The 1980 Boston Red Sox (Credit: Boston Red Sox)
As a new decade in Fenway Park history dawned, the Red Sox took a step backwards. Injuries were rampant and the club managed just 83 wins, despite boasting a roster with several products of a productive farm system. The offseason was no kinder, as Carlton Fisk and Fred Lynn became free agents after their contracts weren't delivered in time.
The 1981 Major League Baseball season was an unusual one because of a midsummer strike and the Red Sox finished out of the running again. After the season, construction started on a multi-year project to renovate Fenway Park's grandstand roof and install the park's first luxury boxes.
In 1982, construction of Fenway Park's first true luxury boxes was focused on the first-base side of the park's grandstand roof, replacing roof box seats that were installed in the late 1940s. Wade Boggs also debuted at Fenway Park for the Red Sox, who got off to their best start since 1946 but faded down the stretch. In May, an Old-Timers Day brought back many famous faces to the ballpark
The renovation to Fenway Park's upper level was completed in 1983 and featured luxury boxes, new sky-view seating and the ballpark's first elevator. On the field, the Red Sox labored through their first losing season in nearly two decades and the franchise suffered through ownership in-fighting.
In February 1984, Lou Gorman took over as Red Sox General Manager and inherited a gifted young pitching staff that was starting to blossom. Also over the offseason, as the new plastic bleacher seats were installed in center-field, the Red Sox installed one red seat back to commemorate the location of the longest home run ever hit at Fenway Park, a 502-foot blast by Ted Williams on June 9, 1946. On May 28, 1984, the club also retired Williams' #9 and Joe Cronin's #4. The numbers of the two legends were the first to be retired by the Red Sox and were placed on façade of the right-field roof. In July, the United State Olympic Baseball team visited Fenway Park to play an exhibition game.
Under new manager John McNamara, the 1985 Red Sox ended the season with a mediocre 81-81 record. During the summer, the Cape Cod Baseball League All-Stars returned to Fenway Park Fenway Park and defeated the all-star team from the Atlantic Collegiate Baseball League.
The 1986 season started off on the right foot when Roger Clemens struck out a major-league record 20 batters in an April game at Fenway Park. On May 17, the club held an Old-Timers game that paid tribute to the 40th anniversary of the Red Sox pennant-winning 1946 squad and invited back non-Red Sox alumni to participate as well, including Joe and Vince DiMaggio who joined their brother Dom on the Fenway Park field. In the fall, the 1986 Red Sox celebrated their own AL Pennant, rallying to defeat the California Angels in the ALCS before advancing to a heartbreaking World Series reminiscent of 1946.
In 1987, the Red Sox celebrated the 75th anniversary of Fenway Park but the team had a difficult time repeating their success of the previous year. A new function facility named, "Diamond at Fenway," and a new souvenir store, "The Lansdowne Shop," were built in the Jeano Building and in the summer, Fenway Park hosted the last matchup between all-stars from the Cape Cod Baseball League and the Atlantic Collegiate Baseball League.
Fenway Park was the site of "Morgan Magic" in 1988, as interim skipper Joe Morgan sparked a dramatic, mid-season turnaround and the team made the playoffs. After a short postseason run, significant construction on a new press box and premium club commenced.
The 600 Club debuted in 1989 and a new press offered more space for writers and broadcasters along with a control room for the park's video and scoreboards. On the field, the Red Sox couldn't recapture the magic of 1988 and finished with a disappointing 83 wins.