Joe McCarthy is fondly remembered in New York for guiding the Yankees to eight pennants and seven World Series championships in his 16 years in the Bronx.
However, fans of the Boston Red Sox remember McCarthy for an entirely different reason.
On the last day of the 1948 regular season, the Boston Red Sox beat the New York Yankees, while the Cleveland Indians lost to the Detroit Tigers, putting both the Red Sox and Indians at the top of the American League with identical 96-58 records. There would be a one-game playoff to decide the American League pennant, the first ever in AL history.
With the game to be played at Fenway Park, Indians player/manager Lou Boudreau elected to pitch Gene Bearden, a 19-game winner who had beaten the Sox twice during the season. Bearden, however, would be going on just one day's rest.
In a curious move to say the least, Sox manager Joe McCarthy elected not to pitch Mel Parnell, who was rested and had beaten the Indians three times during the season. McCarthy instead chose Denny Galehouse. It was later revealed that McCarthy liked Galehouse’s chances as a right-hander in Fenway Park, as opposed to Parnell with the short left-field wall and strong Indians right-handed batters.
The move backfired, and the Indians scorched Galehouse for five runs in four innings, and the Indians prevailed 8-3, giving them the American League pennant for the first time since 1920, while McCarthy became public enemy No. 1 in Boston.