greatest sports attraction the world has ever known. Archival photographs and drawings help bring the event to life.

Dr. Harvey Frommer, a professor at Dartmouth College, is in his 40th year of writing books. The author of hundreds of articles and  43 sports books including the classics: best-selling New York City Baseball, 1947-1957 and best-selling “Shoeless Joe and Ragtime Baseball ,the prolific Frommer also authored the acclaimed Remembering Yankee Stadium (second edition 2016) and best-selling Remembering Fenway Park..He is at work on “the Ultimate Yankee book” to be published in 2017.

Together with his wife Myrna Katz Frommer, he has written the acclaimed oral histories It Happened in the Catskills, It Happened in Brooklyn, Growing Up Jewish in America, It Happened on Broadway, It Happened in Manhattan, It Happened in Miami.

Along with his wife Myrna Katz Frommer, he is a professor in the MALS program at Dartmouth College where he teaches oral and cultural history. Dr. Frommer has also taught "Sports Journalism" and "Sports and Culture" at Dartmouth College, Adelphi and New York University.

Frommer’s work has appeared in The New York Times, Los Angeles Times, Washington Post, New York Daily News, Newsday, USA Today, The Sporting News, Men's Health and other publications.

FROMMER SPORTSNET (syndicated) reaches a readership in the millions and is housed on Internet search engines for extended periods of time.
on Twitter: http://twitter.com/south2nd
on Linked In: http://www.linkedin.com/profile/edit?locale=en_US
on the Web: http://www.dartmouth.edu/~frommer

Dr. Frommer is the Official Book Reviewer of Travel-Watch. 
*Autographed copies of Frommer books in mint condition are available .
 

 

Other Frommer sports related articles can be found at:   

Harvey Frommer along with his wife, Myrna Katz  Frommer are the authors of five critically acclaimed oral/cultural histories, professors at Dartmouth  College, and travel writers who specialize in cultural history, food, wine, and Jewish history and heritage in the United States, Europe, and the Caribbean. 

This Article is Copyright © 1995 - 2017 by Harvey Frommer.  All rights reserved worldwide.

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