Sometimes we tend to remember things with clarity
and with a recollection of even the smallest events like it was yesterday.
Why we can do this I am not sure.
But while parts of these events are ingrained in our
memories, there might be other parts that are not,
which can send us off in directions that are obscure
This is the story of one of those events, a baseball
I was 9 or 10 years old maybe 11.
It was summer and I was down the Cape, sitting on
the front porch,
listening to the Yankee game with my dad on an AM
With two out in the top of
This wasn't any radio however.
Roger Maris takes the first pitch offered
by Red Sox pitcher Bill Monbouquette,
and deposits it deep in the right field
Mickey Mantle follows and crushes an 1-0
pitch deep into the center field stands at Fenway.
Yanks lead 2-0.
I had spent the better half of my summer vacation
assembling this radio from a kit my father bought for me.
It had resistors and capacitors and a circuit board,
along with some tubes and canisters.
I got to solder things together and even wound a few
coils with copper wire and strung out an antenna for reception.
The housing was a cream-colored polystyrene plastic
and it took a little time to warm up when plugged in.
So there we were, sitting under the pine trees, as
the evening turned to dusk;
my radio picking up the one AM station on the entire
band width: The Yankee game.
In the bottom of the second
Vic Wertz singles off of Whitey Ford and Jim Pagliaroni scores.
Don Buddin hits a sacrifice fly to deep
center and Frank Malzone races in for the Red Sox.
Score tied 2-2
I remember Mickey Mantle and Roger Maris and a dramatic
game ending finish by Johnny Blanchard.
I have always been able to recreate that ninth inning
in my head.
But for some reason, not the date or year or for that
matter the opponent.
I think the Yanks won with 11 runs, maybe against
Baltimore or Cleveland and it was a home game.
I was quite sure I was picking up WPIX out of New
In the top of the third Roger
Maris singles to right field.
After Mickey strikes out against Bill Monbouquette,
Yogi Berra takes a 2-2 count and crushes
a home run to deep right field.
Yanks lead 4-2
Over the years, starting around the mid-70s, this game
would come back to me now and then.
I bought a Yankee statistics book in 1981 but couldn't
find it. I looked up every game against Baltimore or Cleveland.
When Roger Maris passed away I found myself remembering
that walk to start the rally.
Mickey passed in 1995 and with the internet as a tool
I searched in vain for the game.
Mickey followed Roger with a walk too in that last
In the bottom of the fourth,
Jackie Jensen doubles off of Whitey Ford.
Don Budden follows with another double
to left, plating Jensen.
Yanks lead 4-3
Hardly a summer would pass on the Cape without the
game coming back to me.
My dad had cut down a couple of the scrub pines in
the yard and the smell of the pine pitch on that hot summer night is still
We did have a bet that summer on who would break The
Babe's record. My dad said Mick and I had picked Roger.
Little did we both realize we were following one of
the greatest Yankee teams ever. The Bronx Bombers of 1961.
In the top of the fifth, Tony
Kubek doubles to left.
When Johnny Blanchard passed in 2009 I was determined
to find the game.
Roger Maris follows with a walk.
Mickey Mantle singles to right, plating
Kubek. Maris to third.
After Yogi Berra flies out to shallow left,
Bill 'Moose' Skowron grounds out to 2B.
Maris scores on the force out.
Yanks lead 6-3
I went though every game Blanchard played with the
Yankees and tried to match up his home runs to my recollections.
First all the Baltimore games, then Cleveland. Finally
all the Yankee stadium home runs. No luck.
The obsession was growing. I wasn't sure why I couldn't
find this game.
I began to expand my search from 1960 to 1964.
In the bottom of the fifth,
the Red Sox chase Whitey Ford.
In August of 2012 I was back on the Cape as I have been
every August for about the last 20 to 25 years.
Chuck Schilling doubles and Gary Geiger
walks off of Ford.
Jim Pagliaroni singles home Schilling,.
Jackie Jensen singles to load the bases.
A walk to Frank Malzone brings home Geiger.
Vic Wertz strikes out on a wild pitch that
After Don Buddin is intentionally walked,
Monbouquette walks to score Jackie Jensen.
Whitey Ford exits and Jim Coates gets the
final out of the inning.
The Red Sox lead 7-6
For the very first time I actually spent about a week
I have always had family or friends staying with me
so this was unique to have some time alone.
One night I decided to listen to the ballgame on the
radio so I tuned in the Yankee - Red Sox game.
Naturally my thoughts drifted back to that summer
night with my dad....
In the bottom of the 8th,
the Red sox add to their lead.
Suddenly I bolt upright. What if I wasn't listening to
WPIX out of New York but WEEI out of Boston!
Carroll Hardy reaches on an error by Tony
Jim Pagliaroni reaches on another error
After a walk to Jackie Jensen, a deep fly
to center scores Hardy on the sacrifice.
Red Sox lead 8-6
That would make sense since WEEI is much stronger
on the AM dial.
That would mean the Yankees were playing the Red Sox!
I could hardly wait for the next day. I went directly
to the Dennis Library and looked up the Baseball Reference web site.
When I found the July 21st 1961 game, the ninth inning
came back to life.........I found it!
With Arnold Earley in relief
for Bill Monbouquette. Tony Kubek grounds out to second base.
Roger Maris walks. Mickey
Mantle walks, Maris to second base.
Yogi Berra follows with a
single off of Earley on a line drive to right field.
When Jackie Jensen misplays
it Maris scores, Mantle takes 3rd and Berra takes 2nd base.
Mike Fornieles replaces Arnold
Earley and intentionally walks Moose Skowron to load the bases.
Elston Howard then hits a
soft fly to the shortstop for the second out.
Johnny Blanchard pinch hits
for Clete Boyer.
On a two strike, two out
pitch Johnny Blanchard blasts a Grand Slam home run to deep right.
Mantle, Berra and Skowron
score ahead of Blanchard.
Yanks lead 11-8 and win with
a save by Louis Arroyo
July 21st 1961