The Boston Red Sox are preparing for today’s 100th anniversary of their first game at Fenway Park.
They’ll face the New York Yankees after pregame ceremonies to which the Red Sox say they’ve invited all living uniformed personnel they’ve been able to track down.
Curt Schilling says he won’t be able to make it because he’ll be busy with his video game company. Former Boston manager Terry Francona says he’ll be there after first saying he would skip the event in the wake of his departure following last season.
On Thursday, thousands of fans filed through the stadium during an open house. They were allowed to sit in the dugouts, walk along the warning track surrounding the field, wander through the stands and buy snacks and souvenirs.
Meanwhile, no franchise in sports is more proud– and more protective– of its history than the Yankees, so today’s event represents a departure of sorts.
There will be history, certainly, as they help the Red Sox mark the 100th anniversary of the venerable ballyard’s first game – a 7-6, 11-inning victory over the visitors from New York – by donning replicas of their uniforms from that day.
But there also is this: That year’s team, the last to be known as the Highlanders and play at Hilltop Park in Manhattan, went on to finish 50-102 and 55 games behind first-place Boston. It remains the worst season in franchise history.
“Hopefully we do a little better than they did,” Mark Teixeira said before Thursday night’s game against the Twins after being informed of the Highlanders’ struggles.
Like most Yankees, Teixeira did not know much about the Highlanders and their pennant-free 10 seasons before moving to the Polo Grounds and changing their name in 1913.
“Starting with Ruth and Gehrig, I can maybe give you a little bit,” he said, “but before then, you guys are going to have to help me out.”
Derek Jeter also confessed to knowing nothing of that era, and jokingly suggested reporters to ask 39-year-old Raul Ibanez about it.
But the players seemed to embrace the opportunity to celebrate the occasion, even if the party is being hosted by their ancient rivals, and even if it means wearing old-school duds.
The team has no record of having worn a “throwback” version of a Yankees uniform and knows of only one instance of wearing anything other than its regular uniforms in an official game. They wore New York Black Yankees jerseys for a Negro League salute in Detroit in 1996.