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Encore:  Yankees vs. Red Sox - The Great Rivalry


The wheels are in motion for a repeat of the age old rivals having at each other at Fenway as we move towards the last weekend of the 2005 season.

The entire scenario seems scripted by Holywood - the Yankees given up for dead by Red Sox fans, Boston ruling the AL East roost most of the season. Bronx Bombers coming on.Collision course!  The whole scene conjurs up memories of the final weekend of the 1949 season.

It was Joe DiMaggio Day at Yankee Stadium on October 1, 1949 as the Yankees and Red Sox  prepared to play the final two games of the season. Boston had won 59 of its last 78 games and needed just a victory to clinch the pennant.

More than 140,000 would be on hand for the two games that last weekend of the season. Many without tickets  would mill around outside of the Stadium, listening to the games on bulky portable radios.

Mel Parnell of the Sox was pitted against Allie Reynolds in  the October 1 game. "We were behind 4-0," Phil Rizzuto recalled. "We were behind but not beaten.  Casey had told Joe Page who came in for Allie 'Just hold them, Joe, just hold them.' I went up to hit and Boston catcher Birdie Tebbets who always talked to me this time got me angry.

"Oh, Phil," he said, 'we're gonna be drinking a lot of champagne tonight and we're gonna have a party because we're gonna clinch the pennant today and a kid from the minors will be pitching for us tomorrow.'

"Holy Cow, I was annoyed. I told Casey and some of the other guys when I got back to the bench and they were not too happy with what Birdie had said. I don't think that was the only factor in getting us back in the game, but it sure helped."
It sure helped. An eighth inning home run by Johnny Lindell gave the Yanks the margin of their 5-4 victory. That set the stage for Sunday October 2 - - the final day of the 1949 season.

The line for bleacher seats was more than a block long. Ellis Kinder, a 20-game winner, was the Boston starter. Vic Raschi took the ball for the New Yorkers. As the shadows of autumn started to fill Yankee Stadium, the chances for Boston grew less and less. Kinder had surrendered only two hits but trailed 1-0.

Joe McCarthy, who had managed those many years for the Yankees, made a move now as Red Sox manager that would be questioned for years. He pinch hit for Kinder  to no avail. And then he brought in Mel Parnell, who had given his all the day
before, to hurl the bottom of the eighth inning.

The move back-fired.  It was a four run Yankee eighth.And the same old story - a Yankee victory over the Red Sox.

Casey Stengel, savoring the moment and the 5-3 pennant  clinching triumph, screamed out in the locker room: "Fellas,  I want to thank you all for going to all the trouble to do this for me."

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You can reach Harvey Frommer at:   

Email:  harvey.frommer@Dartmouth.EDU 

About the Author:

Harvey Frommer is in his  38th year of writing books. A noted oral historian and sports journalist, the author of 42 sports books including the classics: "New York City Baseball,1947-1957" and "Shoeless Joe and Ragtime Baseball," his acclaimed REMEMBERING YANKEE STADIUM was published in 2008 and his REMEMBERING FENWAY PARK: AN ORAL AND NARRATIVE HISTORY OF THE HOME OF RED SOX NATION was published to acclaim in 2011.  The prolific Frommer is at work on When It Was Just a Game, An Oral History on Super Bowel One. 

His work has appeared in the New York Times, Los Angeles Times, Washington Post, New York Daily News, Newsday, USA Today, Men's Heath, The Sporting News, among other publications.

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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Dr. Frommer is the Official Book Reviewer of Travel-Watch. 
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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 - 2014 by Harvey Frommer.  All rights reserved worldwide.

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