Cozzens: The 1953 Boston baseball massacre

From Peter Cozzens at The National Pastime Museum on October 26, 2016:

On Thursday, June 18, 1953, the visiting Detroit Tigers and the Boston Red Sox played the rubber game of a three-game series. The afternoon was sunny and hot, and the Detroit Tigers were in an ugly mood. Detroit had won the first game 5–3, only to be trounced in the second game 17–1. The defeat came as no great surprise. Detroit was the doormat of the American League. With a cellar-dwelling 14–42 record, they were 29½ games out of first place.

As the Red Sox took the field, the Tigers’ dugout erupted in what a Boston sportswriter called “vicious personal insults.” Most were aimed at outfielder Jimmy Piersall. The year before, he had been hospitalized for mental illness after a season fraught with fistfights, ejections, and assorted bizarre on-field antics.

Few beside the players were present to hear the verbal abuse; paid attendance at Fenway Park that day was a paltry 3,198. Apart from the erratic Piersall, second baseman Billy Goodman, and future Hall of Famer George Kell, the weak-hitting, fourth-place Red Sox had little to recommend themselves to hometown fans.

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Originally published: October 26, 2016. Last Updated: October 26, 2016.