Fenway Park, Circa 1960 Saturday, June 19th, was a day that was perfect in every way for Red Sox Nation. Game time temperature was 83 degrees and sunny. Another sellout at Fenway, 37,454 (101.4% full)
Fathers and sons and others bonding and enjoying this great game of ours at America’s most beloved ballpark. Fans following every pitch, friendly and competent staff - - there at the ready with directions, security, food and drink.
And this father and his son (a Dodger fan) there, too.
And Manny Ramirez was back - - wearing a Dodger uniform.
In the game’s early going it was almost like old times for Manny who got the Dodgers off and running in the second inning, singling, stealing second base and scoring on a Garret Anderson single to get L.A. on the board. He smashed a 356- foot shot off knuckleballer Tim Wakefield into the Green Monster’s second row seats in the sixth inning, cutting the score to 3-2 Sox. Fenway exploded with cheers and boos for Red Sox’s Nation’s one time favorite as he ran out the circuit clout.
The game see-sawed back and forth, tied at four all in the bottom of the ninth. “BEAT L.A. BEAT L.A.” The crowd roared. The Celtics almost had done it. Now the Sox had their shot.
Bill Hall singled off Dodger reliever Ronald Belisario to start the home team off, but was snuffed out at second on a poorly executed sac bunt by Daniel Nava. Darnell McDonald fanned for Boston. Marco Scutaro walked.
It was now little Dustin Pedroia at 5 feet and 9 inches versus the 6 feet 5 inch Jonathan Broxton, star Dodger closer. Two outs.
"When you go out and the guy's throwing 100 and it looks like he's 9-feet tall, I was thinking I've got to wake up," the Red Sox peppery player said. "I check swung twice. When I check swung, it really wasn't going that good. I just stepped out, thinking I've got to put the ball in play."
“The two breaking balls Broxton threw were filthy,” said manager Terry Francona. “ I know how good Broxton is, but any time Pedey has something to do with the outcome of the game, we feel good. He kind of wills himself to do something good.’’
Pedroia did something real good. He lined a 98-mile-per hour fast ball for a two-strike single into right. Nava raced around the bases.
“I was trying to make up for that bunt,’’ Nava said. “I was just saying to myself, ‘I’ve got to get home.’ I was at least trying to make it close. I just wanted to get my hand in there. There was no way I was going to get punched out at home.’’
Nava’s headfirst slide gave the Sox a 5-4 dramatic win, their fifth straight victory. The huge crowd was on its feet celebrating, high-fiving, some fans were deliriously happy, thrilled. Just another miraculous moment in the 98 year fabled history of Fenway Park – and even Dodger fans seemed to love it.