Can't Wait For Opening Day
Star shortstop and now manager of the Bosox, Lou Boudreau was signed (Oct 5) to take over the manager's headache for 1952 and '53. He'll be leading a fine squad of players heading into the coming season.
The Red Sox finished at 87-67, 3rd place in the standings in '51. The team will miss Ted Williams' bat comes May 15 when he once more becomes a flying marine for Uncle Sam. Ted Williams, the best batter in the league, surely will be missed. In 1951 Williams hit .318, 30 homers and had 126 RBIs.
Boudreau will be counting on pitching ace Mel Parnell who was the most effective Red Sox lefty since Lefty Grove and was almost unbeatable in Fenway Park. Parnell was 18-11 in 1951 with a 3.26 ERA. Ellis Kinder, hailed as the king of the relievers (11-2, 2.55 ERA) set a new Bosox record with 63 appearances in '51. With a pair of pitchers like Mel Parnell and Ellis Kinder the Red Sox will be hard to top in 1952.
Worth Watching For In 1952
Shortstop Vern Stephens tore a ligament in his leg and played little the last months of '51. Vern Stephens rates as one of the top stick men in the league. He rapped 17 homers in only 100 games, hit .300 with 78 RBIs.
Right-hander Ray Scarborough showed much improved pitching form in 1951, with a 12-9 record in only his second season in the majors. Willard Nixon, 6'2", 195 lbs. put out a lot of fires in '51 and was one of the rare birds whose sophomore year in the majors was not jinxed. Willard Nixon was 7-4 in 33 games.
Rookies For 1952
Jim Piersall, RH Center-fielder, is rated by scouts as a defensive genius with a wonderful arm. Last year, Jim Piersall hit .346, lined 15 lhomers and drove in 83 runs for Birmingham.
Ike Delock, RH Pitcher, was the best hurler in the Eastern League in '51. Ike Delock turned heads with his 20-4 record, had 5 shutouts and had the league's 2nd best ERA (1.92).
Bill Henry, LH Pitcher, will be closely watched this season. Pitching for Shreveport in '51, Bill Henry fanned 139 batters in 229 Innings, 42 games, and went 12-15.
Dom DiMaggio, the youngest of the DiMaggio brothers, did a splendid job in center-field again in '51. Dom DiMaggio hit .296, with 267 total bases and 72 RBIs. Clyde Vollmer hit 22 homers and was 2nd high with 85 RBIs. Clyde Vollmer clouted 13 homers, good for 30 runs in 1 month last year.
Catcher Gus Niarhos is scrappy and willing, and hit .256 in 66 games and catcher Al Evans has plenty of big league experience behind home plate and is a real pro at calling the pitchers.
Billy Goodman and Johnny Pesky rate as two of the best hitting infielders in all of baseball. Billy Goodman won the batting title in 1950 and batted .297 last year. Pesky has played SS and 3B for 12 years but possibly will be moved to 2B this year. Johnny Pesky hit .313 in '51 and has hit over .300 so many times that he's being whispered as a possible Hall of Famer.
With an eye towards the future power-hitting 1st baseman Walt Dropo, who was the AL's Rookie of the Year in 1950, must improve after a poor '51 when he batted only .237 with 44 RBIs. When Ted Williams leaves for military duty in May, the Red Sox will have to shift Billy Goodman to left-field unless recently purchased Don Lenhardt can establish a steady batting average. Don Lenhardt has power, he hit 15 homers in '51 but lacked consistency.
Pitcher Harry Taylor was lacking control and his relief work suffered. Harry Taylor went only 4-9, 5.71 ERA. Maury Mickey McDermott was the first major league pitcher to pass the 100Ks mark in '51 but from August 15 he bogged down and finished at 8-8, a nice 3.25 ERA. Maury McDermott will be a key man in Boston's attack for 1952. baseballhistorian.com Manager's Notebook
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