It wasn’t a bad year. It was just more of the same, another uninspiring season. The team was 14 games over .500, in fact the same 84-70 that they’d been in 1955. They finished fourth again, for the fourth year in a row. This time they were “only” 18 games behind the Yankees instead of 28.
Ted Williams had a good year, batting .345 (and with enough trips to the plate to qualify), but was beaten out for the batting crown by Mickey Mantle, who won the Triple Crown. The top four Red Sox RBI men were Jackie Jensen (97), Jimmy Piersall (87), Mickey Vernon (84), and Ted Williams (82). Ted hit 24 homers; Jensen hit 20. First baseman Vernon had come to Boston as part of a nine-player trade in November 1955.
In his third season with the Sox, right-hander Tommy Brewer put it all together and had his best year, 19-9 (3.50 ERA). Frank Sullivan was 14-7 (3.42), and Ike Delock, working 40 of his 48 games in relief, was 13-7. No one else on the staff was all that good, and one needs to note Bob Porterfield’s 3-12 mark.
In mid-July, both Parnell and Williams made big news. Mel Parnell was in his 10th season with the Red Sox. On July 14, he threw the first no-hitter by a lefthander at Fenway Park since Chicago’s Ted Lyons threw one against Boston in 1926. The last time any Red Sox pitcher had thrown a no-hitter was Howard Ehmke’s in 1923. It was a nice way to go out; 1956 was Parnell’s last year. It almost didn’t happen. Rain delayed the start of the game for more than an hour. Marvelous Mel came into the game having lost every one of his last eight starts against the White Sox. And Mel made the final out, grabbing a ball bounced back to the mound and running over to first base – becoming the only pitcher who made the final out of his own no-hitter.
On July 17, Williams hit home run #400, and it made all the difference in a 1-0 win against Kansas City in the second game of a doubleheader. The Red Sox had won the first game, 10-0. As Williams crossed home plate, he demonstratively spat in the direction of the sportswriters.
On August 7, it was “great expectorations” again. The game against the Yankees was tied in the bottom of the 11th, with the bases loaded on two errors and a baseBy Bill Nowlin
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- Bob Porterfield, Frank Sullivan, Howard Ehmke, Ike Delock, Jackie Jensen, Jim Piersall, Mel Parnell, Mickey Mantle, Mickey Vernon, Ted Lyons, Ted Williams, Tom Brewer