The 1948 World Series was a great one that was the only subway series in Boston history as the Red Sox faced the Braves for a world championship. Really more of a Green Line trolley series or a short walk series. Too bad it didn’t happen.
The Red Sox and Cleveland tied and a one game playoff was necessary. That became the issue. Red Sox manager Joe McCarthy, who had led the Yankees to a string of titles came out of retirement to manage Boston. McCarthy should have stayed in retirement.
McCarthy chooses Denny Galehouse to start the game and the results were predictable as Boston got hammered with Cleveland player-manager Lou Boudreau hitting a first inning home run. Boudreau hit another later in the game to move it to 6-1 and the final score was 8-3.
"“McCarthy came out of his office and approached me from the back,” Parnell, a career 123-75 pitcher, recounted. “He put his hand on my shoulder and said, ‘Kid, I’ve changed my mind, the elements are against a lefthander, the wind’s blowing out to left field. I’m going with a right-hander.’ – Mel Parnell"
The Red Sox could have started Mel Parnell, but made the decision to go with the shocked Galehouse who finished the season 8-8 with a 4.00 ERA. This was the next to last season of an unremarkable career for the veteran right-hander. Parnell finished 1948 at 15-6 with a 3.14 ERA. Parnell was 8-3 with a 2.21 ERA at home that season and that sticks a dagger in McCarthy’s “logic.”
Parnell had decent numbers against Cleveland in 1948 going 3-2 with a 3.32 ERA. At Fenway, Parnell tossed 26 innings against the Indians allowing five earned runs. During the season Galehouse was 1-2 with a 7.71 ERA against Cleveland and in his only Fenway start against them lasted 1.2 innings allowing four earned runs.
This tidbit of questionable management is now Red Sox lore passed down from generation to generation. A Hall of Fame manager making a total bonehead choice for the biggest game of the year.