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‏‏‎ ‎‏‏‎ ‎‏‏‎ ‎Fenway Park Timeline

1970_1979

1970-1979

1970

In 1970, the Red Sox regularly closed off a section in the center-field bleachers to help hitters see the ball as the pitcher released it. The section took on the nickname, "Conig's Corner," after Tony Conigliaro, who was hit by a pitch in the eye in 1967. The club also enclosed Fenway Park's center field flag pole, which had been in play on the warning track since 1934. The Red Sox had a new manager in Eddie Kasko but the same third place result in 1970 and in July, a group of Jehovah's Witnesses flocked to the park.

Record: 87-75, 3rd in American League East
Manager: Edward M. Kasko
Attendance: 1,595,278

Under new manager Eddie Kasko, the 1970 Red Sox finished 87-75. Though they placed third in the league standings, they ranked first in attendance, at 1,595,278.

Carl Yastrzemski led the league in both on-base percentage and slugging, and matched the 40 home runs he'd hit in 1969. His May 16 home run was one of the longest ever hit at Fenway Park. The ball traveled all the way out of the park to straightaway center, passing to the right of the flagpole, which had been enclosed and taken out of play before the season.

Tony Conigliaro led the team with 116 RBIs and combined with his brother Billy to hit 54 home runs, which still stands as a single-season record for two relatives playing for the same team. Seven Boston players hit at least 16 homers, and the Red Sox hit a then-club record 203 home runs.

The pitching staff was led by Ray Culp (17-14), Gary Peters (16-11) and Sonny Siebert (15-8). The trio accounted for 48 of the team's 87 victories. Yastrzemski almost won another batting title but lost out by fractions of a point after playing through a twisted ankle.

In 1970, the Red Sox regularly closed off a triangular section in the center-field bleachers (the area the batter sees directly behind the pitcher's release point). This area came to be known as "Conig's Corner," since it gave Tony Conigliaro a better background for hitting and perhaps protected him against another beaning. However, after the season, GM Dick O'Connell announced that he had traded Conigliaro to California for Doug Griffin.

For almost 60 years, Fenway Park's flagpole in center field was a quirky part of the field of play. However, in 1970, the flag pole was enclosed when an extension, which is used as a location for television cameras today, was built on the left side of the bleachers.

The Sunday Advertisers defeated the Record Americans for the third straight year in 1970.

1970 Non-Red Sox Baseball At Fenway Park

August 3William Randolph Hearst Sandlot Tournament: Sunday Advertisers 7, Record Americans 2

A decade after their last venture to Fenway Park, the Jehovah's Witnesses returned for another four-day event at the ballpark in 1970. They called the gathering the "Men of Good Will Assembly" and drew 20,000 participants.

1970 Non-Baseball Events At Fenway Park

January 20Junior Goodwill Dinner*

July 9-12Jehovah's Witnesses Gathering

*For several years, Fenway Park hosted a Junior Goodwill Dinner that brought hundreds of local high school students to the ballpark. The tradition was started by Red Sox legend Joe Cronin and the event typically took place in late January.

1971

Over the offseason before the 1971 Red Sox season, the club renovated an area under the center-field bleachers and converted the space into pitching tunnels that could be used as batting cages as well. Using the new practice space, the Red Sox started fast but then dropped off as the summer continued. However, despite the disappointment of late summer, Fenway Park led the league in attendance and a fertile farm system offered hope for the near future.

Record: 85-77, 3rd in American League East
Manager: Edward M. Kasko
Attendance: 1,678,732

The Red Sox held onto first place from late April to early June but slowly slipped back over the late summer months and ended the season in third place with an 85-77 record.

The crowds flocked to Fenway Park in 1971 and Boston led the league in attendance again. Pitcher Sonny Siebert began the season 9-0 to pace the club's hot start. Siebert was also a force with the bat and hit six home runs during the season, including two over the Green Monster in a September 2 victory over Baltimore (making him the last AL pitcher to hit two home runs in a game). Siebert finished the year with 16 wins, while Gary Peters and Ray Culp each notched 14 victories. Luis Tiant also joined the staff in mid-May, beginning a long and successful career in Boston.

Reggie Smith led the team with 30 home runs, 96 RBIs and a .283 batting average. While Carl Yastrzemski had an off-year, Rico Petrocelli and George Scott picked up some of the slack (with 28 and 24 homers, respectively) and Boston's total of 161 home runs was the league's second highest. Somewhat counteracting this power was the team batting average of .252.

The team had exciting youth on the horizon, with Bill Lee and Roger Moret ready to help the pitching staff and an exciting core of young position players coming up, which included Carlton Fisk, Cecil Cooper, Ben Oglivie, Rick Miller and Juan Beniquez.

Prior to the 1971 season, the Red Sox created an area under the center-field bleachers to house two pitching alleys that were also used as batting cages. The area was used by the Red Sox until 2005 and by visiting teams until 2007.

The final William Randolph Hearst Sandlot Tournament game at Fenway Park resulted in a 6-6 tie between the Record Americans and the Sunday Advertisers.

1971 Non-Red Sox Baseball At Fenway Park

August 2William Randolph Hearst Sandlot Tournament: Record Americans 6, Sunday Advertisers 6 (tie, 11 innings)

In 1971, Fenway Park hosted its last Junior Goodwill Dinner, an event that Joe Cronin started at the ballpark in 1952. In 1972, the dinner was moved to the Statler Hilton, which today is known as the Boston Park Plaza Hotel.

1971 Non-Baseball Events At Fenway Park

January 27Junior Goodwill Dinner*

*For several years, Fenway Park hosted a Junior Goodwill Dinner that brought hundreds of local high school students to the ballpark. The tradition was started by Red Sox legend Joe Cronin and the event typically took place in late January.

1972

The Red Sox performed admirably during an unusual season and competed throughout the summer of 1972 but the team suffered heartbreak again during their regular season-ending series against Detroit.

Record: 85-70, 2nd in American League East
Manager: Edward M. Kasko
Attendance: 1,441,718

The 1972 season began late due to a player's strike (the first work stoppage in baseball history), which pushed Opening Day to April 15. Instead of implementing a revised 162-game schedule, the teams agreed that they would play from the April 15 onward, regardless of any imbalance created.

Some new faces arrived in Boston in 1971, including Tommy Harper, Lew Krausse, Marty Pattin and Pat Skrable, who had all been acquired from Milwaukee in exchange for Ken Brett, Billy Conigliaro, Jim Lonborg, George Scott and two others. Rookie catcher and New Hampshire native Carlton Fisk led the team with 22 home runs and earned unanimous AL Rookie of the Year honors. Luis Tiant won the Comeback Player of the Year award with a 15-6 record and league-best 1.91 ERA.

Tiant twirled six shutouts between August 19 and September 16 as the Red Sox took possession of first place on September 7 and held it for most of the month. Boston's final three games of the regular season came against the Tigers, who were only a half game behind the Red Sox entering the series. With no possibility of a tie (due to the imbalanced schedule), the meeting was essentially a best-of-three playoff. In the first game, a base running error, which led both Luis Aparicio and Carl Yastrzemski to wind up on third base, stunted a possible rally. The Red Sox lost the game and then lost the next day, giving the Tigers the pennant.

1973

In 1973, Fenway Park was a District One host site for the NCAA baseball tournament and in July, the Newport-New England Jazz festival was held at the ballpark. However, the event descended into pandemonium and violence in certain parts of the ballpark, which would not host another concert until 2003. In the American League's first season with the designated hitter, Red Sox catcher Carlton Fisk led the team into battle, hitting a team-high 25 home runs and getting into a brawl with Yankees catcher Thurmon Munson on August 1.

Record: 89-73, 2nd in American League East
Manager: Edward M. Kasko (88-73), Eddie Popowski (1-0)
Attendance: 1,481,002

In 1973, the American League implemented the designated hitter and the Red Sox added Orlando Cepeda on January 18. Cepeda was the first player clearly signed for the specific purpose of being a DH. The future Hall of Famer hit .289 in his lone season with Boston and his 86 RBIs were second on the club behind Carl Yastrzemski's 95. Reggie Smith led the team with a .303 batting average and hit 21 home runs, including one from each side of the plate in an April 16 game at Fenway Park. Tommy Harper scored a team-high 92 runs and stole 54 bases, a Red Sox record that stood until Jacoby Ellsbury broke it in 2009.

Carlton Fisk's club-leading 25 homers included a pair of shots in Boston's Opening Day victory over the Yankees at Fenway Park. The Red Sox Opening Day starter, Luis Tiant picked up the win, his first of 20 in 1973. Two southpaws, Bill Lee (17-11) and Roger Moret (13-2), were Boston's other star pitchers.

The most dramatic moment of the season came on August 1 at Fenway Park, when New York's Thurman Munson barreled into Fisk on a ninth-inning suicide squeeze. The catchers began to brawl and both were ejected from the game. Bob Montgomery took over behind the plate for Boston and scored the winning run in the bottom half of the inning.

The NCAA District One Playoffs returned to Fenway Park in 1973. Harvard and Providence advanced to play each other in the district finals on May 27 in Cambridge, MA. Harvard prevailed and went to the College World Series in Omaha, NE.

1973 Non-Red Sox Baseball At Fenway Park

May 25Northeastern 3, Providence College 2 (NCAA District One Playoffs)*

May 25Harvard 4, University of Massachusetts 2 (NCAA District One Playoffs)*

May 26Providence College 8, U Mass 7 (NCAA District One Playoffs)*

May 26Providence College 5, Northeastern 4 (NCAA District One Playoffs)*

May 26Harvard 11, Northeastern 1 (NCAA District One Playoffs)*

 

* Fenway Park was an occasional site for the NCAA District One Baseball Playoffs, which decided who went to the College World Series in Omaha, NE.

In July 1973, a star-studded list of entertainers highlighted the Newport-New England Jazz Festival at Fenway Park. Unfortunately, the music was often overshadowed by the misbehavior of certain patrons during the two-day festival. Perhaps it was because of many people's less-than-pleasant memories of this raucous affair that Fenway Park would not stage another concert for three decades.

1973 Non-Baseball Events At Fenway Park

July 27-28Newport-New England Jazz Festival

 

July 27-28, 1973
The Newport-New England Jazz Festival At Fenway Park

A "Who's Who" of talented musicians performed at Fenway Park's Newport-New England Jazz Festival during a late July weekend in 1973. Notable acts included Ray Charles, Stevie Wonder, B.B. King, Charlie Mingus, Herbie Mann, the Staples Sisters, Freddie Hubbard, Rahsaan Roland Kirk and War. On the second night of the festival, however, a crowd of onlookers poured onto the field as soul singer and pianist Donnie Hathaway was preparing to take the stage. Order was briefly restored but chaos soon broke out in different areas of the park. One newspaper account described the scene:

"After police had partially cleared the field Hathaway began his set, but youngsters began congregating on top of the dugout on the first base side of the ball park, making it all but impossible for those in the box seats to see the performers. The aisles were also tightly packed with people who had left their seats, and those attempting to gain access to the refreshment areas were threatened, pushed and shoved and, in some cases, pickpocketed or openly robbed." (Peter Herbst, Boston Herald, July 29, 1973)

1974

Darrell Johnson took over as manager and the Red Sox held onto first for most of 1974. However, the team unraveled in September and Fenway Park went without post-season baseball once again.

Record: 84-78, 3rd in American League East
Manager: Darrell D. Johnson
Attendance: 1,566,411

Eddie Kasko's stint as manager ended one day before the 1973 season did. After the season Darrel Johnson was named the new Red Sox manager and in March 1974, Johnson named Carl Yastrzemski the captain of the Red Sox.

Early in the season, the team co-hosted the final Red Sox-Boston Globe Baseball Clinic at Fenway Park. Approximately 8,000 youngsters turned out for instruction on May 25 from Johnson, his coaching staff and several players.

Both Luis Tiant and Bill Lee excelled in 1974. Luis won 20 games again (22-13, 2.92) and Lee won 17 for the second consecutive season (17-15, 3.51). The only other Boston pitcher in double digits was Reggie Cleveland, who went 12-14.

The Red Sox lost a pair of position players in the first half of the season. Second baseman Doug Griffin was hit in the head by a Nolan Ryan fastball during an April 30 game at Fenway Park. Two months later, Carlton Fisk was lost for the season with a serious knee injury when a Cleveland runner slid hard at home plate.

Yastrzemski led the team in several offensive areas, including the three Triple Crown categories with a .301 average, 15 home runs and 79 RBIs. Though the Red Sox didn't have an overly-powerful lineup, they held a seven-game lead in the division as late as August 23.

However, the club began to take on water with an eight-game losing streak in late August/early September, including a disheartening Labor Day doubleheader in Baltimore in which they were swept. The Red Sox spent a full 101 days in first place, including most of the time from late May to early September, but they ultimately finished in third place, seven games behind Baltimore and five behind the Yankees.

Red Sox-Boston Globe Baseball Clinic

In the 1950s, 1960s and early 1970s, the Red Sox organization and the Boston Globe teamed up to hold a regular baseball clinic at Fenway Park for thousands of local youth ballplayers. The event was initially called a "Spring training camp" for Massachusetts youngsters who had the opportunity to receive instruction from some of the Red Sox biggest names. The full Boston coaching staff and several players often attended, with upwards of ten players taking part in certain years. Among those who provided lessons was Bill Monbouquette, a Medford, Massachusetts native who had previously attended the clinic as an audience member when he was pitching in high school.

Red Sox-Boston Globe Baseball Clinic Dates

April 12, 1952
April 25, 1953
May 1, 1954
April 16, 1955
April 26, 1958
April 22, 1959
May 7, 1960
April 18, 1961
May 5, 1962
April 27, 1963
May 2, 1964
April 21, 1965
May 21, 1966
April 29, 1967
April 20, 1968
May 17, 1969
May 16, 1970
June 17, 1972
May 25, 1974

1975

If 1967 was the season that changed the team's place in New England athletic culture, 1975 was the year that cemented the Red Sox as a true regional phenomenon. The Red Sox staved off the Orioles in September, swept the A's in the ALCS and squared off against the Cincinnati Reds in an unforgettable World Series. Though the Red Sox lost to the Reds in seven games, Carlton Fisk's walk-off home run at Fenway Park in Game Six endures to this day as one of the most indelible moments in baseball history.

Record: 95-65, 1st in American League East
Manager: Darrell D. Johnson
Attendance: 1,748,587
Postseason: Played in World Series

Injuries defined much of 1975 for the Red Sox. Carlton Fisk had been out since midsummer 1974 and then had his arm broken by a pitch early in spring training in 1975. Fisk didn't appear in a game until June 23, 1975 but in his half-season, he batted .331 and drove in 52 runs. Against all odds, after 3½ years out of baseball, Tony Conigliaro made the Red Sox as an invitee to spring training. He singled in his first at-bat then pulled off a double steal, taking second base while Carl Yastrzemski scored. However, Conigliaro's eyesight problems proved insurmountable and after hitting just.123, he ended his season in June.

Jim Rice and Fred Lynn, two rookies who had gotten a taste of the majors late in 1974, became starters in 1975 and had breakout years. They were called the "Gold Dust Twins" with Rice in left field and Lynn in center. In their first full seasons, Lynn hit .331, drove in 105 runs and had 21 home runs, while Rice hit .309, drove in 102 and led the team with 22 homers. However, adding to the list of impactful injuries for the Red Sox in 1974, Rise was hit on the wrist by a pitch on September 21, ending his season.

No Boston pitcher won 20 games in 1975 but Rick Wise (19-12), Luis Tiant (18-14) and Bill Lee (17-9) comprised the core of a formidable staff. The Red Sox moved into first place for good in late June and held off Baltimore down the stretch, thanks in large part to a string of clutch performances by Tiant, including the September 16 game at Fenway Park, when the right-hander bested Jim Palmer and the Orioles, 2-0. Boston finished 4 1/2 games in front of Baltimore and Fred Lynn earned both AL Rookie of the Year and MVP honors, the first time any player had one both awards in the same year.

The Red Sox swept the defending World Champion Oakland A's in Boston's first appearance in the American League Championship Series, then took on Cincinnati's "Big Red Machine" in the World Series. Though the Red Sox lost to the Reds in seven games, Carlton Fisk's legendary, game-winning home run off Fenway's left-field foul pole in Game Six remains one of Fenway Park's greatest moments, in one of baseball's greatest games.

In 1975, Fenway Park hosted its first all-star game featuring the Cape Cod Baseball League, which included some of the best college baseball players in the country. The format of the game pitted a team of Cape Cod League All-Stars against a team of all-stars from the Atlantic Collegiate Baseball League, another summer league full of talent.

1975 Non-Red Sox Baseball At Fenway Park

July 21Cape Cod Baseball League 1, Atlantic Collegiate Baseball League 0*

* From 1975 to 1987, on a biennial basis, Fenway Park hosted an all-star game between the Cape Code Baseball League and the Atlantic Collegiate League. The all-star game alternated between Fenway Park and sites closer to the ACL's teams, such as Yankee Stadium and Veterans Stadium. In 1988, the Cape Cod Baseball League returned to an intra-league format for their annual all-star game and in 2009, Cape Code League All-Stars returned to Fenway Park for the Cape Cod League All-Star Game, which was played again in 2010.

1976

In the wake of the 1975 season, a new electronic scoreboard was built above the bleachers in center field and the press box was enclosed with glass. The left-field wall was also reconstructed as part of the team's offseason improvements. On the field however, the Red Sox struggled and won just four more games than they lost in 1976, a year in which the organization also lost owner Tom Yawkey when he passed away in July.

After the 1975 season, a new electronic scoreboard was placed above the center-field bleachers. Costing $1.5 million, Fenway Park's new scoreboard measured 40 feet wide and 24 feet high. It showed film and videotape, offering Fenway crowds a chance to see instant replay. In addition, the wall behind each bleacher section was raised to provide for a more symmetrical look and advertisements were placed there. It was first time commercial advertisements had appeared in the park in three decades.

In addition to the new scoreboard, the entire left-field wall was rebuilt before the 1976 season and the scoreboard was re-situated on the wall towards center field. With the new center-field board able to display the lineups, the electronic scoreboard on the wall, which was installed in 1962, was removed along with National League scores.

The reconstruction of the Green Monster addressed the dead spots and unpredictable bounces when batted balls struck the wall. A new tin covering with Styrofoam backing was placed inside the wall to ensure more consistent caroms. The new exterior replaced the old tin panels, which had covered the wooden railroad ties that made up the skeleton of the wall. In addition, six -foot high padding was added to the lower portion of the wall after reigning MVP and Rookie of the Year winner, Fred Lynn, crashed hard into the wall during Game 6 of the 1975 World Series.

Record: 83-79, 3rd in American League East
Manager: Darrell D. Johnson (41-45), Donald W. Zimmer (42-43)
Attendance: 1,895,846

Following their pennant-winning season the previous year, the Red Sox struggled through a hangover season in 1976. The team failed to sign Rick Burleson, Carlton Fisk and Fred Lynn to new contracts by the March 10, 1976 deadline. As a result, each player had his contract automatically renewed and entered an option year. All three eventually signed new deals with the club but some believed that their contractual situations were a distraction to the team.

An early 10-game losing streak deposited the Red Sox in last place by May 11. Nine days later, Bill Lee suffered a torn shoulder and ligaments during a brawl at Yankee Stadium.

On June 15 the Red Sox purchased Joe Rudi and Rollie Fingers from the A's for $1,000,000 cash apiece. Commissioner Bowie Kuhn subsequently squelched the deal, claiming it was "not in the best interest of baseball." Less than a month later on July 9, Red Sox owner Tom Yawkey passed away after a battle with leukemia, leaving his widow Jean as the primary benefactor.

After starting the season with a 41-45 record, the Red Sox fired manager Darrell Johnson on July 19 and replaced him with Don Zimmer. The team rallied a bit under Zimmer's leadership and crawled back into third place by season's end.

The team's offensive leaders included Fred Lynn (who hit a team-leading .314), Carl Yastrzemski (21 homers and 102 RBIs) and Jim Rice (25 home runs and 85 RBIs). Butch Hobson took over for Rico Petrocelli at the hot corner and hit an inside-the-park home run in his first game of the season at Fenway Park on June 28.

During the offseason, the Red Sox signed a million dollar contract with reliever Bill Campbell, one of the first high-profile free agents in baseball after the reserve clause, which forced players to remain obligated to their former team once their contract expired, had been ruled invalid.

1977

For the first time in its history, Fenway Park welcomed more than 2,000,000 fans to the park for Red Sox games in 1977. Most of the fans entered from the street previously called Jersey Street, whose section adjacent the ballpark was renamed Yawkey Way in 1977 to honor Tom Yawkey, the longtime Red Sox owner who passed away the year before. When Red Sox fan took their seats inside the park in 1977, they saw a team that had no shortage of offensive firepower but Boston's 97 wins weren't enough to clinch a playoff spot. During the season, minor league and college baseball games were also played at Fenway Park, including an all-star game between the Cape Cod Baseball League and Atlantic Collegiate Baseball League.

Record: 97-64, Tied for 2nd in American League East
Manager: Donald W. Zimmer
Attendance: 2,074,549

The Red Sox hit a league-leading 213 home runs in 1977 and seven of the nine Boston regulars hit 15 or more round-trippers. Leading the charge were Jim Rice, George Scott and Butch Hobson, who each reached the 30-homer plateau on the season.

On June 19, the Red Sox completed a three-game sweep of the Yankees at Fenway Park, belting a major-league record 16 homers in the series. The day before, New York manager Billy Martin and star player Reggie Jackson had to be separated in the visitors' dugout.

The Red Sox kicked off the season with a 10-2 exhibition victory over Northeastern at Fenway Park on April 11. The club stayed in the hunt all year long and never trailed the division leader by more than 4 ½ games. They ended the year by winning 10 of their last 13 games, but fell 2 ½ games short of the Yankees. However, for the first time in Fenway Park history, Red Sox home attendance passed the 2,000,000 mark.

With all the home runs that they hit, Red Sox players picked up RBIs in droves. Jim Rice led the club with 114, one of four Boston players who passed the century mark for runs batted in. Rice also collected 206 base hits, the first time a Red Sox batter had reached 200 since Johnny Pesky did so in 1947. A 100-plus RBI man himself, Carl Yastrzemski had a great season in the field and went the entire year without committing an error despite shuffling between the outfield and first base. His 16 outfield assists also led the league. A more obscure player by the name of Ted Cox put his name in the trivia books in 1977 by knocking a base hit in every one of his first six at-bats.

Reliever Bill "Soup" Campbell won 13 games and saved 31, eclipsing Dick Radatz's record 29 saves in 1964. Campbell led the team in wins on a staff that had six other pitchers win 10 games or more.

The year after Red Sox Owner Tom Yawkey passed away, the portion of Jersey Street bordering Fenway Park was officially renamed Yawkey Way in his honor. The street would later become part of the ballpark during games when it was opened as the Yawkey Way Concourse in 2002 but it has always been the main entrance and gathering spot for fans coming to Fenway Park.

In 1977, Fenway Park hosted the Cape Cod Baseball League and Atlantic Collegiate League all-star teams for the second time, having held the event for the first time in 1975. Just like in their first Fenway match-up, the Cape League defeated the Atlantic Collegiate team in 1977. On August 11, a team of Eastern League (Double-A) All-Stars defeated the Bristol Red Sox, Boston's minor league affiliate in the Eastern League, by a 5-3 margin at Fenway Park.

1977 Non-Red Sox Baseball At Fenway Park

August 1Cape Cod Baseball League 8, Atlantic Collegiate League 3*

August 11Eastern League All-Stars 5, Bristol Red Sox 3

 

* From 1975 to 1987, on a biennial basis, Fenway Park hosted an all-star game between the Cape Code Baseball League and the Atlantic Collegiate League. The all-star game alternated between Fenway Park and sites closer to the ACL's teams, such as Yankee Stadium and Veterans Stadium. In 1988, the Cape Cod Baseball League returned to an intra-league format for their annual all-star game and in 2009, Cape Code League All-Stars returned to Fenway Park for the Cape Cod League All-Star Game, which was played again in 2010.

1978

The 1978 Red Sox won 99 games, the club's highest total since their 1946 pennant-winning season. However a single-game, AL East playoff against the Yankees made New York shortstop Bucky Dent an infamous figure in Red Sox history and ended a promising run.

Record: 99-64, 2nd in American League East
Manager: Donald W. Zimmer
Attendance: 2,320,643

In March 1978, after some offseason jockeying for club ownership, the Yawkey Estate sold the Red Sox to a group headed by Jean Yawkey, Haywood Sullivan and Buddy LeRoux. Sullivan had taken Dick O'Connell's place as general manager following the 1977 season.

Over the winter, the Red Sox also addressed weaknesses on their roster and signed 1977 World Series MVP Mike Torrez while also acquiring Massachusetts native Jerry Remy and all-star pitcher Dennis Eckersley in separate trades.

By mid-May, the Red Sox had secured a firm grasp on first place with the help of Jim Rice, who started the season on a tear and hit 16 home runs by the end of the month. Rice kept hitting and earned the 1978 AL MVP after becoming the first American Leaguer to collect 400 total bases in a single-season since Joe DiMaggio did so in 1937.

By July 5 the Red Sox held a 10-game lead in the American League East and seemed indomitable. However, tensions persisted despite the on-field success and on June 15, after Bernie Carbo was traded to the Indians, Bill Lee cleaned out his locker. Lee criticized team management and insisted that he was quitting, though he returned the next day.

The Red Sox recovered from a sluggish July and entered September leading the AL East by seven games over the second-place Yankees. However, Boston had been left short-handed by late August injuries to Jerry Remy and Dwight Evans. Having lost five of their previous seven games, the Red Sox prepared to host New York in an early September, four-game series at Fenway Park. The Yankees promptly swept the Red Sox and outscored them by a 42-9 margin in a series that came to be known as "The Boston Massacre."

Despite squandering what had once been a 14-game lead over New York, the Red Sox found a second wind and won 12 of their final 14 regular-season games. The Yankees stayed hot as well and won seven in a row near the end, setting up a single-game playoff at Fenway Park on October 2. The Red Sox initially led the do-or-die game 2-0 but the Yankees came back thanks in part to a now-infamous home run by New York's Bucky Dent in the top of the seventh. Boston mounted a comeback and cut the deficit to a single run, but their chances were snuffed out by Yankee right-fielder Lou Piniella's sun-blinded snag of a Rick Burleson line drive in the ninth inning. For the third time in seven seasons, the Red Sox had suffered an agonizing last-minute loss.

1979

On July 24, 1979, Carl Yastrzemski hit his 400th career home run in a game against Oakland at Fenway Park. Six days later, the ballpark hosted its third all-star game featuring the Cape Cod Baseball League. In September, Yastrzemski reached another milestone in front of the Fenway Park crowd when he collected his 3,000th career hit and became the first player in American League history to notch 400 home runs and 3,000 hits in their career.

Record: 91-69, 3rd in American League East
Manager: Donald W. Zimmer
Attendance: 2,353,114

On March 9, 1979, Commissioner Bowie Kuhn notified teams that reporters, regardless of gender, should be treated equally. As a result, female reporters throughout baseball were given access to clubhouses.

For the third year in a row the Red Sox won more than 90 games under Don Zimmer but the Orioles won 102 games and Boston ended up 11½ games out of first.

Luis Tiant signed with the Yankees in free agency during the offseason, and Bill Lee was dealt to Montreal for second baseman Stan Papi, who hit .188 for Boston in 1979. Dennis Eckersley led the team in victories (17-10), along with Mike Torrez (16-13) and Bob Stanley (16-12 after being converted to the rotation).

Even with these subtractions on the pitching side, the Red Sox still had the Gold Dust Twins, Jim Rice and Fred Lynn. Rice batted .325 with 39 home runs and 130 RBIs and Lynn hit .333, drove in 122 and also had 39 homers. Rice and Lynn joined teammate Carl Yastrzemski as the three AL outfielders chosen to start the All-Star Game. Rice also became the only player in the history of Major League Baseball to have 200 or more hits and 35 or more home runs in three consecutive seasons.

In a 7-3 victory over Oakland at Fenway Park on July 24, Yastrzemski hit his 400th career home run. He then collected his 3,000th career base hit on September 12 in a home game against the Yankees. In the process, Yastrzemski became the first player in American League history to have both 3,000 hits and 400 home runs in a career.

On July 3, 1979, before the Red Sox game versus the Royals, a Pitch, Hit & Run competition took place at Fenway Park. The ballpark also hosted a pair of all-star games in 1979, including the Cape Cod Baseball League's third consecutive victory at Fenway Park over the Atlantic Coast Baseball League.

1979 Non-Red Sox Baseball At Fenway Park

May 29Division Two & Three All-Stars 3, Division One All-Stars 2

July 3Burger King Pitch, Hit & Run Competition

July 30Cape Cod Baseball League 6, Atlantic Collegiate Baseball League 5*

 

* From 1975 to 1987, on a biennial basis, Fenway Park hosted an all-star game between the Cape Code Baseball League and the Atlantic Collegiate League. The all-star game alternated between Fenway Park and sites closer to the ACL's teams, such as Yankee Stadium and Veterans Stadium. In 1988, the Cape Cod Baseball League returned to an intra-league format for their annual all-star game and in 2009, Cape Code League All-Stars returned to Fenway Park for the Cape Cod League All-Star Game, which was played again in 2010.