A new number was added, finally, to the two others below the Jimmy Fund sign on the facade above right field at Fenway Park yesterday.
After the ceremony to retire his number was rained out Thursday -- along with the Red Sox’ exhibition game against the Cincinnati Reds -- Bobby Doerr finally saw his No. 1 immortalized as it joined Ted Williams’ No. 9 and Joe Cronin’s No. 4.
“When I woke up (yesterday) morning, I thought it was going to be another one of those days again,” Doerr said. “It looked like a great day for rain.” Instead it proved to be a great day for Doerr, the former Sox second baseman and Hall of Famer who became only the third player in team history to have his number retired.
“When you think that there’s only three numbers up there, and mine’s one of them, it’s a great honor,” said Doerr.
In a gesture reminiscent of Ray Bourque’s during Phil Esposito’s night at Boston Garden, Sox manager John McNamara (who was heartily booed by the Fenway Faithful) emerged from the dugout to give his number to Doerr. McNamara will now wear No. 2.
“He did give a lot of credit to the No. 1,” Doerr said of McNamara. “I think he can look up there and see the No. 1 and have just a little satisfaction. I’m very proud to have shared it with him.”
Among the career highlights he listed -- watching and participating during baseball’s golden era; playing 14 seasons with the Red Sox (nine as an All- Star); compiling six 100 RBIs seasons as a second baseman (only Bobby Grich, Tommy Herr and Joe Morgan have matched the feat since); playing in the 1946 World Series; and his election to the Hall of Fame last year -- none seemed to compare with the euphoria from yesterday’s ceremonies.
“You know, my best salary was about $32,500,” he said, comparing present- day baseball to his playing days. “But I wouldn’t have traded it for anything, because I got to play with great players in a great era of baseball.
“No,” he added. “I wouldn’t have traded it for anything.”