* Inside the Green Monster are the names of 1,000s and 1,000s of major leaguer players including Rheal Cormier and Scott Mathieson, plus a lot of member of Red Sox nation, one and all waiting for another World Series victory. ....
By Bob Elliott
INSIDE THE GREEN MONSTER, FENWAY PARK, BOSTON -- The words of the prophets are written on the subway walls.
So, Simon and Garfunkel used to sing.
Thousands and thousands of names are written inside the Green Monster, the most famous wall in ball which serves as Boston’s Fenway Park left field.
The Berlin Wall was erected in 1961, lasting until 1989.
The Great Wall of China has been around longer.
Carlton Fisk went over the wall to win Game 6 for the Boston Red Sox in the 1975 World Series off Cincinnati Reds reliever Pat Darcy. Fisk used New England body laungauge to keep the ball fair.
Bucky Dent helped the New York Yankees win the American League playoff going over the wall against Mike Torrez and the Red Sox in 1978.
And Shane Victorino went over the wall off Detroit Tigers reliever Jose Veras for a grand slam in Game 6 of the American League Championship Series which put the Red Sox in the 109th World Series. And a 1-0 lead going into Game 2 Thursday night at Fenway.
The wall stands 37 feet high and was added to Fenway in 1934, and dented the first day ... and most every day since. It was painted green in 1947.
Names of the performers, besides singer Neil Diamond, in front of the wall, who tried to keep the ball from going over the wall and attempted to hit the ball over the wall, are written inside the wall.
Some are autographs, but it’s tough to write on a ce-MENT blocks or wooden bars holding numbers until they’re needed for the manual scoreboard.
So, most names are printed.
“Steve Karsay, 1999, Jamie Quirk, 2002, T. Lovullo, 2013.”
The cement walls are even bilingual.
Former Red Sox reliever Rheal Cormier of Moncton, printed his name and
“1995, ‘99, ‘00, ‘04, ‘06
La Vie est Belle.”
The final two years Cormier returned to Fenway was a visitor wearing a Philadelphia Phillies uniform.
As I looked up in the dimly-lit, tiny tunnel, did my eyes deceive me? Was that Pedro Martinez coming towards me in the shadows? Inside the belly of the Monster?
Was this a coming out of the corn field moment?
Not sure about that but it certainly was Martinez.
Now 42, Martinez looked as if he could still pitch. And he was throwing out the first pitch before Game 2 along with Derek Lowe who arrived later for a tour, along with Trot Nixon.
I reminded Martinez of Montreal Expos reliever Lee Arthur Smith (347 career saves) telling me opening day 1997 “the best pitcher on our staff is the little guy, the guy with three hairs on his chest ... Pedro.”
Martinez said he remembered that day at Olympic Stadium.
“Lee Smith helped me more with the mental aspects of pitching, made me a better pitcher,” said Martinez, who went 17-8 that season, with a 1.90 ERA to win the Cy Young award.
How difficult was it for Martinez to pitch with the Green Monster -- 310 feet down the line -- lurking over his right shoulder?
“It wasn’t a problem for so many other greats who pitched here, so why should it be a problem for Pedro?” said Martinez.
Martinez held up the metallic No. 45 sign, the number he wore throughout his 18-year career with the Los Angeles Dodgers, the Expos, the Red Sox, New York Mets and the Philadelphia Phillies.
“They haven’t retired No. 45, but ... they haven’t given it out to anyone else either,” said Martinez, who signed the wall inside the Monster ... “guys kept asking me to sign, but I told them I never would until we won a World Series.”
The Red Sox rallied from being down 3-0 to the Yankees to win Game 7 of the ALCS and swept the Cardinals in the 2004 Series.
“Jeff Nelson 1995, Curtis Pride, 1996, Mickey Brantley, Jr. #23.”
Scott Mathieson former Phillies reliever, now pitching Japan told me he signed next to Hall of Famer Mickey Mantle. We searched for 45 minutes and couldn’t find either.
It appears that the scoreboard is now part of the Fenway tour what with the etchings and scratchings of youngsters on the sheet metal making up the back of the scoreboard, the wood and the cement.
There is a patch marked for the 1986 World Series with one name. We couldn’t make it out. The 1961 all-star game, the second of the summer, was clearly marked, but the names who appeared -- if they signed -- have faded: Hall of Famers like Jim Bunning, Whitey Ford, Al Kaline, Harmon Killebrew, Brooks Robinson, Hank Aaron, Ernie Banks, Orlando Cepeda, Roberto Clemente, Don Drysdale, Stan Musial and Frank Robinson.
This year’s Cardinals are already on the wall: Chris Carpenter WS 2013, Shelby Miller WS 2013. Kolten Wong.
“Gio Gonzalez, Doug Davis ‘02, Mike Bard 2007.”
The Blue Jays are represented: “George Poulis (trainer, Blue Jays) and Hap Hudson (ex-Blue Jays assistant trainer).”
And one signature which has not been spotted by the crack Red Sox security staff or else it would be painted over.
“Go Yankees” And it is signed by someone named Mariano. Nah, couldn't have been him.
Just then a thud hit the wall -- the Red Sox pitchers were taking batting practice.
Ah, time to get out of the wall.
VOTTO CAN SCOUT
Talking with Cincinnati Reds first baseman Joey Votto in April he mentioned how the Reds had recently had played St. Louis. Twice Votto mentioned “Carpenter did this,” or “Carpenter did that.” Finally I asked, isn’t Chris Carpenter injured. Votto explained patiently he was talking about second baseman Matt Carpenter. “He’s going to be an all-star second baseman some day,” said Votto.
Sure. Carpenter was a September call-up in 2011 and last year started 22 games at first base, 18 at third base, three in right field and two in left. Carpenter was at third base opening day and Daniel Descalso was at second. Carpenter didn’t make his first start at second in the majors until the sixth game of the season when he had three hits in a 14-3 win over the San Francisco Giants.
And Votto was right he was in the all-star game at Citi Field in July, making 128 starts at second, 24 at third, one at first and one in the outfield. Carpenter led the NL in hits (199) and doubles (55).
Seattle Mariners are looking for a new manager and Stratford’s Rob Thomson, third base coach of the Yankees, is on the Mariners list.
IN THE HOLE!
Retired Blue Jays scout Wayne Morgan (Melville, Sask.) went to the Pebble Beach Concours d’Elegance, billed as world’s premier celebration of the automobile, this summer as rare autos appear on the 18th fairway of Pebble Beach golf links each year.
Morgan bought a $100 raffle ticket to win a Mercedes at the charity event.
“On the final day, the Sunday, they pulled the ticket from the drum and Jay Leno announced the winner,” said Morgan Sunday afternoon from the coast. “I woke up Monday, checked, saw zero messages and said to my wife Karen ‘guess we didn’t win the Mercedes this year.’
“On Thursday a woman from Pebble Beach phoned to tell us we’d won the car.”
The Morgans will now pick the color and options on their new custom-made 2014 Mercedes-Benz C250.
“Lucky I didn’t throw the ticket away,” said Morgan, who says he’ll give the car to his wife Karen to drive. Karen currently drives a C3 BMW convertible (“you can’t even put your golf clubs in the trunk,” said Morgan).
“I’m a loyal Hyundai driver,” he says.
Morgan was in on scouting and signing Todd Stottlemyre, David Wells and Jim Kent for the Jays during his days as an amateur scout.
“I only saw Kent as a freshman at Cal,” said Morgan, “it shows if you’re in the right park on the right day ... pure luck. He showed a short stroke, power, good hands and a good arm. I turned him in as a third baseman.”
Kent had only 192 at-bats for the 1992 Jays before he and Ryan Thompson were dealt to the New York Mets for David Cone. Yet, Kent may be best Jays draft pick, due to the fact he’ll could be the first Jays draft to reach Cooperstown.
Morgan also chose Wells over Barry Bonds in the second round in 1982. Bonds didn’t sign with the San Francisco Giants out of high school and attended Arizona State. Wells won 231 games (84 for the Jays, plus 18 saves) in his 21-year career, covering 660 appearances -- 489 starts -- and 3,439 innings.
April Whitzman grew up in Campbellton, N.B. with a passion for baseball. Now, the Toronto resident is at the Series, after a season in the MLB FanCave watching every single game played this season. Representing the Blue Jays, Whitzman is one of the three finalists vying for the honours as the winner and the $10,000 prize ... The bat used by Jonny Gomes for his Game 4 homer is headed to Cooperstown, along with the official score sheet from Game 1 which featured official scorer Gauk Tashiro of Sankei Sports, the first Japanese-born official scorer for a Series game ... Eddie Michels, who used to take pictures of the daily Blue Jays goings on at Dunedin each spring for the Sun points out 40-years ago on Oct. 21, Oakland A’s lefty Darold Knowles got the final out of Game 7 of 1973 World Series against the Mets. Manager Dick Williams went to Knowles for the seventh time in as many games and his lefty popped up Wayne Garrett with two runners aboard for the final out in a 5-2 A’s win. On a pitching staff which included Hall of Famers Rollie Fingers and Catfish Hunter, Knowles worked 6 1/3 scoreless, allowing four hits and five walks, while fanning five. Knowles, the only man to pitch all seven Series games, is the pitching coach at class-A Dunedin