Red Sox Have Tough Year in 1955 With Death of Harry Agganis, Fourth-Place Finish

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July 6, 2011

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 1955 season did not start out well for the Red Sox.

After planning on retiring, Ted Williams did not join the team until after his divorce settlement in late May — and the Sox were already in a deep hole by that point. Things didn't get any better in the summer, as the team's young star, Harry Agganis, died suddenly of complications with pneumonia.

Agganis' death seemingly lit a fire under the Sox, who closed in on the first-place Yankees in August, but then struggled the rest of the season en route to an 84-70 record and a fourth-place finish. Jackie Jensen had a great year in 1955, hitting 26 home runs and knocking in 116 RBIs. Despite his late start, Williams still hit 28 homers and finished with a .356 batting average. Frank Sullivan led all Red Sox pitchers with 18 wins, and Michael Higgins won the AL Manager of the Year award, providing a bright spot to the Sox' rocky season.

Hall of Fame Day was held at Fenway Park on May 7, which featured many Red Sox legends such as Jimmie Foxx, Lefty Grove and Cy Young. A total of 19 Hall of Famers worked out on the field that day.

Many other big sporting events took place at Fenway in 1955, as the famed Harlem Globetrotters played a game against the Honolulu Surf Riders at the historic ballpark. The Boston College football team also played games at Fenway in the fall, going 3-0-1 in four games there.

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

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