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.
Manager Don Zimmer had led the Red Sox to three consecutive 90-win seasons. Yet in a season ravaged by injuries, the 1980 Sox only managed a disappointing 83-77 record.
Everyday players Fred Lynn, Butch Hobson and Jerry Remy each missed considerable time, while Carl Yastrzemski and Jim Rice also saw visits to the DL.
Free agent addition Tony Perez anchored the brittle Red Sox lineup, leading the team with 25 home runs and 105 RBI. Perez was the only outside addition in a roster primarily composed of homegrown talent.
Dennis Eckersley led the Red Sox pitching staff with 12 wins and 121 strikeouts. Boston's rotation also added a trio of young lefties: Bruce Hurst, John Tudor and Bobby Ojeda. Tudor had the most successful season, going 8-5 with a 3.02 ERA.
Having previously competed for a playoff spot until the final weeks of September, it was a major disappointment when the Red Sox fell into an early hole in May. With five games left in the season, Boston relieved Zimmer of his duties, replacing him with Johnny Pesky.
The real drama of 1980 came after the season. The Red Sox failed to tender contracts to free agents Lynn and Carlton Fisk by the December 20 deadline. Instead, once the players heard back from the team, the contract offers were postmarked 'Dec. 22,' making them true free agents. The team ultimately signed and traded Lynn to the California Angels, while Fisk switched his Sox and joined Chicago.
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