It took a freshman manager to show 28 old time baseball stars something they never before had seen. The yearling pilot of the White Sox, Phil Richards, temporarily shifted pitcher Harry Dorish to third base in the ninth inning yesterday at Fenway Park. After Billy Pierce pitched to one batter (Ted Williams), Dorish returned to the mound.
“I’ve seen similar maneuvers,” said Fred Parent, Red Sox shortstop in 1901. “But the usual procedure was to put the pitcher in right field. I’ve never seen the pitcher shifted to an infield position.
Sent pitcher to outfield
The rest of the old-timers on hand to celebrate the American League’s Golden Anniversary echoed Parent’s opinion of Richards’ cute strategy.
“I’ve see that sort of thing happen,” said Fred Mitchell, another former Red Sox star. “But the pitcher usually was sent to right field. In this case it was safe to move the pitcher to third because Williams figured to hit to right and not toward third base.”
“There’s nothing new about that shift,” said Harry Howell, former Baltimore Oriole. “But we used to send the pitcher to the outfield.”
Cy Young, the octogenarian who rates as one of the greatest pitchers of all time, conceded that it was good strategy on the part of Manager Richards.
“I’ve seen everything happen in baseball,” says Cy. “But I don’t like to comment or criticize any game or play I see now.”
Bill Bradley, Cleveland infielder a half century ago, claimed he’s witnessed the play about four times but couldn’t recall whether the pitcher had ever assumed an infield post.
Bradley also commented on another ninth inning situation, the in which Bob Doerr pulled up at third instead of trying to score what would have been the winning run on Buddy Rosar’s double.
“I think Doerr should have tried to make home,” Bradley declared. “In my opinion it’s better to have the man thrown out at the plate than have him die on third.”
One old-timer who had never seen this tactic during his career was Hughie Duffie, famed for his .438 batting average. “I never saw such a trick and I never pulled it myself when I was a manager.”
All in all the old timers enjoyed watching the game even though they frequently squirmed in their seats during some dull moments of the marathon contest.
They were impressed with Ted Williams and with the extreme shift the White Sox used as a defensive measure when Ted came to bat. The majority remained in their seats until game’s end.
Connie Mack, sitting in the front row of a box, stayed until the 10th inning. “This is a wonderful thing,” said the grand old man of baseball. “I hope the people of Boston appreciate this reunion as much as we old timers do. I hope they appreciate what Tom Yawkey has done for them today.”