Christmas morning came for me on Friday April 16, 2004 as I stood on Van Ness Street and chuckled to myself watching the gathering of dignitaries ready to participate in this historic event.
Hank Evanish (benefactor), Franc Talarico (sculptur) and Red Sox owner Larry Lucchino chat before the ceremonies.
Once again, Franc’s graciousness had me along for the ride. He had taken to introducing me as his “consultant” and as time passes I am increasingly humbled and will be grateful evermore by that thought.
Franc made his way through the crowd meeting new folks and renewing acquaintances.
Franc talking with Dave McCarthy (center) the executive director of the Ted Williams Museum and Bobby Doerr.
He was interviewed by a Boston TV reporter and I was amused when he pronounced that “the curse was over”! He actually said that! He said Ted was going to chase it away! Now I was never one to buy into all that curse nonsense for two basic reasons; one, it was nonsense and second, I couldn’t see the likes of Babe Ruth with his heart and love for the game, cursing anyone or anything. However, it was interesting and amusing that Franc, recognized the pall which seemed to hang over Fenway and on that chilly April morn in 2004 proclaimed it over. And the funny part is, we all know what happened six months later!
Everyone gathered as the time for the unveiling drew near. Several people spoke and Franc was introduced to the crowd.
Franc is applauded by from left to right, Larry Luchinno, Mayor Tom Menino, Bobby Doerr and Johnny Pesky.
The statue was unveiled by Hank Evanish, the man who set everything in motion, Johnny Pesky, Mayor Menino and Bobby Doerr.
Franc, Larry Luchinno (behind him), Hank, Johnny Pesky, the Mayor and Bobby Doerr, minutes after the statue was unveiled.
And it was not long before the people began to observe and mingle.
The Red Sox played the Yankees that night and pummeled them. Eight years later Ted joined himself on Van Ness Street as “The Teammates” statue was unveiled celebrating the very special relationship of Ted, Johnny Pesky, Dom Dimaggio and Bobby Doerr.
When Fenway Park celebrates its 100th birthday in April, it will mark the eighth anniversary of the unveiling of the Ted Williams Jimmy Fund statue.
For eight years, Ted has been standing watch over Fenway and when all is said and done, that is as it should be. For through the litany of the games very best who have called Fenway Park home: from Speaker and Ruth, to Grove and Foxx, to Yastrzemski, Fisk and Rice and into today Ted Williams is the once and forever face of the Boston Red Sox. He now stands forevermore with his teammates and his kids, his Jimmy Fund kids! And all due to the vision and generosity of Hank Evanish and the heart, mind and hands of Franc Talarico.
Hank, Ted and Franc.
And so it was on this date in Fenway Park history, April 16, 2004.