Don Zimmer Takes Over as Red Sox Manager Midway Through 1976, But Team Still Misses Postseason

Editor's note: Fenway Park opened on April 20, 1912. NESN.com will be celebrating Fenway's 100-year anniversary with unique content from now until April 20, 2012.

The 1975 season could not have been filled with much more drama for the Boston Red Sox, culminating with Carlton Fisk's walk-off homer at Fenway Park in Game 6 of the World Series and concluding with a Game 7 loss at the hands of the Cincinnati Reds.

The '76 season, on the other hand, could not have been any more ho-hum.

The Sox finished third in the AL East with an 83-79 record, thanks in large part to an early-season 10-game losing streak. They were also denied a major boost when MLB commissioner Bowie Kuhn rejected their million-dollar acquisitions of Joe Rudi and Rollie Fingers from the Athletics, claiming that it was "not in the best interest of baseball."

Shortly thereafter, owner Tom Yawkey passed away from leukemia, leaving control of the team to his wife, Jean.

Manager Darrell Johnson, who directed the team's magical run the year prior, was relieved of his duties midway through the season in favor Don Zimmer. The Sox seemed to respond to the managerial change, posting a 42-34 record the rest of the way, but it wasn't enough to get the team over the hump.

Prior to the 1976 season, Fenway Park underwent some of the most expensive renovations at the time — highlighted by the addition of an electronic scoreboard above the center-field bleachers, which provided fans instant replays during games.

In addition, the entire Green Monster had been rebuilt, and included new tin covering its exterior and a padding that covered its lower portion.

or more information on Fenway Park, visit Fenway Park 100.

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