2010 Upper Deck #544 Fenway Park
This afternoon, I witnessed one of the most fascinating things to ever take place on a baseball field.
Today, of course, is the 100th anniversary of the opening of Fenway Park. On April 20, 1912, the Red Sox beat the New York Highlanders (later the Yankees) 7-6 in 11 innings.
To honor the occasion, the Red Sox invited every player who ever donned the uniform to come back and participate in the immense celebration. Everyone from footnotes in Red Sox history, such as Dave Valle (who played a grand total of 30 games in Boston), to legends like "Yaz" showed up.
All in all, 230 former Red Sox all gathered at Fenway Park this afternoon, making for one of the greatest moments I've ever had the good fortune to watch.
Among those 230 players was Luis Tiant. Bill Buckner. Bernie Carbo. Nomar Garciaparra. Carlton Fisk. Dennis Eckersley. Bobby Doerr. Johnny Pesky. And my personal favorite attendee of the afternoon, Bill "Spaceman" Lee.
Those names were just the tip of the iceberg.
I can't say that I've ever been a huge Red Sox fan. I've always had a general indifference towards them, although I've always had a deep admiration for the history behind the franchise. A true lifelong Red Sox fan probably appreciated this afternoon's ceremonies about a hundred times more than I ever could.
But what I loved about it was the sheer amount of baseball history that Boston managed to pack into one afternoon. Two-hundred and thirty players. I'm still having trouble grasping that number.
Any true baseball fan had to have been in awe. (Even you, Yankee fans.)
One of the greatest things about it was that each player wore the Red Sox uniform that was appropriate for their time in Boston. Bobby Doerr wore the old flannel jerseys that defined the '40s and '50s. Newer Sox greats such as Jason Varitek wore the more modern version of the uniform (with the captain's "C" that always made Varitek distinguishable from everyone else on the field).
When the time comes, I can only hope that Wrigley Field will put on as great of a ceremony as Boston did today. I don't know that it could have been any more well-executed on the part of the Boston faithful.
It's certainly an afternoon that I'll remember for a long, long time.