It was the bottom of the eighth inning of the 1946 All Star game. There were two outs and two men on when Red Sox left fielder Ted Williams strolled to the plate. The 34, 906 fans who had crammed Fenway Park on this Tuesday afternoon were raucous as they welcomed one of their own to the plate. It had been a great day for the American League, for Red Sox fans and for Ted Williams.
Pictured posing together on the top step of the dugout are the eight members of the Boston Red Sox who made the 1946 American League All Star team: left to right, “Boo” Ferriss, Rudy York, Bobby Doerr, Hal Wagner, Johnny Pesky, Ted Williams, Mickey Harris and Dom DiMaggio. Ted Williams, left field, Dom DiMaggio, centerfield, Bobby Doerr, second base and Johnny Pesky, shortstop were all starters on the 1946 American League squad.
On the mound was Pittsburgh Pirate hurler Rip Sewall who was known for his eephus pitch. The “eephus” was a pitch tossed very slow and in a high looping fashion.
Rip Sewall displays “eephus” grip.
He threw it on the first pitch to Ted who swung and missed and with the count one ball and two strikes, Sewall threw it again. This time Williams deposited it into the Red Sox bullpen giving the American League a 12-0 lead in what turned out to be the final score. It was before they voted a game MVP, but had they done so at the time, it would have gone to Williams who was 4-4 with two home runs and five RBI.
In 1961, Fenway Park hosted her second All Star game. In was in the midst of a four-year stretch (1959-62) when there were two games played each year. The Red Sox had three men in uniform that day, pitchers Mike Fornieles and Don Schwall and manager Mike Higgins who had been named a coach by All Star manager Paul Richards.
However, Schwall was the only player to see action in the Fenway Park game. He pitched the fourth, fifth and sixth innings and allowed the National League’s only run of the game when Eddie Mathews, who had walked, scored on a two out single by St. Louis Cardinal first baseman Bill White. The game was tied 1-1 and when the rains came in the top of the tenth, it ended that way, the first All Star game to end in a tie.
Don Schwall was voted the American League Rookie of the Year in 1961. He struck out the side in the fifth inning of the 1961 All Star game at Fenway Park, including Stan Musial (L) to end the inning with the tying run on second base.
The last All Star game played at Fenway Park was 1999 and it was an event for the ages.
Pedro Martinez started and won the game and the MVP Award as he pitched two innings and struck out five of the six batters he faced including Barry Larkin, Larry Walker, Sammy Sosa and Mark McGwire in a row. He was the first American League pitcher in All Star history to start and win a game in his own home park.
The magic of baseball, the allure of Fenway Park, and the aura of heroes were all unveiled in one scintillating moment when before the game Ted Williams was the last player introduced on the All Century team.
Ted was enveloped by All Stars from both leagues, each one reduced to a little boy who just wanted to get close to a genuine American hero!
Ted Williams and fans.
Among them, Joe Torre.
The spontaneity of this moment lives today as one of the greatest moments in baseball history. For in one of its greatest showcases, nearly a century of baseball converged in the center of the diamond of baseballs oldest cathedral, in a tribute to one of its greatest players by none other than……Its greatest players…..It gets no better than that!
And so it is on this day in Fenway Park history, July 11, 2012.
My grandfather took me to the all star game in 1961 and I still remember this….It was magic and I have been a RED SOX FAN SINCE 1951…..BOSTON STRONG!!!!!!