Staid Bostonians were astonished. In two games last week, the Indians and Red Sox brought back memories of Ebbets Field in its Babe Herman heyday—lots of comedy mixed with heroic feats.
The first game was tied 1-1 when the sixth inning started. Boston Shortstop Billy Klaus reached down to field a ground ball and bobbled it. A single followed. Klaus had a chance at another grounder and this time started a seemingly easy double play via second. The first baseman dropped the throw. A walk filled the bases. Another potential double-play ball was hit to Klaus. He fumbled it. One run scored and the bases were still loaded. The second baseman grabbed a line drive for the second out and tossed quickly to Klaus to trap the scrambling runner off second. Klaus dropped the ball.
In the Red Sox half of the sixth, Klaus came up with the bases loaded. He hit into a double play. In the seventh when the Indians came up again, the first batter hit a ground ball to Klaus. He didn't fumble it. It bounded over his glove and hit him under the eye. He was carted off the field and sent to the hospital for observation.
In the second game, the next day, the Red Sox were leading 3-0 as the sixth inning started. Indian Pitcher Calvin Coolidge McLish threw a soft floating changeup to Red Sox Batter Gene Mauch. He hit it into the left-field net for a home run. Ted Williams stepped up.
"No changeup for this guy," thought McLish. He threw a low fast ball. It was hit into the right-field seats.
McLish switched to the curve and threw six to Jackie Jensen. He walked him. He threw two more to Dick Gernert. The second went over the left-field fence. McLish started talking to himself. "Changeup, fast ball, curve, that's all I know. I'll have to stick to the curve."
Frank Malzone took two curves and knocked the third into the left-field net. The Red Sox had equaled an American League record they set 17 years ago. In five minutes Cal McLish's ERA had jumped from 1.39 to 3.90.
"It was nothing, really," McLish later modestly commented. "I'd say I gave them a variety. The pitches to Williams and Gernert, I thought, were pretty good. But they turned out bad, didn't they?"