At precisely midnight last night, I was awakened by a huge clap of thunder which rolled on for a full three minutes before dissipating into the darkness of a new day. This day, opening day.
Today at 1:05 Jacoby Ellsbury will step into the left-handed batters box at Comerica Park in Detroit Michigan and just like that Fenway Park’s 100th birthday will be underway! Albeit they will be in Detroit but it will be underway nonetheless and it will begin Fenway’s 101st season.
A century ago on this date, the Red Sox were setting about breaking camp in Hot Springs Arkansas and were a few days away from the first ever baseball at Fenway Park.
It is appropriate that the Red Sox open their 2012 season on the road, for they did just that 100 years ago, in New York versus the Highlanders/Yankees in Hilltop Park.
April 11, 1912 Yankee co-owner Bill Devery and manager Harry Wolverton in pregame ceremonies. This marked the first time the Yankees wore pin stripes.
The Red Sox won that opener 5-3 and went on to sweep the three game series embarking upon a 105 win season, which remains the most in their history.
I thought it would be fun to take a look at the Red Sox and their opening day history since they have called Fenway Park their home. So prepare yourselves for a collection of enormously useless, gigantically meaningless, curiously interesting, trivialities of 100 years of Red Sox opening days.
Since 1912, the Red Sox have opened the baseball season only 38 times at Fenway Park. In those 38 games, they have won 21 and lost 17. The astute math minds among you will discern that they have opened the season 61 times on the road. In those games they have won 29 and lost 32 for a total record of 51 wins and 49 losses in opening days since 1912.
The first Fenway Park opener came in 1913 a 10-9 loss to the Philadelphia A’s and the Red Sox would not win the seasons first game at Fenway Park until April 12, 1916 when a young south paw by the name of Ruth pitched them to a 2-1 win over those same A’s.
Babe was 3-0 as the opening day pitcher winning in 1916, ’17’ and ’18’.
Let’s take a look at their opening day opponents, and where better to begin than with the Yankees.
The Sox and Yanks have opened the season against each other a total of 25 times in 100 years. In those 25 games the Yankees hold a 14-11 edge and here is how it breaks down. Nine of those games have been at Fenway Park and in those nine games, the Red Sox are 5-4. They played one game at Hilltop Park which the Red Sox won, two games at the Polo Grounds which the Red Sox won and 13 games at Yankee Stadium in which the Red Sox have gone 3-10.
The Sox and Yankees played the first ever game in Yankee Stadium, April 18, 1923.
The Red Sox first Fenway Park opening day win against the Yankees came in 1938 and they did not repeat that effort until a 3-1 win opening the 1971 campaign.
From 1912 through 1954, if the Red Sox did not open their season at Fenway Park, they were either in New York, Philadelphia or Washington. It was a simple logistic of train travel.
The Senators were their opening day opponent 16 times with the Red Sox emerging victorious in nine of those games. They were 4-3 at Fenway Park, 4-4 at Griffith Stadium and 1-0 at DC Stadium.
The Red Sox last opening day game at Griffith Stadium was a 10-1 shellacking in 1960.
There have been three version of the Athletics, or A’s if you will. The Philadelphia version, the Kansas City version and the Oakland version. The Red Sox have battled all three as opening day opponents and are a collective 9-8 in the contests. They have twice opened in Oakland and won both in 1998 and 2008. Only once did they play the Kansas City version and that was a 5-2 loss at Fenway in 1962. They were 7-6 against the Philadelphians.
The Red Sox opened the season seven times in Shibe Park winning three of them.
As for today’s opponent the Detroit Tigers. The Red Sox did not open against the Detroit Tigers until 1968 and they have played them a total of six times in their inaugural season game. They are 3-0 at Fenway Park and 1-2 at Tiger Stadium. It was 1994 when they last clashed in game one and this marks their first opener in Comerica Park.
It’s here! Let the games begin!
And so it is on this day in Fenway Park history, April 5, 2012, the first day, OPENING DAY!