Opening Day, Tony Conigliaro Highlight Red Sox’ 1964 Season

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.

Local prospect Tony Conigliaro, a Revere, Mass., native, belted the first pitch he saw in his first game at Fenway Park onto Lansdowne St. and Robert and Ted Kennedy were at Fenway Park on Opening Day for a ceremony in honor of their brother John F. Kennedy, who was assassinated just a few months prior.

But while the season started off with a bang, the following summer months were anything but for the Red Sox, who lost 90 games and finished in eighth place in the AL.

Conigliaro provided a bright spot for some of the season, knocking 24 homers despite missing more than a month of action with an arm injury that he suffered after being hit by a pitch. He slammed 20 long balls by the end of July and finished with a .294 average in his rookie campaign.

Just 19 years old, Conigliaro's 24 homers set a record that still stands today for home runs by a teenager.

Dick "The Monster" Radatz led the team in wins, despite serving as a relief pitcher, and set a record for strikeouts by a reliever, fanning 181 batters. He finished the season with 29 saves and a 16-9 record, and he earned an appearance in the All-Star Game.

As the season unraveled in the late months, manager Johnny Pesky was fired. The day before he was let go, on Oct. 1, the Red Sox drew a crowd of 306 — likely the smallest attendance ever for a Boston game at Fenway.

The Boston Patriots continued playing at Fenway in 1964, but fell to the Buffalo Bills in their home finale in a game that decided the AFC East champ.

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