Thursday, August 16, 2018

Fenway Flashback By Harvey Frommer

       Fenway Flashback

            By Harvey Frommer





The glory days are back at the Fens as the 2018 season heads down the home stretch. There is a lot of excitement about the real possibility of another world championship for the Sox. Royal and loyal rooters, though, still have in their memory bank images of a sad long ago time when life at Fenway Park was very different from what it is today.
This was the opening day lineup on April 19th as the new decade of the sixties began at Fenway Park.
Don Buddin ss
Pete Runnels 2b
Frank Malzone 3b
Gene Stephens rf
Ted Williams lf
Bobby Thomson cf
Ron Jackson 1b
Haywood Sullivan c
Tom Brewer p
It was 58 degrees at game time. Playing before the Yankees of Roger Maris, Mickey Mantle, Bobby Richardson, Elston Howard, Bill Skowron, Tony Kubek and company, the Red Sox disappointed the Fenway faithful, losing 8-4. Roger Maris slugged two homers for the New Yorkers.
 
BOB SULLIVAN: I grew up in Chelmsford, Massachusetts in the 50s and early 60s.  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 from Fenway were as resonant to me as going to the ballpark. My grandfather used to sit on the back porch in Lowell, Mass in his Mount Vernon Street home. I remember his cigar smoke and sitting on his lap and listening to the Red Sox.  
  I remember coming home one night with my brother from catching crappies, coming into the house, Dad sitting on the couch.  “Hey, come here and listen to this.”  
     Home run call:
 Ned Martin: "Long drive, left field. Way up, and gone. Mercy!"
              CARL LOVEJOY: We’d park in the same area where  Boston University fraternities are now. We would walk past the wooden cart with the old wagon wheel and a guy who was the salesman with an apron and a hat, sort of a bender’s hat, the change maker on his belt.
    You’d  hear the crack of the bat as you were buying peanuts and wanting to get inside to see batting practice, hoping to catch that foul ball. 
I loved it when the foul ball would come down the screen and everybody would, “whoooop!”  and the bat boy would catch it.
Going into a public men’s room for the first time was to be intimidated. The urinals were troughs. And there were all these men and boys lined up. 
         HARRY 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 admission.  
On July 22nd, 1960 Ted Williams 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 decades. 
BOB SULLIVAN: Dad wanted my brother Kevin and me to see Williams play before he retired, so he planned a big day. We were going to go in early and we were going to come back relatively late.
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. I’m sure it took an hour and a quarter. We parked under the Common.   We took a taxi up, the first taxi we had ever taken in our lives.
 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 Williams 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 the newspapers.  
 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 loved the guy.  And Dad, as a veteran was eternally devoted to this guy. His military background, his patriotism, his heroism. 
We 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.   
Afterwards, we got a taxi and Dad took us to Bailey’s for enormous ice cream sundaes, served in silver cups with gooey, dripping marshmallow.
Falling asleep on the back couch of the Oldsmobile, curled up back there with my brother, it was just great.  
On 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 Boston 4-3.                  
“I drove into the ballpark,” Curt Gowdy recalled,” parked the car, went into the clubhouse, and Johnny Orlando, the clubhouse guy, said, 'Gowdy, Gowdy come here, this is the Kid's last game ever.'
'What do you mean? We have a series in New York this weekend.'
'Mr. Yawkey told him to take the last two games off and go fishing. This is his last game. You have to promise me you won't mention it to anyone.'
"I said, 'I promise I won't.'"
BOB KEANEY: I was a Lynn, Mass  kid who loved Ted. I sat with my friend Bruce Jackson on the third base side, where John Updike sat collecting notes for his prize-winning essay on Ted's farewell game.
Ted warmed up with a pre-game catch near the dugout with Willie Tasby and I loved that because Tasby lived in  Lynn, too,  ironically, Williams Avenue.
FRANK MALZONE: It was a cold day, the wind was blowing northeast in from right field, the kind of day you say nobody is going to hit one out.
      September 28th, 1960, Red Sox vs. Orioles.  Overcast, dank, chilly the final day of the final home stand of the 1960 season.   
     BOX  LINEUP
Pumpsie Green  SS
Willie Tasby       CF
Ted Williams       LF
      Jim Pagliaroni        C  
       Frank  Malzone    3B
        Lou Clinton          RF
         Don Gile             1B
         Marlan Coughtry   2B
         Billy Muffett           P

      Only 10,454 showed up. The game was not televised locally or nationally. “You Made Me Love You,” playing over the loudspeaker, created a melancholy mood.
 
==============================================
           One of the most prolific and respected sports journalists and 
oral historians in the United States, author of the autobiographies 
of legends Nolan Ryan,Tony Dorsett, and Red Holzman, Dr. Harvey 
Frommer, a professor for more than two decades in the MALS program 
at Dartmouth College, was dubbed “Dartmouth’s Mr. Baseball” by 
their alumni magazine. He’s also the founder of 
www.HarveyFrommerSports.com.

His Ultimate Yankee Book has been called by critics “the Ultimate Baseball Book.” http://www.frommerbooks.com/ultimate-yankees.html  It can ordered signed, mint, discounted from the author.

Wednesday, August 8, 2018

More Things You Probably Didn't Know About the Yankees - Part 2 - by Frommer


More Things You Probably Didn’t Know About the Yankees

                                  Part II




Much terrific reaction to the first piece on this topic has now resulted in more. There is a world of fascinating sidebars, trivia items, facts and factoids about the Bronx Bombers. Enjoy another sampling.
Yogi Berra, Mosts, a Partial List


            Most postseason games - Yogi Berra holds the record for appearing in the most postseason games - 75. In his 19-year career, Berra and the New York Yankees went to the postseason 14 times. Since Berra played during the years before divisional play, all of the games he appeared in were World Series games, meaning he also holds the record for most World Series games appeared in. The great Yankee also holds the record for most World Series at-bats with 259, and is third behind Mickey Mantle and Babe Ruth in World Series homeruns, with 12. 

                                 Yogi Berra, Everywhere!                                  
            Bill Bevens' No-Hitter Broken up By “Cookie” Lavagetto October 3, 1947; Yogi was there as the Yankees catcher.
          Sandy Amoros catch October 4, 1955; Yogi was there as Yankee catcher and smacked the ball that Amoros caught down the left field line.
            Don Larsen' perfect game, October 8, 1956; Yogi was the catcher.
           Bill Mazeroski's home run, October 13, 1960; Yogi was there as the Yankees left fielder.
          Home Run Number 61 by Roger Maris, October 1, 1961; Yogi was there as Yankee left fielder for part of the game.       
 Willie McCovey's line shot to Bobby Richardson, October 16, 1962; Yogi was there as a part time player on the bench.
 Chris Chambliss home run in ALCS, October 14, 1976, Yogi was there as Yankees coach.
Reggie Jackson's three home runs, October 18, 1977; Yogi was there as a Yankee coach.
           The Bucky Dent Home Run, October 2, 1978; Yogi was there as Yankees coach.
            George Brett battles Goose Gossage, October 10, 1980, Yogi was there as Yankees coach.
            Yogi Berra was there after the Yankees fired Billy Martin on December 16, 1983 and took over as Yankee manager.
          David Cone's Perfect Game, July 19, 1999, Yogi was being honored on "Yogi Berra Day"
On the field, in the dugout, in the clubhouse, throwing out a first ball, Lawrence Peter Berra did his thing during the 2001 World Series.
         
Meet Me at the Bat!
BRAD TURNOW: A traditional meeting place began outside Old Yankee Stadium in 1975.  This bat-shaped “smokestack” was constructed in 1975 for the refurbished original Yankee Stadium.  Over the decades, the famous meeting place was the 138-foot high baseball bat with Babe Ruth’s signature and the Louisville Slugger logo. The old stadium needed a cover for a boiler stack and the Ruth bat served that purpose.  The vent was an actual exhaust pipe that released steam from the old stadium.  The structure was sponsored by the Hillerich and Bradsby Company.
 As fans approached the stadium, they would seek out the famous knob with the unraveling tape at the handle and then look for the famous Ruth logo on the barrel.  The bat, located outside of Gate 4 of the old stadium, quickly became a meeting spots for fans of both teams.  The term "Meet Me at the Bat" became a one-liner for all fans meeting someone at the Stadium.  Chances were, if you were meeting someone at the Old Stadium, you met them at the bat.  
        There was a push by fans to have the iconic bat moved next to the new stadium after it opened in 2009, but that effort failed.  Today the bat still stands near the old parking garage on 153rd Street and the Metro North Station repainted in a plain tan color with no logo or signature on it.  Though is it not used much as a meeting place anymore, it reminds fans of the historic past of Old Yankee Stadium.    

Babe Ruth Birthday
When applying for a passport for a trip to Japan, a mistake in Ruth’s birthday was discovered. His father had made an error listing it when the Babe was enrolled at St. Mary’s school.       
      "What the hell difference does it make?" said the great Yankee referring to the date which he continued to acknowledge as his birthday - February 7. According to the official records in Baltimore, Maryland, Ruth was born on February 6, 1895.
The Presidents and the Pastime by Curt Smith (University of Nebraska Press, $29.95, is as its sub-title proclaims a history of baseball and the White House. Filled with anecdotes galore the result of intensive research, this terrific tome tantalizingly teases us with a new awareness of the subject matter. Just wished there were photos.  HIGHLY RECOMMENDED
12: THE INSIDE STORY OF TOM BRADY’S FIGHT FOR REDEMPTION by Casey Sherman and Dave Wedge (Little Brown, $27.00, 310 pages) is must read for all fans of the New England Patriots. This is the total package – a review up the ups, downs, sidebars – all via unlimited access to the franchise. From front page stories about the national disgrace of a great football hero to his redemption in what was billed as the greatest Super Bowl comeback ever. TOP OF YOUR READING LIST
FEARLESS by Doug Pederson with Dan Pompei (Hatchette, $28.00, 257 pages) is a tell all, gossipy, grand, inside view of how a true underdog Philadelphia Eagles football team went all the way to win the Super Bowl. Complete with wonderful images, stories, stats, this is a book for every football fan.  BUY IT



About
Harvey
Frommer
One of the most prolific and respected sports journalists and oral historians in the United States, author of the autobiographies of legends Nolan Ryan, Tony Dorsett, and Red Holzman, Dr. Harvey Frommer is an expert on the New York Yankees and has arguably written more books, articles and reviews on the New York Yankees than anyone. In 2010, he was honored by the City of New York to serve as historical consultant for the re-imagined old Yankee Stadium site, Heritage Field
A professor for more than two decades in the MALS program at Dartmouth College, Frommer was dubbed “Dartmouth’s Mr. Baseball” by their alumni magazine. He’s also the founder of www.HarveyFrommerSports.com.

            * Material in this article was adapted from his THE ULTIMATE YAKEE BOOK.
Autographed copies mint, discounted, can be ordered directly from the author.

Friday, August 3, 2018

The Presidents and the Pastime - GREAT NEW READ - by Curt Smith

The Presidents and the Pastime
The History of Baseball & the White house
by Curt Smith

Check out this new book about baseball and politics.  A great read for any sports fan or fan of politics!

Check out this new book about baseball and politics.  A great read for any sports fan or fan of politics!



From Taft and Wilson, all the way to Clinton and Trump, Smith covers it all in this great read about baseball.  The Presidents and the Pastime draws on Curt Smith's extensive background as a former White House presidential speechwriter to chronicle the historic relationship between baseball, the "most American" sport, and the U.S. presidency.
Grab your copy today at Amazon or other great book retailers!!!!

Wednesday, August 1, 2018

Rivalry - Red Sox vs Yankees by Frommer

Rivalry

Red Sox vs. Yankees




Throughout the 2018 season the Yankees and the Red Sox have kept their eyes on the ball and the standings as baseball’s greatest rivalry plays out again. Coming up another series between the two rivals, another head to head confrontation in the “blood feud.”
             Wa back then, as the story goes, there was a get-together in the woods. A Red Sox fan, a Cub fan and a Pirate fan were there. They all wondered when their team would make it to the World Series again and decided to call on God for advice.
The Cub fan asked first: “When will my team return to the World Series?”                                                                                
And God replied: “Not in your lifetime.”                                                                                         
The fan of the Pirates popped the same question.
And God replied: “Not in your children’s lifetime.”                                                                                                                                The Red Sox fan, who had listened quietly, finally worked up the nerve to ask: “When will my beloved Red Sox return to the World Series?” 
God thought for a moment and then answered: “Not in My lifetime.”                                                                                          
         But that answer was incorrect. As all of us know, the guys from Fenway broke the “Curse of the Bambino” in 2004.
 For six straight seasons through 2003, the Sox finished second to the hated New York Yankees, a combined total of 58 ½ games behind. So it was a big deal for the BoSox to show up their rivals from the Big Apple.
Nowadays, the tables seemed to have turned and favor the Sox a bit in a bitter rivalry that goes back to the first time the teams met on May 7, 1903 at the Huntington Avenue Grounds in Boston.
     They weren't the Yankees and Red Sox then. They had more geographically correct names: the Highlanders who played on the heights of Manhattan; and the Pilgrims – a nod to their New England heritage.
       The competition has always been much more than a baseball team representing Boston going against a baseball team representing New York.  It is a match-up between the provincial capital of New England and the mega-municipality of New York competing
The New York Yankees are the sizzle and the steak, the glamour and the glitz, the most successful franchise in baseball history, perhaps in all sports history.  Through the years, winning has been as much a part of Yankee baseball as their monuments and plaques, as much as the pinstriped uniforms, the iconic intertwined “N” and “Y” on the baseball caps.                   
The rivalry is the Babe and Bucky and Butch and Boo. It is Carl Yastrzemski trotting out to left field at Fenway Park after failing at the plate against the Yankees, cotton sticking out of his ears to muffle the noise of Sox fans. The rivalry is Mickey Mantle slugging a 440-foot double at Yankee Stadium then tipping his cap to the Red Sox bench.
It is Carlton Fisk's headaches from the tension he felt coming into Yankee Stadium. The rivalry is Ted Williams spitting, Reggie Jackson jabbering, Luis Tiant hurling for New York and Boston and smoking those fat Cuban cigars.  It is the Yankees' Mickey Rivers leaping away from an exploding firecracker thrown into the visitors' dugout at Fenway.
It is the Scooter, the Green Monster, and the Hawk, Yaz and the Commerce Comet, Mombo and King Kong. It is Joe Dee versus the Thumper. It is Roger Maris hitting number 61 off Red Sox pitcher Tracy Stallard, breaking the Babe’s record.
It's Ted Williams spitting, Reggie Jackson gesturing, Billy Martin punching, Roger Clemens throwing inside.
 The rivalry has been characterized by some of baseball's craziest moments. Incidents, anger, rage, occasionally violence, all have been there through all the long decades. Sometimes it has been triggered by personality clashes. At other times the trigger has simply been the "Blood Feud."
The Yankees of New York versus the Red Sox of Boston is the greatest, grandest, strongest, longest-lasting rivalry in baseball history – a competition of images, teams, cities, styles, ballparks, fans, media, culture, dreams, and bragging rights.
          What happened on January 9, 1920, “Harry Frazee’s Crime,” supercharged the rivalry and changed the course of baseball history. At a morning press conference an elated Jake Ruppert announced: “Gentlemen, we have just bought Babe Ruth from Harry Frazee of the Boston Red Sox. I can’t give exact figures, but it was a pretty check – six figures. No players are involved. It was strictly a cash deal.”
Since that “cash deal” all sorts of Red Sox misfortunes followed. Just a few include: losing Game 7 of the World Series in 1946, 1967, 1975, 1986 (the ball dribbling through Bill Buckner's legs in Game 6); being done in by the Aaron Boone eleventh inning home run on October 17, 2003 that gave the Yankees a stunning 6-5 come-from-behind triumph over the Bostons just five outs away from winning the American League championship.
And the wind-blown homer that forever made the guy who hit it always remembered in New England as "Bucky F_____g Dent and adding another pennant playoff loss to one suffered through in 1948; Pedro Martinez and Don Zimmer, age 72, going at it and the Yankee coach tumbling end-over-end a few times, and more. 
          MIKE STANLEY: Regardless of where either team is in the standings, people mark off the Yankee-Red Sox playing dates on their calendars,
         It's the Charles River versus the East River, Boston Common against Central Park, the Green Monster versus the Monuments, Red Sox Rule versus Yankees Suck, WFAN versus WEEI, the New York Daily News matched up against the Boston Herald.
  It’s "I LOVE NEW YORK, TOO - IT'S THE YANKEES I HATE" versus  “BOSTON CHOKES. BOSTON SUCKS. BOSTON DOES IT IN STYLE.
          Part of the rivalry is the glaring contrast in the images of the teams. The New York Yankees are the glitz and glitter that comes with being the most successful franchise in baseball history. The Bronx Bombers boast an “A” list legacy: Yogi Berra, Bill Dickey, Joe DiMaggio Whitey Ford, Lou Gehrig, Goose Gossage, Ron Guidry, Reggie Jackson, Derek Jeter Mickey Mantle, Roger Maris, Don Mattingly, Thurman Munson, Vic Raschi, Allie Reynolds, Mariano Rivera, Phil Rizzuto, Alex Rodriguez, Babe Ruth...
       Through the years, winning has been as much a part of Yankee baseball as the monuments and plaques in deep center field, as much as the pinstriped uniforms, the iconic intertwined “N” and “Y” on the baseball caps.                   
The Sox have had also had their share of stars like Cy Young, Joe Cronin, Ted Williams, Dom DiMaggio, Mel Parnell, Johnny Pesky, Carlton Fisk, Carl Yastrzemski, Dwight Evans, Jim Rice, Wade Boggs (he also played for the Yankees) Babe Ruth (also a Yankee), Roger Clemens (same), Manny Ramirez, Pedro Martinez,  Nomar Garciaparra, Big Papi…
MEL PARNELL: The Red Sox Yankee rivalry was one of the most unique things in baseball history, especially in my time. We were criticized as being a country club ball club being pampered by Mr. Yawkey, our owner. The differences in our ball clubs, Yankees and Red Sox, were that we were probably a step slower than the Yankees. They also had more depth.     
 LOU PINIELLA: I was always aware of the mix at Fenway Park. There was always a lot of excitement in that small park that made it special. You might have 20,000 Red Sox fans at Fenway and 15,000 Yankee fans. Their rivalry helped our rivalry. It excited the players who had to respond to it.
             MICHAEL DUKAKIS: (former governor of Massachusetts and 1988 presidential nominee): The games between the Yankees and Red Sox are always intense. I get a sense that the players feel it too. No matter who they are, or where they come from, how long or little they’ve been with the team, there’s something about those series.
 

About
Harvey
Frommer
One of the most prolific and respected sports journalists and oral historians in the United States, author of the autobiographies of legends Nolan Ryan,  Tony Dorsett, and Red Holzman, Dr. Harvey Frommer is an expert on the New York Yankees and has arguably written more books, articles and reviews on the New York Yankees than anyone. In 2010, he was honored by the City of New York to serve as historical consultant for the re-imagined old Yankee Stadium site, Heritage Field
A professor for more than two decades in the MALS program at Dartmouth College, Frommer was dubbed “Dartmouth’s Mr. Baseball” by their alumni magazine. He’s also the founder of www.HarveyFrommerSports.com.

            * Material in this article was adapted from his THE ULTIMATE YAKEE BOOK.
Autographed copies mint, discounted, can be ordered directly from the author.