Forty-three years ago today, I went to Boston for the first time and saw the Red Sox defeat the Oakland Athletics 4-3 before an unusually large crowd of 35,714 at Fenway Park. The place was packed. I couldn’t believe that I was in the same ballpark with the guys I had been watching on TV for the previous two seasons. We sat in section 33, down the left-field line. The pitching matchup was Oakland’s Vida Blue vs. Boston’s Sonny Siebert.
Siebert was 8-0 and Blue was 10-1, on his way to winning the Cy Young and Most Valuable Player awards. The A’s hit three solo homers off Siebert, while Rico Petrocelli hit two homers (a two-run and a solo) off Blue. After Rico’s first homer, some big fat guy jumped up and down and spilled coffee all over my Mom and my sister Maureen.
The other parts I will always remember were John Kiley playing the organ, and Sherm Feller’s booming voice announcing each player as they came up to bat. I still play a recording of John’s national anthem at Prospect American Legion games, and my voice still sounds like Sherm’s when I speak into a microphone.
It is still one of the most famous games ever played at Fenway. And because of my parents, I was lucky enough to be there.