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.
In 2001, expectations were higher than imaginable, but soon enough they came crashing down.
The season — which marked the team's 100 year anniversary — began with nothing but optimism, and rightfully so, because the Red Sox were sporting a roster that included Nomar Garciaparra, the two-time defending AL batting champion, Pedro Martinez, the two-time defending AL Cy Young Award winner, and a newly acquired slugger by the name of Manny Ramirez.
But before the regular season even started, Garciaparra was sidelined with a split tendon in his right wrist. The injury forced the shortstop to miss nearly the entire season, as he played in only 21 games.
He wasn't the only player affected by the injury bug, though. Martinez dealt with injuries throughout the entire season, managing only 18 starts. With limited contributions from two of their biggest stars, the Sox struggled to keep their heads above water, finishing in second place in the AL East with an 82-79 record.
There were, however, more than a few bright spots in an otherwise mediocre and disappointing season.
Ramirez drove in 125 runs, hit .306 and blasted 41 bombs in his debut season in Boston. And the Sox' other major offseason acquisition, pitcher Hideo Nomo, tossed the team's first no-hitter since 1965 in his first start in a Sox uniform on April 4.
Throughout the season, the Sox held various events to commemorate the team's anniversary, including the release of an Emmy Award-winning DVD chronicling the history of the franchise.
The end of the season also proved to be the end of an era when franchise owners Tom and Jean Yawkey sold the Sox to a group led by John Henry, Tom Werner and Larry Lucchino. The new owners promised to bring Boston fans a World Series championship, and three years later, they made good on their word, snapping the dreaded Curse of the Bambino.
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