Sunday Thoughts: Memories of the Red Sox

IMGP1143I know the Red Sox still play baseball because the other day I saw that the Red Sox won a game. It received front page coverage. I understood that because the owner of the newspaper also owns the Red Sox so he must insist, if he is a good business man, that his many interests work together on his behalf.

When I was a young kid I knew the names of every player on that team. I followed them closely for many years but recently my interest not only waned but it disappeared. Now I know the name of one player called Big Papi and what I know of him is he is a clutch home run hitter who is going through his last hurrah.

My involvement with the Red Sox for many years has many good memories. It was sort of like my involvement with the stock market. When they won (or it went up) I had a little extra bounce in my step and the day seemed more fair; when they lost (or it went down) I’d be a little out of sorts and things looked rather gloomy. I forget which of those monkeys I first got off my back but eventually I went cold turkey on both. Life is so much better when you do not let things you have no control over affect you.

Maybe that is just me. But as much as the Red Sox have gone out of my life, and by the way that happened before they won their first World Series back several years ago, the memory of following them still provides pleasant memories.

When I was single and hanging around the corner of Sydney Street with other fellows we would sometimes kill an afternoon by going to the Bleachers before the cursed monster the Red Sox Nation came into existence. Those were the days when they would fill about one-third to one-half of the park and you could sit anywhere in the Bleachers where you liked. When they started selling out the games it took a lot of spontaneity out of going to them. You could no longer say to a friend on a summer morning “let’s go to a Sox game today.”

For a couple of years before my children reached their teens I had access to tickets that let me sit in the four seats in the first row to the right of the Red Sox dugout. Jim Rice, I remember him but there were others, would lean out of the dugout and hand candy or gum to the kids and talk with them. It was exciting for them and me to be so close to the action and get to know the players.

Another memory of going to the games was the time in early spring when there was a Sox-Yankee game and their best pitchers were opposing each other. Tickets were almost impossible to get.  I got to the game by a friend of a friend of a friend who had one. You could not squeeze another person in the park and those who were there felt lucky. I went up between innings to get something and out of the weather for a moment. It was chilly as it can be at that time of year.

I hear “hey, Mattie!” I turn around and see Harry B. He’s standing in a white tee-shirt oblivious of the chill. The last I heard of Harry he was doing a big bit at Walpole. I wondered had he escaped. He did call me one morning years earlier around 3:00 am when I was a defense lawyer after he escaped from police custody looking for advice. We chatted for a few minutes. He left as quickly as he appeared. I’ll swear to this day that some person who thought he had his Sox tickets for that game safely stored away in his house spent the day wondering where he put them.

Empty bleacher seats, kids next to dugout, and a chat with Harry are my memories of Fenway Park along with standing up back behind home plate with Sammy, a beer and hot dog. I have no memory of the names of the players or the score of the games.


12 thoughts on “Sunday Thoughts: Memories of the Red Sox

  1. Right hand to God…
    I personally hold a “hat-trick” for sneaking into a Bruins game at the Garden, Red Sox game at Fenway, and a Rolling Stones concert at Sullivan or Shaefer,…ah, the old stadium in Foxboro.

    Good old 80’s.

    1. Rather:

      Good job. I never was able to sneak into anything other than the Neponset Drive-In when I would drive in through the exit. I know many of the kids I hung around with were regularly adding to the 13,909 at Boston Gardens climbing up the outside fire escapes. I guess you really had to want to attend those events to go to all that extra effort.

  2. We used to climb the CITGO scaffold to peer into the game with I now realize was a youthful insolence. Late Seventies. The view comprehensive but too distant . It was the kick of scaling the sign for an unexpected vantage that was the kick. The insolence was in supposing we would never grow older. 🙂

  3. — HUB FANS BID KID ADIEU — by John Updike. ….. ” Fenway Park, in Boston, is a lyric little bandbox of a ballpark. everything is painted green and seems in curiously sharp focus, like the inside of an old fashioned peeping -type Easter egg .” …….
    New Yorker Magazine October 22, 1960 … Online. You have great memories. Funny story .

  4. Dear Matt, I’m publishing an anti-Hillary Clinton novella that mentions your blog. More specifically, it includes my comment to your July 10th post “Black Mass: The Boston Globe, The Boston U.S. Attorney, and The Devil’s Deal.” My comment:
    “Dear Matt, A clear example of federal law enforcement/media collusion occurred after TWA 800 – bound for Paris on July 17, 1996 – broke apart in midair off Long Island minutes after taking off from Kennedy International Airport. All 230 people aboard were killed.
    New York Times article (July 16, 2013), ‘Leaving No Survivors but Many Questions ‘TWA Flight 800’ Examines a 1996 Tragedy’ ends with:
    ‘The agencies involved in the original one come off poorly in this film, and it’s hard to imagine any entity that would command the authority that could put the Flight 800 case to rest.”
    Bill Clinton was running for re-election. Your blog seeks positive change. Hillary Clinton being elected president will make that harder to happen.”

  5. Dear Matt, I remember sneaking into Red Sox games. There was little money at home for food, so definitely no money for the entrance fee. We climbed on the adjacent building roof (laundry company) and leaped onto the back of the scoreboard. Below you could see walking back and forth. The back of the scoreboard was covered with a mesh-like screen with ~1/2 inch spaces to insert your fingers. Doing this was scary. You feared your fingers not getting a grip and falling to your death. Two or three of us would climb over the top of the scoreboard, then quickly disperse in the bleachers seats. My brother, Ted Williams Parker, was named after Ted Williams. Teddy was born January 1st, one minute after midnight. The Herald American had him on the front page. That summer, Ted Williams was photographed with Teddy and signed a baseball: “To Ted Williams Parker.” I was three-years-old, and stuck in a seat, only saw the back of the seat in front of me.

  6. How about the immortals,Faye Throneberry,Gary Geiger,Tom Umphlett and Don Buddin.?

    1. How bout Tony C……?

      Fun Fact:
      Boston Red Sox pitcher Earl Wilson threw a no-hitter in 1962 after he allegedly spent the night before drinking with Johnny Martorano at his Basin Street South nightclub in Roxbury.

    2. My Million Dollar Infield
      Dick Stuart: First Base
      “It was his inability to field his position that gained him his string of unflattering nicknames – “Stonefingers,” “The Boston Strangler,” “Doctor Strangeglove.” ..Highly insulting but richly deserved…He charted new dimensions in defensive ineptitude…Stu once picked up a hotdog wrapper blowing toward his position and received a standing ovation…it was the first thing he had managed to pick all day and the fans realized it could very well be the last.”

      Billy Consolo: Second Base
      “1952 Red Sox shelled out 90,000 balloons, a record at that time….He could hit, but not breaking pitches, he could run, but seldom got the chance….great glove but highly erratic….most throws landed six rows in grandstand….all attributes were deeply and irrevocably flawed….which is to say if you are constructing a large cantaloupe, start with a small cantaloupe, not a collection of small cantaloupe parts.”

      Marv Throneberry: Third Base
      “Every one has his favorite Marv Throneberry joke. Mine was Marv himself. When Marv complained he had not been given a piece of his birthday cake, Casey Stengel told him, “We wuz gonna give you a piece,,Marv, but we wuz afraid you’d drop it.”

      Don Buddin: Shortstop
      “A professional goat, a creative goat…he would neglect to touch a base during a rally, lose pop-ups in the sun in extra innings…forget the count and try to bunt with two strikes…If there were a way to make the worst out of a situation, Don Buddin could be counted on to find it.”

      Player profiles excerpted from The Great American Baseball Card Flipping, Trading and Bubble Gum Book
      By Brendan C. Boyd (not Oilcan) and Fred C. Harris

  7. Hi Matt, happy Sunday. Quick question, have you learned why and how Deborah
    Wasserman, the Chairman of the DNC, attended the Republican convention last
    week. They showed her there on several days but I didn’t see the media interview
    her as to her attendance there. I guess wikileaks has stirred up some trouble for her
    and they are not letting her speak. Go Red Sox, but I could care less too.

  8. Reminiscing about the Red Sox always brings to mind the old Brunswick Hotel on Boylston Street between Berkeley and Clarendon. The Red Sox players stayed there and walking by you glanced up the long staircase at the entrance hoping to see one. Never did.

  9. Billy Klaus, Consolo, Goodman….Ted Lepcio…Herby Plews…Ike Delock…Frank Sullivan, Tommy Brewer…Sammy White…the immortals of my yute…..Lucky for me an army pal, Bob Finnigan, covered the Sox for the Patriot Ledger….Bob was a savin Hill kid who was going to be playing left field for the print media against the TV and radio guys at Fenway before a Sox game….a dream come true..lacing up in the clubhouse when Yaz walked over to offer advice…Kid, he said..don’t ruin the grass!
    You would enjoy this book about the players we enjoyed…

    Brendan Boyd and Fred Harris published an odd-shaped, graphically groovy volume titled “The Great American Baseball Card Flipping, Trading and Bubble Gum Book.”

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