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Red Sox fete Fenway on centennial

Jason Varitek, left, and Tim Wakefield, right, stand behind Red Sox legends Johnny Pesky and Bobby Doerr, respectively, with David Ortiz in between during Fenway Park’s 100th birthday celebration.

Associated Press

Jason Varitek, left, and Tim Wakefield, right, stand behind Red Sox legends Johnny Pesky and Bobby Doerr, respectively, with David Ortiz in between during Fenway Park’s 100th birthday celebration.

BOSTON — More than 200 former Red Sox players and coaches celebrated Fenway Park's 100th birthday on Friday. The Red Sox won the opener on April 20, 1912, 7-6 in 11 innings over the New York Highlanders (who changed their name to Yankees in 1913).

All living Red Sox players and coaches were invited to the first stadium to reach 100 years. Those in attendance included Pumpsie Green, who became the team's first black player in 1959.

As the players were introduced, they took their positions. Many of the biggest cheers went to players from the 2004 team that ended an 86-year title drought. The biggest went to Terry Francona, the manager of that team who also won the 2007 World Series but was fired after last year.

"Like a Lear jet,'' said Kevin Millar, part of the 2004 team.

Jim Rice opened the Field of Dreams-ish ceremony by appearing from an opening in foul territory in leftfield and walking to his old position in front of the Green Monster. He was followed by more than 200 former Red Sox uniformed personnel, from Don Aase to Bob Zupcic, a steady procession of graying ballplayers in starched white or yellowing jerseys, giving the fans one more chance to cheer for greats Carlton Fisk and Carl Yastrzemski or fan favorites Dennis "Oil Can" Boyd, Bill "Spaceman" Lee, Bill Buckner, Luis Tiant and Nomar Garciaparra.

After taking their positions, the players circled the two oldest, Johnny Pesky, 92, and Bobby Doerr, 94, who were pushed out to second base in wheelchairs.

"It was awesome being able to see all the guys that have played," Red Sox 1B Adrian Gonzalez said. "To be able to say thank you for all the guys who paved the way, it was pretty special."

Caroline Kennedy, daughter of President John Kennedy, took part in a ceremonial first pitch from the first-base box seats, 100 years after her great-grandfather, Boston Mayor John Fitzgerald, did the same.

The ceremony ended with Millar and Pedro Martinez, also part of the '04 team, leading a grape juice toast from the top of the Boston dugout.

A-Rod passes Griffey: Yankees 3B Alex Rodriguez hit his 631st homer, moving ahead of Ken Griffey Jr. for fifth all time. It came in the fifth against Boston RHP Clay Buchholz.

Contracts: The owners and union agreed to ban future personal-services contracts and milestone bonuses. 1B Albert Pujols' deal with the Angels includes $3 million for reaching 3,000 hits, $7 million for breaking Barry Bonds' homer record and $1 million annually for 10 years after his retirement. The sides were worried about teams getting around the luxury tax.

Canseco signs: OF Jose Canseco, 47, out of the majors since 2001, signed with Worcester (Mass.) of the independent Can-Am league, which starts May 17.

Twitter fine: Indians closer Chris Perez was fined $750 by MLB for a "reckless" tweet about benches clearing twice after hit batsmen against the Royals on April 14. The tweet included, "You hit us, we hit you. Period."

Cubs: RH reliever Kerry Wood, 34, who has an 11.57 ERA in four appearances, went on the DL with right shoulder fatigue.

Yankees: LHP Andy Pettitte, 39, who ended his retirement last month, said he felt "pretty comfortable" after throwing 66 pitches over 5⅔ innings in an extended spring training game in Tampa. He said he expects to go to Double A for his next start.

The 10K club

The Reds on Friday became the sixth team with 10,000 wins. The teams with the year they were founded and record:

Team Year Record
Giants 1883 10,528-9,040
Cubs 1876 10,314-9,790
Dodgers 1884 10,227-9,281*
Cardinals 1882 10,204-9,494
Braves 1876 10,042-10,032*
Reds 1882 10,000-9,710

* Not including Friday's late game

Red Sox fete Fenway on centennial 04/20/12 [Last modified: Friday, April 20, 2012 9:57pm]
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