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.
It was looking like a great season for the Red Sox in 1963 with Johnny Pesky as manager. Through late June, the Sox were 10 games above .500 and closing in on the first-place Yankees. But arguably one play changed everything in Boston.
The Sox were down 6-3 against the Cleveland Indians on June 27 when Dick Williams stepped to the plate with two on. Williams smashed a drive that was almost sure to leave the park, but Indians right fielder Al Luplow dove over the wall and made a spectacular catch to save Cleveland's lead. From that point, the Red Sox went into a tailspin and finished the season with a 76-85 record, good for seventh place in the American League.
Great individual seasons from players like Bill Monbouquette, Carl Yastrzemski, and closer Dick Radatz provided a bit of a bright side for Boston. Monbouquette won 20 games, while Yaz won his first batting title. Radatz had a remarkable season, finishing 15-6 with a 1.97 ERA.
The Sox and the Boston Patriots agreed to a contract to let the Pats play their home games at Fenway Park, and the Pats did not disappoint. The Patriots went 6-1 at home in their first season playing home games at Fenway.
The Harlem Globetrotters also played at Fenway in August of 1963.
For more information on Fenway Park, visit Fenway Park 100.