He was born in Bellows Falls Vermont, raised in Charlestown New Hampshire, went to UNH and as a kid dreamed of playing for the Boston Celtics. A New Englander through and through, the Boston Red Sox, in 1967, made him their number one draft pick (4th overall) and in 1969 he made his major league debut. Not quite yet ready, it would be the September call up of 1971 before he returned to Fenway Park but when the team broke north for the 1972 season, they did so with Carlton Ernest “Pudge” Fisk in tow.
The year 1972 saw the first ever players strike which delayed the start of the season until mid April. At the season’s inception, Carlton Fisk was the Red Sox number three catcher but by the time the summer winds blew at Fenway, “Pudge” Fisk and his number 27 were entrenched behind home plate.
He was an instant hit, because he could hit. A pull hitter with power with a swing made for Fenway, he was a stalwart behind the plate with a canon for an arm. The old timers said he was the best catcher the Red Sox had seen since “Birdie” Tebbetts crouched behind the plate during the 1946 pennant winning campaign.
Tough, hard-nosed and honest, he called out veteran Reggie Smith and superstar Carl Yastrzemski in August of his rookie year for not providing leadership in the clubhouse. “We are a young team and we look to them” he said in the midst of the 1972 pennant race and both responded with torrid Septembers. The Red Sox took the race to the last weekend of the season before succumbing to the Tigers. He was 24, he could catch, he could throw, he could hit and he could lead. And when the year ended, and the pundits and writers cast their votes for the seasons best; Carlton Fisk won the Gold Glove for American League catchers, and became the first unanimous selection for the honor of Rookie of the Year.
And so it was, this week in Fenway Park history, November, 1972…..
An All Time Fenway Favorite……
Hello and welcome, my name is Raymond Sinibaldi. An educator for more than two decades, a baseball fan for nearly 60 years, I have authored four books about baseball and her glorious history; with a fifth on the way in late spring of 2015; the first, The Babe in Red Stockings which was co-authored with Kerry Keene and David Hickey. It is a chronicle of Babe's days with the Red Sox. We also penned a screenplay about Babe's Red Sox days so if any of you are Hollywood inclined or would like to represent us in forwarding that effort feel free to contact me through my email. In 2012 we three amigos published Images of Fenway Park in honor of the 100th birthday of Fenway Park. That led to the creation of this blog. The following year, 2013 came my first solo venture, Spring Training in Bradenton and Sarasota. This is a pictorial history of spring training in those two Florida cities. The spring of 2014 brought forth the 1967 Red Sox, The Impossible Dream Season. The title speaks for itself and it also is a pictorial history. Many of the photos in this book were never published before. The spring of 2015 will bring 1975 Red Sox, American League Champions. Another pictorial effort, this will be about the Red Sox championship season of 1975 and the World Series that restored baseball in America. I was fortunate enough to consult with sculptor Franc Talarico on the “Jimmy Fund” statue of Ted Williams which stands outside both Fenway Park and Jet Blue Park Fenway South, in Fort Myers Florida. That story is contained in the near 300 posts which are contained herein. This blog has been dormant for awhile but 2015 will bring it back to life so jump on board, pass the word and feel free to contact me about anything you read or ideas you may have for a topic. Thanks for stopping by, poke around and enjoy. Autographed copies of all my books are available here, simply click on Raymond Sinibaldi and email me.