Results tagged ‘ Fenway Park ’

Fenway Park The Centennial worth the read

Looking for a coffee table book that’s light enough to carry around from room to room, or even out of the house? Searching for that book that is rich in narrative and illustration?

Saul Wisnia has produced such a read with “Fenway Park The Centennial, 100 Years of Red Sox Baseball”.

The cover photo of Fenway during a day game makes you feel like you’re at the park and all but makes you want to order a hot dog. And aside from the 176 pages of memories the book offers, there’s also a companion DVD narrated by Carlton Fisk, the Hall of Fame catcher.

Wisnia covers every generation of Fenway, and even includes a prologue of Boston’s 40 years of professional baseball before the “lyric little ballpark” was invented.

The Grand Opening in 1912  is covered in rich detail, as Wisnia informs readers of the three straight rainouts before the park finally opened, and of course, the backdrop of a much bigger story taking place at the time — the sinking of the Titanic.  Did you know that the deepest part of center field at Fenway during its opening was 550 feet? The right-field power alley was 405. Hard to imagine Big Papi would have put up many power numbers in Fenway’s first version.

The book sweetly transitions from the Babe Ruth Years to the beginning of Tom Yawkey’s regime, when the park underwent major renovations.

There’s all the requisite information you would want about Ted Williams, including a photo of “The Kid” taken in Life Magazine.

You want to see how high Boo Ferris’s leg kid was? Check out page 71 in the Near Misses chapter. A grand stand ticket to the 1946 World Series — illustrated on page 75 — went for $6.

The Red Sox weren’t the only local team to inhabit Fenway. The Boston Patriots, long before the glory days of Tom Brady and Bill Belichick, spent Sundays in the Fenwas from 1963-68. The photo on page 96 with the yard-lines in the middle of the baseball diamond is surreal.

The 1967 Impossible Dream, the best thing to happen to Sox fans until 2004, is covered in all its glory.

Did you know soccer star Pele played at Fenway in 1968? That’s another interesting side note from this book.

Most of you know all about modern Sox history, from Fisk waving it fair to the heartbreaks of Bucky Dent, Mookie Wilson and Aaron Boone, all the way to the championship glory in 2004 and ’07. But that doesn’t make it any less exciting to look back on it through Wisnia’s words and the pictures in the book. There’s a great shot of Pete Rose, dressed in civillian clothes, sitting in box seats behind home plate as the Red Sox take batting practice during the pre-World Series workout in ’75.

There are sweet vignettes throughout the book, such as that Aug. 7 game in 1982, when Jim Rice helped care for a four-year-old boy who was struck by a foul ball.

From Mike Greenwell riding a horse after the ’95 Division clincher to Mo Vaughn facing Toronto’s Roger Clemens to Nomar Garciaparra signing autographs for his adoring fans, this book takes you back through the years. There is Pedro Martinez lighting up the 1999 All-Star Game with a giant All-Star Game logo jumping out of the picture from the top of the Green Monster.

A former journalist for the Washington Post, Saul Wisnia is now the publications editor at the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute, the cancer-fighting institution that has worked in tandem with the Red Sox for more than half a century.

His book is a great way to get Sox fans primed for the 100th season of Fenway, which will be celebrated in a big way before the April 20, 2012 home game against the Yankees.

 

Memories abound as another homestand starts

There are certain dates that stick out in Red Sox history. April 29, 1986 falls into that category.

That was 25 years ago tonight, against the same opponent that is at Fenway tonight. That was the night Roger Clemens became the Rocket. It was the night a Red Sox team that was projected to be mediocre began to take on the feel of something special.

The 20-strikeout performance was one of the most breathtaking performances in history. I remember watching it on TV. I was 14 at the time and completely mesmerized by what I was watching. The Red Sox had never had a pitcher like this in my lifetime, or maybe anyone’s life time.

Not only was Clemens striking the Mariners out, he was simply blowing the ball by all of them. They weren’t even coming close.

The Celtics were playing the Hawks at the Garden that night in Game 2 of the Eastern Conference semis, so there was just a modest crowd of 13,444 that filed into Fenway.

But by the late innings, the place began to sound electric, even from TV.

Do you remember the Red Sox actually trailed that game 1-0 going into the bottom of the seventh? Mike Moore was nasty that night for Seattle. But Dwight Evans took care of him with a three-run homer in the bottom of the seventh, and the night’s focus turned to the history that was unfolding.

Do you remember Don Baylor dropping the foul popup at first base? If he hadn’t dropped it, Clemens only strikes out 19.

Do you remember how young and thin Clemens was back then? It seemed like he would accomplish just about anything he wanted to in his career. Of course, there have been several twists and turns since then, but that’s not worth going into now.

That was a night that will live on, no matter what happened after. On the night of April 29, 1986, the two athletes that owned Boston were Larry Bird and Clemens. More people went to the Garden to watch Larry that night, but on that occasion, the big story unfolded at Fenway.

Here is the strikeout breakdown:

Phil Bradley whiffed four times; Ken Phelps, Ivan Calderon and Dave Henderson (remember him?) all K’d three times. Spike Owen and Jim Presley both struck out twice.  Gorman Thomas, Danny Tartabull and Steve Yeager each went down once.

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