Mel Parnell Dies

March 22, 2012 by staff 

Mel Parnell Dies, Mel Parnell, the left-handed pitcher who spent his entire 10-year career with the Boston Red Sox and faced some of the best hitters of the 1940s and early 1950s, has died. He was 89.

Parnell, a New Orleans native, died Tuesday after a battle with cancer, said his son, Dr. Mel Parnell Jr.

Mel Parnell was masterful at Fenway Park even though he pitched in front of the Green Monster, a home run hitter’s dream at only 310 feet down the left field line. Parnell had a career record of 123-75, but he was 70-30 at Fenway.

He still holds the club record for left-handed pitchers in games started, innings and victories. Parnell’s victories rank second in team history, behind Cy Young and Roger Clemens, who each had 192 victories.

“The Green Monster never bothered me,” Parnell said in an April 2005 interview with The Associated Press. “It was the lack of foul room that bothered me. A foul ball would go into the stands, letting the batter stay alive. I always thought I could manage the Monster, I couldn’t manage the lack of foul territory.”

Parnell’s best season was 1949 when he went 25-7, leading the American League in victories, ERA (2.77), complete games (27) and innings (295.1). He helped the Red Sox pennant run that year, which came down to the final two games of the season.

“He loved the Red Sox,” Mel Parnell Jr. said in a statement through the Red Sox. “They were a big part of his life as well as for our whole family. Dad felt the Red Sox were always like a family and all of us have been so thankful about how they treated him. When he was inducted into the Red Sox Hall of Fame that was one the great thrills for our family.”

Boston lost both, 5-4 and 5-3, to the New York Yankees in Yankee Stadium.

“It was a fierce rivalry,” Parnell said. “We just couldn’t get past them.”

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