Jack Fisher: A Pitcher Who Danced with Destiny

Jack-Fisher-BBC

Jack Fisher (DOB: 3/04/1939) was a right handed MLB pitcher for 11 seasons with the Orioles (1959-62), Giants (1963). Mets (1964-67), White Sox (1968), and Reds (1969). In That time, he posted a career MLB record of 86 wins, 139 losses, an E.R.A. of 4.06 and 193 home runs surrendered. Of his 193 allowed homers, three served as Fisher’s ticket to minor immortality as the man who gave up three landmark HR marks in baseball history – and a place forever as the trivia quiz answer to questions about each or all.

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(1) September 28, 1960, Fenway Park in Boston. In the bottom of the 8th, and the Red Sox trailing the Orioles, 4-2, Ted Williams came to bat against Jack Fisher in what prove to his last plate appearance in history. Teddy Ballgame used it dramatically well by blasting his 521at and, of course, final home run into the right center field fans with nobody on to narrow the Boston deficit to 4-3. The Red Sox would go n to score two more runs off Fisher in the bottom of the 9th to win the game.

Later, Jack Fisher called Ted Williams to congratulate him on both his home run and great career. Word is that Williams graciously thanked Fisher fo challenging him with good stuff and not itching around him in what turned out to be his last hurrah in baseball. The Red Sox had a meaningless series yet to play in New York as the wrap on their season, but Ted Williams declined to play it out. Who could blame him? Going out with a home run at Fenway Park was the perfect place to take that last bow for students of baseball history. Ted wasn’t the kind of guy who often acknowledged the crowds cheers – probably because he remembered that the same people during bad times were capable of hurling boos and other insults upon him too. – And Jack Fisher was the pitcher who delivered the pitch that framed Ted Williams’ Golden Goodbye home run.

Baseball Almanac Box Score, Baltimore @ Boston, 9/28/60:

http://www.baseball-almanac.com/box-scores/boxscore.php?boxid=196009280BOS

Jack-Fisher-60

(2) September 26, 1961, Yankee Stadium in The Bronx, NY. Trailing, 2-0, in the bottom of the 3rd with no one one base, Roger Maris of the Yankees teed off on a pitch from Orioles pitcher Jack Fisher that sailed on a low arching liner into the right field stands to cut that lead to 2-1. The Yankees would go on to win the game, 3-2, and Fisher, as had been the case in his game against the Red Sox on 9/28/60, was again the losing pitcher of record. More importantly, today’s game marked the second year in a row that Jack Fisher was the initiating party to an historical home run. Maris’s homer that day was No. 60, the one tied him, asterisk and all, with Babe Ruth, the only other man to that time who had hit 60 home runs in a single season back in 1927. The now famous story here is that Fisher beckoned Maris to come out and take a bow of acknowledgement that the crowd’s cheers were demanding, but that Roger declined. Supposedly, Maris waived off Fisher’s invitation as the signal that he wasn’t coming out. He wanted Fisher to just go ahead pitch the next batter. History should be slw to judge here. Maris was an emotional wreck from the “Chasing Ruth” 1961 season by this time. In the same light, Jack Fisher is to be congratulated for understanding again what just had been registered for history. Again, it was no personal reflection upon the character and talent of the pretty fair and widely respected pitcher that Jack Fisher knew he was.

Baseball Almanac Box Score, Baltimore @ New York Yankees, 9/26/61:

http://www.baseball-almanac.com/box-scores/boxscore.php?boxid=196109260NYA

Willie Stargell ht the first HR at Shea Stadium off Mets pitcher Jack Fisher, 4/17/1964.

Willie Stargell ht the first HR at Shea Stadium off Mets pitcher Jack Fisher, 4/17/1964.

(3) April 17, 1964, Shea Stadium in Flushing Meadows, NY. In the first official regular season game ever played at the new Shea Stadium, the visiting Pittsburgh Pirates would go on to defeat the usually still hapless New York Mets, 4-3. By this time, Jack Fisher was now working as a pitcher for the Mets and had drawn the call as their first starter in the new venue. Fisher toiled the first 6 and 2/3 innings, but this time he avoided a third defeat on a monumental record day by leaving with the score still tied at 3-3 with no further damage to his game marks. In the process of playing, Fisher set a minutiae of new stadium records, with the biggest starting with his “first official pitch” to lead-0ff Pirate hitter Dick Schofield in the top of the 1st. Then came the big record-setter. When Pirate slugger Willie Stargell blasted a ball into the right field stands in the top of the and with nobody on, it handed records in bunches to both Stargell and Fisher.

Count ’em. – For Stargell, he is now credited with the first hit, first run, first RBI, first extra base hit, and first home run at Shea Stadium. And for Fisher obviously, he was recorded for all time as the pitcher who surrendered all those firsts on the defensive side of things.

Baseball Almanac Box Score, Pittsburgh @ New York Mets, 9/26/61:

http://www.baseball-almanac.com/box-scores/boxscore.php?boxid=196404170NYN

Slugging greats Ted Williams and Roger Maris shared a common destiny connection with pitcher Jack Fisher in baseball history.

Slugging greats Ted Williams and Roger Maris shared a common destiny connection with pitcher Jack Fisher in baseball history.

Closing Comments. Jack Fisher’s 76th birthday is coming up soon and, as a member of his generation, The Pecan Park Eagle would like to take the opportunity here of wishing the youngster well. We would also like to thank Robert “Shirtless” Blair too for obliquely suggesting some kind of column on Jack Fisher along these lines.

We will leave you this Friday morning with a “birds of a feather note”: Back in 1961, after Fisher gave up home run #60 to Roger Maris, as you may well remember, pitcher Tracy Stallard of the Red Sox gave up a solo home run on 10/01/61 to Roger Maris in the bottom of the 4th inning in the last game of the season for both teams at Yankee Stadium. It was the only run of the game, sending the Yankees off to their World Series date with the Reds on a winning note. It was also more than a winning hit. It was Roger Maris’s HR No. *61 – the one that broke Ruth’s record, but with Commissioner Ford Frick’s imposition of that legendary asterisk stain for Roger’s record having occurred over the course of a longer season of opportunity than the Bambino had known back in 1927.

Birds of a feather? Jack Fisher and Tracy Stallard came together in 1964 as teammate starting pitchers for the New York Mets.

Have a nice weekend, everybody! – And keep staring out that window. Baseball season is coming. Just you wait and see.

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