Mel Parnell died yesterday.
I first learned of Mel Parnell at the knee of my father. Following the Red Sox beginning in 1959, I never had the pleasure of seeing him pitch, however, every kid who grew into his Red Sox in that era learned of the futilities of 1947, 1948 and 1949 and Mel played a key role in ’48’s futility. The strangest part of it all is, the role he played is that he didn’t play. Huh? I know, sounds confusing but here’s what went down.
You see Mel Parnell was a rookie in 1948 and he was not a bad rookie at all, going 15-8 with a 3.14 ERA and at a time when Fenway Park was a graveyard for many a left-handed pitcher he was 8-3 with a 2.29 ERA at Fenway.
The 1948 regular season ended in a deadlock between the Indians and the Red Sox, setting the stage for a one game playoff to decide the American League champs. Mel was well rested and ready to go and he had beaten Cleveland three times during the year. He arrived at Fenway Park expecting to pitch but Red Sox skipper Joe McCarthy went with “his gut”and pitched Denny Galehouse, a journeyman right hander instead of the rookie south paw. Galehouse got rocked and the Sox lost 8-3 and Boston lost out on a opportunity for a subway series.
Mel played a significant role in another Fenway chapter which was written in 1967. Having joined the Red Sox broadcast team in the mid 60s, it was he who was at the TV mike on October 1, 1967 when Minnesots Twins third baseman Rich Rollins popped out to Rico Petrocelli which secured the American League pennant.
Yesterday Mel Parnell’s voice fell silent, his golden left arm forevermore baseball empty and in leaving us he brought me once more to my father’s knee and once more I could hear his voice tell me the tale of Mel Parnell and how he WOULD have pitched the Sox to the American League pennant in 1948.
God speed “Dusty”…..And thank you.
And so it is on this day in Fenway Park history, March 22, 2012.
Hello and welcome, my name is Raymond Sinibaldi. An educator for more than two decades, a baseball fan for nearly 60 years, I have authored four books about baseball and her glorious history; with a fifth on the way in late spring of 2015; the first, The Babe in Red Stockings which was co-authored with Kerry Keene and David Hickey. It is a chronicle of Babe's days with the Red Sox. We also penned a screenplay about Babe's Red Sox days so if any of you are Hollywood inclined or would like to represent us in forwarding that effort feel free to contact me through my email. In 2012 we three amigos published Images of Fenway Park in honor of the 100th birthday of Fenway Park. That led to the creation of this blog. The following year, 2013 came my first solo venture, Spring Training in Bradenton and Sarasota. This is a pictorial history of spring training in those two Florida cities. The spring of 2014 brought forth the 1967 Red Sox, The Impossible Dream Season. The title speaks for itself and it also is a pictorial history. Many of the photos in this book were never published before. The spring of 2015 will bring 1975 Red Sox, American League Champions. Another pictorial effort, this will be about the Red Sox championship season of 1975 and the World Series that restored baseball in America. I was fortunate enough to consult with sculptor Franc Talarico on the “Jimmy Fund” statue of Ted Williams which stands outside both Fenway Park and Jet Blue Park Fenway South, in Fort Myers Florida. That story is contained in the near 300 posts which are contained herein. This blog has been dormant for awhile but 2015 will bring it back to life so jump on board, pass the word and feel free to contact me about anything you read or ideas you may have for a topic. Thanks for stopping by, poke around and enjoy. Autographed copies of all my books are available here, simply click on Raymond Sinibaldi and email me.