The passing of Carl Beane last week set my mind to thinking, thinking about voices and the role they play in our lives. Think about it, who doesn’t like music? Who doesn’t sing in the shower? Who doesn’t at least once, envision themselves, mike in hand, making lovely ladies swoon and men green with envy?
Ray Kinsella in the most famous cornfield in the world.
The magic of Fenway was conveyed to me in voices. The first voices I recall belonged to these three men.
Curt Gowdy, Ned Martin and Art Gleeson teamed up on the old WHDH radio and television stations for what back in the day were known as crossover broadcasts. They would rotate from the radio to TV broadcast with two of them on the radio and one in the TV booth. What was the need of having two guys in the TV booth, the “listeners” could see the game, so why the need to talk about it so much? Something todays voices would do well to remember.
They teamed up in 1961 and remained together through the 1964 season. The partnership ended with the passing of Gleeson following the 1964 season.
Bill “Monbo” Monbouquette struck out 17 Washington Senators on May 12, 1961 at Griffith Stadium.
My first “radio” Red Sox memory came when Red Sox pitcher Bill Monbouquette set a team record when he struck out 17 batters in May of 1961. When “Monbo” took the mound that night, three Red Sox pitchers shared the record having struck out 15 opponents. Joe Harris did it first in 1906, “Smokey” Joe Wood duplicated the effort in 1911 and Mickey McDermott joined them in 1951.
I used to fall asleep listening to the Sox games on the radio, but on this particular night, this particular eight year old had no interest in sleep. The Sox were ahead 1-0 and “Monbo” was mowin em down! The lead was stretched to 2 zip when Monbouquette walked with the bases loaded in the top of the seventh and then in the bottom of the frame he punched out Senator catcher Gene Green for his 14th “K” of the night.
Senator center fielder Willie Tasby became “Monbo’s” 15th strikeout when he went down with one out in the Washington eighth.
The Red Sox and Monbouquette carried a 2-0 lead into ninth having parlayed only two hits into two runs and “Monbo” was a strikeout away from Red Sox history. He wasted no time as he got first baseman Dale Long on strikes leading off the ninth but he still had work to do.
He added strike out number 17 following an error by third baseman Frank Malzone, but then he walked a batter, gave up an RBI single and it took a great catch by right fielder Jackie Jensen to preserve the 2-1 win. The Sox had their win, “Monbo” had his record and I could finally go to sleep.
Red Sox great Mel Parnell joined the broadcast team following Gleeson’s death but the following year Curt Gowdy left headed for NBC and broadcast immortality. Ned Martin emerged as the Red Sox voice of legendary proportions but that’s another story for another day.
The voices of Fenway spilled from my eight transistor radio, to the 19″ black and white Zenith TV and then, of course to the field itself.
When I first heard the golden pipes of this man,
I incorporated his routine into my games of wall ball played solo against the side of my house. “Now batting for the Red Sox number eight Carl Yastrzemski left field, Yastrzemski.”
And when Fenway lost Sherm, it took a while but they found another treasure in Carl Beane who, recognizing history and understanding tradition, honored his predecessor with his legendary Fenway greeting, “ladies and gentlemen, boys and girls welcome to Fenway Park.”
Art and Sherm and Curt and Ned and Carl are gone from us now, but that’s the funny thing about voices, the voices, they’re never gone!
And so it is on this day in Fenway Park history, May 16, 2012.