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Opening Day at Fenway
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April brings us the start of the baseball season and Opening Day at Fenway Park. Throughout the years, no matter how the fans are feeling about the Red Sox, devotees fill Fenway excited to cheer on the home team for the first game of the year. The oldest Major League Baseball stadium in the country has been slightly renovated through the 101 years but the nostalgia and love of the game remain on Opening Day.
- Leanne Burden Seidel and Lisa Tuite
National Baseball Hall of Fame
April 20, 1912: Fenway Park opened to its first major league game with an 11th inning, 7-6 Boston win over the New York Highlanders (renamed the Yankees the next year). Tris Speaker hit a single to drive home Steve Yerkes from third base.
Boston Globe Archive
April 24, 1937: A sea of mostly male fans watched as the World Champion New York Yankees eked out a 10th inning 6-5 victory to spoil the Opening Day game for 20,000 intrepid rooters at Fenway. The Red Sox had the tying run on third in the bottom of the 10th when Bobby Doerr flied out to end the game.
April 17, 1956: 32,563 fans cheered the Red Sox on to victory over the Baltimore Orioles in their 1956 American League opener. Ted Williams slammed two doubles to left and a single to center to foil the shift put on by the Orioles. Righthander Frank Sullivan fired an 8-hitter to give the Red Sox an 8-1 victory.
Dan Goshtigian/Globe Staff
April 16, 1968: The 1968 Red Sox lined up for the National Anthem before the start of the game. The final score, Detroit 9, Boston 2 was a disappointment for the crowd of 32,849, the largest in eight years for a Fenway opener.
Dan Goshtigian/Globe Staff
April 17, 1972: Bobby Tingle, 12, of Cambridge scrambled up the screen behind home plate to retrieve a baseball that had been caught on a wire at the top of the screen. Chief umpire Bill Haller was waiting for him when he climbed down and turned him over to officials who called his parents to come get him. To make matters worse, Bobby didn't even get the ball. The Red Sox officials took it away.
Charles Carey/ Globe Staff
April 6, 1973: Ed Folger of Lancaster threw out the first ball on Opening Day. Folger, who had been a minor leaguer in the Red Sox system, had his leg amputated in a farm accident the previous September. This game also marked the inauguration of the “designated pinch hitter." Yankee Ron Blomberg was the first official DH in baseball. He was the sixth hitter to come to bat in the first inning and he walked with the bases loaded against Luis Tiant.
April 12, 1976: The new electronic scoreboard in centerfield told the story as the Red Sox Opening Day game for the 1976 season was postponed due to cold weather. The windy, freezing temperatures made for a very unspringlike day. Boston's high temperature of 43 for the day didn't deter Red Sox player Bob Heise from getting some practice swings in.
Janet Knott/Globe Staff
April 5, 1979: Harold Campbell and his son Nicholas, 4, of Quincy showed off their caps on the way to the home opener at Fenway.
Frank O'Brien/Globe Staff
April 14, 1980: Bruce Hurst of the Red Sox playfully interacted with the fans before the game. Hurst was supposed to be the first lefthander and second rookie to start a home opener for the Sox, but a rainout in Milwaukee pushed his start back. Dennis Eckersley ended up with the 3-1 win against the Detroit Tigers.
George Rizer/ Globe Staff
April 14, 1980: Early fans lined up for bleacher seats on Opening Day. Remaining bleacher seats were available on a first-come, first-served basis.