It’s All in the Numbers…..

The Red Sox have, what could best be described as, a two tier system of recognizing the immortals who have called Fenway Park their home. The top-tier is the retired numbers. These are the creme de la creme, the pièce de résistance and they are honored on Fenway’s venerable right field facade…..

and on the outside wall on Van Ness Street as well.

They hang in numerical order, however the order in which they were retired reads 9, 4, 1, 8, 27, 6 and 14. The blue number 42 is Jackie Robinson’s number which is retired throughout all of Major League Baseball.

Ted Williams and Joe Cronin’s numbers were retired together on a rainy night in May of 1984. Ted addressed the crowd from a podium set up on the field and a very ill Joe Cronin was on hand but remained in a box upstairs. He passed away before the end of the season.

Ted (9) played 19 seasons, all with the Red Sox. He missed five years owed to WW II and Korea. A 17 time all-star, he was twice named the MVP. He also was a two-time winner of the triple crown, a six-time batting champ, and the last man to hit .400. (.406 in 1941) He was enshrined in Cooperstown in 1966 and in his speech there intoned Major League Baseball to considered players from the old Negro Leagues for enshrinement. In 1971, that came to be.

Cronin (4) was the player manager for the Red Sox from 1935-45 and after his playing days were finished, he managed them in 1946 and 47 as well. A career .301 hitter, he was a five time all-star while playing in Fenway Park. He went on to become the Red Sox General Manager and the American League President as well. He was enshrined in Cooperstown in 1956.

Bobby Doerr’s number 1 joined the ranks of the immortals in May of 1988. He played for 14 seasons from 1937-1951 all with the Red Sox. A nine time all-star, he was elected to the National Hall of Fame in Cooperstown by the Veteran’s Committee in 1986. Often referred to as the “unofficial” captain of the 1946 pennant winning team, he hit .409 in the 1946 World Series. He was the Red Sox first base coach when they won the pennant in 1967.

In August of 1988, just days after he was inducted into Cooperstown, Carl Yastrzemski’s number 8 joined the roll call of Fenway immortality and was installed on the famous facade. “Yaz” was the 1967 MVP and an all-star in 18 of his 23 seasons. He played more games in a Red Sox uniform, 3308, than any player in their history. He is the last player to win the coveted Triple Crown, accomplishing it in 1967.

In April of 1997, Jackie Roosevelt Robinson became part of the Fenway facade when baseball commissioner Bud Selig retired his number 42 throughout baseball. Jackie had a tryout with the Red Sox in 1945, he didn’t make the cut. Yikes!

Carlton Fisk’s number 27 made its way to the Fenway facade in September of 2000, just two short months after the catcher had made his way to the hallowed halls of Cooperstown. The 1972 American League Rookie of the Year, Fisk spent 11 seasons with the Red Sox and was an all-star seven times. And then there was that October night in game six of the 1975 World Series when his 12th inning homer hit the foul pole in left which now bears his name. His homer won the game, tied the Series and sent New England into rapturous joy!

The next number to be so honored was Johnny Pesky’s number 6. He is the only player to have his number retired who is not in the National Baseball Hall of Fame. Pesky’s honor was a reward for a lifetime of achievement with the Boston Red Sox. Johnny has served the Red Sox as a player, a coach, a manager, a special assistant, a TV broadcaster and a goodwill ambassador. Loved by one and all, he may well be the most popular man to ever don a Red Sox uniform.

The last number to adorn Fenway’s facade of immortality belongs to Jim Rice. Number 14 joined the ranks in July of 2009 just days after his enshrinement in Cooperstown. Rice played 16 seasons with the Red Sox from 1974-1989. An eight time all-star he was the 1978 MVP and from 1976-1980 he was among the most feared hitters in baseball.

What will be the next number to join the ranks of Fenway Park immortals? Some things to consider and look for; when was the last time a player wore number 26 (Wade Boggs) or 21 (Roger Clemens) or 45 (Pedro)? My money is on Pedro!

             And so it is on this day in Fenway Park history, February 16, 2012.


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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1 Response to It’s All in the Numbers…..

  1. Reblogged this on fenwaypark100 and commented:

    Interesting tidbits! Do you know how many Red Sox players have worn the number 21 since Clemens left bound for Toronoto? Exactly none! Boggs, another story, a total of 12 different players have donned his number 26 since his departure to New York following the “92” season. However even more interesting than that is that followinf the 2004 miracle year nobody wore the number 26 until this season when Scott Podsednik broke it out! I wonder were the Red Sox considering some form of number reconciliation with the Hall of Famer? And if so, how and why did it break down? Just wondering! As for “45”? In a late July eve in the not to distant future Pedro will take his rightful place up on that venerable facade!

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