A look at the most thrilling home runs in Fenway Park’s first 100 years:
Ted Williams, Red Sox, June 9, 1946
It was just a midseason game, one of 14 hits in one of the Sox’ 104 wins that year. But Williams did something in the first inning that is still acknowledged today. Facing Tigers starter Fred Hutchinson in his first plate appearance, Williams (who also homered in the first game of the doubleheader) walloped a pitch to right field. The ball carried up the bleachers and bounced off the straw hat of a patron. Measured at 502 feet, the blast is commemorated with a red seat in Section 42, Row 37. It’s remembered more now than it was in the Sox’ 11-6 victory.
From July 10, 1946: Williams paces AL to 12-0 All-Star win at Fenway
Ted Williams, Red Sox, September 28, 1960
In his 19th and final season, at age 41, Williams bounced back from a tough year and kept hitting until the very end. Entering the Sox’ final homestand, it was known Williams wouldn’t be back, but only a few thousand fans were on hand for what would be the franchise icon’s last game. Held hitless, Williams stepped in to face the Orioles’ Jack Fisher with one out in the eighth. On a 1-and-1 count, Williams ripped a long fly that cleared the fence in right-center. Home run No. 521 was in the books, and so was one of the greatest careers in baseball history.
From Sept. 29, 1960: Williams says goodbye with a bang
Carlton Fisk, Red Sox, October 21, 1975
It was only fitting that perhaps the greatest game in World Series history would have such a climactic ending. The back-and-forth classic went into extra innings tied at 6, and stayed that way until the bottom of the 12th. Reds reliever Pat Darcy opened his third inning of work by facing Fisk, who was hitless since the first inning four hours earlier. Darcy’s second pitch was a low, inside strike, and Fisk swatted it down the left-field line. While waving the ball fair as he moved toward first base, Fisk watched his shot carom high off the foul pole, sending the Series to a Game 7.
From Oct. 22, 1975: Fisk’s home run in 12th beats Reds, 7-6
Bucky Dent, Yankees, October 2, 1978
New York’s diminutive shortstop hit only five home runs and slugged .317 during the ‘78 season, so no one anticipated he would be the villain who would ruin the Sox’ rollercoaster season. Dent’s final home run came in Game 163, a matinee tiebreaker to decide the AL East. The Yankees were in a 2-0 hole in the seventh inning when Dent stepped in against Mike Torrez with two on and two out. After fouling a pitch off his foot, a gimpy Dent lifted a hanging curveball high to left. The ball barely cleared the wall but it flattened the Sox, who lost, 5-4.
From Oct. 3, 1978: Yankees have final say again, beat Red Sox
David Ortiz, Red Sox, October 17, 2004
The Sox were facing the steepest of climbs, trailing the Yankees, three games to none, in the ALCS. Ortiz had already given Boston a 3-2 lead in the fifth inning of Game 4 with a two-run single, and failed to deliver during a tying rally in the ninth. But he got another shot at extending the Sox’ season in extra innings. New York’s workhorse reliever Paul Quantrill gave up a leadoff single to Manny Ramirez in the 12th, and Ortiz launched a 2-and-1 pitch into the visiting bullpen to end a five-hour epic and set in motion Boston’s incredible title run.
From Oct. 18, 2004: Red Sox avert sweep as walkoff homer downs Yankees