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Red Sox lose thriller in Fenway’s formal opening

The dedication of Fenway Park yesterday, the real, down-in-the-book official dedication, with the music stuff, the flowers and the flag, was one huge hilarious success -- at least from 3:15 p.m. until sometime after 5, when the White Sox refused to take the short end of the breaks of the game any longer and cantered home an easy winner when pitcher Pape hoisted the distress signals in the ninth, after two hands were out and the crowd was breaking for the concrete inclines leading toward home.

Although there was no banqueting yesterday, there was one beautiful baseball day on hand and a field in splendid shape to play upon, even after the downpour of rain the afternoon before. The pools of waters had mysteriously disappeared, and clouds of dust, even, were whisked about where not so many hours previous conditions were more befitting beat racing than for the playing of the National game.

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The huge new stand was draped for its full-roof length with tricolor bunting, potted plants everywhere lined the walks leading to the wide promenades, and there was a band which was never weary and which was augmented by a megaphone quartet which sang “bear” songs and refused to allow even the entre-innings to be dull.

The crowd -- and it numbers about 17,000 -- surely was one that was a great tribute not only to the Red Sox but to the American League leaders from Chicago.

Boston always has been a city for big crowds, but the oldest fan would have a task indeed to recall when so many thousands assembled about a ball field here to witness a single game, and not on a Saturday or a holiday or when the stress of the race was that of the late season.

It was a great crowd, one that was game to the core, and rooted hard all the way. It enjoyed the great playing of the home team, which was mainly of the defensive after the Red Sox had made their two runs before any one was out in the opening inning -- and it was a crowd that took much to heart the passing up of Boston’s opportunity to make the mighty Walsh take the Speed Boys’ backwash.

The crown began to come early and fully 13,000 were on hand when the festivities began. All day yesterday the big flagpole in center field stood bare, with only the halyards snapping briskly in the wind. But just before 3 o’clock the two teams, ranging out in one long rank that extended across the diamond, tramped in step behind the band and marched away down the field.

This illustration of Fenway Park ran in the Boston Globe on May 18, 1912, after the park’s formal opening.

Globe Illustration

This illustration of Fenway Park ran in the Boston Globe on May 18, 1912, after the park’s formal opening.

It was the work of only a moment for Jimmy Callahan, the White Sox leader and Boston’s own Jake Stahl to attach the halyards to the new flag and then to raise it briskly to the top of the heading pole.

The band played “The Star Spangled Banner,” the crowd rose with heads uncovered, there was one long lusty cheer, and then the players trudged back, breaking ranks in front of the big pavilion, and then rushing out to warm up for the battle that was to come. The new flag is a beauty, large than the other and the most impressive that has been flown in Boston for a long, long time.

There was a constant hubbub of interest among the fans while the teams were practicing, all eyes being on big Ed Walsh, who was warming up alongside White, who has yet to pitch his best game. Out on the field the White Sox clever shortstop, Weaver, was making plays that were only suggestions of what he was going to do later, while far out in the left pasture the veteran Jimmy Callahan, the greatest Come Back Kid of them all, was tearing up the sod with his spikes and pulling down the fungoes, whether short or driven far and high up onto the banking.

Boston’s own players were right on their toes when their turn to get into the swing of play came round. Wagner was pegging the ball across to Bradley in old-time style and the outfielders were shooting for the corners in a fashion that was calculated to make the White Sox wonder if it were to be worth while to take chances against the Speaker-Lewis-Hooper wings. Bill Carrigan had young Pape warming up, and the fans were guessing just what would be the young man’s fortunes against the veteran Walsh.

The game was exciting from the start, the first two visiting hitters reaching first, but each in turn falling victim to the splendid throws to second base by Bill Carrigan when an attempt to steal was made. Then Cal himself stepped to the plate, and the ovation he received was indeed a tribute.

Before Callahan had a chance to bat there was a commotion over by the Chicago bench, and out ran half a dozen trustees bearing three huge floral pieces in their arms. And the flowers all were for Jimmy Callahan. There was one immense horseshoe of red and white roses, standing nearly six feet and also a tremendous basket of white roses, which was a burden that it took two men to carry. The third piece was a great white baseball, constructed entirely of white pinks, save for the stitching, which was blue. The baseball was indeed novel.

One of the largest pieces was the gift of Jimmy Callahan’s Fitchburg friends, hosts of whom came down to see him and Billy Sullivan. On the card was inserted the names of Joe Pefault, F Breen, Dan Doyle and Ray Dwyer. John Murphy of Boston was the friend who sent the other immense floral tribute while the baseball was sent to Callahan by some of his friends in the Hanky Panky company. These were Max Rogers, Ed Bloom, Carter DeBaven, William Montgomery and H Cooper.

Callahan took one look at the flowers and then proceeded to drive up a high infield which fell among Pape, Engle, Bradley, Wagner and Gardner, none of whom, however, could make up his mind to take the ball. Second base was uncovered and Callahan started down, whereupon Bill Carrigan ran for first base to take the throw from Wagner and to tag the courageous White Sox leader, who had turned back when he noticed. Tris Speaker legging it to second base to head him off.

This was the beginning of the game and there was something doing all the way through it. Second base was constantly the seat of operations, the umpire Westervelt having no less than six decisions to make there in the first two innings.

Boston started off with a rush, doubles by Hooper and Engle and an infield slash from Speaker than Weaver could not handle putting a run across, and a man on third before any one was out. Lewis then hit into a double play, but Engle came home and the two runs looked big enough.

These runs, though, were all that the home team got and after the opening hits Walsh held the home team back down to almost nothing.

Boston played for the breaks and got them -- at least down to the ninth. Then came the last two outs in Chicago’s ninth and the beginning of the exodus of the fans, who turned when Pape slipped upon Walsh’s roller, which was the beginning of the end.

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