Sox may have lost, but fans enjoyed Fenway's 100th
BOSTON (WHDH) -- It was an afternoon a century in the making.
“We shared an experience that was unreal,” said one fan.
Fenway Park was filled to the brim with fans. The field was packed with former players. Sox faithful watched as, one by one, stars from several decades walked to their former positions -- a sight unlike any other.
“It was great seeing guys you haven’t seen in 30 years, you remember growing as a kid seeing them play, all those memories come back,” said Dan Cocuzzo.
Among the big names were Nomar Garciaparra, Mo Vaughn and, of course, Carl Yastrzemski. Every former Red Sox player was invited, like Harley Hisner -- he only pitched one game for the Sox, in 1951, against the Yankees. Hisner struck out Mickey Mantle. Twice.
“It was great, boy that was really fun. I haven’t been back in 16-er, 36 years,” said Hisner.
The standing room only crowd erupted when two legends came out -- 92-year-old Johnny Pesky and 93-year-old Bobby Doerr, both in wheelchairs, helped onto the field by the recently-retired Jason Varitek and Tim Wakefield.
“To see the players gather around Pesky the way that they did around Ted Williams was very emotional,” said Larry Behan.
No one received a bigger ovation than Terry Francona, who initially turned down the invitation, but ultimately said he owed it to the fans.
“We heard all the drama back and forth, but it was good to see him out there and good to see the ovation that he got,” said one fan.
Another Boston legend, John Williams, conducted the Boston Pops directly behind home plate, debuting his song “Fanfare for Fenway.”
Then there was a flyover fittingly included vintage planes. The entire ballpark joined in a toast for Fenway -- a 100th-year salute led by none other than two fan favorites, Pedro Martinez and Kevin Millar.
It turns out fans weren’t the only ones who were feeling nostalgic.
“When Doerr and Pesky came out, that’s when it got me. That was tear jerking,” said Millar.
“Every time since I came back to Boston it’s like a parade for me. It’s clapping, it’s loud, it’s intense, and I call it home sweet home,” said Martinez.
The first pitch in 1912 was thrown by former Mayor John Fitzgerald, 100 years later two of his great grandchildren -- Caroline Kennedy and Thomas Fitzgerald -- joined current Mayor Thomas Menino to throw out the ceremonial pitch.
Fans who all recall their childhood memories of Fenway and the Sox players they went to see got to relive those moments and maybe made new memories.