As the 10th anniversary of the 2004 season was approaching, I asked members of the 2013 Red Sox for whatever memories they might have of the 2004 postseason. Only one Red Sox player was on the 2013 team who had also been on the 2004 World Champions – David Ortiz. His thoughts are recorded elsewhere, and at some length. See, for instance, the book DON’T LET US WON TONIGHT. The ages the 2013 players had in 2004 ranged from 14 (Jose Iglesias) to 29 (Koji Uehara) – and neither of them saw that year’s playoffs since they were in Cuba and Japan respectively. Only a very few of the players in 2013 were in the majors in 2004 – Ryan Dempster, David Ross, Jonny Gomes, and John Lackey. The latter – Lackey – would likely have started Game Four for the Angels against the Red Sox had Boston not swept the Division Series in three games. The only one who appeared in the postseason that year was David Ross, who was with the Dodgers and got into two games during the Division Series against the Cardinals. Dempster had been with the Cubs and Gomes had appeared in five May games for Tampa Bay.
Perhaps befitting their roles as professional ballplayers and perhaps reflecting their sense that their career might take them from organization to organization, few of the players held a strong rooting interest for any team in the playoffs, though they did tend to pull for individual players.
Each player with the 2013 Red Sox team was approached in May 2013 for a brief memory from 2004.
BN: What about when it came to the World Series?
AB: I figured it was about that point in time…I’m a baseball fan in general. In order to play this game, you gotta be that, so I just enjoy good baseball. If my team’s not in it, I’m rooting for the game in general, just to be a good game.
CB: No, I just liked Jeter. I liked watching him play. The thing that stands out in my head in that series is just David – Ortiz – and what he did. I definitely watched it. I just watched all the games. It was neat watching it unfold as they came back knowing no team had ever done that.
BN: Would you say you began rooting for the Red Sox?
CB: I definitely wanted them to win the World Series that year after they finished that series in New York. It was neat to watch. It had been a long time.
BN: You were in the Mets organization then, but did you have a team that you cared about in the playoffs?
MC: Not really. They didn’t really have a team that I was too…involved in.
BN: But you watched them that year.
MC: Definitely keep an eye on the playoffs. It’s an exciting time. It’s something that every major leaguer wants to be a part of. To see that and see the way they come back and won, it was a special thing. I hope we can get there this year.
BN: But may not have such a hard time about it, maybe.
BN: Was there a team you liked more than any other growing up?
MC: Angels. I grew up about 15 minutes away. It was either Angels or Dodgers and I was more on the Angels’ side.
BN: But when the Red Sox won that year, you were OK.
MC: I definitely thought it was pretty cool, especially after almost 100 years. For it finally to be over and to bring here a championship. They were on a good run in those years.
RD: Yeah, I was good friends with Kevin so I was rooting for them, obviously.
BN: And you were then?
RD: Yeah, we were roommates in the Florida years. I was pulling for them.
BN: Were you able to watch some of the games on TV?
FD: At that moment, we were in the Parallela. [The Parallela Liga is a minor league in Venezuelan baseball.] I was a rookie for Boston in Valencia. All the excitement – the guys, the manager, the hitting coach – they came here to watch the World Series. Josman Robles. Miguel Garcia. A lot of those guys. They came up to watch the World Series.
BN: So I don’t have to ask you who you were rooting for?
FD: No (laughs). It’s weird. My favorite team at that moment, before I signed, was the Yankees and the Mets. Those were the two teams that I followed the most right before when I signed with Boston. My agent told me that Boston didn’t have enough lefty pitchers in the minor league system, so I…
BN: You thought you might have a better chance to move up.
FD: To move up. Quicker. At that moment, it was very exciting to sign.
[Someone visiting with Felix at the time added: “I think most people in Venezuela liked the Yankees because they got the most coverage. It’s crazy. Every time there’s a game on TV in Venezuela, the Yanks are playing.]
SD: To be honest, I remember it only vaguely. I remember more about ’07, being up here and stuff. [Drew was with the Diamondbacks in 2007.] ’04, I remember it, you know. Always watched the World Series, growing up. It was unbelievable how they came back. That’s remarkable. That’s what was so unique about it. You get three games down, and you’re like, “Man!”
BN: And the third game was 19-8.
SD: Yeah, but you know, it’s just like that team never came up. They just kept going at it. It’s funny how baseball works, man. It’s one game at a time, one pitch at a time, an done out at a time. That’s what it boiled down to that series.
BN: Did you have a team that you favored growing up?
SD: Ah, we just watched the TV so we saw the Braves. Watching the Braves, they were very good in the 90’s, as people know. We got to see a little bit of that growing up, but really, growing up, we didn’t have cable. We had the rabbit ears out in country but when they got to the playoffs and the World Series in ’95, we’d sit there and watch it, with those rabbit ears.
BN: Put some tin foil on them.
SD: Exactly. To pick it up. It was pretty neat.
BN: Were you here in Boston in ’07, when your brother was playing?
SD: No. I just got done. We got beat by the Rockies and he was going to go play them and I went home. I had my wife and son, so we just went back and…
BN: Watched on TV.
SD: That’s it.
JG: I went home like everyone else did. I don’t pick a team [to root for in a situation like that] but I’ve been to eight World Series. Seven as a fan, one as a player. I’m a big fan of the game. What really stands out is Kevin Millar’s walk, which led to Dave Roberts’ stolen base and, you know, Bill Mueller. But what I would say stood out to me the most was each series clincher and then, of course, the World Series clincher and the celebration between 25 guys and the staff. Some people might look at it like, “Oh, they were going crazy” but you just really saw the passion of how tight-knit they were. The hugs and the champagne, it was just like…
BN: There was a little criticism that they over-celebrated in clinching a playoff spot in the first place.
JG: Well, it turned out those people were wrong – again. You know, again! But that’s what stood out – it was like a wedding almost. Just like a family. Everyone having a good time.
BN: I guess some teams have more of that togetherness than others.
JG: I don’t know. I think whoever wins the last game of the year, it always turns out there are some characteristics in that clubhouse that makes for that.
BN: When you look back.
JG: Yeah. Yeah.
BN: There was a big trade at the trading deadline, with Cabrera and Mientkiewicz and Roberts. And Nomar left. Number 5 [I point to the #5 over his locker.] Maybe that changed the chemistry.
JG: Right. I wasn’t in the clubhouse yet, so I don’t know about that, but those guys played a pretty big role.
BN: Do you remember that season at all, hearing about the Red Sox and the Yankees and the Cardinals?
JI: Not really.
BN: When you were growing up, were there any American baseball teams you liked?
JI: Boston and New York. They always been in demand by the fans. I think Boston and Yankees.
BN: You’ve heard about 2004 since, I guess. It’s the famous time when the Red Sox lost the first three games to the Yankees…
JI: And they came back. I heard about that as soon as I got here.
JL: I don’t know if we’d decided totally yet, but probably. Yeah.
BN: After the Angels were eliminated, it was Yankees versus Red Sox. Did you lose interest at that point? Did you care who won?
JL: I’ve watched pretty much every playoff game…ever. I’m a baseball fan.
BN: Did you get to the point where you were pulling for one team or another? I watch baseball games in which I don’t have a rooting interest but I always pick one team.
JL: No. I don’t root for other teams, but I like to watch good baseball. You definitely want some guys who you know to do well, but more individuals than teams.
BN: The ALCS was exciting baseball.
JL: Oh, yeah. For sure! I think pretty much everyone knew whoever won that ALCS was going to win the World Series.
JM: I like baseball so I like watching the playoffs. I was actually in Boston for a little bit of that – not at the games but seeing the madness, and the excitement of the team not
wanting to give up. It was really enjoyable and after they won [over the Yankees], I don’t think anybody could reasonable think they were going to lose after that. They just played
great baseball. The pitching they had – I think that’s what I remember the most about it. How well Derek Lowe pitched. How well Pedro pitched. And I’d played with Dave Roberts in
the past – we were teammates in the minor leagues for Cleveland.
BN: He never had a single at-bat in the whole series.
JM: Watching him go to first base, everyone knew he was going to steal in that situation. I don’t remember how many times Rivera threw over; he still went first pitch. Which was not
surprising to me. He was going as soon as he [Rivera] picked up his front leg.
That’s what he does. That was his gig. It was fun to watch.
BN: You grew up in Connecticut. Red Sox fans? Yankees fans?
JM: We grew up Yankee fans. Going to the Stadium. We went to both, though. We rooted for the Yankees more. That’s when I was a kid. You don’t watch as many baseball games after you start playing a lot more in high school and college. As soon as I was an Indian, I was an Indian. I didn’t have any other allegiances besides the team I was on.
BN: By 2004, when you were watching those games, with the Red Sox down three games to none, did your Yankees background kick in for you or did you start rooting for the underdog?
JM: No, I was just watching. I didn’t….
BN: It’s hard for me to watch a game, even if I don’t know either of the teams playing, without picking someone to root for.
JM: My wife is from Boston so I think it was pretty easy to identify with that team the Sox had. They were fun. Plus I knew some of the guys on the team, too. I was a little more familiar with them. You want to see them get over the hump. You want to see that excitement. After they won that first game, you wanted to see them win the second. They win the second, you want to see them win the third, and after they win the third, you want to see them finish it.
It obviously made for a good story but I’ve got a lot of friends and family up in this area so it was fun to watch and listen to their reactions and their excitement going through it.
BN: Ted Williams from here was the first manager of the Rangers.
WM: That was the team I was able to go watch because I was from there, so I liked them and I liked the Red Sox because of their history.
BN: So you were pulling for the Red Sox against the Cardinals, too.
WM: Oh, yeah. Absolutely.
BN: When you were there, did you watch the playoffs or were you already back in Venezuela by that time, in October?
BN: Did you watch the major leagues?
BN: It was Angels against the Red Sox and then David Ortiz won it with a home run here at Fenway, and then it was Red Sox against the Yankees, who won the first three games but then the Red Sox came back and won it. Do you remember that at all?
BN: What do you remember about it?
FM: I remember the first three games. I think they’re never coming back. After they won the third game, just let ‘em go.
BN: The third game was 19 runs for the Yankees, but they [Red Sox] came back and won it.
FM: Mm hmmm.
BN: Where were you in Venezuela?
FM: In my house.
BN: What city or area?
FM: Moron. Valencia.
BN: Did you watch with friends or family?
BN: Did you care at that time – Red Sox or Yankees? Dis it matter to you?
FM: It didn’t matter.
BN: Where were you during the playoffs in October?
DP: I was in the Fall League, in Arizona.
BN: Watching the games on TV with some of your friends?
DP: Yeah. Everyone saw the games. It was awesome. I just thought it was great, the comeback, you know? All the stuff they did was awesome.
BN: And then you were up here for the next one .
DP: Yeah, we gotta get another one of those, you know.
BN: Maybe this year.
DP: There you go.
BN: You played in that year’s Division Series.
DR: I was with the Dodgers, yeah. Against the Cardinals.
BN: Did you follow the rest of the playoffs that year?
DR: I turned it off at first usually during that period. When you’re first off, you’re mad. But I remember thinking how good the Cardinals were – they were a really good team. A really good team!
BN: Did you care between the Yankees and the Red Sox?
DR: No. I had been in the National League my whole career. I came here in 2008 but I didn’t follow the American League that much, so I was just kind of following the National League and watching those games more than the Yankee/Red Sox stuff.
BN: You played with Rome that year, with the Braves. What do you remember about those playoffs?
JS: I watched it. It was one of those things where they hadn’t won it in...what was it? Eighty…
BN: 86 years.
JS: 86 years. So I mean, it was pretty cool to watch some of the guys you grew up and kind of idolized. It was cool to see them win it, and make history.
BN: You were probably rooting for the Braves in the Division Series.
JS: Yeah, we were going for what, the tenth straight year? I remember watching McCann on TV. And Clemens was pitching for them, so it was cool.
BN: What about after the Braves were out of it, did you care between the Yankees and the Red Sox?
JS: I wanted to see the Red Sox win it because it was cool, but either team…I grew up a Braves fan so it didn’t really bother me either way.
BN: They used to be the Boston Braves once…
JS: Well, there you go!
BS: I was a junior in high school. My dad was a Yankees fan. My younger brother – they’re twins – one’s a Yankees fan and one’s a Red Sox fan. At the time, I just kind of sat back and watched them battle it out. It was just one of those all-time greatest moments in baseball where you see a series turn around so quickly. The way they did it, it was just amazing. If you’re going to do it, you might as well make it interesting, right?
After that, it was just a different mentality. We stopped talking about curses and all this other stuff and we started talking about building good organizations to win baseball games.
JT: I was in high school, in Yokohama.
BN: Did you watch the U.S. Major League Baseball playoffs in 2004?
JN: At that point, it was only the teams that had Japanese players that were on TV. It has changed now, but at that point they weren’t showing the games so I didn’t watch it.
Taz’s answers were translated from Japanese thanks to C. J. Matsumoto.
MT: I saw a little bit of it. I watch baseball. But it was a long time ago. It was obviously an unbelievable lineup, the kind we have now when at any given time, somebody could hurt you. Manny and Papi at the heart of it. You’d go out there and you had to pitch.
BN: You pitched 1/3 of an inning against the Red Sox that year. You struck out Dave Roberts in a September game.
MT: It was a pitch about four inches off the plate inside but I got the call. It was a ball – no doubt about it. He took it. He was in shock when they called it a strike. I didn’t really have any idea where I was throwing the ball back then. It was an accident. I’m not going to argue with the umpire.
I wasn’t watching. Sorry, but I wasn’t watching at that time.
Uehara’s answer was translated from Japanese thanks to C. J. Matsumoto.
SV: I was in Jacksonville.
BN: Do you have a memory of that year’s postseason?
SV: No, I don’t. Once the season was over, I went home to Hawaii. Especially at that age? I was a young kid.
One thing I do remember – weren’t they down three-oh to the Yankees? And then coming back. I remember reading about that. That was special. Any time you’re down 3-0 in a series, whether it be first-round, second-round, third-round, whatever – to come back from down 3-0 – especially against an organization like the Yankees. Then years later, you think that…wow, it’s ten years ago that happened. I would have never thought that. David’s the only one. I can’t believe that it’s been ten years. That dates all of us.
Talking to David about that and talking to some of the clubhouse guys that were here, they talk highly of that run they were on and talk highly of that team. I remember those teams that were her. Look at the chemistry of the guys who were here – the Wakefields, Variteks, Papi, Manny. That was a pretty good team.
BN: Game Three that they lost, the Yankees scored 19 runs.
SV: Did they? I don’t know the full details. To come back from that was impressive, man. Come back down three-oh! You say, “We’re down 3-0 and they just scored 19 runs.”
BN: Apparently everybody felt real confident.
SV: Well, it showed when they won. That’s great.
I was a junior in high school, in [Hurricane] West Virginia in 2004. I actually was a Red Sox fan, a huge Nomar Garciaparra fan. That kind of led me to like the Red Sox. I definitely remember watching the games. I think the biggest thing was them coming back from the 3-0 and everything. That was definitely something to remember.
BN: Had you always been a pitcher? Were you a pitcher in high school?
AW: No, I was a shortstop in high school.
BN: Your interest in Nomar.
AW: I was a shortstop. I wore #5. I pitched some but I was definitely more of a position player.
BN: You were born in Saudi Arabia?
AW: I was. I was only there for about a year, but I’ve lived a little bit everywhere. Born in Arabia, lived in New Orleans, northeast Tennessee to Wes Virginia, went to two different colleges.
BN: Because of your parents’ work?
AW: Yeah, my dad’s a geologist. Oil and gas business.
BN: Being a Red Sox fan in 2004, then, you were happy when they won.
AW: Yeah, I was really happy. I was razzing my buddies that were Yankees fans in the Championship Series and in the World Series everything fell into place.
Just think – when first baseman/outfielder Mike Carp came in to pitch the top of the ninth against the Yankees, New York only held a 13-5 lead. All Carp needed to do was retire three Yankees batters and then sit back and hope his teammates could score nine runs in the bottom of the ninth and he'd get credit for the win. Perhaps that hope was weighing on his mind when he started pitching.
He walked the first batter, Mark Teixeira, though the graphics on TV showed he did not get the benefit of a couple of pitches that sure looked like strikes. Brian McCann pounced on the next pitch and grounded into a double play. Hey, maybe this is going to work out nicely. But then he put another guy back on first by walking him, and then moved him up to second with another walk. His fourth walk of the inning loaded the bases, and his fifth walk brought in a run. Now it was 14-5, and had the Red Sox scored those nine runs, it would have only tied the game. It took eight pitches, but on a 3-2 count Kelly Johnson popped up foul to the catcher and Carp was done with just a 9.00 ERA on his record.
For the record, the Red Sox went down 1-2-3. Carp, who threw mostly knuckleballs, said after the game, "I thought things were going to turn out better than they did. I got a couple of swings and no one hit the ball hard. I did my job."
On December 18, 1907, shortly after Boston’s National League team revealed that the new uniforms for 1908 eliminated their customary red stockings, owner John I. Taylor of the Boston Americans pounced. He quickly decided that his team would adopt red hose and call themselves the Boston Red Sox. Taylor personally oversaw the uniform design, selecting red stockings because Boston’s first professional baseball team -- the Red Stockings -- had worn them. Taylor appreciated the link with tradition. It was predicted that the name “Red Sox” would prove a popular choice.
Was Taylor imprudently putting the health, or even the lives of his players in jeopardy? Historian Ellery Clark wrote that the owners of the NL team, George and John Dovey, “decided the red dye in their club’s stockings might well lead to blood infection and even worse if and when or or more of their players were cut in the leg by opposing spikes. The grand old color and the nickname were abandoned in the interests of health.”
Rash though Taylor’s decision may have been, generations of Red Sox players have come and gone with no documented case of red dye disease. It wasn’t until the 2004 postseason that blood on the stockings played any noteworthy role in Red Sox lore.
The actual stockings were apparently first worn in Little Rock, Arkansas during spring training on March 21, 1908. Tim Murnane wrote in the Boston Globe story datelined March 21 at Little Rock: “The new uniforms of gray and bright red stockings were very attractive this afternoon.”
In an October 1908 article on baseball team names, the Boston Globe’s Tim Murnane noted that as early as 1875, there was a shortlived team known as the Red Sox in St. Louis, and that the Cincinnati team had originally been called the Red Stockings, which “set the style for naming clubs after the color of their stockings.” The Chicago White Sox and St. Louis Browns were two other such teams. He noted that “the Boston Americans took up the name Red Sox last winter, simply to have some trade mark that would be easy to write and have a baseball flavor.” As a sportswriter, he was grateful: “The [use of] shorter names makes it much easier for those reporting the games or writing baseball.”
Taylor’s name stuck, and the team has been both beloved and bemoaned ever since: the Red Sox, the Sox, the Bosox, and sometimes “the Sawx.” The Boston Red Sox are without a doubt one of baseball’s greatest franchises, arguably the one that engenders the most emotion in both its fans and detractors. More people hate the New York Yankees than any other team, and the Yankees have their loyal and ardent fans, but the volatility of emotion surrounding the Red Sox might well surpass that of the Yanks simply because Boston fans themselves swing so wildly from passionate fandom to despair to disgust and back to blind faith, or yearning, once again.
It’s probably evident that the word “sox” is a breezier shortening of the word “stockings” -- a covering of the foot and lower part of the leg. Sports teams in the late 19th century often included distinctively colored stockings as part of their uniform, and were often referred to by their color of stockings.
As best we can tell, the first “Red Sox” team dates back to 1875. One can find the St. Louis Red Sox -- at least by nickname -- mentioned as they pulled their team together for the upcoming season in the April 18, 1875 Chicago Tribune, which wrote, “The Red Sox, as they are familiarly known, have not yet filled their nine. They are the pick of last year’s Empires and Red Stockings.” A boxscore showing the Red Sox shut out by Hartford appears in the June 28, 1875 Hartford Courant. With Pud Galvin on the mound, the St. Louis Red Sox played a game in Reading, Pennsylvania according to a game account in the Reading Eagle of July 4 the following year.
It was much more common for a team to be dubbed the “Stockings” than the “Sox” -- such as the National League’s Boston Red Stockings of 1876. “Stockings” was a popular part of team names that year. There were two other “stockings” teams in the National League -- the Chicago White Stockings and the St. Louis Brown Stockings. The Brown Stockings were sometimes dubbed the Brown Sox. In 1877, one also finds the Cincinnati Red Stockings in the league. Other teams in the league were known by the color of their stockings as well, such as the Hartford Dark Blues. They just didn’t happen to incorporate the word “Sox” or “Stockings” into their team name.
There was a Boston Red Stockings team from 1876 through the 1884 season, and then in the year 1891. From that point forward, there’s never been another Boston team using that particular name.
There were other teams, though, for instance the Dubuque Red Stockings in the 1879 Northwestern League -- which happened to be an all-stockings league (the four-team league also included the Rockford White Stockings, the Omaha Green Stockings, and the Davenport Brown Stockings). But it proved to be a league for just a year.
One can occasionally find other colored-leg teams like the Worcester Ruby Legs (a National League team in 1880) or the Amsterdam Red Stockings of the 1895 New York State League. Perhaps because of changes in fashion or terminology, “Sox” began to supplant the more archaic sounding “Stockings” around the turn of the century.
A very early “Sox” team was the Toledo White Sox in 1894, in Ban Johnson’s Western League for just the one season. The team went by three different names the following year: the Swamp Angels, the White Stockings, and -- after transferring to Terre Haute on June 30, the Terre Haute Hotten Tots. And they weren’t even around come 1896. The next Sox were the Chicago White Sox beginning in the year 1900.
From 1901-1904, we find the Rockford Red Sox in the Three-I League. In 1906, we find the Danville Red Sox in the Virginia League, a team which had a run through 1910, but they became the Danville Bugs for 1911. Coming in last, perhaps they thought better of the name change and reverted to the Red Sox in 1912, but moved to Bluefield and disbanded on June 16.
In 1907, the only other Red Sox team was the Greensburg Red Sox in the Western Pennsylvania League, another yearlong team.
Some books show the Boston Red Sox as beginning under that name in 1907, but given that “Red Sox” was only claimed by John I. Taylor on December 18 that year, it’s misleading to indicate it as the name of the team for that season. Since 1908, though, the team’s been known as the Boston Red Sox.
The first vendor at a Boston American League game memorialized on a newspaper page remains anonymous. Of the May 8, 1901 opening game, the Boston Globe noted, “It was a regular holiday attendance and the peanut man was in high glee as he sailed his paper bags among the joyous throngs in the bleachers.” Aramark vendor Rob Barry, working at Fenway since 1981, has been suspended more than once for throwing peanuts, but the flair he brings to his work is part of a long tradition. Rob’s story and that of scores of the folks who work at Fenway Park, is told in the book Fenway Lives.
Speaking of Wally, who was the first Wally on the Red Sox? A meticulous search of debut dates shows us that it was Wally Snell, a catcher, who first played for Boston on August 1, 1913. He was a Massachusetts native, born in West Bridgewater on May 19, 1889. The college player from Brown only ever saw action in six major league games, all for the Red Sox and all in 1913, leaving baseball with a lifetime batting average of .250. Every one of his three hits was a single, so his slugging average was .250 as well -- and so was his on-base percentage as it happens. His debut came as a pinch-hitter for Dutch Leonard in the third inning on Elks Day at Fenway; he singled but did not score. Snell had joined the Red Sox from the Hyannis ballclub and stuck with the Red Sox right to the end of the year, pinch-hitting four times, then getting two starts, September 27and his final game on October 4. He edged out another Wally contender; Snell’s first game came 25 days before Wally Rehg’s Red Sox debut. Snell was released to Toronto in February 1914.
Peter Mackie of Brown University informs us that “Wally Snell ’13 was baseball captain in his senior year. The consummate student-athlete, he was Phi Beta Kappa, majoring in Biology.”
By 1916, he was back in Providence, coaching baseball. That year, he earned a master’s in botany from Brown and a Ph. D. from Wisconsin. Dr. Snell was chair of the Botany Department at Brown and taught there until his retirement in 1959, during which time he coached 48 Brown sports teams. His two published books are Glossary of Mycology and The Boleti of Northeastern North America. No doubt both are well-thumbed volumes in the Red Sox clubhouse library.
There were three earlier Walters: Walter “Rosy” Carlisle in 1908, Walter Lonergan in 1911, and Walter Moser, also in 1911. But none of the three appear to have been Wallys.
Among their 32 ballplayers, the 1918 World Champion Red Sox had two Wallys, a Walter, and a Walt (and even a Weldon): Wally Mayer, Wally Schang, Walter Barbare, and Walt Kinney. And the lawyerly-sounding J. Weldon Wyckoff.
It’s been a long time since the Red Sox had a Wally on the team. We’ve had Willie, Wily Mo, and Wil. We last had Walt McKeel in 1997 and Walt Masterson in 1951 (and Murray Wall in 1959), but the last Wally we had was Wally Moses in 1948.
Wally for a day. Do note that in late August 2004, Red Sox utilityman David McCarty was on the DL -- but at one point put on mascot garb and (unknown to an unsuspecting public) served a stint as Wally the Green Monster.
Starting in 2006, there were two more mascots added to the Red Sox roster -- large red sock figures named “Righty” and “Lefty.” Needless to say, there are a lot of Red Sox nicknamed Lefty over the years -- Mr. Grove is the first one who comes to mind. Is there a “Righty” in Red Sox annals? Not that we’re come across (though presumably some Red Sox wives may feel they married Mr. Right). We do have Tom Wright (1948-51) and Jim Wright (1978-79). And Tom Wright was a lefty (at the plate), for whatever that’s worth.
Big Ed Delahanty and his four brothers all played major league baseball. Ed, Frank, and Jim all played against the Red Sox, but not one of the five played for the Sox. There were brothers who did, though, and some father/son combinations, and some other related pairings as well.
Long Tom Hughes & Ed Hughes
Thomas James “Long Tom” Hughes was a pitcher who started his 13-year major league career with the Chicago Cubs in 1900 and 1901. Boston acquired him from Baltimore partway into 1902, and he went 3-3 with the Boston team.
In 1903, though, Hughes won 20 games (five of them shutouts) while only losing seven, with a 2.52 earned run average. His record earned him a start in Game Three of the first World Series ever held, a home game in Boston against Deacon Phillippe and the Pirates. After yielding three runs (two earned) in two-plus innings, letting the first three batters reach base in the top of the third, manager Jimmy Collins called on Cy Young for relief but it was too late: Pittsburgh won, 4-2. Hughes' World Series record is 0-1, with a 9.00 ERA. It was his only appearance and Young’s biographer Reed Browning asks, “Could the gamblers have gotten to Hughes, and might Collins have suspected as much?” Speculation, of course, but apparently Hughes never suited up the rest of the Series and the 20-game winner was traded after the season.
Hughes was swapped to New York for lefthander Jesse Tannehill, who’d been in the majors since 1894. Hughes joined the New York Highlanders (later Yankees) where he didn't fare as well as in Boston -- going 7-11 -- and later in the year was sent on to Washington, where he fared even worse (2-13), though the year's ERA was a respectable 3.59. Washington kept him and he played eight more seasons there. (Boston actually got the better of the trade; Tannehill played four full years and won 62 games while losing 38.) Tom Hughes played organized baseball for 23 years, 1900-1923, 13 of them in the major leagues. “Trouble with the game today is that the boys are too gentle,” he said in 1935. “I wouldn’t say they’re all sissies because they’re certainly not. But a good sock in the chin occasionally would stir up a little enthusiasm. I wouldn’t uphold rowdyism, but more aggressiveness would help.” He came from the days when “it wasn’t uncommon for the players to leave the ball parks with bats in their hand for protection.” [The American, May 16, 1935] Then again, the last game he pitched was against Jim Vaughn and the Fairies!
Younger brother Ed Hughes began his career with the other Chicago team -- the AL entry -- on August 29, 1902 in a game against Detroit. He just played that one game, with a single in four at-bats. That was it, until 1905 when he joined the Boston Americans (later Red Sox) and finally got his chance to pitch. That year he appeared in six games, winning three and losing two in 33 1/3 innings, with a disappointing 4.59 ERA. At the plate, he got three hits, scoring twice and even knocking in a couple of runs. They brought him back again for an encore season in 1906 but he didn’t contribute anything helpful: he threw 10 innings without a decision (all in relief) with a 5.40 ERA -- Ed got up only two times in two games and didn’t get a hit at all. His lifetime .222 plunged to just .190 and he was out of the majors for good.
Had he ever faced brother Tom, who was twirling for the Senators, in either year? How did each do facing the other team?
The two teams faced each other 20 times in 1905. Washington took seven of the first eight, but only won two of the final 10 meetings. Tom Hughes faced his former teammates for the first time late in the season, on September 9. The starting pitcher, he was paired with Tannehill and it was expected to be a pitchers' duel but Boston tied it in the ninth with three runs, as Hughes was chased, and won it in the 11th, 8-7.
Two days later, Ed Hughes pitched in game two of a doubleheader. Boston took the first game, but Ed blew it early in the nightcap, and was gone before the first inning was over, charged with four runs. Norwood Gibson wasn’t any better -- and Gibson was left in to pitch the entire rest of the game, a 14-0 defeat.
A week after that, Tom pitched a 4-2 victory for the Senators over Boston’s Norwood Gibson; it was Tom’s first win over Collins’ men. On the 20th, in the words of the Boston Post writer, “Eddie Hughes, brother of ‘Long Tom,’ pitched a great game for the Boston champions today, and were it not for a little letup in the second inning Washington would have been shut out.” The final score was 7-1.
In 1906, Ed only appeared in two games. On May 31, he came on in relief of Jesse Tannehill and Cy Young in a game Boston lost 9-2. Boston scored twice in the first but then was stopped cold. Tannehill lasted a little over one inning and Young pitched through the sixth. Ed Hughes finished the game, yielding just one run in three innings. His other appearance was not against Boston.
Tom had pitched against Boston on May 4, and the colorful language of Boston Post writer Frederic P. O’Connell is a treat: “Long Tom Hughes, who once pitched for Collins, was in the box for Washington, and he pitched rings around Dinneen, whom Collins thought big enough to ‘skidoo’ the hoodoo that has the locals in its grasp.”
Tom Hughes pitched on June 2, losing 6-2, and again on July 4, losing to Cy Young, 9-3. The last time that year he faced Boston, on September 8, he won, 9-2.
So the two brothers never went directly up against each other, and both enjoyed mixed success against their opponents. Did fraternization rules apply to truly fraternal siblings?
The brothers were two of the six sons of Irish immigrants Mr. & Mrs. Patrick Hughes. Father Patrick worked in the steel mills. After baseball, Ed was a member of the Chicago Police Department for nearly 20 years, living with his mother, and died at age 48 of a pulmonary hemorrhage. He was remembered as a hero for an incident 11 years earlier. Off-duty, he had happened on an incident involving Henry McIntyre, who had barricaded himself in his house and killed four people, including a police sergeant. Three other policemen had been wounded. The captain ordered Hughes to leave the area, but instead the former catcher walked into the house. McIntyre fired at him but missed, whereupon Hughes shot twice and killed the man.
Long Tom ran a saloon in Chicago and stayed active playing Sunday ball in the Midwest League. In 1953, Ford Frick invited him and the other participants of the original 1903 World Series to the Golden Anniversary celebration.
Johnnie Heving & Joe Heving
John Aloysius Heving was born in 1896 in Covington KY and served eight years in the majors, five of them with the Red Sox.
Johnnie’s career began late September (the 24th) 1920 with the St. Louis Browns, with a one-game, one at-bat first season. He didn’t get a hit. For the next three years, he may have wondered if that would be his career line -- .000 in one plate appearance, but in 1924 he caught on with Boston and got 109 more at-bats, batting .284. It was an on-again, off-again relationship with the Red Sox -- Heving played in 1924 and 1925, but did not in 1926 or 1927, then came back and played in 1928-1930.
He hardly ever made the headlines, but played solid enough ball. In 1929, he hit .319 in 188 at-bats and one of them was big: his bases-loaded single in the bottom of the ninth won the September 8 game against the Browns, 4-3. Probably his best day of all came the following year, on April 19, 1930. The first game of the Patriots Day doubleheader against the visiting Yankees stretched to 15 innings until Johnnie ended it with a single to center, driving in Bill Regan from second base. Johnnie was 4-for-7 on the day.
His last two seasons were with the Philadelphia Athletics and he even got himself a pinch-hit at-bat in the 1931 World Series. He made an out in that one plate appearance, just as he had in his one at-bat with St. Louis back in 1920.
After eight years in the major leagues, Johnnie had a .265 lifetime average, with 261 hits in 985 at-bats. He had just one career home run, with Philadelphia. His best year is reflected in the .319 he hit in 1929. It was one of the Red Sox’ worst years, though, with the team winning just 58 games and finishing 48 games out of first place.
Joseph William Heving was born (1900) and died in Covington, KY. The New York Times described him as “a Kentuckian who loved to tell hillbilly stories.”
Joe Heving was born four years later than his brother Johnnie, but debuted 10 years afterwards, on April 29, 1930 with the New York Giants. This Heving heaved for a living -- he was a right-handed pitcher. Joe appeared in 63 games for the Giants in 1930 and 1931, winning eight and losing 11 in 132 innings, almost exclusively in relief. He did not play in the majors in 1932, but returned in 1933 with the White Sox.
There was one season when both brothers were in the majors at the same time -- 1930. Joe pitched for the Giants while Johnnie played with the Sox. They never stood a chance of facing each other. The Red Sox and Giants didn’t face off in exhibition games between 1928 and 1935. There was no All-Star Game -- the first one was held in 1933. In any event, a 7-5 pitcher with a 5.22 ERA would never have made the All-Star squad in the days before it became practice that each team would have at least one representative. And though Heving was second in the league in saves (with eight), there was no way he’d outclass Bill Terry or Mel Ott that year as a Giant. There was also no way they’d meet in the World Series, not with the Red Sox again in last place, 50 games out of first. The Giants had more of a shot, but finished in third place.
Joe Heving was an early relief specialist and after he came to the Red Sox in 1938, he won eight and lost just one, then led the league in relief pitching both in 1939 (11 wins and just three losses) and again (eight more wins as a reliever, four as a starter) in 1940. He put his name in the record books, with one of the wins in 1939. On July 13, the Red Sox played the first road night game in history, in Cleveland. The game went 10 innings, and the Red Sox won it, 6-5. The winning pitcher was Joe Heving.
Peter Golenbock reports Doc Cramer as having said, “Cronin wanted to use him every day, and Joe Heving couldn’t stand it. He was too old for that.” Perhaps Golenbock didn’t know was that Joe Heving was already a grandfather at the time; he’d married early, and became a grandpa in 1938 while with the Red Sox. He was the only grandfather among major league players of his day. Heving served with the Indians from 1941 through 1944, and then finished his career with one more year in Boston, this time with the Braves. He compiled an excellent 76-48 record, often pitching for teams that weren’t that strong.
Roy Carlyle & Cleo Carlyle
Roy and Cleo Carlyle grew up in Norcross, Georgia, where their father Will ran a grocery store that had the only ice box in that part of town. When they weren't working in the family store, the Carlyle brothers were out playing ball.
Roy “Dizzy” Carlyle broke into major league ball early in 1925 with the Washington Senators, appearing in just one game, in which he had just one at-bat (a strikeout). He was soon traded to Boston. He played in the 1925 Red Sox outfield under manager Lee Fohl, and Roy did very well for a last-place team. Sometimes today's Red Sox fans forget how bad the team really was in the post-Ruth, pre-Yawkey era. The 1925 team won just 47 games and finished 49.5 games out of first place. Had he stuck with the Senators (was that strikeout so unforgiveable?), he might have played in the World Series that year. The rest of the Washington team did.
Roy hit .326 with seven home runs and 48 RBIs in 276 at-bats. In 1926, he hit .285 but then was claimed off waivers by the Yankees where he finished out the season hitting .385 for New York. Roy left the majors after the 1926 season -- but his younger brother Cleo (Cleo was his middle name, which he preferred to his given first name, Hiram) entered in May 1927, the very next spring. Cleo's debut was May 16, in a pinch-hitting role. He started well, doubling down the first-base line. Cleo was an outfielder and had really shone in spring training that year but pulled a ligament in his leg -- hence the late start. His leg was still subpar and he was replaced by pinchrunner Ted Wingfield who, on a succeeding play, was thrown out at the plate. Two days later, Carlyle got another chance to hit and again came through -- pinchhitting for Wingfield in the seventh inning. He singled to the opposite field and was again replaced by a pinchrunner, Billy Rogell. This time his replacement runner scored, but in a losing cause. Another 48 hours passed and Carlyle was brought in to bat for pitcher Danny MacFayden, who had homered in the third inning but wasn’t getting the job done on the mound. Carlyle proved all too human himself and made an out.
The second, and younger, Carlyle played for the Red Sox just the one year, in 95 games hitting a very mortal .234.
Roy Carlyle kept playing ball for a few years after he left the majors, and is said to have hit baseball's longest tape-measured home run (618 feet). On July 4, 1929, Carlyle hit a tremendous drive clear out of the Oakland Oaks’ old ballpark in Emeryville. The ball went over the outfield fence, the parking lot, and two buildings before it crashed into the gutter of a house, leaving a big mark on the metal. One of his teammates saw the impact, and was thus able to measure the distance. A week later in Salt Lake City, he hit a drive reportedly measured at 605 feet.
[Thanks to Will Hammock of the Gwinnett Daily Post for some of the information contained in this writeup.]
Alex Gaston & Milt Gaston
Brother against brother? The brothers united as batterymates? Les freres Gaston faced both scenarios. They played against each other in 1926 when Alex Gaston was a catcher with the Red Sox and brother Milt was a pitcher for the St. Louis Browns, and they were batterymates when brother Alex caught Milt in 1929.
Someone liked the name Nathaniel. It was Alex’s middle name and Milt’s true first name. Both started with New York teams. Alex was the eldest, and he began his career first, with the New York Giants in 1920. A catcher, he was in and out of the majors. He saw limited duty with the Giants for four straight seasons, but after 1923 he was gone. The next year, 1924, younger brother Milt began his major league career with New York’s American League team -- the Yankees. Milt was a 6’1” right-handed pitcher, four inches taller than his older brother. He pitched for the Yankees the one year, then moved to the Browns for three, to Washington for one, and then to Boston for the 1928, 1929, and 1930 seasons (a 20-game loser, he led the league in losses in 1930). He wound up with three years pitching for the White Sox. Lifetime, Milt was 97-164 with a 4.55 ERA, in part reflected in a poor strikeout to walk ratio -- he walked 836 but only struck out 615. Milt hardly ever had a winning season.
After a couple of years out of the majors, Alex resurfaced in 1926 with the Red Sox. He hit .223 in 301 at-bats. How did he do when the Sox catcher faced his younger brother?
In 1926, the Red Sox played the Browns 22 times, with Boston winning 11, and the Browns winning 11. There was one tie game (5-5, the second game of a July 24 doubleheader) called at the 6:00 pm Sunday baseball curfew time. The Sunday games were played at Braves Field, since Fenway was off-limits to Sunday baseball at that time. These were not stellar teams. Boston finished the season in last place with just 46 wins and St. Louis was next to last with 62 wins.
How did Alex and Milt fare when the two brothers squared off against each other? Alex did OK generally against the Browns, but beat up on his brother a bit. Alex played in the first two meetings of the clubs, but Milt did not pitch either game. Neither of them played in the third and fourth meetings. Milt pitched in the fifth and threw 10 full innings. The game was knotted 2-2 after nine, but then Boston scored a run in the top of the 10th off Milt. The Browns came back and won it in the bottom of the 10th, but Alex never appeared in the game. Several more meetings came to pass, and still the brothers hadn’t played in a game against each other. In fact, the two teams faced each other 16 times (including the tie) before the time came when Alex dug into the batter’s box to face brother Milt. It was the second inning of the second game of the August 16 doubleheader, at Fenway Park. And the bases were loaded at the time. The Red Sox had lost the first game, 6-1. Ford Sawyer, in the Globe, wrote, “On the sun-baked diamonds of our national pastime sentiment is unknown and brotherly love is a thing not recognized. Many must sometimes battle against his dearest chum for a regular’s post, cousin struggle with cousin for the same playing berth, brother contends against brother for the old ball game.” There was one out and no score in the game. “No brotherly love stuff now!” a fan reportedly cried out. No worries. Alex banged a triple to left center, clearing the bases, and providing all the runs Boston needed to defeat brother Milt, 7-1.
They faced each other once more on September 12. Again it was a doubleheader, this time in Sportsman’s Park, St. Louis. Alex went 3-for-5 in the first game, which Boston took, 11-3. Milt started game two and held the Red Sox to just two hits in a 1-0 complete game win. Only one Bosox reached second base. Of the two hits, though, the first one was by brother Alex, a single in the third inning. Milt got the win, though, so perhaps we could call it even.
After the 1926 season, Alex disappeared from the record books for two more years. This time when he came back onto the page, it was 1929 and both he and Milt were on the same team -- the Red Sox. Alex appeared in 55 games and Milt in 39. Milt won 12 and lost 19 that year -- his .387 winning percentage, though, was better than the team's. Boston came in dead last again that year, with a record of 58 -- 96, a .377 percentage. Alex did his best to help the cause; he improved on his 1926 average, but by the slimmest of margins: he hit .224 instead of 1926’s .223. He did bang in two of his three career home runs, but that was it for Alex. Milt soldiered on for another five years.
How often were Alex and Milt batterymates and how did the team fare when the brothers teamed up? The first time Milt and Alex were the battery, it was Milt who got battered. Milt’s first start for the Red Sox was not an auspicious one. It was May Day 1929 and a distress call went out early in the game. Milt lost to the Athletics, a game with a final score of 24-6 which occasioned a Globe subhead, “All Fenway Park Hitting Marks Smashed.” Gaston (Milt) was gone after 1 1/3 innings, having given up eight hits and walking two. He took the loss. The Red Sox used 23 players in the game, but the only one to play the entire game was Alex Gaston, who went 3-for-5 and actually had himself a good game -- except, possibly, in terms of calling the game from behind the plate.
Milt took the mound again on May 6. This time he gave up nine hits and a walk (and five runs) in six innings. Harry Heilmann was responsible for all five runs -- a two-run homer in the first, an RBI single in the third and another two-run homer in the fifth. Final score: Detroit 8, Boston 4. Milt managed to secure a single for himself in the game, and brother Alex went 1-for-3.
Just three days later, on May 9, Milt was pleased when the Sox scored twice in the first and added another run later, but the Indians tied it up 3-3 in the sixth and won 4-3 in the ninth. Alex didn’t help much. He went 0-for-3.
Milt lost his next two starts, too. Alex didn’t play in either or those, not did he play on May 28 when Milt finally earned himself a win.
It was June 13 before they appeared as batterymates again, this time because Sox catcher Charlie Berry had been ejected. Alex was 0-for-1, with a sacrifice. Milt got himself a 4-1 win. June 17: both started in game two of a doubleheader, Alex going 1-for-3. They lost, Milt yielding 13 hits and three walks in seven innings. On June 22, Milt pitched in the first game and lost, walking in the winning run in the 10th inning. Alex appeared in the second game, taking Heving’s place, but didn’t get an at-bat. Milt continued to pitch -- got himself a homer on July 4 off Lefty Grove (in a 3-1 Philadelphia win); his error on July 20 cost the Sox that game. The next time the Gastons played together was July 26, Milt suffering a 4-1 defeat to Detroit. Alex spelled Berry mid-game and went 0-for-1 but scored the only Sox run. On July 31, Alex played in game one but only pinch-hit in the second game (unsuccessfully) as Milt absorbed another defeat.
On September 2, Milt pitched and won game two on that day’s twinbill, but the only game brother Alex played in was the first. On September 8, they played at Braves Field (it being Sunday). Just as back on July 24, 1926 when the two brothers squared off against each other, this game was also called a few minutes before the 6:00 pm curfew. Milt started and held St. Louis scoreless through 10 innings. Since the Red Sox had managed only three hits (two of them by Alex) and failed to score as well, the game ended 0-0. Both ties involved the St. Louis Browns; the 1926 game had Milt pitching for them and this one had Milt pitching against them.
On September 14, Milt only gave up five hits (though he walked six batters and threw a wild pitch), losing to the Tigers, 2-1. Both brothers batted three times; neither got a hit. The last game they both appeared in was on September 19, Alex went 0-for-2 but Milt helped his own cause. Alex was safe on an error in the fifth. The next batter made an out, and then Milt doubled. A couple of batters later, Milt himself scored with what proved to be the winning run. All in all, not that inspiring a collaboration. Alex never returned to big league ball. Milt was 12-19 in 1929, 13-20 the next year and then a dismal 2-13 for Boston in 1931. He pitched three more years, for the White Sox, and then left the game. He died in 1996 in Hyannis, MA at age 100.
Rick Ferrell & Wes Ferrell
The Ferrell Brothers were quite a pair. Rick ended up in the Hall of Fame, yet Wes was so impressive that many critics argued they’d inducted the wrong Ferrell. After appearing over seven seasons with the Indians, pitcher Wes Ferrell was traded to the Red Sox in May 1934 where he joined his brother Rick, who’d been traded from St. Louis to Boston in May 1933. Rick was a catcher, so the Sox had themselves an all-Ferrell battery. The Sporting News of July 9, 1936 reported that they roomed together when traveling with the team, “though rather contrasting types.”
Rick was an eight-time All-Star, catching the first All-Star Game ever, in 1933. In his first four years with the Browns, he’d improved his average each year, hitting a high of .315 in 1932. His low with the Red Sox was .297, and he accomplished the same feat in four seasons with the Sox, increasing each year to a high of .312 in 1936. On June 11, 1937, both Ferrells were traded to the Senators, with Mel Almada, for Ben Chapman and Bobo Newsom. It stands as the only time two brothers were dealt in the same transaction. Rick was widely admired; Wes was a piece of work. Boston manager Joe Cronin said as much in his comment on the trade, which acknowledged Wes only indirectly: “Funny the difference between those two brothers. I sure hated to lose Rick -- good ballplayer, hard worker, easy to get along with.”
Rick played with Washington for four years, then was traded back to St. Louis in early 1941, only to be re-dealt to the Senators just before the 1944 season. In all, he played 18 seasons, with a career batting average of .281, with 28 homers and 734 RBIs.
Though a pitcher, Wes hit 10 more homers in his 15 years than his brother Rick in his 18, and he was just one point behind Rick in average (.280 in 1,176 at-bats). He pitched 2,623 innings with a career 4.04 ERA (the first half of his career was markedly better than the latter half), with a 193-128 won-loss record. A little over a year after arriving in Washington, Wes was released, signing two days later with the Yankees. Released by New York in May 1939, he was signed the following winter by the Brooklyn Dodgers, only to be released in May. The same pattern obtained in 1941: signed by the Braves in February, released in May.
The lives of Wes and Rick (and other talented Ferrells) are recounted in Dick Thompson’s book The Ferrell Brothers of Baseball, and the colorful Wes often crops up in other books on the Red Sox. He had a flair for the dramatic, with flashes of anger at himself that ranged from walking off the mound in the middle of the game to knocking himself out with a punch to his own head in August 1934. He just missed a no-hitter with the Indians in 1932. His best season with Boston was 1935, when he was 25-14; the Red Sox only won 78 games that year. On July 31, 1935, Wes hit two home runs in Washington for one of those wins. Not one player on the Washington team hit more than one home run at home all year long.
Rick and Wes combined for homers for the first time on July 19, 1933. The following year, Wes had a few big hits: his August 11 pinch-hit homer won a game against the Yankees in the 13th inning, and his two homers both tied and won the August 22 game in the bottom of the 10th inning. In the space of a week and a half, he’d twice thrilled Red Sox fans with walk-off homers. On the mound for the Red Sox, Ferrell won 62 and lost 40.
Roy Johnson & Bob Johnson
The Johnson boys aren’t so well known today. Both outfielders, Roy was the elder -- a Sooner, born in 1903. He started his 10-year career with the Tigers and then came to Boston in the early part of the 1932 season. For the Red Sox, for whom he played 94 games that year, he hit .298. His tenure in Boston carried him through 1935 and then he was off to the Yankees, where he saw only part-time work in 1936 and a few games at the start of the 1937 campaign, when he was traded back to Boston -- the National League team. For the Red Sox, these were interesting times. When Roy came in, it was in the 43-111 season of 1932. Tom Yawkey bought the club, renovated Fenway Park and by 1935 the team was over .500. Roy Johnson contributed. He hit over .300 the three full seasons he played for Boston, and .298 the year he arrived mid-season. His four year totals were 611 hits in 1,954 at-bats, for an average of .313. He hit 31 homers and knocked in 327 runs, with 119 of them in 1934.
Bob, now. He’d already played against the Red Sox for 11 seasons before he came to Boston, for Philadelphia and Washington. “Indian Bob” was three years younger than Roy, and entered the big leagues four years behind him. His two years with the Red Sox were the war years of 1943 and 1944. Bob was playing for the Athletics, though, for three years that Roy was playing for Boston -- 1933, ’34 and ’35. Bob hit for more power (288 HR to Roy’s 58, for instance) but, remarkably, both brothers wound up with identical .296 averages. If they really wanted to get down to it, though, Roy could lord it over his brother just a bit in batting average: Roy hit .2963982 and Bob came in second with .2963872.
The first time the two brothers faced each other in major league play came on April 23, 1933 when the Athletics visited Fenway Park. Bob played right field for Philadelphia and batted fifth in the order, following Jimmie Foxx. He was 0-for-5 on the day, batting against an unrelated Johnson, Red Sox pitcher Hank. Roy Johnson batted second for the Red Sox, playing center field. He had a 2-for-5 day, with one RBI and one run scored. He committed two errors. The Red Sox won. Both Johnsons had two RBIs the next day, with Roy enjoying another 3-for-5 day, and Bob settling for a double and three runs scored.
Their paths would cross more than a few times in the four seasons they each played American League ball, and occasionally their paths would meet. They never played for the same team at the same time, but after the June 17, 1933 doubleheader in Boston, the two teams shared the same train west -- the Red Sox heading to Cleveland and the Athletics to Detroit.
The following year, Bob hit a pinch-hit homer that gave the Athletics the lead in a game they won, 12-11. The four RBIs that Roy drove in kept the Red Sox close, but it was Bob’s hit that made the difference. There are numerous other times both played in the same game, but being on opposing teams didn’t affect their closeness. The two often spent time together in the off-season hunting and fishing.
For more information on the Johnsons in this volume, see the section on Native Americans.
Ed Sadowski & Bob Sadowski
There were three Sadowski brothers who played major league ball, all more or less around the same time.
There was Ted, there was Ed, and there was Bob -- none of whom should be confused with who we will call the “other” Bob Sadowski, a utility infielder who also played at the same time. This “other” Bob came from Missouri and was no relation whatsoever, though both Bobs were teammates in Toronto in 1966. And none of them should be confused in any way with Ray Sadecki. Just to complicate matters a bit more, there was also Jim Sadowski -- but he didn’t play until 1974 with the Pirates, only appearing in four games.
Ted, Ed, and the “other” Bob all began their major league careers in 1960, Ted Williams’ final year.
Ed Sadowksi was the eldest of the brothers, born in 1931. He was a catcher who was in the Red Sox system since just prior to the 1951 season, finally making the major league team in 1960. His first game was at Fenway against the Yankees, entering the game in the top of the second when Haywood Sullivan was hit by a foul tip. Ed walked his first time up, and later doubled in the final run of a 7-1 win for Jerry Casale. Six days later, in Yankee Stadium, he hit his first home run -- off the same New York pitcher, Art Ditmar. In June, he had the only hit in a game against the Indians, but he played until July when Jim Pagliaroni was called up and Ed sent to Spokane.
Ed was just with Boston the one year, appearing in 38 games and batting .215 with three homers, four doubles, and four triples. After the season, Ed was selected by LA in the expansion draft and spent three years with the Los Angeles Angels. In 1964 and 1965, he was out of the majors, but he resurfaced briefly with the Atlanta Braves for three games in 1966. While with the Angels, one of his teammates was the man we’ve dubbed the “other” Bob Sadowski. One can only imagine how strange it was to be teammates with a Bob Sadowski who was not your brother Bob Sadowski -- and in the very same year that your brother Bob was beginning his career with Milwaukee (perhaps fortunately, Milwaukee was in the other league). Ed’s last year was 1966; he was a lifetime .202 hitter.
The middle of the three brothers was Ted Sadowski. Ted was five years younger than Ed, but broke in the same year, pitching for the Washington Senators. From 1960-62, he appeared in 43 games for the Senators and the Twins, with a career record of 2-3, 5.76 ERA. Ted faced the Boston Red Sox, but never played for them. While with Washington, Ted appeared in just 17 1/3 innings. Did he ever face his brother Ed, who began with the Red Sox in 1960? He did not. The two teams faced each other 20 times in 1960, but while Ed had a few scattered plate appearances against the Senators, Ted first pitched against the Red Sox on September 2 (his major league debut). By this time, Ed had been sent back down to the minors. Ted’s debut came in the second game of a twi-night twin bill. Pedro Ramos started and went six full innings, scattering five hits, and left with the Sox ahead, 2-1. Ted Sadowski came in and threw three innings in relief, benefiting from two runs the Senators scored off Mike Fornieles, and walked off with the win, the final score 3-2. The Boston Globe’s account said, “And the winning pitcher -- seeking revenge, perhaps, because the Red Sox shipped his brother to the bushes -- was Ted Sadowski, 24-year-old righthander who joined the Senators from Charleston, West Va., before the game.” Ted didn’t let a runner past second, and in the ninth inning with one out and a man on first, he struck out another Ted -- Ted Williams.
Twice later in the 1960 season, Ted faced the Red Sox. On September 4, he pitched an inning and let in a run, with a double by Pagliaroni and a triple by Don Gile. On the 18th, he threw one inning of no-hit relief in a game the Red Sox won.
The year after Ted Sadowski left major league play, Bob entered. Bob Sadowski was the youngest of the three brothers, born in 1938. Originally signed by the St. Louis Cardinals, he was traded to the Milwaukee Braves, and four days later played in his first game on June 19, 1963. Had Ted hung on one more year, all three brothers would have been playing at the same time.
Bob was also a pitcher. He played with the Braves for three seasons -- 1963-1965 -- but when the Braves left Milwaukee after the 1965 season, it was the Atlanta Braves who traded Bob to Boston -- from whence the Braves had come, back in 1953. Bob and Dan Osinski were traded for Lee Thomas and Arnold Earley and Jay Ritchie, named a month later. With the Red Sox, he won one and lost one, throwing 33 1/3 innings and posting a 5.40 ERA. Independence Day was his last day on the field. When Dennis Bennett came back from surgery on July 13, Bob was sent to Toronto to make room for Bennett on the roster. It was Bob’s last time in MLB. Too bad he wasn’t around for ’67. He won 20 major league games and lost 27, with a career ERA of 3.87.
So, catcher Ed Sadowski began his major league career with the Red Sox, while his brother Bob -- a pitcher -- finished his major league career with Boston. Ed finished his career with the Atlanta Braves in 1966 -- Bob had started his career with the Braves three years earlier, when the Braves were still in Milwaukee. The year after Bob left the Braves (1965), Ed joined them (1966).
Nephew Jim Sadowski was, like his three uncles, also born in Pittsburgh, in 1951. He played in 1974 for the Pirates, appearing in four games. Jim said that there was another uncle who could well have signed, too, but he married young and then World War II intervened and he just never did play pro ball. Jim recalled seeing his uncle Bob pitch for the Braves against the Pirates at Forbes Field while he was growing up. Of his uncle Ed, he remembered, “When he was with the Red Sox, he would spend some time in town in the off-season and I had a chance to shag some balls for him and that sort of thing. They would all come home and work out at the local field right behind my grandmother’s house.” Jim recalled that uncle Ted “used to brag about striking out Ted Williams.”
Though truly tangential, “the other” Bob Sadowski spent four years in a row, each with a different team, and he recalls, “I played on the Angels with Ed. Bob and I came out of the Cardinals organization, but then he quickly went to Milwaukee. We often got our mail mixed up, Bob and I. In fact, we got our bubble gum cards mixed up. They’d send me his and he’d get mine. I don’t know if he got any of my checks, though!”
Tony Conigliaro & Billy Conigliaro
The Conigliaros in their day rivaled Pedro and Ramon Martinez in theirs. Sadly, in the Conigliaros’ case it was fame and misfortune. Like Pedro & Ramon, there was a period of time when Tony and Billy were both on the 25-man roster, both playing for Boston at the very same time.
The Conigliaro family was always a tight and loyal one, and with brothers Tony and Billy both signing with their home town team (they were born in Revere and grew up in East Boston), baseball was a family affair. Born 2 1/2 years apart, Tony and Billy were close as kids and both loved playing baseball. As Tony wrote in Seeing It Through, “We had two baseballs, all taped up because they were so worn out, and a grubby old bat…Billy would throw me the two baseballs and I’d hit them…as far as I could, go get them, come back, then I’d pitch the two balls at him…. We’d do this back and forth all day long.”
Tony got a very early start. The 1964 Red Sox were a bit of a lackluster team and manager Johnny Pesky gave a local kid a shot, telling Tony's father Sal at the end of spring training that the kid had earned himself a spot. Tony C was just 19 years old. The very first pitch he saw at Fenway Park, he hammered for a homer. By the end of his rookie year, he'd hit 24 home runs and batted .290. In so doing, he set a major league record which still stands today for the most home runs by a teenager.
Tony’s stance was an aggressive one, right up on home plate. He suffered two separate fractures in 1964, his wrist and his ulna.
In his sophomore season, Conig was the home run champion in the AL with 32.
Billy Conigliaro signed with the Sox in the summer of ’65 after graduating from high school, and the two brothers were at spring training together in the spring of ’66. By this time, though, Tony was an established celebrity with a couple of pop recordings to his credit, and simply traveled in different circles than his younger brother. Billy needed seasoning as a ballplayer and first joined the big league ballclub in 1969.
Of course, by then, the Impossible Dream Team of 1967 had come and gone. Tony C helped spark the club that magical year for the first 4 1/2 months, in the process becoming the youngest American League player ever to reach the 100 home run plateau. He was also named to his first (and, as it happened, only) All-Star squad. But he still crowded the plate, almost as an article of faith. In spring training, Tony suffered a shoulder blade fracture during batting practice -- certainly no “purpose pitch” or brushback. On August 18, 1967, a Jack Hamilton pitch struck Tony square on the spot where the eye, the cheek and the temple all come together. It was such a serious injury that the last rites were administered to the young star rightfielder. The very evening before, Ted Williams had sent a message through one of Tony’s rock and roll business partners that Tony should back off the plate a bit. Ted said he was crowding it too much. Tony was in a slump, though, and Billy (at the August 18 game, since he was out with an injury from his work in the minors) reported that Tony’s response was that “he was going to get closer.” He didn’t want to be perceived as giving in, and he didn’t want to yield any advantage.
The resulting tragedy cost Tony the rest of the ’67 season (and probably cost the Red Sox the Series, just as Jim Rice’s broken arm in 1975 probably spelled the difference in that one; both Series had gone to the full seven games). Tony lost all of 1968 as well. Most people doubted he would ever play again, but he persevered -- even working out to see if he could make the team as a pitcher (at age 11, the Little Leaguer had gone 8-0 with two no-hitters).
In 1969, both Conigliaros saw time with the Sox. It was Billy’s rookie year and, like his brother, he opened in Boston with a bang. Two of them, in fact. Billy had earned a spot midway through spring training; he had appeared briefly in a couple of early-season road games and was 0-for-1. But his first Fenway start came on April 16 -- ironically as a sub for brother Tony, who’d suffered a minor knee injury a day or two earlier. Though he made an out his first time up, when Billy came to bat in the third inning, he slammed a Dave Leonhard 2-2 slider into the left-center screen. Next time up, in the sixth inning, Billy hit another home run into the same place, off the same Orioles pitcher. This time it was a fast ball. Two solo shots. Rico Petrocelli got on Billy C when the youngster seemed too glum for the photographers after the 11-8 loss to Balitmore. “Come on, Billy, smile.” “We lost,” countered the competitive Conigliaro, but then acquiesced. The home debut accounted for half of his homers that year. Conigliaro dad Sal missed the game; he was at work at Triangle Tool and Die.
Tony was named Comeback Player of the Year in 1969, homering in his first game and ending the year with a total of 20. Billy fared well, batting .287 in just 80 at-bats, with the four home runs. 1970 was a year when both brothers did well -- Billy batted .271 but had 18 homers and over 400 plate appearances. Tony doubled his younger brother’s home run total, with 36, hitting .266. With Billy’s 18 and Tony’s 36 that year, the two combined for 54 roundtrippers. That’s a single season record for home runs by a brother combination. One incident saw both brothers involved, in a fashion: Tony was hit by a pitch, attacked the pitcher, and was ejected. Billy took Tony’s place in the lineup and when his turn came around, homered into the upper deck. When Billy got back to the clubhouse, he said that “Tony was jumping up and down.”
But Tony’s eyesight was not getting better. Remarkably, he admitted later on that he’d accomplished all that he had in 1970 with pretty much just one eye, compensating for the other one. The stats didn’t show it, but the Sox suspected that his vision was actually getting worse, and so traded Tony to the California Angels after the season was over. Billy stayed on with Boston. David Cataneo, author of the excellent book Tony C, quotes Billy, seated in the Red Sox dugout: “It was very strange seeing him in another uniform, playing against the home team. You thought things like that didn’t happen.”
Tony had a poor year in a more limited role. Billy did OK (.262, 11 HR) but was traded, too, to Milwaukee. He had acquitted himself well, but his was clearly a career overshadowed by his brother’s tragedy. Billy’s average dropped progressively for each of the five seasons he played.
Tony came back to Boston in 1975 for one last try, after three years away, and made the team. But he wasn’t productive. This was, like 1967, another year the Red Sox won the pennant, but this time Tony’s .123 average, his two HR and nine RBIs over 21 games was really not a factor. He wasn’t doing the team or himself any good, so he retired for good.
Ironically, Tony C was on both pennant-winning teams (1967 and 1975) but never saw postseason play. Brother Billy did. It was nothing to write home about, though. Billy’s last season was with the 1973 Oakland A’s. He hit an even .200, without even one home run. In the ALCS, he went 0-for-4 with two strikeouts in the one game he played. In the Series, Billy appeared in three games and went 0-for-3 in pinch-hitting roles.
Several years later, when both brothers were long out of baseball, Billy drove Tony into Boston so Tony could interview for a broadcasting job with the Red Sox. On the way home, Tony C suffered a heart attack (he was only 37) which left him bedridden for life. His incredibly loyal brother Billy -- indeed the whole Conigliaro family -- bore the burden of seeing Tony nearly totally incapacitated. After eight long years of struggle and suffering, Tony Conigliaro slipped away, dead at age 45. It was a merciful end to a long and painful period. Author Cataneo reports that Billy shed tears, “joyful that Tony’s torture was over.”
Marty Barrett & Tommy Barrett
Marty Barrett and Tommy Barrett were both second basemen for Boston. Marty, the eldest brother, had the more successful career, nine years with the Red Sox and a final few games with the Padres afterwards. Marty hit a solid .278 for Boston and played his position well, twice leading the league in fielding at second base. He typically batted second in the order, and was one of the league’s harder batters to strike out. In 1986, he was the MVP of the American League Championship Series against the California Angels (batting .367 with five RBIs and four runs scored, and 80 chances in the field without an error). He hit even better in the World Series, but pitcher Bruce Hurst was due to get the nod -- before Boston’s hopes all fell apart late in Game Six. Barrett hit .433, with an on-base percentage of .514, again without an error, only scoring once -- in large part because between them Bill Buckner and Jim Rice only drove in one run all Series long.
Barrett felt his best year was 1988; though not the year he hit for the highest average, he drove in more runs (65) than in any other season. He was a steady fielder, rarely missing a game prior to his right knee injury. See the section in this book on hidden ball tricks. Marty pulled off the trick three times, tying him with Johnny Pesky for the most by a Red Sox player.
Unfortunately, Marty’s career ended sooner than he would have liked, due to a midsummer ACL tear in 1989. He sued the Red Sox and part-owner Dr. Arthur Pappas for medical malpractice -- not providing the proper medical advice and treatment. The suit was resolved in 1995 with a settlement reported as $2.4 million.
Though less than two years younger, Tommy Barrett originally signed with the Yankees in 1982 but didn’t crack the majors until he was 28 -- and then it was with the Phillies, in 1988. He played a few games in ’88 and ’89, but it wasn’t until 1992 that he made it back to The Show. In 1992, Tommy appeared in four games for the Red Sox, ensuring him a permanent place on the list of relatives who both played for Boston. In five plate appearances, all in a three-day stretch from August 14-16, he walked twice but went 0-for-3 officially. He did score once, with the go-ahead run coming in on a Wade Boggs single as a pinch-runner for Jack Clark.
Pedro Martinez & Ramon Martinez
Which two brothers between them hold the most Cy Young Awards?
Ramon Martinez (his first name is Nomar spelled backwards) had four years of major league ball under his belt before brother Pedro (Ordep spelled backwards) followed in his footsteps. Ramon had done well for the Dodgers, and been a 20-game winner in 1990 -- with a league-leading 12 complete games. Both brothers have the same middle name: Jaime. For 1992 and 1993, the two brothers were on the same Dodgers team, but Pedro was dealt before the 1994 season began. Pedro put in four seasons for the Montreal Expos, while Ramon soldiered on with Los Angeles. Ramon’s 123-77 record with the Dodgers is testimony to how good he was, until a serious injury during 1998 shelved him for more than a year.
Pitching for opposing teams in the same league, Pedro and Ramon Martinez only faced each other once as starting pitchers, on August 29, 1996. It was quite a game. Ramon was working for the Dodgers and was 10-6 on the season; Pedro was 11-8 with the Expos with a somewhat higher ERA. They were actually the sixth set of brothers to face each other in major league ball. The Madduxes, Niekros, and Perrys had, and so had Virgil and Jesse Barnes and Tom and Pat Underwood. Pedro took the 2-1 loss, despite a complete game effort with 12 Ks and just one walk. He yielded two runs on six hits, two of which were back-to-back homers for Mike Piazza and Eric Karros. Ramon threw eight, and walked five batters but he only gave up three hits and one run. He struck out seven. When Pedro was traded to the Red Sox after winning the Cy Young Award in the 1997 season (too expensive for the Expos to re-sign), the only time they’d likely face each other would be in the World Series. That chance never came.
The two brothers once again put on the same uniform, though, three years later in 1999. Ramon was coming off some serious shoulder surgery (rotator cuff) and it was his first start in 15 months. It was Pedro’s third year with Boston and he’d won himself a second Cy in 1999, unanimously, with a 23-4 record, 313 strikeouts, and a 2.01 ERA. Pedro also hit a stretch in August and September where he struck out at least one batter in 40 consecutive innings. During the stretch, he fanned at least 10 batters in eight consecutive games. Ramon had to continue his rehab most of the year, but come September 2, 1999, the Red Sox gave him his first start in more than 14 months. 31-year-old Ramon was shaky and he got his younger brother shook up, too. After the game, Ramon told reporters that in the second inning, “Pedro got nervous when I got the bases loaded and no outs. I said, ‘Hey, relax. I’ve been through that before.’” He got out of that inning without damage but, all told, he let up four runs (three earned) in three-plus innings and the Sox lost, 4-2. Given a couple more starts, Ramon the Elder won third time out, a 4-1 win in seven innings. On October 2, Ramon threw six scoreless innings -- and then he threw 5 2/3 solid innings in Game Three of the playoffs. Pedro had shoulder pain himself in Game One and had had to exit after the first four innings.
Everyone hoped 2000 would see both brothers blossom. No one expected Pedro could do better than he had in 1999 -- but in fact, he did! Opposing batters only hit .167 off him (the major league single-season record) and he posted the lowest on-base percentage against (.213) in over 100 years. His ERA was just 1.74 in a year when the league average was 4.91. For the second year in a row, the Cy Young was awarded him -- again by unanimous vote. Ramon, though, struggled. He'd acquitted himself well enough at the tag end of 1999, but in 2000 his record was 10-8. Worse, his ERA was a fairly poor 6.13. That was it for Ramon. He called it a career. Quite a good one (135-86, with a 3.62 lifetime ERA), but with a disappointing end in his 13th season in the big leagues. There was hope that younger brother Jesus Martinez could make the team, but he did not.
In the meantime, Pedro continued to pitch well. 2001 saw him suffer some, and Red Sox Nation began to hold its breath every time he took the mound with a typically Red Sox sense of foreboding that any pitch could be Pedro’s last. In 2002, though, Pedro came back strong, with a 20-4 record and a 2.26 ERA, second only to Barry Zito in the Cy Young Award voting. Pedro lowered his ERA further, to 2.22, in 2003 and helped take the Red Sox to the seventh game of the American League Championship Series with a 14-4 season. He seemed to have Game Seven sewn up, and left the field to the congratulations of his teammates, staked to a 5-2 lead after David Ortiz hit a home run in the top of the eighth -- only to be unexpectedly sent back out to pitch again by manager Grady Little. Pedro was bombed for three runs, and the Red Sox ultimately lost the game and a trip to the 2003 World Series.
In 2004, Pedro helped bring the Red Sox to the Promised Land, with a sub-par season (16-9, 3.90 ERA), but with two key wins in postseason play. His contract completed, and the Red Sox brass believing his best years were behind him, the New York Mets offered much more than the Red Sox and Pedro left for greener pastures in New York.
Fathers and sons
Smoky Joe Wood & Joe Wood Jr.
It’s one of those clever trivia questions. What father/son brace of Boston pitchers won 116 games and lost 57 for the Red Sox?
The answer is Smoky Joe Wood & Joe Junior. Joe was 116-56 for Boston and Frank was 0-1. “Smoky Joe” was, of course, spectacular with a career ERA of 2.03. His best year for wins and losses was 1912 when he was 34-5 and his best year for ERA was 1915 when he posted a league-leading 1.49 ERA (15-5). In both years, the Red Sox won the World Series. Wood won three Series games in 1912 and lost one; he didn’t pitch at all in the 1915 Fall Classic. He’d gone 15-5 that year but was hurt to the point where he couldn’t even lift his arm. Manager Bill Carrigan came to him, explains his son Bob, and asked, “How’s your arm, Joe?” “If you need me, I’ll be in the bullpen, but my arm is bad. I’m in the bullpen. That’s the best I can do.” He didn’t play at all in 1916, still suffering the bad arm. There may have been a little contract disagreement as well, but it was really the arm which kept him out the full year. He’d been getting treatments from doctors, but nothing much helped.
He contacted Tris Speaker, his old roommate and Red Sox buddy and now player-manager with the Indians, and they decided he’d come over to Cleveland and try out. He thought his arm was going to be OK but it never was. He appeared only briefly in 1917, but when 1918 rolled around, there were so many ballplayers in military service that the team was having difficulty creating an outfield. Someone suggested, “Why don’t you put Joe out there?” and he made it well enough (.296 in 422 at-bats) that he played five seasons as an outfielder -- batting a very impressive .298 from 1918 through 1922. Speaker had him platooned with Elmer Smith in 1919, 1920, and 1921 but made Joe the regular outfielder in 1922. He hit .297 in his final season. “He’d proved everything to himself, and everybody else, and he had an offer to go to Yale and coach the Yale team, and he decided he’d better take it,” recalls son Bob.
As a pitcher, Joe was 0-1 for Cleveland, appearing for them only briefly in 1917, 1919, and 1920.
How could he have a son known as Joe Junior, when he was born Howard Ellsworth Wood, and the record books show his son’s name as Joseph Frank Wood? Good question. Bob Wood, Joe Junior’s brother, explains: “He wasn’t really a junior. My father’s name wasn’t really Joe, either. He legally had his name changed to Joe Wood. Joe. Never Joseph.” And, while we’re at it, Bob Wood explains, it was always Smoky. Never Smokey. And, he further adds, “My brother was Joe. Not Joseph. His birth certificate was Joe. Joseph Frank Wood? No, that’s not right.”
Joe Junior was called Joe Junior, whatever his given name, but he was hardly a chip off the old block. His brief three-game career took place in one of the war years, 1944, when he was 28. Joe Junior’s debut was on May 1, 1944. The game was an 11-4 rout of Boston by the Senators. Yank Terry yielded six hits in 1 2/3 innings. Clem Hausmann gave up five in 2 1/3 innings. The Senators were up 6-0 after they completed their half of the fourth inning. “Only Joe Wood Jr., bearer of an illustrious baseball name, could stop the Nats. He held them to one run in three innings, then departed [in the seventh] for a pinch-hitter [who didn’t hit safely]. Oscar Judd replaced him in the eighth and yielded seven hits in the last two frames,” wrote the Globe sportswriter.
Joe Jr. appeared in just three games, with just one start. He carried a lifetime mark of 0-1, 6.52 ERA, having pitched a total of 9 2/3 innings, and surrendered 13 hits & three walks. He struck out five. Given that it was wartime, with depleted rosters, why didn’t he get more of a shot? He’d signed in 1941 with the Red Sox and was successful in Scranton over two seasons, his Scranton stint including a no-hitter. He played in 1943 with Louisville in the American Association. He never went into the service, as he had a wife and child. While in Boston for his cup of coffee, he developed a bad arm and was sent down to Louisville; he finished that season with the San Diego Padres in the Pacific Coast League (5-4, 2.50 ERA, in 79 innings). He finished his career with Sacramento, hurting his arm with what years later he decided must have been a rotator cuff injury. “They can fix them now, but they couldn’t back then,” he told Bill Swank in Echoes from Lane Field.
There could have been other Woods in the big leagues. Bob Wood was a left-handed first baseman and pitched occasionally. He played a “lot of college ball, a lot of semi-pro ball and then I went in the service and played a lot of service ball. Unfortunately, the Army got me before I was able to sign. I had an opportunity to sign, but didn’t.” Bob got his commission and served in the medical corps, spending a fair amount of time playing both basketball and baseball in the service. The scouts talked with me but I went in the service instead.” He was invited to work out with the Red Sox, who held their spring training at Tufts College in Massachusetts in 1943, and he would have joined Joe Junior there, but for the fact that the particular day he was invited to work out was the day of his wedding luncheon. Bob went on to a lifetime career in hospital administration -- with a sideline in antiques. Bob often attends baseball memorabilia shows; he was doing as many as 42 a year, but in his early 80s has cut back to maybe 16 a year.
There was yet another brother, Steve. He was a pitcher, and played college baseball at Colgate with Bob. Steve actually did sign with the Red Sox and went to Scranton and then on up to Louisville, “but that’s as far as he got. He was moving up the ladder, but then he went in the service. We were both at Fort Devens,” Bob remembers, “we played ball there. Then he went overseas.”
A father who was one of the bigger stars in the Red Sox sky, with two sons who signed with the Red Sox (one who made it briefly) and a third son who talked to Red Sox scouts. It could have been quite a family affair. Only Bob’s twin sister never played ball. Maybe she should have contacted Marty McManus and tried out for the All-American Girls Professional Baseball League. (See information about Red Sox manager McManus and the AAGPBL elsewhere in this book.)
Was Smoky Joe a good teacher as a father? As with any father in baseball, he was away a lot, working. Away during the springs and summers and early fall. Even after he retired, Bob recalls, “When we were playing ball at Deerfield Academy or in college, he had his team [he coached for Yale for 20 years] playing games, too, so he didn’t see too many of ours, but during the summer he was always there. After his season was over in June, he always got to our games around Connecticut. He never really put it to us [as a teacher] but if we had anything we wanted to ask him about or if he saw anything we were doing that he wanted to comment on, well, he certainly did that.”
Ed Connolly, Sr. & Ed Connolly, Jr.
Ed Senior was a catcher who played for the Red Sox beginning in 1929. A native of Brooklyn, “Butch” Connolly was signed by the Red Sox in 1928 and assigned to the Pittsfield club in the Eastern League. There he was rated an excellent receiver but only a fair hitter.
He joined the Sox late in 1929 and appeared in five games, with eight at-bats but nary a hit. The following spring, manager Heinie Wagner suggested he might be better off if he batted from the other side of the plate. He’d come up as a right-handed hitter and so he appears in the record books. “I was a left-handed hitter when I started playing all in school, and my coach made me hit right-handed,” Connolly told his manager. “He said I would never get to the major leagues as a left-handed hitting catcher, that the big leagues wanted catchers who batted right-handed.” Wagner told the 21-year-old backstop, “He was wrong…The big leaguers want catchers who can hit, and they don’t care whether they bat right-handed or left-handed. Go back to hitting left-handed.”
From .000 in 1929, there was really only one way to go -- up. Whichever way he hit (the record books don’t acknowledge the probability that he switched to the other side of the plate after his first year), he did hit better. In 48 at-bats, he made nine hits including a couple of doubles and knocked in seven runs, for an average of .188. In ’31 he got almost twice as many at-bats but had fewer hits; his average was but .075, surely one of the lowest for a player with 93 at-bats. Connolly never saw much duty -- the most time he saw was during the nadir of the Red Sox in 1932 when the team only won 43 games all year long. Ed hit .225 and drove in 21 runs that year -- his last -- but his career mark was just .178. He never hit a home run. He drove in 31 lifetime. He wasn’t all that good fielding a catcher at the major league level, with a fielding average of .966.
After the Red Sox, Ed stayed in pro ball a while longer, playing for Jersey City, Kansas City, Galveston, and Reading before retiring in 1934. He was a tough one. In a Texas League game, he was knocked down by a young prospect for the Indians. He warned him not to do that again, and the pitcher threw another close one, whereupon, in the words of writer Jimmy Murphy, Ed “strode out to the mount and hit him flush on the chops and dropped him cold.”
Late in 1963, Ed died unexpectedly, in Pittsfield, Massachusetts -- the town where he began his career. He was employed by the Massachusetts Natural Resources Department at the time of his death.
Had he lived just six months longer, he would have seen Ed Junior begin his career with the Red Sox. Junior had been born in 1939 so he never had seen his dad play, either, even when a toddler. Junior was born in Brooklyn, too, and he was a left-handed pitcher -- though not the best of pitchers. Were he and his father backyard batterymates, as Ed Junior grew and developed into a prospect himself? Sports columnist Murphy wrote that the elder Connolly “had groomed his son to be a big leaguer.” Son Ed also passed through Reading, where Eddie Popowski was impressed with him and talked major league manager Johnny Pesky into giving him a spring training invite. Connolly was raised a Red Sox fan, so this was the fulfillment of a lifelong dream.
Ed Junior -- dubbed The Curver -- got 15 starts but only won four while losing 11 in 1964 under manager Pesky (ERA 4.91). Early in the 1964 season, Connolly’s spring training roommate was another Red Sox player to have a relative on the team -- Tony Conigliaro, whose brother Billy later played for Boston. Ed’s first game was April 19, 1964 -- the Red Sox were 2-1 and Eddie Connolly got the fourth start of the young season. He struck out six batters, while walking five. He didn’t let up a hit his first three innings, then gave up a single in the fourth. One hit through four, and he got the first batter in the fifth with a strikeout. Then the runs began. First came a perfect bunt by Don Buford, which Malzone had no chance with and so let roll; it stayed fair. A single followed, and then a wild pitch let in a run. Another walk, but then came a tailor-made double play grounder to Malzone at third. The ball took an unexpected hop and went for a single, another run scoring. A squibber to the right of the mound drove in the third run of the inning and then another unintended infield dribbler brought in the fourth. There was a good bunt and one solid hit in the inning, but four runs had come across by the time it was over. Connolly showed promise, though, and Pesky gave him a fair shot. He did throw one complete game shutout, but it wasn’t an impressive year. He struck out 73 in 80 2/3 innings, but walked 64.
The following spring, Billy Herman had become the manager and Connolly was wild in both of his two preseason starts. He traveled north with the team, though, and stayed with the big league club for 45 days but was eventually sent down to Toronto. The Indians drafted him after the season was over and he reappeared in the majors with Cleveland in 1967; he was 2-1 that year but with a poor 7.48 ERA. In the off-season, he was a player-to-be-named later in a trade to the Angels, but didn’t make the big league team in spring training, so he quit. He found far greater success as a stockbroker with Kidder Peabody in Pittsfield, making more money after one year than he ever had in baseball, and rising to become a senior vice president at Paine Webber in New York City. Ed Junior died in 1998.
Walt Ripley & Allen Ripley
Unlike Ed Connolly, Sr., Walt Ripley not only had a chance to see his son break in with Boston. He had the opportunity to follow his son’s entire major league career through retirement. Walt himself was born in Worcester, but was first noticed at Mansfield High School. At age 18, after his first year at Deerfield Academy, his parents officially signed his contract for him at Fenway Park. Walter Ripley got into his first game at age 19. This was early in the Yawkey years, in 1935. In his August 17 debut, he pitched in game one, a double defeat in a twinbill against the Browns. The Sox lost 11-7, and then were shut out in the second game, 7-0. All in all, he only appeared in two games, both times in relief, for a total of four innings for the Red Sox. He gave up seven hits, though, and three walks. His ERA rests at 9.00. Before he turned 20 -- though he didn’t know it at the time -- he had completed his career in major league baseball.
Son Allen was born in 1952, in Norwood. He saw more major league service time. On April 10, 1978, nearly 43 years after Walt Ripley’s Sox stint, his son Allen started for the Red Sox and went eight innings, allowing four runs “only one of which…was his total responsibility” wrote the Globe. Victimized by two Jerry Remy errors, the inning should have been over before he gave up a three-run homer to Andre Thornton. “He could have had a shutout. He pitched like hell” said Don Zimmer. “It’s a shame to get pitching like that [and not win]”, commented Carlton Fisk. When Ripley departed after eight, the score was tied. Reggie Cleveland yielded a run in the ninth and the Sox lost, 5-4. Allen Ripley won two and lost five that year. Had he won three and lost four, of course, there never would have been a Bucky Dent game. Ripley was 3-1 the following year with about the same amount of playing time. He cracked 100 innings with the Giants in 1980 and played with them and the Cubs. His last year was 1982. With Boston, he was 5-6. Lifetime, 23-27 with an ERA precisely half that of his father: 4.50.
Did his father work with him on his pitching in the backyard? Tutor him in the ways of the game? Help him get signed with the Red Sox? We don’t know. Allen was signed to the Red Sox by Lefty Lefebvre, who lived at the time in Seekonk, the next town over from where Allen played ball. Lefebvre saw him pitch, liked what he saw and signed him. Asked about Walt Ripley’s involvement in the process, Lefebvre said, “I only met his father once, I think.” There was definitely no active paternal involvement in the signing. Word is that Allen fell in with some unfortunate company and got himself in some personal difficulties and has pretty much chosen to keep to himself in recent years. We wish him well.
Dolph Camilli & Doug Camilli
Adolph Louis Camilli broke into big league ball late in 1933 after several seasons with San Francisco and Sacramento in the Pacific Coast League. Purchased by the Cubs, he spent the first 11 of his 12 seasons in the National League with the Cubs, Phils, and Dodgers. Camilli's best year was 1941, with the Dodgers, when he led the NL in both home runs (34) and RBIs (120); he was an All-Star both in 1939 and 1941 and overwhelmingly won the National League’s MVP Award in 1941. He appeared in five games of the 1941 World Series, but only had three hits in 18 at-bats and struck out six times.
Camilli was a compact 5’10” power hitter. One remarkable game came on August 23, 1942, when Doug drove in all six runs, finally beating the New York Giants with a grand slam in the bottom of the 10th inning. Branch Rickey discussed a managerial role with Dolph in early 1943, but there was no interest. Traded to the Giants in August, he chose instead to retire, characterizing himself as “washed up” and saying he’d retire to his cattle ranch in California though it meant giving up the very considerable salary still due him for the balance of the 1943 campaign. The veteran Dodgers’ decision to quit was at least partially a partisan one: “I hated the Giants. This was real serious; this was no put-on stuff. Their fans hated us, and our fans hated them. I said nuts to them, and I quit.” (The New York Times, October 22, 1967)
In late December, he signed a two-year deal to serve as player-manager for the PCL’s Oakland Oaks, though the deal had to be approved by the commissioner, given Camilli’s refusal to report to the Giants. He was one of the best hitters in the league before an August foot injury forced him to focus exclusively as manager.
Fired in June, 1945, the left-handed first baseman was approached by the Red Sox and signed on for a final season, his first in the American League. Camilli played 63 games for the Red Sox, hitting just .212 with two home runs against pitching depleted by war. It was his worst season in a career where he averaged .277 and hit 239 homers. It was time to get out. Both he and Bob Johnson were released on December 29.
Dolph Camilli stayed in baseball, managing teams in the PCL and in the Indians system, coaching some, and becoming a scout for the Phillies, Yankees, and Oakland Athletics. One other day of note occurred on August 4, 1962. In an exhibition game which featured Dom DiMaggio in left, Joe DiMaggio in center, and Vince DiMaggio in right, Dolph played for San Francisco as well, putting in a little time at first base. Dolph Camilli died in 1997.
Dolph and his wife had five sons, all of whom played baseball, but it was son Doug who made the majors. Two daughters were involved in athletics as well. In 1961, both Dolph Jr. and Bruce Camilli signed bonus deals with the Yankees on the same day, but Doug had already made a few headlines as a prospect in the Dodgers system.
Doug Camilli was born in Philadelphia at the end of Dolph’s 1936 season. He was nine when his father bowed out of baseball. Did his father have something to do with his becoming a ballplayer? “Early on. I think it had something to do with it, sure,” he says. Doug became a catcher, though. “He didn’t have anything to do with that part of it.” Doug started his own career at the tail end of November 1956, signing with the Dodgers -- who had now moved to Los Angeles. His first game with the big league club came on September 25, 1960; he singled in four at-bats, after taking over for catcher John Roseboro. Doug played five seasons with the Dodgers, appearing in 163 games all told. With the start of the 1965 campaign, he migrated to the AL, too, sold to the Washington Senators in November 1964.
With Washington, he appeared in 149 games over three seasons. When he broke his thumb in a game against the Yankees in July 1966, Joe Pignatano took over and Doug only got into three more games, in September. He was used throughout the 1967 season, but only appeared in 30 games, batting .183. He was sold to Hawaii at the very end of the season. As late as March 1968, he still hoped to hook on for another season as catcher with the Senators, but it was not to be, and Doug took a coaching position with the Senators where he served under manager Jim Lemon for the 1968 season. Lemon managed the Senators for just the one year.
In 1969, Ted Williams took over as manager of the Senators and Camilli served as Ted’s bullpen coach. “I kind of came with the ballclub,” Doug explains. “I was under contract.” Interestingly, the record books show Doug as appearing in one game that year -- three AB with a single. The team had put Camilli on the active roster a couple of days ahead of time. “It was at the end of the year and one of the catchers had a bad hand. They wanted…just in case. It was a mopping up game. We tied it and we went into extra innings.”
The game was on September 14, 1969 against Detroit and starting catcher Jim French popped foul to Norm Cash in his one at bat. He was lifted for pinch-hitter Versalles, but in vain. Camilli came in behind the plate to start off the seventh. The second batter up was Al Kaline, and Camilli snared his foul popup. At the plate, though, Camilli whiffed in the bottom of the seventh, ending the inning for the Senators. He came up again, with one out, in the bottom of the ninth. He was caught looking and struck out again. The Tigers scored two in the top of the ninth and the game went into extra innings. Doug Camilli came up again in the home 11th, with two outs and Del Unser having just singled. Camilli drove a single himself, moving Unser to third, but the Senators rally ended there, and the Tigers scored three in the top of the 12th to win it.
So Doug Camilli hit .333 in his final season as a major league ballplayer. Though Washington played 15 more games that year, Camilli never got another shot.
Doug came back to Boston and served as bullpen coach for four seasons under Eddie Kasko, signing in December 1969. He stayed in the organization for another dozen years afterward, in his words, “Managing and coaching. Coached mostly. In the minors. Traveled some, like a roving instructor sometimes. Managed in Greensboro. Two years in Winter Haven. There was a couple of years in between there. My last year with them was ’92.”
Dolph’s brother and Doug’s uncle Frankie Camilli was a heavyweight prizefighter who fought under the name Frankie Campbell until he was killed due to injuries to the head suffered in his fight against Max Baer on August 25, 1930.
Haywood Sullivan & Marc Sullivan
At 6’4” and 215 pounds, Haywood Sullivan was a formidable backstop when he broke in with the Red Sox on September 20, 1955. He didn’t get to play all that much, though -- just six at-bats in ’55, only one in ’57, and but two in ’59. The astute reader will note that he did not play for Boston at all in even-numbered years. After three “seasons” and a total of nine at-bats, he had yet to make a hit, though he did reach base on a walk in 1959. In 1960, though, Sullivan broke through on his 17th plate apperance, singling to left. He played in 52 games and accumulated 124 at-bats. Unfortunately, his hitting (.161) didn't set any worlds on fire.
Sullivan did play three years for the Kansas City Royals, 1961-63, where he hit .240. Somehow this is the player who the Yawkeys seemed to “adopt” as a favorite. In fact, Jean Yawkey seemed to like him so much that he was given co-ownership of the Red Sox team in 1978 and he remained a co-owner through the 1993 season.
Marc Sullivan was born during one of those even-numbered years (1958) and he made the big league club himself, right at the end of the 1982 season, and went 2-for-6 in two games. The same height as his father -- who was general manager of the Red Sox at the time -- Marc weighed 10 pounds less but he seemed to start off as though he were determined to reverse the pattern of the years with his father. They did share the same middle name. Marc played in 1982 but not the odd-numbered year 1983, then came back again in 1984 -- where he again played in two games, again had six at-bats. This time, though, Marc hit safely three times.
This may have impressed GM Lou Gorman, who -- breaking the obverse mold -- brought Marc back in 1985. The elder Sullivan remained an owner of the team throughout the Gorman years. In ’85, Marc hit. 174 in 69 at-bats, a record he improved to .193 in 119 at-bats the following pennant-winning year. The young catcher played in 60 games with 160 at-bats in ’87 but his average tailed off to .169, despite again matching his career-high two home runs.
With the two-day player strike in August 1985, Marc Sullivan became the first player in all of baseball to go on strike against his own father.
During Haywood Sullivan’s six seasons as GM, only in the last year did the team win less than half their games. Overall, his record as GM stands at 499-416, a .545 winning percentage. These were the Zimmer/Houk years, pretty good years overall. They might have been better but for Sullivan’s failure to renew the contracts of Carlton Fisk and Fred Lynn within the mandated period. Sullivan hastily traded Lynn. Fisk became a free agent and just walked away, striking a deal with the White Sox. It was what you might call a “negative draft.”
Dick Ellsworth & Steve Ellsworth
Dick Ellsworth is the dad. He pitched one year for the Red Sox, 1968, and a brief couple of appearances in 1969. Steve Ellsworth is the son. He pitched just one year for the Red Sox, too -- some 20 years after his father, in 1988. Dick hailed from Wyoming, though raised in Fresno, California; he broke in with the Cubs at age 18, fresh out of high school. He spent eight seasons with the Cubbies, including a 22-10 season with a 2.11 ERA in 1963. No Cubs lefthander has won 20 games since Ellsworth. The 1966 season, though, was a rough one. Even though the Cubs did reasonably well, Dick had a very disappointing 8-22 year, albeit with a decent 3.98 ERA. In December 1966, he was traded to the Phillies for Ray Culp and some cash. 1967 wasn’t a good year for him, either, but when he was traded to the Red Sox in December 1967, he did very well indeed. Ellsworth posted a 16-7 record in 1968, with a 3.03 ERA. The team was lackluster, but Ellsworth stood out. (He says he might have won 20 games, but the son unintentionally undermined the father: Dick caught mumps from his son Steve and missed at least five starts in August.) Soon after the start of the 1969 season, both he and Ken Harrelson were traded to the Indians. He pitched for Cleveland and Milwaukee for the next three years, until he was released at the end of June in 1971.
In 1968, while with the Red Sox, Dick brought his son Steve to the annual Fathers and Sons game. Steve turned eight that year. Twenty years later, he was wearing a Red Sox uniform again and pitching at Fenway Park once more, this time for real. His father was tall -- 6’4” -- but Steve had four inches on his dad. He didn’t fare as well, though. Steve, a right-hander, ran up a record of just one win against six defeats, with an ERA of 6.75.
Both father and son live in the Fresno area, and Steve has three sons. Dick told Ron Marshall of Boston Baseball, “At least one of them is going to be a good ballplayer, I can see that already. I don’t know who is scouting for the Red Sox in the San Joaquin Valley, but they better put him on alert!” Maybe someday, we’ll see the first three-generation line among the fraternity of Red Sox players.
Fathers and daughters
It hasn’t come to pass yet, but earlier in this book we have seen the story of Tom Satriano and his daughter Gina Satriano, in the section devoted to women and the Red Sox. Both have played professional baseball at Fenway Park.
Other relatives who served the Sox
Shano Collins & Bob Gallagher
A native of Charlestown, Massachusetts, who as a kid used to sell peanuts at the Walpole Street Grounds, John “Shano” Collins was a versatile outfielder with the Red Sox from 1921 through 1925. After 11 years with the Chicago White Sox, he came to Boston in a trade for Harry Hooper. Shano was the leadoff hitter on the “Black Sox” team of 1919, along with fellow outfielder Shoeless Joe Jackson, but neither Shano Collins nor similarly-surnamed Eddie Collins were ever accused of being in on the plot to throw the Series. Shano hit .250. He’d already been one of the World Champions in 1917, when the White Sox won it all. In that Series, he hit .286. Lifetime, his regular season average is .264. Shano played all fields -- right, center, and left. He passed away in 1955. His name lives on in Bob Gallagher’s middle name -- Collins, named after his uncle Robert Collins, Shano’s son. Robert Collins was killed on Iwo Jima.
Bob Gallagher was Shano’s grandson -- his mother was Shano’s daughter and (born in 1948) he still retains faint memory of sitting on his grandfather’s knee. Bob signed with the Red Sox and his first game was May 17, 1972 when he was inserted as a pinch-hitter. He didn’t get a hit. That year he only had four more chances to bat and he struck out three of his five at-bats, never getting a major league hit. It must have been a frustrating off-season, wanting to come back and get that hit. He never did, for Boston. When he did, it was with Houston -- the very next year, 1973. In fact, he racked up 39 hits (six for extra bases) and hit .264 for the Astros. Bob played in ’74 with the Astros and ’75 with the Mets, and left with a .220 average.
Gallagher’s father might have made the majors, too: “My dad made the hall of fame in basketball at Providence College. He was going to play baseball but he played in the Cape Cod League and he broke his thumb sliding. He got hurt, and it because a problem so he ended up just being a 90-day wonder who ended up going into the service in World War II. He was a good mentor, though. A good motivator. He was certainly my director.” Of grandfather Shano Collins, he said, “He was a little better than I was, but I was received very well because of him. A lot of people remembered him…respected that background. There’s such lore in Boston. I got more attention than I deserved. I was seven when he died. I remember sitting on his knee at the house, but I didn’t talk baseball. At age six or seven, I didn’t have that picture. I wish I could go back and ask some questions.”
Gallagher’s son Zachary showed some talent at baseball, too, but he “wasn’t fast enough, wasn’t strong enough. It wasn’t going to be his sport, not professional. So he just went with what he enjoyed. He went to Stanford as a water polo goalie and played in the NCAA championships for Stanford.”
George Susce and George Susce
The father pays for the sins of the son. When pitching prospect George Daniel Susce chose to sign with the Red Sox in 1950, the Cleveland Indians fired his dad, coach George Susce, on January 10. George the elder Susce had been with the Indians since 1941. George Daniel wasn’t a junior, though; his father -- who bore the nickname “Good Kid” -- was named George Cyril Methodius Susce. So the Sox hired G. C. M. Susce. He coached for the Red Sox from 1950 through 1954.
The season after Dad left the Red Sox, the younger Susce pitched for the Red Sox, for whom he worked in parts of four seasons (1955-58), compiling an 18-14 record. In his rookie year, 1955, he threw a one-hitter against the Kansas City A's on July 20. His dad was a coach for KC in 1955, watching the game from the K.C. dugout, and must have been proud of his son’s accomplishment.
Both George Susce, Jr. and Dave Sisler were teammates on the Red Sox (1956-58). Both of their fathers had played major league ball. One other Sox team that included two pitching sons of big leaguers was the 1963 Red Sox which included Chet Nichols, Jr. and Jerry Stephenson.
Dom Dallessandro & Dick Gernert
Dom Dallessandro broke into major league ball with the Red Sox in 1937. The young 23-year-old outfielder had a chance to play, but only garnered a .231 average with 34 hits in 147 at-bats. He needed a little more seasoning. After the 1937 season, the San Diego Padres assigned Ted Williams to the Boston Red Sox in exchange for Dallessandro, Al Niemiec, two minor leaguers, and a sum of money reported between $25,000 and $35,000. In 1938, Dallessandro hit .309 with 22 homers and in 1939 he led the Pacific Coast League with a .368 mark. Dallessandro, known as the “Mighty Mite” in San Diego (he was 5’ 6” tall), had earned his way back into the major leagues; he began the next year with the Cubs and spent seven seasons there, ultimately compiling a .267 career average. Ted Williams won the Triple Crown in the American Association in ’38 and then went on to serve the Red Sox for many years to come. Dallessandro could always say he was traded for Ted Williams.
“Dim Dom” Dallessandro had a nephew who played ball: Dick Gernert. Both were born in Reading, PA, though 15 years apart. Dallessandro was married to Gernert’s mother’s sister. Was his nephew inspired by him in some way? “We used to go see him play whenever he came to Philadelphia,” remembers Gernert, who broke in with the Red Sox just five years after uncle Dom had retired from the Cubs following the 1947 season. Gernert, a 6’3” slugger and first baseman for the Sox, played both for Boston and, briefly, the Cubs -- even though they shared the diamond more than once in 1950. After leaving the Cubs, Dallessandro played in the American Association for a few years and was with Indianapolis in 1950, the same year Dick Gernert played with Louisville. The families apparently were not close, and divorce took them further apart in years to come. Though uncle and nephew played against each other, trading positions at the half innings, Gernert doesn’t recall talking baseball with his uncle either then or later in his career.
Matts Batts & Danny Heep
Another uncle/nephew combination involves catcher Matt Batts (with the Red Sox from 1947-1951) and his nephew, outfielder Danny Heep (with the Sox in 1989 and 1990). Both are natives of San Antonio, though Batts has long made his home in Baton Rouge. Matt’s half-sister Eva married Jake Heep, who worked for the Air Force at Kelly Field in San Antone.
Jake Heep himself was a pretty good ballplayer (in his brother-in-law’s estimation), but had to work to make a living. Perhaps he saw his dream come true through his son Danny, who played 13 seasons of major league ball.
Matt Batts was signed by the Sox while at Baylor, signed with a $2,500 bonus by legendary University of Texas coach and scout for the Red Sox Billy Disch, but this was 1942 and Matt ended up in the service like so many others. He served in the Army Air Corps (later the U.S. Air Force) as a crew chief working on planes at Randolph Field. After the war he entered the Red Sox farm system and made the big league club as a backup catcher (to Birdie Tebbetts) in 1948, hitting .314 in 118 at-bats. He’d opened some eyes in a brief September 1947 debut, hitting an even .500 in 16 at-bats. Despite getting a few more at-bats, Batts had a sort of sophomore slump in 1949, dipping to .242, while beginning to feel a little frustrated at not playing regularly.
Adjusting to the role, perhaps, he rebounded to .273 in 1950 -- close to what proved to be his career batting average of .269. When the Red Sox brought in manager Steve O'Neill to take over for Lou Boudreau, Batts got much less work. “O’Neill didn’t like me for some reason,” he says, still surprised, as he’d been friendly with two of O’Neill's children. Early in 1951, he was traded to the St. Louis Browns. Batts played for the Browns, the Tigers, the White Sox, and the Reds -- always as a backup backstop. After 10 seasons, he retired after the 1956 season to work in the district atorney’s office, eventually leaving that work to go into the printing business that another attorney and Matt launched, and which Matt’s wife Arlene ran. Arlene and Matt had two daughters, and there’s another thread one could explore someday: one of their daughters married Boston Herald baseball writer Larry Claflin.
The year after Matt retired, Daniel William Heep was born -- 1957. Like his uncle, Heep played for five different major league clubs, but he was an outfielder. Like his uncle as well, Danny’s role was a backup role. He played baseball at Lee High and became a college star at San Antonio’s St. Mary’s University, a two-time All-American (1976 and 1978)…as a pitcher. Drafted by the Houston Astros in the 1978 second round, he saw his first action the very next year, though just with two base hits in the 14 at-bats that year. After playing part-time the next three seasons, he was traded to the New York Mets for pitcher Mike Scott. He got in four years with the Mets, two mediocre ones and then two pretty good ones (hitting .280 and .282). He’d set a major league record in his second year, hitting four pinch-hit homers all in the same season. Uncle Matt says that, while he played a little catch with his nephew, they never spent time working together.
After the 1986 season (he was 2-for-15 in the playoffs), the World Champion Mets let him go. He signed on the following summer with the Dodgers and played for a year and a half before they, too, gave him a release. The 1989 Red Sox took him on in February; with a number of minor injuries to their outfield, Danny got some real playing time (320 at-bats) and he really came through with his best year in pro ball, batting an even .300 with a career-high 49 RBIs. He even appeared in 19 games at first base.
Relegated to just 69 at-bats the following year, he hit a disappointing .174 -- though he did have the distinction of pitching the last inning of a game against the Twins; Minnesota was up 15-0 when Danny threw the ninth. The final score was 16-0; he'd given up fewer runs than any of the four other Red Sox pitchers. (He’d thrown the last two innings of a blowout game for the Dodgers in 1988.) He failed twice in pinch-hitting roles against Oakland in the 1990 playoffs -- but other than Wade Boggs, almost no one else was hitting either, and the A’s swept all four games. It was one of four times Danny played in the postseason.
Released by the Red Sox in November, he signed on with the White Sox in April 1991, but was traded to the Braves before seeing any action. Despite hitting .417 in his last year (5-for-12), he wasn’t being used much and was released by the Braves in June.
Since 1992, Heep has been teaching baseball to the quite successful University of the Incarnate Word Cardinals in San Antonio. He’s married and has two children.
Ramon Aviles & Mike Aviles
Ramon Aviles he hit .268 in 117 major-league ballgames, all but one of them for the Philadelphia Phillies between 1979 and 1981. He was originally signed in 1969 by the Red Sox and put in his time in the minor leagues before making his debut on July 10, 1977 at County Stadium. He had been called up from Pawtucket on June 23 when Dwight Evans went on the DL and there was some reshuffling. The Red Sox took an early 3-0 lead against the Brewers but saw the game tied and Milwaukee go up by one. In the top of the seventh, both Carlton Fisk and George Scott drew walks and manager Don Zimmer asked Aviles to pinch hit for right-fielder Bernie Carbo. Specifically, he asked Aviles to bunt and advance the runners, and that he did, “a perfect sacrifice bunt” (Bob Ryan, Boston Globe) to the first baseman. An intentional walk to Butch Hobson followed, but pinch-hitter Rick Miller hit a fly ball to left field and Fisk tagged up but was thrown out at home plate. Aviles played second base in the seventh and eighth, and successfully handled one chance in the field, but when he was due up in the top of the ninth, Dwight Evans pinch hit for him (and grounded out.) The Sox did win the game in 11.
Aviles was third on the depth chart behind Rick Burleson and Steve Dillard. By July 29, the Globe’s Ryan observed, “Aviles hasn’t exactly gotten worn out from playing too much up here.” That very day he was sent back to Pawtucket, which reflected, in Larry Whiteside’s words, “a reprieve for lefthander Bill Lee.” He added, “Zimmer appeared unhappy over the demotion of Aviles, but since it is clear the club is unable or unwilling to deal Bill Lee, he has little choice in the matter.”
In all, Ramon Aviles played eight seasons in the Red Sox system, but this was the one and only game in which he played for Boston in the big leagues. He played winter ball in Venezuela and joined Boston for spring training, but was sent down at the end of the preseason and on April 5 was sold to the Phillies for an undisclosed sum. For Philadelphia, he played his other 116 big-league games.
Mike Aviles played for two years, and in 174 games for the Red Sox, in 2010 and 2011. Both parents came from Puerto Rico, but he was born in The Bronx and grew up there before the family moved to Middletown, New York, where he went to high school. He went to college at Concordia College in Bronxville, majoring in behavioral science and finance. His father Edgar was a banker, and his mother Maddy a legal secretary.
Ramon was Mike’s uncle, his father’s half-brother. Though he spent eight seasons in the Red Sox system, he had just that one plate appearance for the big-league team, a sacrifice bunt, and he made it count. Uncle Ramon was Mike’s coach in winter league ball in Carolina, for two seasons of winter ball in Puerto Rico.
The two never spoke much about Ramon’s time with Boston. Mike learned more of the details from the Red Sox, who filled him in on the family connection when he came to the team.
Ernie Riles & Willie Harris
Ernie Riles was the uncle and Willie Harris his nephew. Born in 1960 in Cairo, Georgia, Riles went to Middle Georgia College and the year he turned 21 he was signed by the Brewers as their third pick in the 1981 draft. Milwaukee to the Bay Area, to Houston and Boston – that was the route of Ernest Riles’ nine-year major-league career. He was an outstanding prospect as he developed in the minors, batting over .340 in three of his first five seasons. He came up to the big leagues in 1985 and played with the Brewers for three-plus seasons. Riles placed third in Rookie of the Year voting in the ’85 season, the best of his career – though following a June 1988 trade to the San Francisco Giants, he enjoyed the best half-season of his career. In 1989, he went to the postseason with the Giants and appeared in the NLCS and the World Series against Oakland (though he was 0-for-9 at the plate.) A year later, he was traded to Oakland. He had free-agent years with the Astros in 1992 and the Red Sox in 1993, driving in 20 runs and hitting five homers for the ’93 Sox in his final 143 Major-league at-bats.
Willie Harris was also born in Cairo, in June 1978. He, too, attended Middle Georgia College and also Kennesaw State University, and was selected in the 24th round of the 1999 draft by the Baltimore Orioles. As so often happens, the Orioles signed and developed Willie Harris, but only saw him play nine games for them at the major-league level (in 2001, he hit .125 without driving in any runs.) But they did trade him to the White Sox for Chris Singleton. Harris played three years for Chicago, batting .246 over 313 games, playing as he typically did (except while with the Red Sox) a combination of outfield and second base. After the 2005 season, he became a free agent and signed with Boston. He played in 47 games, though only one at second base. He was primarily an outfielder and pinch-runner. Harris had a distinctly subpar year at the plate, batting only .156 and driving in just one run in the 47 games, but he scored 17 runs, reflecting his frequent insertion as pinch-runner and late-inning defensive outfield replacement. In 39 fielding chances, he never made an error.
A good year for Atlanta followed and three quite good seasons for the Washington Nationals, where he showed some power, hitting 30 homers from 2008-2010. Harris played for the Mets in 2011 and the Reds in 2012. He had better success in the postseason than uncle Ernie, going 2-for-2 for the 2005 White Sox.
Jack Ryan & Mike Ryan
Mike Ryan, a Red Sox catcher from 1964 through the Impossible Dream season of 1967, had a uniformed relative on the Red Sox: his grandfather’s cousin was Jack Ryan, who served as a Sox coach for five years, 1923-27, working under both managers Frank Chance and Lee Fohl. Mike was a defensive specialist who played major league ball from 1964 through 1974. Jack Ryan broke in with Louisville of the old American Association way back in 1889. He later caught for a Boston baseball team, but it was the National League Boston Beaneaters from 1894 through 1896. After his playing career, he coached at the University of Virginia for nine years and then was hired as pitching coach for the Red Sox in March 1923. Though Jack Ryan died in Boston in 1952, Haverhill’s Mike Ryan does not recall ever meeting him. Neither Ryan was related to pitcher Jack “Gulfport” Ryan.
Danny Doyle & Denny Doyle
Then there are a couple of Red Sox who think they’re related, but might not be. Danny Doyle was a catcher, called up right at the end of the 1943 season. He appeared in 13 games but then got a callup of another sort and served in the United States Army in 1944 and 1945. With the onset of diabetes, and all the veteran Sox servicemen returning in 1946, he never saw duty again as a major league ballplayer -- though he signed a number of players as one of the most effective Red Sox scouts. Before Pedro arrived, Doyle could laugh that he signed every Sox Cy Young winner -- Jim Lonborg and Roger Clemens. In 1988, Danny Doyle was named Midwest Scout of the Year by the Scout of the Year Foundation. Danny lost his sight in his final years, and passed away on December 14, 2004.
Denny Doyle came over to Boston partway into the 1975 pennant-winning season, and hit a solid .310 in 310 at-bats. During the 1975 World Series, the two Doyles met for the first time, though Denny had learned about Danny in an unusual fashion -- receiving shipments of bats from Hillerich & Bradsby with “Danny Doyle” inscribed on them. “At the very beginning of my career with the Phillies, they would order my bats from the Louisville Slugger bat company and every so often I would get a shipment of his signature bats. They pulled the wrong guy. I thought it was a joke at first, then I started thinking…ah, no way, so I asked them and they said, ‘There’s a scout in the Red Sox organization.’ I was with the Phillies then. When I came to the Red Sox, I got a few chuckles out of it from a few people.”
In fact, there is a strong physical resemblance between the two Doyles. Danny’s son Tom is only a few months older than Denny, and he says, “Denny and my dad look quite a lot alike -- their complexions. When Denny got traded from the Angels back to Boston, the trainer insisted on calling him Danny. He’d say, ‘My name is Denny” “Yeah, right, Danny.” Tom's sister Dana Nelson adds, “I can’t tell you how much they look alike. There is a great similarity there. Denny Doyle could be my uncle Bill’s son; they look so much alike it’s uncanny.”
Knowing that both families come out of Kentucky, Dana has done some genealogical research back to 1803 but hasn’t yet determined any connection. Denny Doyle was born in Glasgow, and Danny’s father was born in Mt. Sterling -- but the two communities are 169 miles apart. At their first meeting back in ’75, Dana laughs, “Denny Doyle used to call my mom ‘Mom’ when they met in Boston.” Denny and Danny talked more when they met in 2001 at the celebrations held in honor of the 100th anniversary of the Red Sox. Danny himself added, “We are related, I’m sure. At that last meeting, we rode to the park and back on the bus. It turns out in the conversation, we’re pretty sure that we are related. We come from Ireland; he has some relatives that come from about the same places ours did, but I don’t have any definite information. He thinks we are related and I do, too. I went back to Ireland and visited some of the places that my people come from, and kissed the Blarney stone and all that stuff.”
Denny, for his part, understands that they may never know what relationship there might be. “It’s a stretch at this point, a dead end. It’s the type of story you want, but I don’t like to throw anything out there unless it’s for sure.” Denny Doyle remains active today running a number of youth development, coach certification, and parent awareness programs. His company, which he runs with his brothers Brian and Blake out of Winter Haven, certifies somewhere around 25,000 or more coaches a year. Some Red Sox fans will remember Brian Doyle, who got involved with the Yankees in 1978, the year after Denny left the majors. It was also the year the Yankees beat out Boston for the pennant in the infamous one-game playoff. Brian was added to the roster in place of the hurting Willie Randolph, and he starred in the Series, batting .438; he and Bucky Dent combined for five RBIs in the final game victory. “It was interesting to watch, I’ll tell you that,” Denny recalls, then adds, “And I don’t even like the Yankees!”
Chris Haney & Mike Cubbage
When Chris Haney joined the Red Sox early in the 2002 season, he became half of a recent pair of Red Sox relatives. Chris, a left-handed pitcher, is a “distant cousin” of Sox third base coach Mike Cubbage. Haney was a 10-year veteran who started with the Montreal Expos in 1991 but spent most of his career with Kansas City. He’d built up a 38-52 record, with a 5.11 ERA. In 2001, he played in Japan, but he was signed to a minor league contract by the Red Sox early in 2002, as the team was looking for a backup southpaw reliever. His father is Larry Haney, who played from 1966 to 1978 for four American League clubs and, in the middle of his career, appeared in two games for the National League’s Cardinals. No relation to Fred Haney or Todd Haney. But he is related to Mike Cubbage. “More than anything,” Chris says, “I saw him at church all the time. There’s a lot of Haneys in that church.”
Cubbage played eight years for three clubs, with a lifetime .220 average in 1,951 at-bats. Cubbage’s career and that of Chris’s dad Larry overlapped, and Chris says, “I grew up in a baseball family, but this [June 2002] is the first time I’ve been in pro ball with family. I knew him when he played for the Twins. My dad was still on the field as a coach in my rookie season but that was his last year as a coach, in ’91. He was with the Brewers and I was with Montreal. But I always knew where Mike was. We all disappeared in the summer and then we’d all get back about the same time.” Haney was referring to how ballplayers tend to leave home for months at a time. He reports that his father helped tutor him all he could, but he was out playing ball. His mom, he says, “was the one who caught and flipped and all that.” During the summers, the family would join up and he had the chance to observe “how guys at his level did things, how they went about their work.”
Sox coach Cubbage’s mother was a Haney, Margie Haney, “from the small town in Virginia that Chris is from. Barboursville. I think my mother and Chris’s father were second or third cousins. I don’t know what that makes Chris and myself. We live in the same development. We live on the same golf course. Our wives are good friends. It’s nice to be on the same team.”
Anastacio Martinez and Sandy Martinez
Two cousins played on the 2004 World Champion Red Sox. Neither is related to Pedro, the third Martinez on the ’04 team.
The clue to their family ties rests in their place of birth. Anastacio Martinez was listed as being from Villa Mella, Distrito Nacional (Dominican Republic) and Angel “Sandy” Martinez was listed as being from Villa Mella, Distrito Nacional (Dominican Republic). Hmmmm. Sandy was eight years older, a catcher, and in his eighth season as a major leaguer. Anastacio was a pitcher, in his debut year.
True, Martinez is a very common surname -- so common that Sandy’s mother bore the same surname as his father. But this was worth checking out. Jorge Sainz, player agent for both men, confirms that the two are cousins. No, it never happened that one caught the other in a major league game. Sandy only played for the Red Sox in three very late-season games, with four fruitless at-bats. Anastacio’s tenure lasted from his debut on May 22 to his last game on July 2. He won two games and lost one, but had an unimpressive 8.44 ERA.
For both, it was their last year in the majors.
John Olerud & Dale Sveum
John Olerud and Red Sox third base coach Dale Sveum both served with the 2005 Sox. They both agreed they are second or third cousins but neither was that clear on the precise lineage. When John's grandmother back in North Dakota learned there was a Sveum in baseball, she told John that there were Sveums in their family. Asked about the family lineage while the Oleruds were visiting their son at Fenway Park in late August 2005, John's father John explained how they realized there had been a connection. “Sveum is not a real common name,” he noted. Dale Sveum broke in a few years before Olerud, and the name was a familiar one in the family: his grandmother had been Thora Sveum. Mr. Olerud called his mother on a cellphone right from Fenway and got the lowdown. His grandmother was Thora Sveum and her brother Clifford was Dale Sveum's grandfather.
The Red Sox first signed John Olerud on May 1, 2005 -- to a minor league contract. Playing for a brief stretch with Pawtucket, it was the first time the longtime veteran Olerud had ever been in the minors. When he first arrived in the majors in 1989, he’d never spent a day in minor league ball. Olerud had 16 years under his belt before coming to the Red Sox. He’d played with Toronto, the Mets, Seattle, and the Yankees. He said that Boston was the best organization he’s been with as far as taking care of family.
1993 was Olerud’s best year, winning the AL batting crown with a .363 average and coming in first in on-base percentage with a .473 mark. In his final season, John batted .289 for Boston, in 173 at-bats. After 2005, he chose to retire from baseball, leaving the game with 2,239 hits and a lifetime .295 average.