Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Bill Monbouquette at Mission Hill Little League Dinner

Last week I was able to attend the annual Mission Hill Little League Trophy Award Ceremony and Dinner. Red Sox pitching great Bill Monbouquette was there as the featured guest speaker. My friend Dennis Pultinas (Marquette, Class of 1974) had asked me to come by to do a little A/V work, featuring "Monbo Time" by the Remains, a tribute to Monbouquette. Bill was a great inspiration speakers. The kids were great as always. I am posting here Dennis's heartfelt introduction to Bill, and a transcription of some notes I took.

Introduction for Bill Monboquette: Mission Hill Little League
October 14, 2012

As an 8 yr old boy growing up in Waterbury, Connecticut in 1961, the Boston Red Sox were very important to me.  The morning paper would have in the bottom corner of the front page what they called “the Scoreboard”.  It listed the scores of all the games played the day or night before.  Checking this out was the first thing I did when I woke up in the morning.  Then I would look at the standings.  The Red Sox were usually in 8th place.  There were 9 teams in the American league then. 

Waterbury had both Boston and New York fans.  In thinking about why I liked the Red Sox I guess it had to do with the color Red, and the shape of the letters on the home uniforms, and the sounds of the letters in the word ‘Boston’.  The Yankees had pin stripes that looked like jail clothes; their NY logo looked like a dollar sign; and the sound of the word ‘Yankee’ brought to mind screeching traffic noises, concrete and asphalt.

I think I saw Boston’s place low in the standings as something strong; as if it was holding up the other teams like the foundation of a building.  Springing from their place way down below was the spirit of this 1961 team.   At times this lowly creature would blossom into a team of champions and knock off the best teams in baseball.  They were an inspiration!

I would listen to games on my transistor radio as I hung around in the yard outside or rode my bike.  I would check to see who was pitching before the game.  If it was Bill Monboquette,  I knew it was going to be a good day and we had a chance to beat anyone.  To my 8 yr old self the name Bill Monboquette was magic.

He was the ace of the Sox in the 60’s.  He played 8 years for Boston from 1958 to 1965. 

He was a four time All-Star in 1960 (x2), 1962 and 1963

He was a finesse pitcher with excellent control:
-         3 one-hit games
-         a no-hitter on August 9, 1962
-         a 20 game winner in 1963
-         struck out the great Micky Mantle 22 times in the 83 times they faced each other
He also had a strong arm.
-For 5 years he pitched from 10 to 13 complete 9-inning games
- For 4 years he ranked in the top ten pitchers in the league for innings pitched.
- In 1962 he had a 12 inning complete game against Cleveland.

Of importance: He stood up to Boston management about disrespect for minority players in the early years when Blacks and Latinos integrated baseball.

He was elected to the Red Sox Hall of Fame in 2000.

After leaving Boston he played for the Tigers in 1966, the Yankees in 1967 where his e.r.a was 2.33 and finally the San Francisco Giants.

He was a pitching coach for the Yankees and Mets, and a minor league coach in the Tigers and Blue Jays farm system. 

It’s a pleasure and a great honor to introduce to you one of the all-time Red Sox greats:  Bill Monboquette! - Dennis Pultinas, 2012


Notes from Mission Hill Little League dinner, Oct 2012. Featured speaker, Bill Monbouquette.

Bill Monbouquette was a warm, arresting presence at this year’s Mission Hill Little League dinner. He talked about his career, shared comments on some greats he knew,  told the assembled ball players that hard work was necessary to succeed.
“Not many people get to do something that they really love.”
“I had a chance to play with Ted Williams… Carl Yastrzemski…Mickey Mantle… Juan Marichal {others} What did they have in common? All Hall of Famers.” [He especially notes Marichal for this audience, with many Dominicans.]
“I am in the Hall of Fun.” He jokes.
Where he came from, when he did, was different than now.
“There was CYO. We played older guys. That was a stepping stone. You can learn from older guys. Back in those days I had a mentor. Gus (Holmesby?). He’d grown up an orphan. He came from the Home for Little Wanderers (nearby).  He was a milkman for H.P. Hood. He dedicated his life to kids. A milkman’s hours are long. He had to get up very early to work.”
He notes the work George Brennan did over many years with the Mission Hill Little League.
Monbouquette came from Medford. “’Mehd-Fudd’ we call it.”
“One thing I learned a long time ago – you don’t get to the big leagues without working. You are not entitled. You got to go and earn it.”
“And that is a wonderful feeling. It’s like pitching a game and finishing it. If you get taken out in the fifth or sixth inning, it’s a different feeling.”
“You work and you work and you work. Instant success doesn’t happen.”
He reminded the kids that many colleges give scholarships to day for sports.
When he started with the Red Sox, he made$6000. He progressed to $7,000, $11,000, and so on to $14,000. He asked someone what a pitcher with his record would get paid today. Answer: $10 million, $11 million, $12 million.
Here I do believe I saw Bill’s wife almost tearing up slightly.
He tells of sitting on the bench with Johnny Pesky (this sounds slightly apocryphal).
Bill: You know, I’d play this game for nuthin.
Pesky: You stupid numbskull, you did play for nothing.
In a question and answer period he invites, he’s asked who he roomed with over the years. It’s hard to remember, “bags” he says to laughter. Then he shares some names, including Dennis The Menace McLaine.
More on hard work.
Yaz worked hard. Yaz had one problem. Some times he wouldn’t run to 1st base on something that was clearly an out. Nevertheless…
“Yaz made himself a player. He was  hard working. He would take extra batting practice after the game.”
Working hard is important.. but “sooner or later somebody takes your job.”

What was his number? # 27 Carlton Fisk took it.
Who were tough teams? Yankees. They don’t call them the Bronx Bombers for nothing.

About the no-hitter”

“The game was in Chicago. It was against Early Wynn. Home base ump was Bill McKinley. We called him jumping Bill. He moved around in the back so much. “

Working for him that day was the toilet seat curve ball. He shows how  it works. Depicts a guy pulling back and dropping his butt down as if sitting on a toilet seat.
On Early (A competitor): “If you tried to bunt, he’d hit you in the ribs.
One play he recalls as “bang-bang” . He was in ondeck circle, saw it well, he thought the Red Sox runner was out.
They go out 1-2-3 in 8th. The 9th.
It’s the bottom of the 9th. He gets the first two guys (one is Nellie Fox). “Last guy is Luis Aparicio”
Curve ball. Strike 1.
Slider. Strike 2.
Slider. Check swing. Ball
(someone in crowd yells: “They shot the wrong McKinley.”
Then he swings and misses. Strike 3.
{Bill was elated) He says: “White guys can jump!”

 Transcribed by Jack Vaughan

1 comment:

Fred cantor said...

As the co-lyricist of "Monbo Time," I am happy you were able to incorporate it into the intro for Bill Monbouquette. And I'm also happy to hear about the nice reception Bill received from the audience (which does not surprise me, because he is a really nice guy and a great raconteur). Thanks for posting about the Mission Hill dinner, Fred Cantor

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