Lefty Grove notches 300th win at Fenway Park
Jimmy (The Beast) Foxx, who had been so closely connected with countless other Lefty Grove victories, very fittingly delivered the signet sock to Ole Mose’s coveted 300th triumph, which finally came in the form of a thrill-jammed 10-6 Red Sox verdict over the Cleveland Indians before 16,000 Ladies’ Day onlookers at Fenway Park yesterday.
The Double-X clincher, which elevated his gray-haired one-time Philadelphia teammate into the charmed circle which only five other major league pitchers since the turn of the century have reached, was a majestic three-bagger that landed against the center field center field bleacher wall in the eighth inning of what was easily the most exciting ball game of 1941 at Yawkey Yard.
Foxxie’s clutch clout, propelled off Lefty Al Milnar, last of three Cleveland chuckers who appeared in a vain attempt to check the inspired Sox and Grove in the latter’s third try for No. 300, smashed a 6-6 deadlock with three runs, since Ray Mack’s wild relay enabled Jimmie to complete the circuit behind Dom DiMaggio and Skipper Joe Cronin who had drawn stage-setting ducats.
Lefty deserves tribute
It also put the Sox ahead for the first time in a wild-eyes encounter which no Hollywood scenarist could have dreamed up for such a history-making event.
If there were any doubt about this Foxxian wallop opening the gates for Grove to experience the “greatest thrill” of his 41-year existence. Lefty did not share in it. Although he still had an inning to pitch in the “toughest game I ever sweated through,” Mose was on his feet hugging and kissing Foxxie the instant Jimmie returned to the dugout.
Then after the seething Jim Tabor had rapped out his second homer of the afternoon and his fourth in as many days to provide another run’s working margin, Lefty went out and set down the Indians in order in the night.
Here the hundreds of fans who had been waiting for this moment ever since it became possible for Grove to reach his goal here in Boston refused to be denied. They rushed onto the field and undoubtedly would have mobbed the veteran they have come to idolize except for half a dozen policemen who finally managed to escort Lefty into the runway leading into the clubhouse. All the time the one-time glass blower from Lonaconing, Md., had his eye on Dom DiMaggio, who was racing in from centre field with the precious “last ball” which shortly will be sent to Cooperstown for permanent enshrining. Lefty has the other 299 souvenirs in his Lonaconing home.
While Lefty pitched far more effective ball even in his two previous unsuccessful bids for No. 300 than he did yesterday, he deserved all this tribute and the commotion that came afterwards in the clubhouse for no other reason than the fact that he stuck through nine innings in the sweltering sun and 90-degree temperature without once showing a distress signal. He changed sweatshirts once and dropped 8-1/2 pounds during the courageous struggle that consumed nearly two and a half hours.
Tabor raps homer
Lacking his usual stuff, the gaunt southpaw was rapped for a dozen hits, two more than the Sox made. However, the old boy has his control, as evidenced by the single walk he handed out, and his courage was finally rewarded because his aroused mates refused to let him down even when Lefty was pounded for deficits of 4-0 and 6-4 by the Indians at earlier intervals.