Sock for the Sox


Glancing Back, and Remembering Lou Clinton

Outfielder Lou Clinton was an important bat in the Boston Red Sox lineup in the early 1960s. He was signed by the Red Sox in 1955 and made his major league debut in 1960, batting .228 as a rookie. He spent most of the 1961 season with Seattle in the Pacific Coast league, hitting .295 with 21 home runs and 102 RBIs. Continue reading

A Paige of History


This Week in 1960s Baseball

(September 25, 1965) The Boston Red Sox tonight defeated the Kansas City Athletics 5-2 on the slugging of first baseman Lee Thomas and outfielder Tony Conigliaro.

What made this game memorable was the debut of the Athletics’ new pitcher … who was also the oldest player on the field.

25 Sep 1965, Kansas City, Missouri, USA --- Satchel Paige Pitching for Kansas City Athletics --- Image by © Bettmann/CORBIS

At age 59, Satchel Paige was the starting pitcher for the Kansas City Athletics on September 25, 1965. He pitched three scoreless innings, but didn’t figure in the decision.

The A’s starter was none other than the legendary Satchel Paige, making his first major league appearance in more than a dozen years. At age 59, Paige was the oldest player ever at the major league level. And tonight he pitched as if he still belonged. In three innings, Paige faced 10 batters and retired all but one, allowing a first-inning double to Carl Yastrzemski. Paige registered one strikeout, fanning Red Sox pitcher Bill Monbouquette in the third inning.

Monbouquette (10-18) was the game’s winner with a seven-hit complete game.

The Red Sox got Monbouquette all the runs he would need on two-run homers by Thomas (his twenty-first) and Conigliaro (his thirty-first). The Red Sox scored another run in the eighth inning on a John Wyatt wild pitch.

Kansas City scored its runs on RBI singles by Bill Bryan and Dick Green. The losing pitcher was Don Mossi (5-7).

Paige was inducted into the Baseball Hall of Fame in 1971 after a professional career that spanned 29 seasons over five decades.

McLain Fans 14 … in Relief


This Week in 1960s Baseball

(June 15, 1965) – Denny McLain today set a single-game record for strikeouts by a relief pitcher as the Detroit Tigers scored four runs in the bottom of the eighth inning to edge the Boston Red Sox 6-5.

Denny McLain shut down the Boston Red Sox first-inning rally by striking out the two batters he faced … and the next five he would face.

Denny McLain shut down the Boston Red Sox first-inning rally by striking out the two batters he faced … and the next five he would face.

McLain struck out 14 batters in 6.2 innings of relief work. He also struck out the first seven batters he faced, setting a major league record.

The Red Sox scored three runs in the first inning off Tigers starter Dave Wickersham. Wickersham lasted only one-third of an inning before giving way to McLain, who proceeded to strike out Eddie Bressoud and Bob Tillman to end the inning.

McLain fanned the Red Sox in order in the second inning, and then struck out Carl Yastrzemski and Felix Mantilla in the third inning before retiring Lee Thomas on a ground out.

Willie Horton’s 14th home run in the bottom of the eighth inning – a three-run blast – capped the Tigers’ 6-5 comeback victory over the Boston Red Sox.

McLain allowed a pair of runs in the fifth inning, which put the Red Sox ahead of the Tigers by a score of 5-2. The Tigers scored four runs in the eighth on Gates Brown’s RBI single and Willie Horton’s three-run home run off Red Sox reliever Dick Radatz (4-4). Fred Gladding (2-1) pitched scoreless eighth and ninth innings for the Tigers and picked up the victory. Gladding allowed no hits and struck out four batters.

The 21-year-old McLain would finish the 1965 season at 16-6 with a 2.61 ERA. He struck out 192 batters in 220.1 innings pitched.




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Heavenly Slugger


Glancing Back, and Remembering Lee Thomas

When Lee Thomas was signed by the New York Yankees in 1954, he looked like someone destined for pinstripe greatness.

Lee Thomas’s best season as a slugger was 1962, when he batted .290 with 26 home runs and 104 RBIs.

Lee Thomas’s best season as a slugger was 1962, when he batted .290 with 26 home runs and 104 RBIs.

A left-handed batter who could hit for average and power, Thomas put up impressive minor league numbers as he progressed through the Yankees’ farm system, hitting 25 home runs with 122 RBIs in 1959 and 28 home runs with 112 RBIs in 1960.

The only thing standing in Thomas’ way was the powerful Yankees lineup of the late 1950s. A month into the 1961 season, Thomas was traded by the Yankees with Ryne Duren and Johnny James to the Los Angeles Angels for Bob Cerv and Tex Clevenger.

It was in Los Angeles that he became a hitting star, almost overnight.

Despite appearing in only 130 games, Thomas was third on the team in home runs (24 to Leon Wagner’s 28) and RBIs (70 to Ken Hunt’s 84) and second on the team in batting average (.284 to Albie Pearson’s .288).

In 1962, when the fledgling Angels shocked the American League by finishing third, Thomas led the team in hitting at .290. He hit 26 home runs with 104 RBIs. His offensive production slipped significantly in 1963, and during the 1964 campaign Thomas was traded to the Boston Red Sox for outfielder Lou Clinton.

For the Angels and BoSox combined for 1964, Thomas finished with 15 home runs and 66 RBIs. He had a strong season for Boston in 1965, batting .271 with 27 doubles, 22 home runs and 75 RBIs. It was his last season as a full-time major league player. From 1966 through 1968, Thomas was a part-time performer for the Atlanta Braves, Chicago Cubs and Houston Astros, before finishing his playing career in Japan.

Thomas was an All-Star in 1962. He retired with 106 home runs and a .255 career batting average.