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
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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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,
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Frommer along with his wife, Myrna Katz Frommer are the authors of
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