Everything You Ever Wanted to Ask Frank Sullivan

Herb Crehan: The 2013 Red Sox are off to a great start; what do you like best about this team?

Frank SullivanThey can come from behind and win which means they bear down until the game is over.

Herb Crehan: Where do you think this year’s team needs to improve?

Frank Sullivan:  Not a lot if Shane Victorino can stay healthy.  You can always use another pitcher, but the team seems to be getting along well.  I know I harp on it all the time but that really matters.Frank Sullivan HOF

Herb Crehan: You and Tommy Brewer formed a nice 1-2 punch for the Red Sox in the 1950s; how did that combination compare to Lester-Buchholz?

Frank Sullivan: Tom and I were both right-handed so maybe having one from each side makes it harder for the opposing manager to set a different lineup to match up.   Other than that I can’t really say.  We had taller mounds [15 inches vs. today’s 10 inches] no pitch counts and we pitched every fourth day.

Herb Crehan:  What do you think of the job John Farrell is doing and who was your favorite manager?

Frank Sullivan: Farrell has the team playing to win every game.  My favorite manager was Sam Mele [Minnesota Twins: 1962-63].  Sam managed the same as Farrell and he had a velvet hand to boot.

Herb Crehan: Juan Nieves seems to be doing a great job with the pitchers; how important is a good coach to the pitching staff and who was your favorite?

Frank Sullivan:  My favorite pitching coach was Dave “Boo” Ferriss [Boston Red Sox pitching coach: 1955-59].  Boo was always at your side with a good word.  Boo didn’t do a lot of teaching but he provided encouragement to keep doing your thing without worrying about how other people felt about it.

Herb Crehan: Since it was illegal I’m sure you never threw a spitball in a game, but did you ever try it on the sidelines?

Frank Sullivan:  I never did.  But every once in a while Sam White [Red Sox catcher: 1951-59] would spit tobacco juice on a ball and throw it back to me on the mound.  I would see it coming and not catch it.  I needed a good grip to be able to throw strikes. I wish I had known about resin and sunscreen.

Herb Crehan: Hitting coach Greg Colbrunn seems to be doing a good job; did you ever listen in to your hitting coaches to get a sense of how hitters set up for pitchers?

Frank Sullivan:  You bet I did. In fact I would pitch a lot to the opposite of what Rudy York [Red Sox hitting coach: 1959-1962] would preach because he was great hitting coach.

Herb Crehan: Back in you day pitchers batted—they didn’t necessarily hit—but they batted; do you wish they the designated hitter back in the day?

Frank Sullivan:  Not for a minute would I have wanted the designated hitter when I pitched.  Instead of a pitching to a pitcher you now have to pitch to one of the best hitters in the league.  And yes, it would have taken a lot of fun out of the game for me.

Herb Crehan: Most fans are familiar with your one lifetime triple, but did you ever hit a home run in batting practice?

Frank Sullivan:  None of your business!

Herb Crehan We know the bullpen coach keeps order out there and makes sure players aren’t using the phone to order pizzas, but what else would a Dana LeVangie do out there?

Frank Sullivan:  I’m not really sure, but I do remember our bullpen coach George Susce, Sr.   George was a man that said he owed everything to baseball and he was willing to gladly help you in any way you needed.  

Herb Crehan: Now I’m going to put you on the spot: where do you see the 2013 Boston Red Sox going in the balance of the season?

Frank Sullivan:  I see no reason we can’t be at the head of the class where we are now.

Article written by

Herb Crehan is in his 21st season as a contributing writer for Red Sox Magazine, the team's official program. He is the author of two books on Red Sox history and he has contributed to five other books. He speaks frequently on Boston baseball history and he is the Editor of www.bostonbaseballhistory.com.

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