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A Funny Thing Happened On My Way To The Baseball No Hitter
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A Funny Thing Happened on My Way to the Baseball No Hitter

In 1956 I worked in Worcester, MA with a schoolmate from the University of Utah where we had just finished our Junior year and were on a summer engineering internship at the Norton Company. With two other students, we rented a cottage on Turkey Hill Pond where I was chief cook and bottle washer as the other guys didn’t have a mother that taught them to cook.

On July 14, 1956, we drove to Boston to watch the Red Sox play the Chicago White Sox. It was not a very exciting game, the Red Sox scoring four (4) runs. But I did like to watch Ted Williams stand by home plate as he watched the White Sox pitchers warm up, watching the ball until it hit the catchers glove. I figured that he was not only seeing what was on the ball but he was making the picture nervous.

Ted Williams served with the Marines in Korea and I often wondered if he was flying one of the navy planes that gave us air support almost everyday in the Punch Bowl in 1951, but I learned later that he didn’t get to Korea until long after I had left and that he never flew the aircraft that were strafing and bombing the Chinese positions in front of us.

(Th e Chinese hated air strikes and sometimes a few Chinese soldiers would bring a wounded comrade to us for treatment. We use to chat with these young soldier in quilted clothing who were very tall and I thought maybe they were Manchurians. Chat was restricted by the language barrier but we got by, our ROK soldiers attached to us knew how to read Chinese and sometimes they would scratch words into the soil or snow or what have you.)

Ted Williams played left field and the fans out there continually heckled him, throwing junk onto the field. This surprised me, but then it was Boston. The Green Wall loomed above him and he knocked a home run over the wall and I think it landed in Worcester. I thought that the Red Sox scored only one run but the records prove this senile old man wrong.

My friend, Andy, an ardent baseball fan, said during the 7th inning, “This could be a no hitter.”

I said, “Yes, it is getting boring as hell.”

He told me that a no hitter was good. I got interested again and watched Mel Parnell throw his last pitches as he got more nervous by the minute. The last batter hit the ball back to the mound. Not trusting an easy throw to first base, Parnell ran the runner out running across first before the runner.

The next day I was the laughing stock of the Norton Company because I had gone to my first major league baseball game, a no hitter, and I didn't know that during the game I had no clue what a no hitter meant until the last two innings.

Mel Parnell, the top picture in Red Sox history, received a cash award for pitching the no hitter, the first since the 1920s by a Boston pitcher (Howard Ehmke in 1923). He became the announcer / commentator for the the team. He died at age 89 in New Orleans in March of this year.

As a kid in Utah, I never played any attention to baseball until the World Series each year. Then we would hike down to the front of the Salt Lake Tribune building on Main Street and listen to the game progress as the position of the runners were shown on a big display board. We knew the players and we cheered for one team or the the other. We considered it not a true world series unless the Yankees were Playing the Brooklyn Dodgers whom we called the Bums.

Later we watched the Salt Lake City Bees. And we had some kind of idea of what the major leagues and teem were doing. Later I attended games in Cincinnati and a lot of games in Pittsburgh and Philadelphia. A few years ago with three of my sons I went to the game in Seattle when Ichiro Suzuki broke the AL batting record. I have the two newspapers that covered the game. They also gave us a pic of the team which I also have in my possession.

I watch the Seattle Mariners on TV now, a team that sells their best players to other teams. In Idaho, we never miss a game because they are never blacked out in our area. Adrien Beltre and Ichiro are two players I love to watch. I have to watch Beltre in Texas games and Ichiro in Yankee games.

I now know what a no hitter is and I am no longer the laughing stock of Worcester, MA.

Ted Williams and Mel Parnell, Boston’s greatest players in my opinion are history now. But what a history it is.

John

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Street Talk

C. Hughes  

Nice walk down memory lane. Of course your memory goes back a bit farther than mine. Thanks for sharing.

Reply
  about 8 years ago

Time is flying by. There must be a law irrevocably decreed in Heaven before the foundation of the world that is the antithesis of Relativity that the slower you get, the faster time flies. Tnx. John

Reply
  about 8 years ago
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