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Local baseball legend Parnell Hisner dies

Former Boston Red Sox pitcher Parnell Hisner, who died Friday, pitched one game in the major leagues against the New York Yankees in 1951. He allowed Joe DiMaggio’s last regular-season hit and struck out Mickey Mantle twice. (News-Sentinel file photo)
Former Boston Red Sox pitcher Parnell Hisner, who died Friday, pitched one game in the major leagues against the New York Yankees in 1951. He allowed Joe DiMaggio’s last regular-season hit and struck out Mickey Mantle twice. (News-Sentinel file photo)
Copyright 2014 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.The Associated Press

Monroeville native gave up Joe DiMaggio's last regular-season hit

Saturday, March 21, 2015 12:01 am
Fort Wayne baseball legend H. Parnell Hisner died Friday afternoon at age 88 after a recent bout with cancer.A 1976 inductee into the Northeast Indiana Baseball Association's Hall of Fame, Hisner was also a board member for the organization for 12 years and in 2010 received the Colin Lister Award for "dedication to the game of baseball and its historic legacy."

The longtime Monroeville resident was known for getting to pitch one Major League game: Sept. 30, 1951, for the Boston Red Sox against the New York Yankees. That happened to be Joe DiMaggio's last regular-season game before he retired.

A rookie, Hisner had been called up from AAA Louisville for the last two weeks of the season. He sat and watched all but the final game of a Boston collapse, as the Red Sox fell to 11 games out. After Allie Reynolds had no-hit the Red Sox, Boston manager Steve O'Neill told Hisner he was starting the next day.

He had the privilege of allowing DiMaggio's 2,214th regular-season and last hit. Hisner pitched six innings; gave up seven singles; walked four, including DiMaggio his first time up; and lost 3-0. He also twice struck out Mickey Mantle.

DiMaggio later had six hits, including a home run, as the Yankees beat the New York Giants in the 1951 World Series.

"The next year, I went to spring training on the 40-man roster and dressed right beside Ted Williams," Hisner told The News-Sentinel's Reggie Hayes in 1998. "They didn't cut me until two hours before they broke camp. (New manager Lou) Boudreau didn't give many rookies a chance at all. I feel I would have had a better chance if O'Neill had stayed, but he didn't, so that's all history."

Hisner shuffled around the minors for two more seasons. He then returned to his roots near Monroeville, where he graduated from Hoagland High School, and played semipro baseball in Fort Wayne several years before becoming a youth coach. He retired from Rea Magnet Wire in 1987 after 33 years.

On April 20, 2012, Hisner joined nearly 200 former Red Sox players and coaches on a visit to Boston for Fenway Park's 100th anniversary.

He was preceded in death by his wife of 65 years, Anna, in 2013. They had three children and eight grandchildren.

Services are pending.

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