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BOSTON RED SOX
April 13, 1959
Let the small letter i represent the American League. The Yankees, of course, are the dot, so the best the Boston Red Sox can hope for is a place near the top of the stem. Much depends on whether life truly begins at 40 for Ted Williams
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April 13, 1959

Boston Red Sox

Let the small letter i represent the American League. The Yankees, of course, are the dot, so the best the Boston Red Sox can hope for is a place near the top of the stem. Much depends on whether life truly begins at 40 for Ted Williams

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BASIC ROSTER

NO.

NAME

POSITION

1958 RECORD

1

BILLY CONSOLO

IF

.125

3

PETE RUNNELS

2B

.322

4

JACKIE JENSEN

RF

.286

6

VIC WERTZ

1B

.279

8

PETE DALEY

C

.321

9

TED WILLIAMS

LF

.328

11

FRANK MALZONE

3B

.295

22

SAMMY WHITE

C

.259

24

DON BUDDIN

SS

.237

25

DICK GERNERT

IF-OF

.237

35

JIM BUSBY

CF

.237

38

GENE STEPHENS

CF

.219

14

IKE DELOCK

P

14-8

18

FRANK SULLIVAN

P

13-9

20

MIKE FORNIELES

P

4-6

23

TOM BREWER

P

12-12

26

MURRAY WALL

P

8-9

28

TED BOWSFIELD

P

4-2

39

DAVE SISLER

P

8-9

STRONG POINTS
Those who like their baseball games spiced with home runs and other assorted hits will get a kick out of the Red Sox this year. It is a team of big hitters. The Sox have Ted Williams, of course, back again in 1959, as he was in 1949, as he was in 1939. Last year his batting average was .328, low for him, yet high enough to win the championship. Jackie Jensen reached flood tide in 1958 with 35 home runs, 122 runs batted in and a Most Valuable Player award. While you don't go around doing that every year, there is no reason why Jensen, at 32, should do an awful lot worse. In fact, he might do better if Frank Malzone, batting ahead of him, would leave more runners on base. During his two full years in Boston, Frank has driven in 190 runs, more than those other big Ms, Mays, Mathews and Mantle. Up from Washington last year, the Red Sox brought Pete Runnels, and that grateful soul showed his appreciation by hitting .322, second in the league to Williams. Vic Wertz came to Boston this winter in the trade which sent Jim Piersall to Cleveland. Wertz, at the risk of sounding repetitious, also drives in runs. He has knocked in over 100 four times and, batting fourth behind Williams as Manager Mike Higgins says he will, he should be able to do it once more. That list of Runnels, Williams, Wertz, Jensen and Malzone will make summer just that much hotter for opponents. Boston has three established major league pitchers, three who could make any staff in the league. One is Frank Sullivan, the long (6 feet 7 inches) right-hander, who has averaged 15 wins a year for five seasons. Tom Brewer won 19 games in 1956 and 16 the next year, but last year he had a poor 12-12 record. At 27, he should be better. Ike Delock was the best pitcher in baseball through mid-July with a 10-0 record. He finished 14-8.

WEAK SPOTS
The Boston defense is enough to break a pitcher's heart. Only at catcher, third base and center field are the Sox dependable. Sammy White can handle pitchers (has there ever been a poor-hitting catcher who couldn't handle pitchers?). Frank Malzone sets off fireworks at third. Jim Busby, Gene Stephens and Marty Keough, dime hitters, can collar fly balls, so one of them will play center. Jensen, in right, is off and on, good plays, bad plays. But the rest are awful. Wertz can't cover the ground at first. When Runnels, at second, and Don Buddin, at short, complete a double play, sirens go off all over New England. Buddin, incidentally, has a way of making unbelievable stops and then firing the ball into Row G behind first base. In left, Ted Williams gets what is hit at him, directly at him. When Boston pitchers are being judged, it must be remembered that the burden they bear is heavy. Aside from the three pitchers mentioned earlier, the staff is nondescript. Leo Kiely and Murray Wall relieve (often and reasonably well), left and right. Mike Fornieles, Dave Sisler and someone named Herb Moford will also be seen at Fenway Park.

ROOKIES AND NEW FACES
Three young pitchers could help the Sox cause a stir in the American League. Left-hander Ted Bowsfield joined the team after the All-Star Game and beat the Yankees three times ("He throws all them ground balls," Casey Stengel says). Bill Monbouquette, a right-hander, started at mid-season and had a 3-4 record. In 1956, Jerry Casale won 19 games in the Pacific Coast League, then spent the next two years in the Army. This winter he pitched in Venezuela and now the Sox hope he is ready. Elijah Green, known as "Pumpsie," is the first Negro to make the Red Sox roster. Green plays a fine shortstop but has a hitting problem. Last year with Minneapolis he was .253, poor credentials. But then Buddin was .237, so can Pumpsie be much worse? When the Red Sox speak of Haywood Sullivan, the 6-foot 4-inch catcher, they whisper. Twice he has seemed ready to make the team as catcher (easy to do) and twice he has suffered season-killing injuries. Perhaps this year....

BIG IFS
Vic Wertz has also suffered cruel setbacks. Polio bedded him in 1955, but he came back to give Cleveland good years in 1956 and 1957. Last spring he broke an ankle and was out until late July. Now the Red Sox are counting on another Wertz comeback. Ted Williams is 40, and any injury, such as the recent one to his neck, may be his last. Thinking positively, if the three young pitchers, or any one of them, come through and Pumpsie Green can hit, the Sox will be as strong as anyone in the league, save the Yankees.

THE OUTLOOK
Last year the mileage between third place ( Boston) and seventh place ( Kansas City) was just six games. Jensen had his best year. So did Runnels. Neither is likely to repeat. Williams, who lost 60 points off his 1957 batting average, may discover that life, baseball life, ends at 40. But the addition of Wertz, and the probable improvement of Pitchers Brewer and Sullivan, should serve as a balance. It is likely that the Red Sox will finish as they did last season, well up on the stem

[This article contains a table. Please see hardcopy of magazine or PDF.]

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