1949 Boston Red Sox season

1949 Boston Red Sox season

The 1949 Boston Red Sox season involved the Red Sox finishing second in the American League with a record of 96 wins and 58 losses. The Red Sox set a Major League record which still stands for the most base on balls by a team in a season, with 835.[1]

Regular season

During the season, Mel Parnell was the last pitcher to win at least 25 games in one season for the Red Sox in the 20th century.[2] George Kell beat Ted Williams for the American League batting title by 0.0002 percentage points.[3]

Ted Williams set a major league record for the most consecutive games reaching base safely with 84. The streak began on July 1, and ended on September 28. The streak was ended by Washington Senators pitcher Ray Scarborough.[3] Williams was in the on-deck circle when Johnny Pesky made the final out, depriving him of one more chance to extend the streak.

The trade that wasn't

In 1949, Boston Red Sox owner Tom Yawkey and Yankees GM Larry MacPhail verbally agreed to trade Joe DiMaggio for Williams, but MacPhail refused to include Yogi Berra.[4]

Yankees and Red Sox toe-to-toe

Joe DiMaggio came back from heel surgery to demolish the Red Sox in a three-game series at Fenway Park. He hit four home runs, three of them game winners. It sent the Sox reeling, and they fell 12.5 games back by July 4. But Boston rallied late in the season and went into Yankee Stadium for the final two games of the schedule with a one-game lead. The Red Sox needed just one win in two games and were to pitch Mel Parnell in the first game. After trailing 4-0, the Yankees came back to beat Parnell 5-4, as Johnny Lindell hit an eighth-inning, game-winning, home run and Joe Page had a great relief appearance for New York.[5][6] And so it came down to the last game of the season. It was Ellis Kinder facing Vic Raschi.

The Yankees led 1-0 after seven innings, having scored in the first. In the eighth inning, manager Joe McCarthy lifted Kinder for a pinch hitter who did not come through. Then he brought in Mel Parnell in relief, and Parnell yielded a homer to Tommy Henrich and a single to Yogi Berra. Parnell was replaced by Tex Hughson, who had been on the disabled list and said his arm still hurt. But he came on and, with the bases loaded, Jerry Coleman hit a soft liner that Al Zarilla in right field tried to make a shoestring catch, but he missed and it went for a triple and three runs.[7]

In the ninth inning the Red Sox rallied for three runs but still fell short. "Why", said critics, "with a power-laden lineup, pinch hit for Kinder? See what happened in the ninth?" McCarthy had walked on thin ice. Hughson also claimed his manager ruined his career by making him pitch with a sore arm.

It was the second year in a row McCarthy's late-season managing was called into question. In 1948, McCarthy had chosen journeyman pitcher Denny Galehouse to start the tie breaker that decided who went to the 1948 World Series, and the Red Sox lost that tiebreaker to the Cleveland Indians.

Season standings

American League W L Pct. GB
New York Yankees 97 57 .630 --
Boston Red Sox 96 58 .623 1
Cleveland Indians 89 65 .578 8
Detroit Tigers 87 67 .565 10
Philadelphia Athletics 81 73 .526 16
Chicago White Sox 63 91 .409 34
St. Louis Browns 53 101 .344 44
Washington Senators 50 104 .325 47

Opening Day lineup

 7 Dom DiMaggio     CF
 6 Johnny Pesky 3B
 9 Ted Williams LF
 5 Vern Stephens SS
 1 Bobby Doerr 2B
23 Tommy O'Brien RF
 3 Walt Dropo 1B
 8 Birdie Tebbetts C
15 Joe Dobson P

Notable transactions


1949 Boston Red Sox
Pitchers Catchers



Other batters



Player stats


Starters by position

Note: Pos = Position; G = Games played; AB = At bats; H = Hits; Avg. = Batting average; HR = Home runs; RBI = Runs batted in

Pos Player G AB H Avg. HR RBI
3B Pesky, JohnnyJohnny Pesky 148 604 185 .306 2 69
OF Williams, TedTed Williams 155 566 194 .343 43 159

Other batters

Note: G = Games played; AB = At bats; H = Hits; Avg. = Batting average; HR = Home runs; RBI = Runs batted in

Player G AB H Avg. HR RBI


Starting pitchers

Note: G = Games pitched; IP = Innings pitched; W = Wins; L = Losses; ERA = Earned run average; SO = Strikeouts

Player G IP W L ERA SO
Parnell, MelMel Parnell 39 295.1 25 7 2.77 122
Dobson, JoeJoe Dobson 33 212.2 14 12 3.85 87

Other pitchers

Note: G = Games pitched; IP = Innings pitched; W = Wins; L = Losses; ERA = Earned run average; SO = Strikeouts

Player G IP W L ERA SO

Relief pitchers

Note: G = Games pitched; W = Wins; L = Losses; SV = Saves; ERA = Earned run average; SO = Strikeouts

Player G W L SV ERA SO
Dorish, HarryHarry Dorish 5 0 0 0 2.35 5

Awards and honors

  • Ted Williams, OF, American League MVP
  • Ted Williams, American League leader, home runs (43) and runs batted in (159)[3]
  • Ted Williams, Major League record, Most consecutive games reached base safely (84).[3]

Farm system

Level Team League Manager
AAA Louisville Colonels American Association Fred Walters and Mike Ryba
AA Birmingham Barons Southern Association Pinky Higgins
A Scranton Red Sox Eastern League Mike Ryba and Jack Burns
B Roanoke Red Sox Piedmont League Red Marion
C San Jose Red Sox California League Marv Owen
C Oneonta Red Sox Canadian-American League Eddie Popowski
D Valley Rebels Georgia-Alabama League Jesse Dana, Mal Morgan
and Woodrow Bottoms
D Marion Red Sox Ohio-Indiana League Wally Millies
D Hornell Maple Leafs PONY League Marius Russo

LEAGUE CHAMPIONS: San Jose, Marion[10]



  • 1949 Boston Red Sox team page at Baseball Reference
  • 1949 Boston Red Sox season at baseball-almanac.com