Red Sox

10 memorable Boston Red Sox home opener wins at Fenway Park

10 memorable Boston Red Sox home opener wins at Fenway Park

The Boston Red Sox were scheduled to play baseball at Fenway Park for the first time in 2020 on Thursday, but the outbreak of the coronavirus has delayed the start of the MLB season, and it's unknown when the action will resume at America's most beloved ballpark.

The Red Sox have given fans many great memories in home openers throughout their storied history -- everything from high-scoring games, walk-off finishes and World Series banner ceremonies.

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While we wait for baseball to return, let's look back at some of the Red Sox's most memorable home opener wins with some Opening Day Dreaming Delivered by Coors Light.

April 11, 2005

It's hard to find a more memorable home opener than this one. 

The Red Sox unveiled their 2004 World Series banner on a beautiful Monday afternoon in Boston, and they did it in front of the rival New York Yankees. Ceremonial first pitches were thrown by Celtics legend Bill Russell, Bruins legend Bobby Orr, as well as Patriots stars Tedy Bruschi and Richard Seymour.

The Sox offense scored eight runs on nine hits and Tim Wakefield pitched seven strong innings to power the defending champs to an 8-1 victory.

April 10, 1998

The Mariners jumped out to a 7-2 lead after eight innings thanks to a very good performance from lefty ace Randy Johnson. Unfortunately for the "Big Unit", he wouldn't earn the victory because the Mariners bullpen gave up seven runs in the bottom of the ninth, including a walk-off grand slam to former American League MVP winner Mo Vaughn.

April 6, 1973

The first game to ever include the designated hitter happened when the Red Sox hosted the Yankees for the home opener in 1973.

The Yankees' Ron Blomberg was the first DH to ever step up to the plate in the first inning, and he walked in a run with the bases loaded. Both teams have used the DH with great success since then, and the best example is the career of Red Sox legend David Ortiz.

April 8, 2008

It took the Red Sox 86 years to win their title after 1918, and Boston sports fans only had to wait three years to celebrate the next one.

Boston unveiled its 2007 World Series title flag at Fenway Park before a 5-0 win over the Detroit Tigers.

April 21, 1939

A new era for the Red Sox began in 1939 with Ted Williams embarking on a Hall of Fame career. He went 1-for-5 with an RBI and played right field in his first career home opener.

The Red Sox won 9-2 over the Philadelphia Athletics.

April 4, 2010

The Red Sox welcomed the defending World Series champion Yankees to Fenway Park to kick off the 2010 season with a rare night home opener.

The Yankees had a 5-2 lead after five innings, then the Red Sox offense woke up and scored seven runs over the next three innings en route to a 9-7 win. These teams also combined for 24 hits, including three home runs.

April 6, 1973

Many of the Red Sox' home openers against the rival Yankees have been high-scoring games, and 1973 was no different.

Boston won 15-5 led by Carlton Fisk, Rico Petrocelli, Doug Griffin and Carl Yastrzemski. Fisk went 4-for-6 with two homers and six RBI. Petrocelli went 3-for-4 at the plate, while Griffin was 4-for-5 with two RBI. Yastrzemski went 2-for-4 and also hit a home run.

April 5, 2018

The Red Sox won a franchise-record 108 regular season games in 2018, and that included a walk-off victory over the Tampa Bay Rays in the home opener.

Boston trailed 2-0 entering the bottom of the ninth inning and scored two runs to force extra innings. Hanley Ramirez came up to the plate with the bases loaded in the 12th inning and delivered a walk-off single to seal a 3-2 win.

The Red Sox would go on to win the World Series in October.

April 8, 1985

The Red Sox dominated the Yankees in their first Fenway Park matchup of 1985.

Eight of the nine Red Sox starters tallied at least one hit, with Dwight Evans and Tony Armas hitting one homer apiece. Jim Rice also went 1-for-3 at the plate with three RBI and two runs scored.

April 14, 1942

Red Sox legend Johnny Pesky made his Fenway Park debut in the 1942 home opener, where he went 2-for-4 with a triple and a run scored in an 8-3 victory against the Philadelphia Athletics.

Lou Merloni destroys MLB, players for bickering over 2020 return plan

Lou Merloni destroys MLB, players for bickering over 2020 return plan

As the NBA, NHL, NFL and MLS prepare to resume play in the near future, Major League Baseball still can't get out of its own way.

MLB reportedly rejected the Players Association's proposal Wednesday for a 114-game season in 2020 and apparently doesn't plan to make a counter-offer.

The league and the players have refused to budge on the issues dividing them: Players don't want to take an additional pay cut after agreeing to prorated salaries in March, while the owners are wary of extending the season too long due to the coronavirus pandemic and want players to agree to further reduced salaries to mitigate lost revenue.

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That stalemate has cost MLB valuable time, however, as the league doesn't appear close to beginning its 2020 regular season as the calendar turns to June.

So, who's to blame here? Lou Merloni believes it's everyone involved.

The former Boston Red Sox infielder ripped into both the league and the union Wednesday night during an appearance on NBC Sports Boston.

"Both sides suck, OK? That's the bottom line," Merloni said. "The Players Association comes back and says, 'Not 82 (games), we want 114' when they know that's the non-starter. The owners don't want to sit there and play until November. They're worried about the pandemic; they've got to get the playoffs in. And then the owners come back and say we're not even going to counter?

"Jesus, we're like a month into this thing. Can you string this thing out (any longer)? How about go in one room together and try to figure this out in a day or two?"

Compounding MLB's issue is that the NBA is expected to announce a return-to-play plan Thursday that would resume the 2019-20 season in late July. The MLS and NHL also have made headwinds toward resuming their seasons this summer -- which means baseball is wasting a much-needed opportunity to showcase itself as the only active pro sports league.

"I mean, you're running out of time and you're only screwing yourself. Even if baseball does come back, people have already said, 'I've had enough of you.' It's been like a month, a year, and you guys talk and bitch about this thing publicly. I don't give a crap anymore. I've got hockey, basketball, football is around the corner, hell, soccer is around the corner. I'm good.

"They don't even realize it! It's like they're in this bubble and they don't even realize what's going on around them right now. Figure this thing out: 70 games, 65, prorated (salaries), start playing some baseball, because your ass better be first coming back. If not, people are going to be done."

There's reportedly some optimism that the players and the union will resolve their differences and put a return plan in place. But with nearly one-third of the season already lost, the clock is ticking.

Check out Merloni's full comments in the video player above.

Who are the best designated hitters in Red Sox history? Ranking the Top 5

Who are the best designated hitters in Red Sox history? Ranking the Top 5

There's only one choice for best designated hitter in Red Sox history, but just in case there's any doubt, we'll quote broadcaster Dave O'Brien with the signature call from his WEEI days: "DAVID ORTIZ! DAVID ORTIZ! DAVID ORTIZ!"

No sense in even pretending there's any suspense on this one.

What's fascinating about ranking the Red Sox DHs, however, is just how few of them have actually held down the position for any length of time over the years.

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Only nine players have made at least 200 appearances there with the Red Sox since the DH was introduced in 1973, and four of them — Carl Yastrzemski, Jim Rice, Dwight Evans, and Manny Ramirez — have already appeared elsewhere in our outfield rankings.

That leaves five men to fill out the list, and about the only difficult omission is slugger Jose Canseco, who made 184 appearances between 1995 and 1996.

Click here for the Top 5 DHs in Red Sox history.