NEWS NEWS AND MORE NEWS I am going to get all of my memories down, before I forget what I remember!. . . . quote from Stanley Forman

28Mar/122

Fenway 100, Stanley 66

July 10, 2011, 66 years old

Yes, there it is my name is up in lights, day­lights that is and don’t think I don’t love it.

I have always been a Red Sox fan. I prob­a­bly went to my first game before I started remem­ber­ing all that I remem­ber. My father was a big sports fan and it trick­led down to me. He used to love to go to Bru­ins and Red Sox games. The Celtics came to Boston long after he was a teenager so he did not see as many of those games. I remem­ber him tak­ing me to after­noon Celtics game; com­ing home and then he would take my mother and go back to the Gar­den to see the Bru­ins at night. Since he worked most week­ends, it was a big deal if he was off on a Sun­day. My par­ents espe­cially liked when the Mon­treal Cana­di­ans were play­ing as the fans would sing French songs and the Gar­den would be in a fes­tive mood.

We grew up with fam­ily all around our neigh­bor­hood and my Uncle Jack Burnim, a real Red Sox fan, would go to a Sox game every chance he had and many times offered to take me with him. The only prob­lem with going with him is if you were with him you had to eat a hot dog almost every inning and lots of pop­corn too (to mix in all the Fen­way tastes). To hear his grand­son, Judge David Lowy, tell the story, after a while it became tor­ture to eat so much junk food.

Jack took us to many games; one being the Memo­r­ial Day game against the Yan­kees in 1961, the year Roger Maris broke Babe Ruth’s home run record. I just Googled the box score and although I remem­bered all the home runs by Man­tle and Maris I did not remem­ber Bill “Moose” Skowrun’s 2 homers along with Yogi Berra hit­ting one that day. Man­tle had 2 home runs that game, his #12 and 13 of the still-early sea­son, and Maris hit 2 home runs, bring­ing his total so-far to 11. Both were well on their way to chal­lenge Ruth’s record of 60 home runs in one sea­son.   Since that sea­son, my stan­dard for judg­ing whether some­one was going to break Babe Ruth’s years’ record of 60 in a sea­son has been if the per­son has reached 11 or 13 homers by Memo­r­ial Day like Man­tle and Maris did that year.

When I think about how mes­mer­ized I was by Mark McGuire’s quest to break Maris’ record only to find out it was tainted; it still pisses me off. Such a big deal break­ing it, but really not a big deal. That is what aster­isks are for. I think most peo­ple in 1961 were root­ing for Mickey Man­tle to beat out Maris for Ruth’s record but an injury late in the sea­son took him out of the run­ning.  Accord­ing to the movie “61” about the chase, Man­tle was root­ing for Maris to pull the feat off anyway.

Going to Fen­way Park was an easy task when you grew up in Revere. When there was noth­ing to do you could always hop on the train at Revere Beach Sta­tion, ride to Gov­ern­ment Cen­ter (it was called Scol­lay Square back then) trans­fer or walk to get to Park Street Sta­tion and then get the trol­ley to Ken­more Square. You had to make sure you got the right trol­ley oth­er­wise you ended up in never, never land some­where off of Hunt­ing­ton Avenue and no one from Revere would know where they were.

Of course you prob­a­bly would not have walked from Scol­lay Square, as it would have been another fee of a nickel to get back on a train at a dif­fer­ent stop. Those trol­leys were great back then; you would rock and roll all the way there. The old cars were shaky, crowded and not air-conditioned. Can you imag­ine a non air-conditioned train after spend­ing the day in the hot sun at Fen­way, not fun! After a day game we would go to the Ken­more Hotel to the lit­tle ice cream par­lor and get a deli­cious Sun­dae (and I mean deli­cious) cost­ing a quarter.

Any night a crew of us hang­ing around in the 50s and 60s could go to Fen­way watch Dick Rad­datz mow them down along with the other 10,000 peo­ple who may be in atten­dance. Jim Pier­sal, a long time Red Sox cen­ter fielder, vis­ited our local gro­cery store, Arthur’s Cream­ery, while endors­ing a choco­late drink and, yes, I got his autograph.

Tom Yawkey was prob­a­bly the only rea­son the Red Sox stayed in Boston with the small crowds in atten­dance. It all changed in 1967, the “Impos­si­ble Dream Year” when sell­outs became nor­mal busi­ness. Back then, there were no play­offs, you were the best team in base­ball in your league or you ended your sea­son when the sea­son ended. With the two num­ber one teams play­ing the World Series you got the best of the best, at least supposedly.

Dick Williams showed up as man­ager in 1967 and things just came together. I did not cover any of the games as a pho­tog­ra­pher but I had a press pass and could go to any game I wanted and sit in the photographer’s box. I did not take as much advan­tage of the perk as I should have. This was before the photographer’s box next to their dugout. Every­thing was shot from above or you floated around look­ing for an aisle seat. A big treat going to a game with the press pass was to be able to eat in the press lunch­room, where there was deli­cious food and it was free. A tip of $1.00 was the stan­dard and where could you eat as much as you want of good food for a buck.

The week­end the Red Sox won the pen­nant in 1967 every­one was work­ing. I was in the lab at the paper. We were play­ing the Min­nesota Twins and had to win both Sat­ur­day and Sunday’s game while one of the other teams in the league lost. I was very busy with many rolls of film being shipped in to make our many edi­tions. Then it was over, the Sox won and John Lan­ders had a great photo of Jim Lon­borg being car­ried off the field on his teammate’s shoul­ders after beat­ing the great pitcher Dean Chance in what you could call a non-playoff, play­off game, win­ner take all.

I went with pho­tog­ra­pher Kevin Cole to St. Louis for the World Series that year. I never got to the park as I worked out of the St. Louis Post Dis­patch doing all of Kevin’s lab work and trans­mit­ting over 60 pho­tos back to Boston to be used in our edi­tions. Kevin did his usual great job catch­ing all the action.

Ear­lier in the sea­son Lon­borg got engaged and the hunt for his fiancé was on and I was on the chase. There I was at Fen­way Park look­ing for his fiancé, not know­ing where to look, all of a sud­den a car pulls up by the player’s entrance, Lon­borg gets out of the car and she was dri­ving. Very gra­ciously, she held up her hand to dis­play her ring. I prob­a­bly yelled out ask­ing her to hold up her hand, thank­fully I knew which hand the ring was on and if you were dri­ving the left hand is on the win­dow side. Lon­borg did not marry this woman, and went on to be a South Shore area den­tist. I have never seen him again in person.

Ken “Hawk” Har­rel­son throw­ing his cast away, St. Elizabeth’s Hospital

When Ken “Hawk” Har­rel­son (now the Chicago White Sox announcer) had his cast removed from leg injury I was at Saint Elizabeth’s Hos­pi­tal and asked him to throw the cast away for the cam­era. He was a very media savvy ath­lete. Har­rel­son came to the Red Sox dur­ing their Pen­nant drive to replace the injured Tony Conigliaro.

Carl Yast­trzem­ski, Tony Conigliaro, Hank Aaron, open­ing day 1976

In the Conigliaro era there was always some­thing going on. What­ever he did we did. There was the night he got into a car acci­dent in Somerville and was taken to the hos­pi­tal. Then I was cov­er­ing his younger brother Richie play­ing foot­ball for Swamp­scott High School and the whole Conigliaro fam­ily was there. I was assigned to show every­one. I was tak­ing some pho­tos of the fam­ily and Tony came play­fully charg­ing at me like he was going to tackle me. Of course, I wasn’t sure whether or not he would throw me to the ground so I moved out of the way. I met his brother Billy sev­eral times as he was in high school with a friend of mine from Swamp­scott, Susan Feldman.

Jim Willoughby, Rick Wise, Juan Beniquez, Doug Grif­fin, Fred Lynn, Dick Drago, Reg­gie Cleve­land, Dick Pole, Johnny Pesky, Denny Doyle, Carl Yas­trzem­ski, Dwight Evans, Bob Mont­gomery, Rico Petro­celli Might have been 1975, start of World Series?

In 1975, when Car­leton Fisk hit is game win­ning home run against Cincin­nati in the World Series I was in the photographer’s box shoot­ing color film watch­ing Fisk wav­ing his home run ball fair. I ran out on the field with every­one else and it was fun. Still haven’t found those slides.

Oops! Danielle Tor­rez, with score­card in hand knows the Red Sox sea­son is over after her hus­band Mike gave up a 3 run homer to Bucky Dent!

Bucky Dent hits his game win­ning 3 run homer and I was the floater for the one game play­off with the Yan­kees in 1978. I was walk­ing around try­ing to get “dif­fer­ent pho­tos” for the later edi­tions. I was behind the home plate screen tak­ing pho­tos of Mike Tor­rez pitch­ing and keep­ing an eye on his wife Danielle who also behind the back­stop.  Dent came up to the plate and hit his blast and the Red Sox sea­son was over. Danielle knew it also and I had this really good photo of her expres­sion, which got a one col­umn cut in the paper. The front-page head­line the next day was this very, very, very small type, which said “Red Sox Lose” and you were not a base­ball fan you would not have noticed. Sam Cohen our great sports edi­tor always had great ideas to be different.

Of course there was Bill Lee, Red Sox pitcher; talk about some­one who danced to his own drum­mer!  Must have been a Wednes­day night when he walked off the team or some­thing like that as I was work­ing and I was dis­patched to his Bel­mont home to get a shot of him. I was in front of his house when he came jog­ging up the street. I stood there and took some pho­tos of him arriv­ing, fol­lowed him down the dri­ve­way and of course he knew I was tak­ing his photo as he acknowl­edged my pres­ence. Next week I heard from Jerry Buck­ley the Red Sox pho­tog­ra­pher back then that Lee had said he was stalked and I came out behind the bushes to get his photo. Two sides to a story, he was danc­ing as far as I was concerned.

When Oil Can Boyd (a Red Sox pitcher) flipped his lid so to speak reporter Ron Gol­lobin and I were sent to his Chelsea apart­ment try­ing to seek him out for what­ever he wanted to say. It did not go to well. He came out the door, spot­ted us and took steps towards us. He was yelling at me flay­ing his arms and Gol­lobin stepped between us. He cre­ated a real photo opp. In that same era while hon­ey­moon­ing in Hawaii I bumped into the very friendly Dwight Evans and his wife vaca­tion­ing there.

There were many side­bars through my years of Red Sox cov­er­age. There were the 4 peo­ple mur­dered at Sammy White’s Bowl­ing Alley, Sep­tem­ber 22, 1980 in Brighton. The for­mer Red Sox catcher owned the alley. I was out­side when the police inves­ti­ga­tion was tak­ing place and got a photo of a dis­traught rel­a­tive wait­ing for word from the Boston Police.

In 1986, Red Sox vs. the Mets for the World Series, every­one was excited.  I was with reporter Susan Wor­nick, Neil Unger­lieder (now head of our inter­net site, “thebostonchannel.com) and Chan­nel Five Berra­neck Fel­low, Rebecca Rowl­ings. We were doing a story about the pros­ti­tutes doing busi­ness in Boston. We pulled over on Wash­ing­ton Street near the for­mer Wang The­atre to watch the end of the game, as my com­pany car was equipped with a TV.

Neil who is a very big Red Sox fan com­mented, “the Red Sox are going to win a World Series!” We were very intent watch­ing; know­ing if they won our story would change to local cel­e­bra­tions. Then it hap­pened, Bill Buck­ner missed the grounder to first in the tenth inning after the Red Sox were up 3 to 2 in games and every­thing unfolded. It was over, and all that was left was the Red Sox to try and recover the next night. We all know what hap­pened after that, it took 18 more years to finally win a World Series bring­ing the total up to 86 years between championships.

I was at Fen­way Park when the Red Sox came home in the early morn­ing hours. In those days we were a wel­come sight to the play­ers and had good access to the bus and the play­ers. Pitcher Bob “Steamer” Stan­ley one of the nicest ath­let­ics you could ever meet got off the bus and there was a fan yelling, “Bob you’re the best!” It was just after the ongo­ing con­tro­versy of whether he threw a wild pitch or the catcher Rich Ged­man had a passed ball. Most think it was a passed ball but he took the hit gra­ciously. A lit­tle name-dropping here, his daugh­ter Kristin worked at Chan­nel Five as a pro­ducer and I went to her wed­ding in 2010.

After that there was the time reporter Jack Harper and I went into the Red Sox dress­ing room, before yel­low tape, when all you needed to do was show up at Fen­way show your Fen­way Pass and walk around includ­ing the locker room. We walked in and there were a cou­ple of play­ers sit­ting there (must have been after the “86” loss) includ­ing Jim Rice. Every­one knew Mr. Rice did not like the media back then. If looks could kill Jack and I would not be here now.

Red Sox World Series Parade, 2004, 86 years after the last one.

Today, I do very lit­tle Red Sox cov­er­age although I was there in the 90s after they won the Pen­nant by beat­ing the Angels in the play­offs, ran out on the field with every­one else to the pitcher’s mound for the cel­e­bra­tion and got excel­lent video. I cov­ered the local cel­e­bra­tions after they won the Series in 04 and 07 and hope they do it again while I am still working.

Johnny Damon, Molly and Han­nah, great Christ­mas card, 2004

But my high­light of Fen­way will always be get­ting my birth­day wish up on the bleacher screen unless I ever get to throw out the first pitch and make a fool out of myself when I can­not reach the plate.

 

Comments (2) Trackbacks (0)
  1. Great mem­o­ries!

    In the team pic–not Rick Miller. I’d say Doug Griffin.

    Won WS in 04 and 07, not 06.

  2. Great blog right here! Also your web site loads up fast! What web host are you the use of? Can I get your asso­ciate link on your host? I wish my web site loaded up as fast as yours lol


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