Wednesday, August 01, 2007

Monster Mania

In this post, I tried to find the exact date of Dick Stuart's supposed inside-the-park homer off the ladder on the Green Monster. Why didn't I try to find the other ITPHR mentioned, the Jim Lemon one? Well, I have now. Shaughnessy claims it took place in "the 50s," and Ted Williams was in left, and Jim Piersall was in center. I looked at Jim Lemon's career, and the only years in the 50s that retrosheet has game-by-game, play-by-play stats for are '57-'59. Lemon only got real playing time from '57-'59. So I was able to check those years.

No homers for Lemon at Fenway in '57.

One in '58 (August 7th). No mention of it being inside-the-park, but Williams was in left and Piersall was in center.

'58 was Piersall's last year in Boston. So the play either took place on the above-mentioned 8/7/58, or at some point in 1956--a year in which Lemon hit 27 homers. (With a slim chance it was one of the five homers he hit from 1950 to 1955.)

However, I checked 1959, just to see if Lemon had any Fenway homers, even though it wouldn't be Jimmy Piersall in center. He did, on May 23rd. I clicked on the boxscore, and saw this:

Lemon (11,11th inning off Wall 1 on 1 out).

That's it, I thought. I scrolled down to the play-by-play, and saw only this:

Lemon homered [Killebrew scored];

That's odd, no mention of the wall here. Then I read on, and two doubles (to left field, ironically enough) later, the Sox made a pitching change:


Jim Lemon didn't homer off The Wall. He homered off Murray Wall.


I guess we've still got no proof of either of these ladder-ific home runs. But people love to quote that Shaughnessy article when talking about the Monster. They'll mention the ladder and say "on at least two occasions..." the ladder caused an inside-the-parker, citing Dan's piece. Both Stuart and Lemon have died in the past five years, so we may never know. Jimmy Piersall and Vic Davalillo (whose noggin was involved in the Stuart homer) are alive, though. I'd really like to get a definitive record of all balls that hit the ladder. I've seen at least one in person.

The latest article to essentially cut-and-paste wikipedia's Monster entry (which took from the Shaughnessy article) is this one, from The (Toronto) Star. I remember seeing this linked at Joy of Sox, but I didn't click because, like Joy said, every visiting reporter does the same article about going inside the Green Monster at some point. But it came up when I was looking into Citgo sign articles. The reason I was doing this was because someone commented on an earlier post of mine, saying how he couldn't figure out why the Citgo sign looks so close to Fenway on TV, but when he was in the Monster Seats, it looked so far away. Here's the shot he was commenting on, from my July 15th gallery:

This was taken from atop the Monster. I started thinking, "I bet a lot of people think the sign is atop the Wall, or just beyond it." (The guy in the Star article did! As did many of us when we were very young kids.) I searched the web for evidence of this, and only found one instance. A British site said the sign was "across the street." (I assure you, I signed up for their site just so I could correct them.) So I guess it's pretty well-known that it's far from Fenway Park. But I measured it on a map site, and it's about 700 feet beyond the Monster. That Star article guy said he paced it off and came up with this:

And it's about 1,800 feet behind the Monster.

Way off, buddy.

I'm certain Jim hit the ladder and circled the bases.
Patrick Lemon - Jim's son.
Cool, thanks!

So I'd say it was in 1956 then.

Hey, I just went to retrosheet and they have added 1956 play by plays! And while your dad did hit two homers at Fenway that year, I still see no mention of the play, unfortunately.

So, I believe you. I just wish we could find out when this happened. I did another news search but still just see people saying "one time..." instead of giving a date.

Thanks so much for commenting.

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