Cleveland Indians Teen Pitcher Mike Hedlund Recalls 1965 Debut

Yea for the website
Baseball Birthdays
for preserving some
seldom-seen shots
of rookie Mike!

You know what life is like for the typical 18-year-old boy.

Driving a car. Graduating. Debuting on national television in Fenway Park.

Well, Mike Hedlund was never typical.

I wrote to ask about being a member of the Cleveland Indians right out of high school. Here’s his amazing answer:

“Being the youngest at age 18 was quite an experience! Max Alvis and Gary Bell are both from Texas and probably made me feel more welcome than the others. I guess it was the ‘Texas’ connection. Gary gave me my nickname, ‘Booger Red.’ Booger Red was a famous rodeo rider from Texas and had red hair.

Some pitchers like Don McMahon and Stan Williams were more of the senior type to me with lots of big league experience.

I didn’t play much that year (being a ‘protected player’ from waivers) but will always remember my first game in Boston, Saturday Game of the Week and my first batter I faced…Carl Yastrzemski. Ground out to first and I cover for the putout!”

Thanks to the stars at www.retrosheet.org, here’s the box score from young Mike’s premiere!

Jerry Moses Honors Tony Conigliaro

Posted January 12th, 2011 by Tom Owens and filed in Fenway Park, Gerry Moses, Jerry Moses, Steve Hargan, Tony Conigliaro
How Does He Spell
His First Name?

Jerry Moses served nearly a decade in the majors. Time stands still for Boston fans, who’ll forever remember him as the baby-faced catcher made of steel.

“I only went to bat four times in 1965. The older guys were great to me. Some of those guys are still my friends.”

Moses saw limitless potential in one teammate: Tony Conigliaro.

“Tony was a great friend. He was a confident person and player. He would have been a Hall of Famer.”

I thought Moses would remember a highlight of his Fenway days as the homer from April 20, 1969 off Steve Hargan.

“Grand slams are unique. It was great.”

Did he watch it clear?

“Yes.”

I dared to ask: if that wasn’t your favorite homer ever, what was?

“I hit a home run as my first hit. I was 18 years old.”

That wasn’t the only surprise in the letter from Moses.

“I should have had a better career. I worked hard, played hard and did was I needed to do. I listened too much to some coaches who tried to change my way of hitting.


I never had a problem hitting and was a home run hitter. By using the coach, I became a line drive hitter.


I hope to write a small book called ‘How to Screw Up a Great Career.'”

Moses reveals much more in this fine Red Sox blog feature interview (at least the Boston parts), “At Home At Fenway”!

Moses allowed one mystery to remain. When I asked him to settle the baseball history debate of whether his first name should be GERRY or JERRY, he passed. I’m sure Topps is still puzzled. Initially, the company pulled his full name “Gerald” off his appearance contract, using it as a facsimile autograph. However, the catcher has always signed with a “J.”

Smile With Pitcher Al "Stretch" Grunwald

Posted January 11th, 2011 by Tom Owens and filed in Al Grunwald, Fenway Park, Roberto Clemente, Stan Musial
Still Looking Up!



 Al Grunwald led two baseball lives.

First, anyone spotting his nickname should be clued in that this was no ordinary pitcher. Grunwald was one of baseball’s good sports. Imagine being in an organization seven years, suddenly being told that you might be of more service at another position.

That’s how a first baseman gets relocated.

Upon reading that, I expected Marlon Brando’s “I Coulda Been a Contendah!” Nope. No moaning about finding work in Japan as a first baseman after the majors gave up on the converted hurler.

Instead, Al Grunwald’s still filled with wonder!

He debuted with the 1955 Pirates. Grunwald recalled one talented young teammate:

“What I recall about Roberto Clemente, he was the greatest ballplayer I ever saw! I never talked to Roberto, but watching him play was remarkable!!!”

A 1955 highlight had to be his 5.1 scoreless innings against St. Louis May 1. Grunwald shared:

“Tom, there is always tense moments in baseball. Pitching against Stan Musial was a great thrill! He hit a line drive single over my head.”

Grunwald’s only career save came as a Kansas City Athletic. He shut down the Boston Red Sox in Fenway Park on Sept. 11, 1959. How did that feel?

“Looking at the left field wall, it felt like you could reach out and touch it. Ha! Ha!”

Grunwald opened and closed his letter thanking me. He wished my family ‘Happy New Year’ and prefaced his autograph with “As Ever.”

I hope more former players like Al Grunwald remain “as ever.” That would make a new year happier for all fans and collectors.