September 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,
created a melancholy mood.
FRANK MALZONE: I wish there was more people
there. They didn’t realize, you know.
Curt Gowdy, Red Sox radio and television
voice, began the spare ceremony:
''Twenty-one years ago, a skinny kid from
San Diego, California…”' Boston Mayor
Collins, seated in a wheelchair, presented a
$1,000 check to the Jimmy Fund, the favorite
charity of Ted Williams, 42, who was given a
plaque by the local sports committee. The
inscription was not fully read. Williams
hated a fuss.
He 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 that
Williams said over the loudspeaker: ''In
spite of all the terrible things that have
been said about me by the knights of the
keyboard up there ... 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 my
FRANK MALZONE: Ted hit two balls good, the
first one got into the wind in the right
field corner and was pulled back and caught
by the right fielder, the next one the
center fielder caught.
CURT GOWDY (Game Call) "Everybody quiet now
here at Fenway Park after they gave him a
standing ovation of two minutes knowing that
this is probably his last time at bat. One
out, nobody on.
BOB KEANEY: Ted dug in, wiggled his fanny,
and glared at pitcher Jack Fisher. Everyone
stopped breathing. Ted swung as hard as he
could, but he missed the fat pitch and
nearly sprained his arms. Some dreamers
said later that Ted missed on purpose, so
that Fisher would be fooled into throwing
that fast ball again.
CURT GOWDY (Game Call) Jack Fisher into his
windup, here's the pitch. Williams swings --
and there's a long drive to deep right! The
ball is going and it is gone! A home run for
Ted Williams in his last time at bat in the
JERRY CASALE: I was in the bullpen with
Bill Monbouquette and Mike Fornieles and
others. We were all up front looking over
the railing. The ball went over our heads.
Williams circled the bases as he always
did, in a hurry, with his head down trotting
out Number 521, his final homer. The crowd
stood and cheered the man and the moment.
BROOKS 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 passed me.
That was absolutely a magical moment to be a
part of that history.
STEVE 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.
The inning ended and Williams went out to
play left field in the the top of the ninth.
Just before the inning began Carroll Hardy
replaced him. “The Kid” ran in. The crowd
had one more standing ovation in it.
“We want Ted. We want Ted!" The fans
chanted. But he refused to come out for a
curtain call. Later it was reported that
players and umpires tried to get him to come
out. No dice.
FRANK SULLIVAN: We all wanted him to stop
and at least take his cap off but that
sonofabitch, he just ran into the dugout.
He didn’t stay around or let us say
anything. You know that was the 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.
My Turn at Bat, Williams wrote:
"You can't imagine the warm feeling I
had, for the very fact that I had done
what every ballplayer would want to do
on his last time up, having wanted to do
it so badly, and knowing how the fans
really felt, how happy they were for me.
Maybe I should have let them know I
knew, but I couldn't. It just wouldn't
have been me."
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 REMEMBERING FENWAY
PARK: AN ORAL AND NARRATIVE HISTORY OF THE
HOME OF RED SOX NATION (Abrams) is his 41st
He is available for speaking engagements.
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FOLLOW Harvey on Twitter: http://twitter.com/south2nd.