Saturday, May 28, 2011
EIGHTIES AT FENWAY PARK: MORGAN MAGIC
(Excerpt from Remembering Fenway Park: An Oral and Narrative History of the Home of the Boston Red Sox now available in stores and on-line and direct from the author) **Special Father's Day Autographed copies Available**
Don Zimmer had survived the Bucky Dent home run and recorded a five year tenure as skipper. He had survived Bill Lee's calling him a gerbil and less complimentary names. With five games left in the season, it was time for Zim to go. He was replaced y interim manager by Johnny Pesky, who had last managed in 1963. Boston drew 1,956,092 and finished in fourth place, 19 games out.
RALPH HOUK: Mr. Yawkey had been trying to bring me to the Sox for a long time. Whenever I was at Fenway with the Yankees, he would tell me, "If you ever need a job come to our club."
I had been retired for two years in the autumn of 1980 when Don Zimmer was fired and Haywood Sullivan hired me. It was great -- they offered me such a good contract, our daughter lived in the Boston area, and I was treated real good by ownership and the writers. Of course, having Yaz on my side was a big help, too.
Fenway is always an exciting place to go because of the fence, and we managed differently because of it. We decided to pitch inside, which a lot of people didn't do.
Houk had Yaz but not on opening day. Suffering from back spasms, Yastrzemski could not answer he bell. It was the only opener he ever missed.
Carlton Fisk, long time Boston stalwart and now brand new member of the White Sox, homered triggering a 5-3 Chicago win. The cheers that had greeted him at the start of the game turned to jeers.
Another long-time stalwart, Fred Lynn, came back to Fenway in 1980 wearing an Angel uniform.
FRED LYNN: If I made a good play, fans gave me a nice hand. So there was that. But one game I took a home run away from (Bill) Buckner diving into stands in the right field corner. I came back out onto the field after hitting my head on the seats, bleeding from my forehead. The fans loved that. So there was that, too.
JON MILLER: In '81, there was a day game mid-April against Baltimore and a power outage.
BOB SULLIVAN: You could get a box of Cracker Jacks, you could get a candy bar. But you couldn't get any hot food. None of the coffee machines or hot dog machines worked. And it was really cold. There were all these hollow sounds coming from players taking batting practice.
Sherm Feller, the longtime PA Man, leaned out of his window up on the rooftop with a megaphone and announced that there'd been a power outage but the game would be played anyway. You couldn't hear the lineup announcements; you couldn't hear anything. It was like people getting ready to play ball on a back yard field.
On his bullhorn, Feller began to sing the "Star-Spangled Banner," and everyone stood. Acapella, Fenway Park sang the national anthem along with him.
There was a complicated play in the 6th or 7th inning. A score was put up incorrectly, and it stayed up for an inning. Then a bat boy ran out across left field, opened the scoreboard door. A minute later a run came down and a zero went up.
Nowadays, they have generators that work. Quite possibly, that was the last professional baseball game that was played that way. But it was magical. Sox, incidentally, won 7-2.
GARY TITUS: Sherm Feller was proud of being the Red Sox announcer and he was a real statesman for the Red Sox, too. He'd walk into the children's hospital with a box full of Red Sox paraphernalia that he probably just took from Fenway. Feller and Kiley - the 1-2 punch, the sound of Fenway Park.
2011 marks Harvey Frommer's 36th consecutive year of writing sports books. A noted oral historian and sports journalist, the author of 41 sports books including the classics: "New York City Baseball,1947-1957" and "Shoeless Joe and Ragtime Baseball," his acclaimed REMEMBERING YANKEE STADIUM, an oral/narrative history was published in 2008 as well as a reprint version of his classic "Shoeless Joe and Ragtime Baseball." Frommer's newest work is REMEMBERING FENWAY PARK: AN ORAL AND NARRATIVE HISTORY OF THE HOME OF RED SOX NATION .
He is available for speaking engagements. FROMMER SPORTSNET (syndicated) reaches a readership in the millions and is housed on Internet search engines for extended periods of time.
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