(Photo via @WhiteSox)
I hope you got any jokes at Phil Humber’s expense in before today, because after throwing the 21st career perfect game in Major League history against the Mariners, you must now refer to Humber as “21st Perfect Game in History Humber” or “Mr. Perfecto” or simply “His…
Fenway Park - April 20, 1912
Fenway Park was supposed to open on April 18, 1912, a Thursday. The game was rained out. A doubleheader was scheduled for April 19, Patriots’ Day. Again the weather failed to cooperate. Finally, on Saturday April 20 at 3:00 pm the Boston Red Sox took the field against the New York Highlanders. (They wouldn’t be called the Yankees until the following season, and the heated rivalry was eight years - and an infamous trade - away.)
Anywhere from 24,000 to 27,000 fans were in attendance, enough that overflow was allowed to watch the game behind ropes in the outfield. (Not the outfield seats, the grass itself.) Seats were priced from 25¢ for the bleachers up to $1.50 for box seats. The crowd got its money’s worth.
The Highlanders jumped out to a 3-1 lead after the first inning. By the end of the 3rd it was 5-1. But in the bottom of the fourth, the Red Sox had three men cross the plate to bring the score to within one. Boston tied it up in the sixth, and both teams traded runs in the 8th.
The score was 6-6 after nine. In the bottom of the 11th the Sox scored again earning a 7-6 walk-off win in their brand-new park. (No more details are known because there is no complete box score from the game.)
The Sox starter, Buck O’Brien, would earn the win and finish 20-13 that year. Ray Caldwell earned the loss, one of 16 against only 8 wins.
By October the Sox had run away with the AL pennant, with a final record of 105-47, fourteen games up on the 2nd place Washington Senators. (The Highlanders would finish last, 55 games behind Boston.) In the postseason, the Sox defeated the Giants five games to three (best of 9 back then), clinching it in their shiny new park on October 16, 1912. They would win three Series more by 1918…then a small championship drought you may be familiar with…before winning again in 2004 and 2007.
Favorite random fact: Fenway has been the home park for more football teams (5 - Boston Bulldogs, 1926; Boston Shamrocks, 1936-1937; Boston Redskins, 1933-1936, later moved to Washington; Boston Yanks, 1944-1948, the owner originally hoped to play in Yankee Stadium - awkward; and the Boston Patriots, 1963-1968) than baseball teams (2 - Sox and the Boston Braves for the 1914 World Series and 1915 season).
Sources: retrosheet.org, Boston’s SABR chapter (great stuff on 1912 there), and wikipedia.org
(Image of first ball thrown at Fenway on April 20, 1912 is courtesy of ESPN.com and copyright Stan Honda/AFP/Getty Images)
hes a champ for showing support
The Mexican League threw him out. His girlfriend dumped him. But like the proverbial bad penny, he keeps turning up. Jose Canseco (shown here with formed Red Sox outfielder Mike Greenwell) is back, this time in New England. By now you know that Terry Francona will be part of today’s 100th anniversary celebration of Fenway Park. Curt Schilling won’t be coming. Neither will Theo Epstein. But Jose Canseco is there
I am in fenway ballpark ready to get introduced .lots of memories— Jose Canseco (@JoseCanseco) April 20, 2012
And he’s going to be sticking around for awhile.
Not with the Red Sox, mind you. But he’ll just be a few vintage Canseco shots away in Worcester, MA playing for the Tornadoes in the independent CanAm League. The Tornadoes signed Canseco to play first base and DH for their upcoming season which starts May 17. Canseco joins at least one other former major leaguer on the Tornadoes roster. Infielder Abraham Nunez played 12 seasons in the majors, eight with the Pittsburgh Pirates.
In other Canseco news, the Texas Rangers cap that Jose was wearing during his infamous “home run header” in the 1993 game against the Cleveland Indians is up for auction online at Heritage Auctions. The bidding, which is currently up to $3250, ends on May 3, 2012. Canseco hopes to buy it back.
My Rangers cap from the 4 Base Error header is in the Heritage auction right now would be great to get it back hope the bidding stays low— Jose Canseco (@JoseCanseco) April 17, 2012
I’ll have to go check out a game.