Josh Beckett

10 memorable individual performances in Red Sox home openers

10 memorable individual performances in Red Sox home openers

Today should've been the 108th opener at Fenway Park for the Boston Red Sox as they were to host the Chicago White Sox to begin their home schedule.

But as we all know, the coronavirus pandemic has changed that as well as the rest of the world. 

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There's still hope that they'll be baseball at Fenway in 2020, but on the day the gates were supposed to open and signal the unofficial start of spring in Boston, let's look back at a few of the Red Sox's most memorable individual performances with some Opening Day Dreaming Delivered by Coors Light.

April 20, 1912

The Red Sox christened Fenway Park by beating their rivals from New York, then known as the Highlanders, 7-6 in 11 innings before 24,000, including Mayor John "Honey Fitz" Fitzgerald, grandfather of future president John F. Kennedy, and the Royal Rooters.

Tris Speaker (pictured, 3-for-6, two RBI, game-winning single) and Steve Yerkes (5-for-7) were your hitting heroes for a team that would go on to win the World Series. 

April 12, 1916

A left-hander named Babe Ruth held the Philadelphia A's to one unearned run on four hits and strikes out six in 8 1/3 innings. He went 0-for-2 batting ninth, proving he didn't have much of a future as a hitter. The '16 Sox would go on to win the World Series. 

April 6, 1973

On a day that featured the debut of the designated hitter in the American League, catcher Carlton Fisk, coming off his rookie of the year season, got his second year off to a booming start with three hits, including a two-run homer of Yankees ace Mel Stottlemyre, and six RBI as the Sox spotted their archrivals a three-run lead and roll, 15-5.

(Now, if we could just forget Fisk's three-run, eighth-inning homer for the White Sox in a 5-3 Red Sox loss in the Fenway opener in '81 after Boston let him switch Sox as a free agent that winter.) 

April 10, 1998

Mo Vaughn hit a walk-off grand slam to cap the Red Sox' rally from a five-run deficit off a Mariners bullpen that featured ex-Sox relievers Tony Fossas and Heathcliff Slocumb and future Sox reliever Mike Timlin.

Those that stuck around Fenway when it was 7-2 to start the ninth headed home happy after an 8-7 win on Opening Day. The Sox would go on to make the playoffs at 92-70 but were eliminated in the ALDS by the Cleveland Indians. 

April 1, 2002

Tony Clark, the future head of the MLB Players Association, was a Red Sox first baseman for 90 games in 2002. In the first of those, he went 3-for-5 with a home run and drove in three runs.

The Sox needed all of them in a wild 12-11 victory over the Toronto Blue Jays. Clark would help the Sox out even more two years later when, as a Yankee, his ground-rule double in the ninth kept Ruben Sierra from scoring from first and ending ALCS Game 5 and with it, the Sox' World Series hopes.

April 11, 2005 

In addition to being memorable for the pregame ring ceremony and banner raising that was 86 years in the making (and for Yankees closer Mariano Rivera being cheered and Alex Rodriguez, pictured, jeered by the Fenway fans for their roles in the Sox' 2004 pennant), the Sox got a strong pitching performance from Tim Wakefield in an 8-1 thumping of the Yankees.

Veterans of '04 Wakefield (7 IP, 5 H, 1 R, 5 SOs), Trot Nixon (2-for-3, two RBI) and Doug Mirabelli (two-run homer) started '05 off right.

April 8, 2008

The Sox home opener in 2008 was another banner-raising day that included a tearful Bill Buckner emerging from the Green Monster to a standing ovation to throw out the first pitch.

After the pregame festivities, the Sox rolled to a 5-0 shutout over the Detroit Tigers. Kevin Youkilis went 3-for-3 with two RBI and Daisuke Matsuzaka allowed four hits and struck out seven in 6 2/3 innings. 

April 7, 2009

Josh Beckett held the Tampa Bay Rays to one run on two hits and struck out 10 as the Red Sox beat the Tampa Bay Rays, 5-3.

Beckett would go on to win 17 games and the Sox racked up 95 victories that season before being swept by the Angels in the ALDS.

April 8, 2013

Clay Buchholz got another championship season off to a great start as he shut out the Baltimore Orioles for seven innings on three hits.

Daniel Nava's three-run homer provided the offense in a 3-1 victory.

April 13, 2015

Mookie Betts showed off his future MVP form early in the 2015 season with a 2-for-4, four-RBI day that included a three-run homer in the second inning and two stolen bases in the first.

All of that came after he robbed Bryce Harper of a home run in the first with a leaping grab in front of the bullpen fence in right. The Sox went on to a 9-4 win over the Washington Nationals but it didn't portend to good things as they finished 78-84 and last in the AL East. 

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Ranking the Red Sox's biggest villains from the past decade

Ranking the Red Sox's biggest villains from the past decade

Editor's Note: As the calendar turns to 2020, NBC Sports Boston will be taking a look back at the highs and lows of the Boston sports scene over the past decade. 

Over the past 10 years, the Red Sox have won a pair of World Series and four division titles, but they've also finished in last place three times, including a worst-to-first-to-worst rollercoaster from 2012 to 2014.

Boston sports fans have become accustomed to winning, but nothing captures the imagination like a good villain. Sometimes it's hard to tell whom Red Sox fans are harder on — opponents or their own players (and managers).

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In that spirit, here are 10 villains from the past decade, including four former Red Sox, because nobody eats their own like we do.

Click here for the gallery.
 

Josh Beckett joins several ex-Red Sox on 2020 Hall of Fame ballot

Josh Beckett joins several ex-Red Sox on 2020 Hall of Fame ballot

The Boston Red Sox again will be in the thick of the Baseball Hall of Fame conversation next year.

The Hall of Fame released its official 2020 ballot Monday, with 32 former players listed as eligible to be elected in the class of 2020.

The list includes 18 newcomers, headlined by New York Yankees shortstop Derek Jeter, who should be a shoo-in. But three former Red Sox players also landed on the 2020 ballot: pitcher Josh Beckett, first baseman Carlos Peña and pitcher Brad Penny.

Beckett spent six-plus seasons with the Red Sox from 2006 to 2012 and put up some of his best numbers in Boston, making three All-Star teams and earning American League Championship Series MVP honors en route to a World Series title in 2007.

Peña only played 18 games in Boston during the 2006 season and spent most of his career with the Tampa Bay Rays and Detroit Tigers. He grew up in Haverhill, Mass., though, and played college baseball at Northeastern University.

Penny appeared in just 24 games for the Red Sox during the 2009 season after coming over from the Los Angeles Dodgers.

That trio joins four other former Red Sox on the 2020 ballot, listed below by percentage of votes they received in 2019:

- Curt Schilling: 60.9 percent (7th year on ballot)
- Roger Clemens: 59.5 percent (7th year)
- Manny Ramirez: 22.8 percent (3rd year)
- Billy Wagner: 16.7 percent (4th year)

Players must receive 75 percent of votes from the Baseball Writers' Association of America within their first 10 years of eligibility to reach the Hall. Schilling and Clemens were the top two players to miss the 2019 cut, while the other ex-Sox have a long way to go.

We'll find out voting results for the 2020 class on Jan. 21.

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