The Red Sox should furnish Harry Agganis with football atmosphere all season at Fenway Park.
Starting his first major league game, the Golden Greek from Boston University sparked a fourth-inning assault on Bob Porterfield to escort Bill Henry and the hose to a 6-to-1 successful opener before 17,272 frigid but delighted spectators.
“What with the bands and all,” Harry laughed after lighting the fuse at Fenway, “it felt like a football day. I hadn’t gone for a long ball all Spring. I thought it was time. I got a curve and it looked good.”
Trailing 0-1 going into the fourth, it seemed possible that Henry and the Red Sox might be the victims of Sievers’ fourth-inning home run and a typical Porterfield shutout performance. Bob was the whitewash leader in the majors last season. He hadn’t allowed a run in his last 22 innings of 1953.
Perfect day for White
George Kell gave the Sox a start with a single just past shortstop Jerry Snyder into left field. Then up stepped Agganis. With a 1-1 count, he conked Porterfield’s pitch over the head of right fielder Tommy Umphlett into the deep corner of right field. Kell scored with the tying marker. Agganis was held at third base with his first big-league hit.
The Agganis three-base thump turned the heat on. There was mild disappointment as Porterfield flagged out Charley Maxwell. But Slammin’ Sammy White, who paced the Bosox with his first perfect plate day in the majors, belted one into the screen for his second homer in as many games.
White’s wallop was one of those suspense jobs. It was a high drive that kept curving as it bucked a wicked wind. It appeared to curve right around the foul pole. But there was no doubt as to it being fair. Third base umpire Joe Paparella gave it the all-clear signal as Agganis and White went home with enough runs to win.
It was a hot opener for a cold day. The temperature was down to 40 was the game ended and only a few degrees warmer when it began.