Boston Red Sox Memories: My all decade 1950’s Red Sox team
Developing left-handed pitching for Boston has traditionally been rather scarce with much of it based on the reluctance to have a left-handed starter at Fenway. Casey Stengel used to keep Whitey Ford in the closet when the Yankees came to town and Ford’s record at The Fens (7-6, 6.16) makes Stengel a stable genius. My choice would be a pitcher I saw toss a no-hitter – Mel Parnell.
Parnell won 21 games in 1953 – his second venture into the 20 win club – and finished his injury-ravaged ten seasons with Boston at 123-75. Parnell still has the team record for victories by a lefty – a good target for Eduardo Rodriguez. A very smooth lefty with a great curve who also is the source for naming the right field foul pole “The Pesky Pole.”
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The best right-hander that I saw in the 1950s was a tall (6’8”) Frank Sullivan who led the AL in wins (18) in 1955. Sullivan twice made the All-Star team and had excellent control once having the lowest BB/9 in the AL. Sullivan never threw exceptionally hard but had an excellent sinker and changeup. Deceptive delivery with his tall frame certainly helped keep the ball in the yard.
Sullivan was traded for another skyscraper in Gene Conley who also played for the Celtics. When questioned about who got the better of the deal long time baseball GM Frank Lane said “The Red Sox by an inch.”
Honorable Mention: The tough choice was either Sullivan or smooth curve balling right-hander Tom Brewer. Brewer pitched eight seasons and won 91 games. In 1960 righty Bill Monbouquette won 14 games and made the All-Star team. Mombo would eventually have a 20 win season. Billy Muffett won only six games in 1960 but had a great baseball line. When asked about his record Muffet said: “My problem is losing close games 9-8, 10-9, etc.”