- TOP PLAYERSOffensePABLO S. TORRE | August 20, 2012
- TAMPA BAY buccaneersENEMY lines WHAT A RIVAL COACH SAYSJune 28, 2012
- Faces in the CrowdJune 11, 2001
An ability to beat the Yankees, even if it is a solitary talent, makes a man worth something nowadays. Willard Nixon, a right-handed pitcher for the Boston Red Sox, is a gentleman who has this particular faculty and gets paid around $10,000 a year. He has beaten New York three times this year, and his lifetime record against the club is 11-5.
Last week he was repeating. The mighty bats were stilled as Nixon had a no-hitter going for seven innings at the Stadium. In the eighth, Berra got a streaky single. In the ninth, with Boston leading 2-0, Milt Boiling flubbed McDougald's grounder to short. Maury Mc-Dermott singled to center, then Billy Goodman booted Pitcher Don Larsen's grounder. The game which should have been won was in jeopardy, the bases were loaded with fearsome Yankees, and Nixon's temper—never equable—began to boil. He massacred the mound with his spikes, looked daggers at his embarrassed infield.
Later he admitted: "Sure, I was mad. Not just at the others. I could have fielded McDougald's grounder."
But Nixon didn't blow up. He struck out Hank Bauer on three curves. Martin grounded out, scoring a run. Next up was a shattering sight: The Mantle itself.
Nixon had been feeding Mickey knucklers all afternoon and decided to fool the home run king with a fast ball. He almost didn't, for Mantle's drive to left field was high and deep. Gene Stephens, however, managed a desperate grab for the out and the ball game.
Nixon was unable to explain why he does so well
against New York: "I don't try to figure it out. But I know this: you can't
have a good year just beating one team." Nixon's season record is a modest