(Excerpt from Dr. Harvey Frommer's REMEMBERING FENWAY PARK: AN ORAL AND NARRATIVE HISTORY OF THE HOME OF THE RED SOX)
IKE DELOCK: He didn’t like the press and there a lot were a lot them – he wanted to ban them from the clubhouse. The players said, “You can’t do that.” So he eased up. But whatever he wanted he damn well got.
At the urging of Williams, Red Sox players agreed to a one hour interview lag after games before reporters could enter the locker room. The Sox icon would stand outside the door wearing just a towel, counting off the seconds. “Okay,” he'd snap. “Now all you bastards can come in. “
MEL PARNELL: Ted was called out on strikes and came back to the dugout and complained that home plate was out of line. General manager Joe Cronin argued about it but agreed to have home plate checked. At nine the next morning the ground crew was out there. They checked. It was out of line. Ted had the greatest eyes. He was a man with strong opinions about everything, and his own way of doing things.
The “Splendid Splinter” ordered postal scales for the Boston clubhouse to accurately measure the weight of his bats. He trusted no one. While in the on-deck circle, he would massage his bat handle with olive oil and resin. The noise, a kind of squeal, did not endear him to disconcerted pitchers.
The eighth day of June, 1950 was a perfect day at Fenway for those who loved offense, hot weather and the home team. Scoring 29 runs in 90 degree heat before just 5,105 fans, the BoSox romped. Bobby Doerr smashed three homers while collecting 8 RBIs. Walt Dropo homered twice, driving in 7 runs. Ted Williams launched two homers and had 5 RBIs. A half dozen Major League offensive records were set that day by the slugging BoSox.
On the first day of July, Whitey Ford made his major league debut at Fenway.
WHITEY FORD: I was 21 years old. I wasn’t what I would be. I lasted 4 2/3 innings giving up seven hits, six walks, and five earned runs.
Another rookie, Boston’s Walt Dropo, had a better day than the Yankee southpaw. He slugged a grand slam home run. Boston won, 13-4.
On August 17th Fenway Park became the site of the American League’s first Ladies Night Game. More than 7‚000 women saw the home team down the A's‚ 10-6. It was the 19th straight loss for Philadelphia at the Fens dating back to September 12‚ 1948.
JIMMY PIERSALL: My first day in the big leagues was September 7, 1950. I was 20 years old. And we were playing Washington and I was sitting on the bench. We’re down by four runs and Steve O’Neil who had replaced Joe McCarthy as manager said it’s time for me to pinch-hit. He called me “pierseraroll”— he didn’t know what the hell my name was.
JOHNNY PESKY: A big left handed pitcher was going against us. Piersall was going up for his first at bat. “Goddamn this guy’s awful wild, God damn it, I’m afraid,” Jimmy said.
“If you’re afraid,” I told him, “you better get a lunch pail and go home.”
JIMMY PIERSALL: I walked up. My hands were sweating. I swung at the first pitch and the bat lands beyond the third base dugout. And I’m standing there without a bat. The on deck circle guy gives me another bat. The count goes to 3-2, and I hit a ball between second and third for a hit.
With Pesky, with Williams, with DiMaggio, with Parnell and now with Piersall, the 1950 Red Sox were a formidable foe at home where they posted a won and lost record of 55-22; on the road they barely played .500 ball.
On April 15, 1951, exactly four years to the day that Jackie Robinson broke baseball’s color line, almost exactly six years to the day that he and Marvin Williams and Sam Jethroe were passed over by the Red Sox in the “tryout” at Fenway in 1945, “the Jet Jethroe” returned as a member of the Boston Braves in the pre-season City Series game – Boston Braves versus Boston Red Sox. The speedy Jethroe showed the Sox what they had missed in not signing him. Going 4 for 5, homering, driving in two runs, Jethroe dominated. But the Braves lost the game 6-3.
A month later the Red Sox celebrated the 50th anniversary of their first game in Boston. On hand were 29 old-timers who had played‚ managed‚ or umpired in the American League in that first season including Connie Mack‚ Dummy Hoyt‚ Cy Young‚ Hugh Duffy and Clark Griffith. In the game that followed Ted Williams slammed his 300th career homer.
On July 8th, Red Sox fans rejoiced as a Yankee pitcher failed to complete a game for the 20th straight time at Fenway Park. Five days later Sox fans rejoiced even more when Mickey Mantle struck out four times in a doubleheader.
Just before the 1952 baseball season got going, the last City Series game between the Boston Red Sox and the Boston Braves was played at Fenway Park on April 13th before a tiny and chilled crowd of 3,813 who braved 40-degree weather. Pitcher Gene Conley, a Celtic and future member of the Sox, started for the Braves. Faye Throneberry (the brother of “Marvelous Marv”) homered with two outs in the seventh. The Sox won the game, 2-1. The Braves moved to Milwaukee the following season and that ended the City Series with the Boston Braves.
GENE CONLEY: That April 13th was the first time I saw Fenway Park. “My goodness, what a small ballpark,” I thought. Some of the minor league parks I had played in were bigger.
REMEMBERING FENWAY PARK: http://harveyfrommersports.com/remembering_fenway/
"A handsome coffee table book that marks the centenary of the grand old park." -Sports Illustrated
"For Red Sox fans, this gem of a book about a jewel of a ballpark is
enough--well, almost enough- to banish from all thoughts of Bucky Dent and other disappointments. --George F. Will
"For a baseball fan, hours of pure enjoyment. Great book, beautiful, fantastic."--New Hampshire Public Radio, Morning Edition
"Harvey Frommer has produced a book worthy of its sacred subject. Remembering Fenway Park is unforgettable." -Dan Shaughnessy, Boston Globe
"A tribute to a ball park, a celebration of a game, and a love song to the players, coaches, and fans who've turned a tract of grass and dirt into sacred ground." - -James S. Hirsch, Author of "Willie Mays: The Life, the Legend"