Results tagged ‘ Tony Kubek ’

Barbato top rookie in Yankees camp

Pitcher Johnny Barbato was the recipient of the 2016 James P. Dawson Award, given annually to the outstanding rookie in the Yankees’ spring training camp.

Barbato, 23, had a record of 0-1 with two saves and a 1.74 ERA in 10 relief appearances covering 10 1/3 innings in Grapefruit League play. The righthander allowed seven hits and one walk with 12 strikeouts. Over five minor league seasons, Barbato has an 18-15 record with 36 saves, a 3.55 ERA and 326 strikeouts in 179 career appearances (20 starts) totaling 317 innings. The Miami, Fla., native was acquired from the Padres in a Dec. 29, 2014 trade for pitcher Shawn Kelley. Barbato was originally a sixth-round selection by the Padres in the 2010 First-Year Player Draft.

The award was established in honor of James P. Dawson (1896-1953), who began a 45-year career with The New York Times as a copy boy in 1908. Eight years later, he became boxing editor and covered boxing and baseball until his death during spring training in 1953.

Two winners of the honor, Tony Kubek in 1957 and Tom Tresh in 1962, went on to win the American League Rookie of the Year Award. The Dawson Award first was presented to Norm Siebern by manager Casey Stengel in St. Petersburg, Fla., at the conclusion of spring training in 1956. Other prominent Dawson Award winners over the years include Roy White (1966), Willie Randolph (1976), Don Mattingly (1983), Al Leiter (1988), Jorge Posada (1997), Alfonso Soriano (2001), Hideki Matsui (2003), Brett Gardner (2009) and Masahiro Tanaka (2015).

Yankees beat writers vote on the winner. In conjunction with the award, Barbato will receive a watch from Betteridge Jewelers.

Tanaka honored as top rookie with Dawson Award

Masahiro Tanaka, the Japanese pitcher that the Yankees signed to a seven-year contract during the off-season, has already made a strong impression. The righthander who has earned a spot in the club’s 2014 rotation was named this year’s recipient of the James P. Dawson Award as the outstanding rookie in Yankees camp.

The award has been presented annually since 1956, three years after Dawson, a 45-year veteran of the New York Times, died while covering spring training at the age of 57. Dawson joined the Times as a copy boy in 1908 when he was 12 years old. The award is voted upon each year by beat writers who cover the Yankees.

Tanaka, 25, had a 2-0 record with a 2.14 ERA (21.0IP, 5ER) in five exhibition appearances, including three starts, that totaled 21 innings and led the squad with 26 strikeouts. He allowed 15 hits and three walks. Last year Tanaka was 24-0 with a 1.27 ERA (212.0IP, 30ER, 183K) and 183 strikeouts in 28 appearances (27 starts) covering 212 innings with the Tohoku Rakuten Golden Eagles in the Nippon Professional Baseball League in Japan. Tanaka was signed Jan. 22 by the Yankees via the posting system from the Golden Eagles to a seven-year deal.

Two former winners of the honor, Tony Kubek in 1957 and Tom Tresh in 1962, went on to win the American League Rookie of the Year Award from the Baseball Writers’ Association of America. What about Derek Jeter, the 1996 Jackie Robison Rookie of the Year Award winner? He lost out that year to another foreign-born right-handed pitcher, Mark Hutton of Australia.

The Dawson Award first was presented to outfielder Norm Siebern by manager Casey Stengel in St. Petersburg, Fla., at the conclusion of spring training in 1956. In conjunction with the award, Tanaka will receive a watch from Betteridge Jewelers.

Phelps wins Dawson Award

Prior to Wednesday’s conclusion of the Yankees’ Grapefruit League schedule with their victory over the Mets at Tampa’s Steinbrenner Field, the Yanks honored pitcher David Phelps with the 2012 James P. Dawson Award as the outstanding rookie in camp as voted on by writers covering the team.

Phelps, 25, had a 0-1 record with one save and a 2.08 ERA in seven spring appearances, including one start. The righthander pitched 17 1/3 innings and allowed six runs (four earned), 16 hits, including one home run, and four walks with 14 strikeouts.

In 2011, Phelps led all minor-league pitchers in the Yankees organization in ERA at 2.99 in his 7-7 season at Triple A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre where he made 20 starts and pitched 114 1/3 innings. Phelps was also the 2010 recipient of the Kevin Lawn Award as the organization’s minor-league pitcher of the year for compiling a combined 10-2 record with a 2.50 ERA in 26 outings, all but one as a starter, for Scranton and Double A Trenton.

The Missouri native attended Notre Dame and was the Yankees’ choice in the 14th round of the 2008 First Year Player Draft.

The award was established in honor of James P. Dawson (1896-1953), who began a 45-year career with The New York Times as a copy boy in 1908. Eight years later, he became boxing editor and covered boxing and baseball until his death during spring training in 1953. In conjunction with the award, Phelps received an Elysee watch from Manfredi Jewelers.

The first Dawson Award winner was Norm Siebern in 1956. Tony Kubek won the next year and went on to win the American League Rookie of the Year Award that season. Another future AL Rookie of the Year Award winner who had also won the Dawson Award was Tom Tresh in 1962. Other prominent Dawson Award winners over the years include Roy White (1966), Willie Randolph (1976), Don Mattingly (1983), Al Leiter (1988), Jorge Posada (1997), Alfonso Soriano (2001), Hideki Matsui (2003) and  Brett Gardner (2009).

 

Good & bad about All-Star selections

The good news is that the Yankees will have six players on the American League roster, four in the starting lineup, for the All-Star Game July 12 at Chase Field in Phoenix. The bad news is that several deserving players from the Yankees will not be making the trip next week to Arizona.

Let’s start with the positive. The Yankees will make up three-quarters of the AL starting infield for the third time in franchise history with second baseman Robinson Cano, third baseman Alex Rodriguez and shortstop Derek Jeter.

The only other time the Yankees had three infielders elected to the starting unit was for the 2004 game at Minute Maid Park in Houston with Rodriguez, Jeter and first baseman Jason Giambi.

The Yankees also had three starting infielders in 1980 at Dodger Stadium in Los Angeles, but only one – shortstop Bucky Dent – had been elected by the fans. Graig Nettles started at third base as a replacement for injured George Brett of the Royals. The Brewers’ Paul Molitor was voted the starter at second base but had to be replaced due to injury as well. The Angels’ Bobby Grich was added to the roster, but the Yankees’ Willie Randolph started the game at the position.

This will mark the 10th time that the Yankees have had at least three infielders on the All-Star roster. First baseman Mark Teixeira’s failure to make the squad this year cost the Yankees the chance to have four infielders overall for the third time. The Yankees had four infield All-Stars in 2002 at Miller Park in Milwaukee (Jeter, Giambi, 2B Alfonoso Soriano, 3B Robin Ventura) and in 1939 at Yankee Stadium (1B Lou Gehrig, 2B Joe Gordon, 3B Red Rolfe, SS Frankie Crosetti). Giambi and Soriano were starters in 2004 and Gordon in 1939.

Other years in which the Yankees had three All-Star infielders were 1950 at Comiskey Park in Chicago (1B Tommy Henrich, 2B Jerry Coleman, SS Phil Rizzuto), 1957 at Busch Stadium in St. Louis (1B Moose Skowron, 2B Bobby Richardson, SS Gil McDougald), Game 1 in 1959 at Forbes Field in Pittsburgh (Skowron, Richardson, SS Tony Kubek), Game 2 in 1959 at Memorial Coliseum in Los Angeles (Skowron, Kubek, McDougald) and 2006 at PNC Park in Pittsburgh (Cano, Jeter, Rodriguez).

Yankees catcher Russell Martin had led in the voting until the last week when he was passed by the Tigers’ Alex Avila. At least Martin made the team as an alternate. His handling of the Yanks’ pitching staff has been superb.

Mariano Rivera was an obvious choice for the staff despite his blown save Sunday, which ended a 26-save streak against National League clubs in inter-league play.

Now for the head-scratching stuff – why no Teixeira or CC Sabathia? And has anyone other than Yankees fans been paying attention to the season David Robertson is having?

Tex fell out of the balloting lead at first base last month behind the Red Sox’ Adrian Gonzalez, an admitted Most Valuable Player Award candidate, but still ran a strong second in the voting. The Tigers’ Miguel Cabrera cannot compare with Teixeira defensively and trails him in homers, 25-17, and RBI, 65-56, but his .328 batting average is 80 points higher than Tex’s.

Now, here’s the rub. Teixeira has been invited to participate in the Home Run Derby. Nice. He can’t be on the team but he can fly all the way to Phoenix and take part in an exercise that could ruin his swing. Ask Bobby Abreu or David Wright about that? Say no, Tex.

All Sabathia has done is lead the AL in victories with 11 and posted a 3.05 ERA. Oh, that’s right. Pitching victories do not count anymore. I guess that’s why there was room for Felix Hernandez on the staff. The word is that CC pitching Sunday before the Tuesday night All-Star Game hurt his chances of making the team. Dumb reason.

To his credit, AL manager Ron Washington of the Rangers said nice things about Robertson when Texas was in town and that he was given him strong consideration. With so many other Yankees on the team, Robertson didn’t stand much of a chance, particularly since every team needs to be represented. When you see the Royals’ Aaron Crow in the pre-game announcements, think of Robertson. Crow, also a set-up reliever, is Kansas City’ lone representative.

It is a tough break for Robertson, but he is no more deserving than Sabathia, so it is hard to say he was snubbed. A lot of people don’t like the baseball rule about All-Star Games having to have players from each team, but I think it is a good thing. The 2012 game is supposed to be in Kansas City. It would be a shame if someone from the Royals was not on the team.

Each club no matter where it is in the standings has someone who deserves All-Star recognition. That the Yankees have so many is a testament to the terrific season the team is having.

Swisher a throwback at leadoff

A lot of people seemed surprised to see Nick Swisher at the top of the lineup Wednesday night against the Rangers, even Swisher.

“I have hit everywhere else in the lineup,” he said before the game. “I might as well bat first.”

As I pointed out in Tuesday’s blog, Swisher seemed a good option in the leadoff spot against a left-handed starter because of his .356 batting average and .438 on-base percentage from the left side. Obviously, manager Joe Girardi felt the same way. Brett Gardner will continue to lead off against righthanders while Derek Jeter is on the disabled list.

Swisher may not realize it, but if he had been around the Yankees in the 1950s he would have been a leadoff candidate for Casey Stengel. The Ol’ Professor liked to use players with extra-base power at the top of the order. His favorites during those years were Hank Bauer, Bob Cerv, Gene Woodling and Tony Kubek.

In fact, when Roger Maris came to the Yankees in 1960 in a trade from the Kansas City A’s that also involved Bauer, Stengel batted Maris leadoff in the first few games. When Maris started hitting balls over fences on a regular basis, Casey eventually moved him into the 3-hole where he went on to the first of two consecutive Most Valuable Player seasons.

Swisher did not lead off the game with a hit, but he reached base his next two times up with a double and a walk.

Jeter’s replacement at shortstop, Eduardo Nunez, homered in the fourth inning. It was Nunez’s second homer of the season. He now has as many long balls in 62 at-bats as Jeter had in 262.

The Captain will not accompany the Yankees on their trip to Chicago and Cincinnati for inter-league series against the Cubs and Reds. Jeter will go to Tampa for rehabilitation on his right calf strain. His stint on the DL means Jeter won’t be able to add to his inter-league record for hits of 362. DJ is not in danger of being passed. He is 52 hits ahead of the second place guy, who just happens to be teammate Alex Rodriguez.

A-Rod showed off some fine baserunning in the fifth inning as the Yankees took a 5-4 lead. On first base after a one-out walk, Rodriguez avoided being tagged by second baseman Ian Kinsler on Robinson Cano’s groundout and was able to get to second base. That made it possible for him to score on a single to left by Andruw Jones. Josh Hamilton made a strong throw to the plate, but A-Rod beat it with a good slide.

The run was the 1,799th of Rodriguez’s career. It tied him with Hall of Famer Ted Williams for 16th place on the all-time list.

Fordham to honor memory of Gil McDougald

With the Yankees not playing until 8:05 p.m. Saturday in Texas (on YES), why not take in a game in the Bronx in the afternoon? Former Yankees infielder Gil McDougald, who died last Nov. 28 in Wall Township, N.J., at the age of 82, will be honored prior to Fordham’s 4 p.m. game against Saint Joseph’s at Houlihan Field.

Family members and former players will be on hand to salute McDougald, who reached the World Series eight times in his 10 seasons with the Yankees (1951-60) and won five rings. He was Fordham’s head baseball coach from 1970-76 and led the Rams to a 100-79-4 record.

That the tribute will be held May 7 is a sad piece of irony. On that date in 1957, a line drive hit by McDougald struck Indians pitcher Herb Score in the face in one of baseball’s most tragic accidents. McDougald vowed to quit the game if Score did not recover, which he did but was never again the imposing pitcher he had been in 1955 and ’56. It is fair to say that McDougald was not quite the same after that incident, either.

Later in life, long after his major-league career, McDougald fought a long battle with deafness. Below is a copy of the blog I wrote for The Cutoff Man after McDougald’s death. For those who may not have had a chance to read it, here it is again.

In memory of the late Gil McDougald, who died last week of prostate cancer at the age of 82, I would like to share a piece I wrote on the five-time All-Star Yankees infielder back in 1997 when the New York Chapter of the Baseball Writers’ Association of America honored him with the Casey Stengel “You Can Look It Up” Award.

For a long time, Gil McDougald lived in a noiseless world. Embarrassed by his deafness, the former Yankees infielder withdrew from his friends, turned away from all but his immediate family and settled into a chamber of silence.

The lively sounds at Yankee Stadium were once music to McDougald’s ears. A hearing disorder stemming from a concussion McDougald suffered in 1955 during a batting practice accident worsened to the point that in 1976 he resigned as Fordham’s baseball coach because of communication difficulties. In 1985, he felt compelled to sell his building-maintenance business. His suburban New Jersey home had become more a place of exile.

An article in 1994 by New York Times columnist Ira Berkow drew attention to McDougald’s situation. He was contacted by Dr. Stephen Epstein, a Yankees fan who directs the Ear Center in Maryland and recommended McDougald consult Dr. Noel Cohen, chief of otolaryngology at New York University Medical Center. That November, in a 3-hour operation, McDougald received a cochlea implant of a microcomputer that helped restore his hearing. McDougald lectured around the country on the benefits of the procedure.

“There’s a real need to build awareness of the technology,” McDougald told Sports Illustrated. “When you’re fortunate and something good happens, even though you weren’t expecting anything, that’s when the payback comes. When you see the progress, particularly with little children, it’s so satisfying. It’s like hitting a home run with the bases loaded.”

That was one of McDougald’s career highlights, a grand slam off the Giants’ Larry Jansen at the Polo Grounds in the 1951 World Series. The honor bestowed by the writers is most appropriate for McDougald because Stengel was the only manager he played for in his 10 major-league seasons, all with the Yankees, from 1951 through 1960 before he quit rather than go into the American League expansion draft.

McDougald was among the most gifted of the tough, heady infielders who were integral figures on Stengel’s teams such as Phil Rizzuto, Billy Martin, Jerry Coleman, Bobby Brown, Andy Carey, Tony Kubek, Bobby Richardson and Clete Boyer.

The Ol’ Perfessor would have loved Derek Jeter.

That brings us to the “You Can Look It Up” part, which refers to one of Casey’s pet expressions. Among Jeter’s accomplishments in his Jackie Robinson Rookie of the Year Award season of 1996 was a .314 batting average. What’s the big deal, you say? Well, you have to go back 40 years to find a New York shortstop – Yankee, Met, Giant or Dodger – who hit .300 over a full season.

And that shortstop was Gil McDougald. True, Kubek hit .314 in 1962, but he played in only 45 games that year because of military duty and a back injury. McDougald’s .311 mark for the Yankees in 1956 was the highest for a fulltime shortstop before Jeter topped it in ‘96.

The AL Rookie of the Year Award is another link between the two Yankees shortstops. McDougald was the first and Jeter the most recent of the eight Yankees who have won the award. McDougald wasn’t a shortstop when he won in 1951 by two votes over White Sox outfielder Minnie Minoso, 13-11. The more heralded Yankees rookie, Mickey Mantle, did not receive a vote.

McDougald played third base and second base until 1956 when Stengel tabbed him to succeed Rizzuto at shortstop. In the 10 years McDougald played for the Yanklees, they won more than 90 games nine times, eight pennants and five World Series, including ‘56, which made him a precursor to Jeter as a .300-hitting shortstop for a Series champion.

In that ‘56 Series, McDougald made an alert play that helped preserve Don Larsen’s perfect game against the Dodgers in Game 5 at Yankee Stadium. Jackie Robinson led off the second inning with a line drove to third that glanced off Carey’s glove to McDougald, who threw out Robby at first base.

Hitting out of an unorthodox, open stance which he moderated midway through his career, McDougald compiled a .276 career average with 112 home runs before retiring at age 32 after the 1960 World Series rather than play for the expansion Los Angeles Angels or Washington Senators.

McDougald was an unwilling participant in a baseball tragedy May 7, 1957. Indians lefthander Herb Score, then in the third year of a career that might have led him to Cooperstown, was struck in the face of by a liner off McDougald’s bat. Score was never the same pitcher again.

Less known is the incident two years earlier in which a BP liner by Bob Cerv hit McDougald above his left ear. It was diagnosed as a concussion, and McDougald was back in uniform in several days. He later learned that he had inner ear damage from an undetected fractured skull, which began McDougald’s quiet retreat.

“Except for playing golf, Gil had really become a recluse,” said former AL president Bobby Brown, one of McDougald’s oldest and closest friends. “But now since he can hear again, he’s his old self and able to contribute. It’s an emotional thrill for all of us.”

McDougald’s struggle against silence

In memory of the late Gil McDougald, who died last week of prostate cancer at the age of 82, I would like to share a piece I wrote on the five-time All-Star Yankees infielder back in 1997 when the New York Chapter of the Baseball Writers’ Association of America honored him with the Casey Stengel “You Can Look It Up” Award.

For a long time, Gil McDougald lived in a noiseless world. Embarrassed by his deafness, the former Yankees infielder withdrew from his friends, turned away from all but his immediate family and settled into a chamber of silence.

The lively sounds at Yankee Stadium were once music to McDougald’s ears. A hearing disorder stemming from a concussion McDougald suffered in 1955 during a batting practice accident worsened to the point that in 1976 he resigned as Fordham’s baseball coach because of communication difficulties. In 1985, he felt compelled to sell his building-maintenance business. His suburban New Jersey home had become more a place of exile.

An article in 1994 by New York Times columnist Ira Berkow drew attention to McDougald’s situation. He was contacted by Dr. Stephen Epstein, a Yankees fan who directs the Ear Center in Maryland and recommended McDougald consult Dr. Noel Cohen, chief of otolaryngology at New York University Medical Center. That November, in a 3 -hour operation, McDougald received a cochlea implant of a microcomputer that helped restore his hearing. McDougald lectured around the country on the benefits of the procedure.

“There’s a real need to build awareness of the technology,” McDougald told Sports Illustrated. “When you’re fortunate and something good happens, even though you weren’t expecting anything, that’s when the payback comes. When you see the progress, particularly with little children, it’s so satisfying. It’s like hitting a home run with the bases loaded.”

That was one of McDougald’s career highlights, a grand slam off the Giants’ Larry Jansen at the Polo Grounds in the 1951 World Series. The honor bestowed by the writers is most appropriate for McDougald because Stengel was the only manager he played for in his 10 major-league seasons, all with the from Yankees, from 1951 through 1960 before he quit rather than go into the expansion draft.

McDougald was among the most gifted of the tough, heady infielders who were integral figures on Stengel’s teams such as Phil Rizzuto, Billy Martin, Jerry Coleman, Bobby Brown, Andy Carey, Tony Kubek, Bobby Richardson and Clete Boyer.

The Ol’ Perfessor would have loved Derek Jeter.

That brings us to the “You Can Look It Up” part, which refers to one of Casey’s pet expressions. Among Jeter’s accomplishments in his Jackie Robinson Rookie of the Year Award season of 1996 was a .314 batting average. What’s the big deal, you say? Well, you have to go back 40 years to find a New York shortstop – Yankee, Met, Giant or Dodger – who hit .300 over a full season.

And that shortstop was Gil McDougald. True, Kubek hit .314 in 1962, but he played in only 45 games that year because of military duty and a back injury. McDougald’s .311 mark for the Yankees in 1956 was the highest for a fulltime shortstop before Jeter topped it in ’96.

The American League Rookie of the Year Award is another link between the two Yankees shortstops. McDougald was the first and Jeter the most recent of the eight Yankees who have won the award. McDougald wasn’t a shortstop when he won in 1951 by two votes over White Sox outfielder Minnie Minoso, 13-11. The more heralded Yankees rookie, Mickey Mantle, did not receive a vote.

McDougald played third base and second base until ’56 when Stengel tabbed him to succeed Rizzuto at shortstop. In the 10 years McDougald played for the Yanklees, they won more than 90 games nine times, eight pennants and five World Series, including 1956, which made him a precursor to Jeter as a .300-hitting shortstop for a Series champion.

In that ’56 Series, McDougald made an alert play that helped preserve Don Larsen’s perfect game against the Dodgers in Game 5 at Yankee Stadium. Jackie Robinson led off the second inning with a line drove to third that glanced off Carey’s glove to McDougald, who threw out Robby at first base.

Hitting out of an unorthodox, open stance which he moderated midway through his career, McDougald compiled a .276 career average with 112 home runs before retiring at age 32 after the 1960 World Series rather than play for the expansion Los Angeles Angels or Washington Senators.

McDougald was an unwilling participant in a baseball tragedy May 7, 1957. Indians lefthander Herb Score, then in the third year of a career that might have led him to Cooperstown, was struck in the face of by a liner off McDougald’s bat. Score was never the same pitcher again.

Less known is the incident two years earlier in which a BP liner by Bob Cerv hit McDougald above his left ear. It was diagnosed as a concussion, and McDougald was back in uniform in several days. He later learned that he had inner ear damage from an undetected fractured skull, which began McDougald’s quiet retreat.

“Except for playing golf, Gil had really become a recluse,” said former AL president Bobby Brown, one of McDougald’s oldest and closest friends. “But now since her can hear he can hear again, he’s his old self and able to contribute. It’s an emotional thrill for all of us.”

Yanks got last licks on Ted

There were reminisces aplenty about Tuesday’s 50th anniversary of Ted Williams’ final at-bat in the major leagues in which he hit a home run, career No. 521, which at the time was the third highest total in history behind only Babe Ruth (714) and Jimmie Foxx (534). A lot has changed in half a century. Teddy Ballgame now stands in a three-way tie with Willie McCovey and Frank Thomas for 18th place, and Barry Bonds (762) and Hank Aaron (755) have long since passed the Babe.

As for what Williams did his last time up in the big leagues, thousands of words have been written about the grand style in which he ended his career by lofting one into the right field seats at Fenway Park. That is all well and good, but for me that is just the usual batch of Red Sox Nation tripe.

I have a personal beef about the whole matter from the mindset of a pre-teen who got stood up by the guy they called the “Splendid Splinter.” He wasn’t much of a splinter by then, nor at 42 did he fit his other nickname, “The Kid,” and from my point of view he damn sure wasn’t splendid.

Here’s why. Do you know what little piece of information all those Boston boors leave out of their Teddy’s last at-bat stories? How about this: nobody in the yard knew it was Williams’ last at-bat until after the game. That’s right. The Red Sox still had three more games to play, at Yankee Stadium, but after the game Williams told the writers that he wasn’t going to New York. The Yankees had already clinched the American League pennant, the Red Sox had been dead meat for a month, so there was no point in his making the trip.

Now doesn’t take a bit of the bite out of that story. I mean, it would have rung truer if he had told the press before the game that he wasn’t playing any more. To Red Sox fans, this was the perfect ending to a Hall of Fame career by admittedly one of the game’s greatest hitters. But to Yankees fans holding tickets to games that weekend, it was a big gyp. The only allure of the series was to see Williams bow out, not watch Carroll Hardy in left field.

My uncle, Bill Gallagher, had gotten tickets for the Friday night game Sept. 30, 1960, and we talked about Williams on the ride to the Stadium. I was really into baseball in those days and was amazed at how vital the two great aging stars of that time, Williams and Stan Musial, still were. Musial, in fact, would play three more seasons, and I would get to see him three home runs in one game at the Polo Grounds in 1963 when he was 42.

God bless Casey Stengel, then in his last year as manager of the Yankees. Although the Yankees were already set for the World Series, ‘ol Case started his regular lineup. Roger Maris, Mickey Mantle, Yogi Berra and the rest. The Red Sox? No Ted Williams. What?

Unlike today’s 24/7 media whirlwind, information from out of town came slowly in those days. A man sitting in the seat next to Uncle Bill said that he heard that Williams decided not to accompany the team to town. Truth be told, I had not been much of a Yankees fan to that point in my life, but I cheered my head off for them that night. To make matters worse, the Red Sox almost won the game.

What follows comes from my old, pencil-scribbled scorecard, boys and girls (I still score in pencil).

Bill Monbouquette, a wonderful guy whom I would get to know more than 20 years later when he was the pitching coach for the Mets, was Boston’s best pitcher and took a 4-2 lead into the bottom of the ninth, but he was replaced by lefthander Tom Brewer after Bobby Richardson led off with a single. Brewer gave up a single to Gil McDougald, and the Yankees had a rally going.

Tony Kubek, another terrific person I would get to know years later, flied out, but Hector Lopez and Maris followed with singles to tie the score and put runners on first and third. Mantle had come out of the game earlier, and his spot in the lineup was taken by Bob Cerv, the thickly-built, right-handed hitter.

Boston manager Pinky Higgins brought in a right-handed pitcher I had never heard of, but a year later he would almost be a household name – Tracy Stallard, the guy who gave up Maris’ 61st home run. On this night, Stallard would be done in by his second baseman, a September callup named Marlan Coughtry. Thanks to him, I learned something important about the game – the need to remain calm in a crisis.

Cerv hit a grounder to Coughtry, who considering Cerv’s lack of speed should have thrown to second base to start a double play. Instead, he decided to tag Maris in the base path and then throw to first. Maris, who never got enough credit for being a heads-up player, put on the brakes and went into reverse. Coughtry took the bait. Lopez broke for the plate. The rookie tagged Maris eventually for the second out but in hesitating lost any chance to get the third out as Lopez scored the winning run.

Talk about a satisfying finish! It made me forget all about Ted Williams, who insulted baseball fans in New York so that he could have all his Beantown acolytes wax poetic about his going deep in his last big-league plate appearance.