Red Sox Fellowship of the Miserable: Denny Galehouse

Jun 13, 2015; Detroit, MI, USA; Baseball sits on pitchers mound at Comerica Park. Mandatory Credit: Rick Osentoski-USA TODAY Sports
Jun 13, 2015; Detroit, MI, USA; Baseball sits on pitchers mound at Comerica Park. Mandatory Credit: Rick Osentoski-USA TODAY Sports /

The Boston Red Sox Fellowship of the Miserable was fueled by historically bad decisions and bad luck. This is yet another chapter – Denny Galehouse.

Just what is The Fellowship of the Miserable? The original term was coined by former (thankfully) Celtic coach Rick Pitino to describe the perpetually angry Boston fans who mount continual assaults via talk radio. The tactic has also migrated into the realm of the media that quite naturally supports and encourages such activities – face it, folks, it does boost ratings.

"“These sports talk shows are fueled by the fellowship of the miserable.” – Rick Pitino"

The Red Sox have a long and illustrious history of contributions to the Fellowship with displays over the years that brought forward a crescendo of negativity. I will focus on the Red Sox, and it is both an oral and written history passed down from generation to generation.

Is the Fellowship dead?

In a previous article, I dismissed the Fellowship, but the reality is it lies dormant, ready to resurface with losing or frustration. This applies to all Boston area teams, but the Red Sox historically have had the vast collection of examples and the following is one. I will now introduce Denny Galehouse and his esteemed contribution to the collective with – quite naturally – special attention to the most key ingredient – a managerial blunder.

More from BoSox Injection

Travel back in time to the post-World War II period of the late 1940s. Film Noir may have been all the cinematic rage for its gritty portrayal of life and crime, but the Red Sox had Baseball Noir. The baseball version was just the developing stages of an epoch of not how we are going to win, but how are we going to lose?

The Red Sox had already faced a World Series defeat at the bats, hands, and gloves of the St. Louis Cardinals in 1946, but the team was loaded in 1948. The big surprise was the pitching. According to the fWAR, it was a league leading 21.7. The previously mentioned Galehouse had a 2.1 fWAR and was 8-8 as a part-time starter. Galehouse had a notable statistic; his BB/9 of 3.01 was higher than his K/9 of 2.49. Galehouse’s ERA was a nice and neat 4.00 in 27 games – 15 starts.

What about the rest of the rotation?

Mel Parnell (15-8, 3.14), Jack Kramer (18-5, 4,35), Joe Dobson (16-10, 3.56) and Ellis Kinder (10-7, 3.74) provided the bulk of the heavy lifting in the rotation. Now it was a choice to make for manager Joe McCarthy as a one-game playoff would take place on Monday against the Cleveland Indians at Fenway Park. The winner would face the Boston Braves so a subway or trolley car series was possible.

Dobson had pitched on Sunday and Kramer on Saturday, so both would be on ultra-short rest. That left Parnell who had pitched on Thursday and Kinder, who took the bump on Wednesday as solid options. Parnell would have his standard three-day rest and would face the Indians 19-game winner lefty, Gene Bearden. That was the expected, but they got the unexpected as McCarthy gave the ball to Galehouse. Why?

"“Denny [Galehouse] is known as a money pitcher,” wrote the paper. “He was well rested and once earlier in the summer he had held the Indians to two hits in eight and two thirds innings.” Galehouse had pitched in the postseason while with the St. Louis Browns in 1944 and was very good, splitting his two decisions, and posting a 1.50 ERA in two complete game performances. – The Sporting News"

McCarthy – a Hall of Fame manager – had used Galehouse against the Indians at Fenway Park on August 25th and Galehouse was hammered. On the day before the playoff game, Galehouse reportedly tossed the equivalent of six innings in the bullpen. Parnell was well rested and the assumption was he would take the hill. That did not happen and what did happen is another chapter in The Fellowship of the Miserable.

The Indians jumped on the well rested Galehouse for four runs in three innings before Kinder replaced him for the last six innings. Lou Boudreau – who was the Indians player-manager – hit a home run in the first. Ken Keltner hit a three-run blast in the fourth The result was an 8-3 Boston loss and a double-dip when the Indians beat the Braves in the World Series.

"“We just couldn’t understand it,” catcher Matt Batts explained. “It wasn’t logical at the time. We had Parnell ready to go, and Kinder was ready. I would say 100% of the players were against it.” – quoted by catcher Matt Batts"

There was little logic to the move as Parnell was the most obvious choice. McCarthy did mention his fear of the Indians – who led the American League in hitting – getting to Parnell. Parnell was 8-3 at home with a remarkable 2.21 earned run average. Against the Indians, for the season Parnell was 3-2, 3.32. At home in 26 innings against Cleveland Parnell allowed just five earned runs.

Next: Red Sox Prospect Watch: Roster moves have started

I remember long time fans filling me in on the details of this managerial move that certainly soured the Boston press and fans on McCarthy. Reading about it certainly makes the decision virtually impossible to defend. Just another Fellowship footnote.