The Red Sox decade of the seventies began on April 14 at Fenway - -Yankees against Red Sox. There were 34,002 in the house. New York manager Ralph Houk was pitted against new Red Sox skipper Eddie Kasko.
Another opening day. Missing was a long time fixture, the center-field flag pole. No one seemed to notice. Olde Towne team rooters exited happily after watching their team behind Ray Culp win 8-3 win aided by homers off the bats of George Scott, Tony Conigliaro and Reggie Smith.
(Opening Day Lineup at Fenway April 14, 1970
Mike Andrews 2b
Reggie Smith cf
Carl Yastrzemski lf
George Scott 1b
Rico Petrocelli ss
Tony Conigliaro rf
Luis Alvarado 3b
Jerry Moses c
Ray Culp p
Old Towne team fans reveled in the potential of their team which blended depth, youth and experience, a powerful offense and some strong pitching. And more help in the form of the Luis Tiants, Fred Lynns, Jim Rices was in the offing. With Carl Yastrzemski, the Red Sox were always exciting, never out of a game.
Fans at Fenway came to see "Yaz" as they had come to see "Teddy." On May 16th he slammed a pitch out of the park duplicating what up to then only Jimmie Foxx and Bill Skowron had been able to do.
JOHN KENNEDY: It seemed everybody thought Tom Yawkey kow-towed to Ted Williams and Carl Yaz because a lot of times people would come into the locker room and see him sitting with them. But he didn't ignore anyone. My locker was right by the clubhouse door, and he would always stop and ask how were the kids, was there anything I needed?
EDDIE KASKO: In those years, there was a long-time nucleus in place at Fenway - a special fan, the organist, the P.A. guy, the switchboard operator, the head groundskeeper, the top PR guy. Sherm Feller was the P.A. guy. He'd always hold court in the press room. He had hearing aids that you tuned in with a dial. You'd be hearing the "eeeeeeeeeeerr, eeeeeeeeeerrrrr." He'd reach in and say, "Hold it, hold it, I'm getting Shanghai." guy.
EDDIE KASKO: John Kiley on the organ basically was the only music at Fenway. A big man, he was going to be there until he couldn't do it any longer. Bill Crowley was a big Irishman, a tough type just like Joe Mooney and a few others. He knew every member of the media, all the secrets. Joe Mooney ran the grounds crew with an iron fist. He was a short Irishman, tough, like a James Cagney type. If you were where you weren't supposed to be on that field, boy, he just gave you hell and he didn't care if you were the biggest star. When it rained, he had a bunch of summer kids, and they would jump to it. And he'd have the tarp on his beloved field in no time.
RICK MILLER: I made my debut with the Red Sox on September 4, 1971, coming in late in the game as a pinch hitter. I was really nervous. I swung at the first pitch. It was a high fast ball. It went for a double off the Green Monster. I loved Fenway, loved to play there. But as an outfielder you were challenged. I had to learn the tricky configurations and angles, how to get great jumps, how to play players. I would cheat, I knew the counts and moved on each pitch according to the count.
BILL LEE: I started out as a reliever and became a starter in '73.
DON LENHARDT: As first base coach under Eddie Kasko from 1970-1973, we'd go to Mr. Yawkey's office after games. It had a nice bar and a barman. We would talk about the game, the roster. Once I told Mr. Yawkey "We need to get rid of Yaz and Reggie Smith." Of course, it was just a joke. But to tell the truth, they wore me out game after game at Fenway. Everybody wanted to go home when the games were over. But those two always wanted more batting practice, and I was usually the guy who obliged and pitched it to them.
2011 marks Harvey Frommer's 36th consecutive year of writing sports books. A noted oral historian and sports journalist, the author of 41 sports books including the classics: "New York City Baseball,1947-1957" and "Shoeless Joe and Ragtime Baseball," his acclaimed REMEMBERING YANKEE STADIUM, an oral/narrative history was published in 2008 as well as a reprint version of his classic "Shoeless Joe and Ragtime Baseball." Frommer's newest work REMEMBERING FENWAY PARK: AN ORAL AND NARRATIVE HISTORY OF THE HOME OF RED SOX NATION (Abrams) is his 41st sports book. He is available for speaking engagements. FROMMER SPORTSNET (syndicated) reaches a readership in the millions and is housed on Internet search engines for extended periods of time. FOLLOW Harvey on Twitter: http://twitter.com/south2nd. Web: http://www.dartmouth.edu/~frommer.