“Thunder is good, thunder is impressive; but it is lightning that does the work.” Mark Twain

The Red Sox team of 1911 were 78-75 and finished in third place 24 games behind Connie Mack’s World Champion Philadelphia Athletics. They were the youngest team in the league and if they were going to have a legitimate shot at the 1912 pennant, they were going to have to catch some this,

 And put it in this,

 

 

 

 

 

 

Well as luck would have it, they caught it alright, but not only once, but twice! That’s right twice. The first was with a guy named Hugh Bedient and the second with Thomas Joseph “Buck” O’Brien.

 

 

 

First, “Buck” O’Brien. A local kid from Brockton Mass a city about 30 miles southwest of Fenway Park, O’Brien had sparkled in the minor leagues winning, 18, 20 and 26 games in successive years. He was 5-1 with the Red Sox in 1911 and when he arrived for spring training in Hot Springs Arkansas in 1912, he was 30 years old and the oldest member of the pitching staff.

Some of the 1912 Red Sox in Hot Springs in, left to right, Olaf Hendrickson, Larry Gardner, “Buck” O’Brien, Heinie Wagner, Steve Yerkes and Hugh Bradley.

O’Brien’s lightning came in the form of a “spitball” of which he had great command and what “Buck” did in the 1912 season was go 20-13 with a 2.58 ERA. He threw 275 innings and 25 complete games and when Fenway Park was finally opened on April 20, 1912, it was “Buck” who was on the mound.

 History will forever record that it was Thomas Joseph “Buck” O’Brien of Brockton Massachusetts who threw the first pitch in the history of Fenway Park.

 Hugh Carpenter Bedient was a rookie in 1912. He had gained some notoriety when on July 25, 1908 while pitching for the Falconers a semi-pro team in New York, he struck out 42 men in a 23 inning complete game win.

 Bedient went 20-9 for the Red Sox as a rookie, a record that becomes even more impressive when you take into account the fact that he did not make his first start until May 4th of 1912.

 The 22-year-old rookie was the pitching star of the World Series going 1-0 with a 0.50 ERA in 18 innings pitched. He outdueled Christy Mathewson for a 2-1 win in game five and in the deciding match-up he battled “Matty” again and stayed with him for seven innings in a game eventually won by the Red Sox.

Both O’Brien and Bedient would be out of baseball by the end of the 1915 season. O’Brien’s lightning dissipated as the league simply figured out his spitter, for Bedient the end came in the form of a shoulder injury. However, the pages of Fenway Park history will forever tell the tales of two pitchers who in the inaugural year of “America’s Most Beloved Ballpark”, caught lightning in a bottle and used it to help propel the Red Sox to their greatest season in their history!

               And so it was at this time in Fenway Park history, winter 1912.

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About fenwaypark100

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.
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