FORT MYERS, Fla. - It’s true. I checked. As part of Fenway Park’s 100th anniversary celebration (have you heard about it, by chance?), the Red Sox are inviting everyone who ever wore a Sox uniform back for the April 20 ballpark-palooza.
Red Sox vice president/emeritus and team historian Dick Bresciani, who has been working in the Fenway offices since 1972, confirmed this week that the Sox are trying to bring everybody back. It’s all-inclusive.
“We’re inviting all the ones we have addresses for,’’ said Bresciani. “It’s a list of about 500 ballplayers, coaches, and managers.’’
And the possibilities are endless.
Everybody wants to see Yaz, Pudge, Pedro, Luis, Jim Ed, Dewey, and the Spaceman. But I’m hoping to widen the loop a little bit. My wish list includes trivia answers, misfits, jokers, cartoon characters, and occasional nefarious characters who charmed the Sox clubhouse through the years.
Close your eyes, fast-forward to April 20, and try to imagine the thrills and chills when you hear Carl Beane make the following introductions . . .
“He was an All-Star center fielder in his first year with the Red Sox. A switch-hitter with power from both sides of the plate, he scared the hell out of teammates, umpires, and media members. He head-butted Ron Kulpa, rolled on the clubhouse carpet with Darren Lewis, and told Joe Kerrigan to [expletive] off. Ladies and gentlemen, give it up for ‘Jurassic’ Carl Everett!’’
“He was brought on board by Dan Duquette to replace Mo Vaughn. He was an All-Star in his first season with the Sox and later made a name for himself by assaulting another player with a bat. Let’s hear it for ‘meaner-than-a-junkyard-dog’ Jose Offerman.’’
“He was perhaps the biggest nitwit ever to play for the local nine, a guy who knocked a home run over the wall with his head. He’ll live forever as baseball’s Face of Steroids, please say hello to Jose Canseco!’’
“The master of the gopher pitch. A guy who might have killed some of you if there’d been Monster Seats back in his time. Let’s have a big round of applause for Johnny ‘Way Back!’ Wasdin.’’
“You saw him on the silver screen, the godfather of ‘Moneyball.’ Under Billy Beane he became a poster child for getting on base. He was a Red Sox catcher for six years. Welcome home, Scott Hatteberg!’’
“He hopped off a team bus in New York City and wasn’t seen again for three days. If he’d had his passport with him that day, he might still be in Tel Aviv. Come on out here, Gene Conley. We love you!’’
“He made his name everywhere but here. Tom Werner will never forget the day that this man asked the Red Sox to give him a mobile home. Tom thought he was asking for a ‘mobile phone,’ and promised him two. Ladies and gents, Hall of Famer Rickey Henderson!’’
“A member of Wade Boggs’s ‘Delta Force’ back in the mid-1980s, he once was compared to a sack of doorknobs. After getting the win in a 1986 playoff game, he nervously admitted, ‘If there had been a toilet on the mound, I would have used it.’ Welcome back, Steve Crawford.’’
“Remember when everybody was kung fu fighting? Come on out here, Izzy Alcantara!’’
“Standing in center field, he once removed his cleats during a thunderstorm so he would not be struck by lightning. Ladies and gentlemen, the great Willie Tasby!’’
“Get out here and let us see you, Boof Bonser! Just so we can say your name one last time!’’
“This man pitched one of the most important games in Red Sox history, in 1978. Don Zimmer said he had ice water in his veins. He also was inadvertently shot in his Winter Haven hotel room when a gun went off in an adjacent room. Say hello to old friend Bobby Sprowl!’’
“He set off a stink bomb on a Red Sox charter and got into a lobby brawl with Dwight Evans in Cleveland. The one and only, Rick Cerone!’’
“Dan Duquette had data proving this guy was better than Ken Griffey Jr. Ladies and gents, a warm welcome for center fielder Dwayne Hosey!’’
“He went to high school with members of Lynyrd Skynyrd. He was the original ‘Hell yeah, I like beer’ guy. A warm welcome back for lefthanded pitcher Rick ‘Tall Boy’ Jones.’’
“He pitched a no-hitter . . . and lost the game! When he threw over to first base, it was like watching Wilt Chamberlain take a free throw. Welcome back, Matt Young!’’
“He hit home runs before Al Gore invented the Internet. His name spawned a website that became more famous than his game. Welcome back, Sam Horn!’’
“He was the Nutty Professor who put dummies in the bullpen and wanted to keep the Red Sox company car after he was fired. Come on out here, Joe Kerrigan!’’
“Welcome back, Doug Mientkiewicz! We promise not to count the silver or check your pockets after you leave.’’
“He was a member of the 1986 world champion Red Sox. Let’s give him one last chance to stand over at first base for defensive purposes. Welcome back, Dave Stapleton!’’
There. You can have your Yaz and Fisk and Pedro. They are the easy favorites. But the Sox are going to be all-inclusive April 20. And these are my guys. I wonder if Uggie Urbina can arrange a one-day pass from the Big House in Venezuela?