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Fenway breaks ground, Ted Williams retires the first time, and Satchel Paige is very old for a baseball player.
Games of Note: The 2012 season marks the 100th anniversary of Fenway, but today specifically is a different birthday for the park. On September 25, 1911, ground was first broken for the construction of the park that would be opened on April 20, 1912.
Moving ahead to 1954, when Fenway is 43 years old, and it's the final home game for Boston's Ted Williams. Well, sort of. Williams is retiring briefly while he's in the process of getting divorced. If he's not a baseball player while the divorce proceedings are finalizing, then he can't have his baseball contract included in the settlement. Sneaky! And also why Williams returned to the Red Sox in May of 1955, once that whole divorce thing was out of the way.
He hit a home run in his first game "back", then didn't finish the season with enough at-bats to win the batting title. He also somehow took Comeback Player of the Year honors even though he didn't really go anywhere.
MLB and Ted Williams really didn't like his ex-wife, apparently.
In a game involving a different future Hall of Fame Red Sox outfielder, it's Boston against Kansas City in 1965. Carl Yastzremski is the lone Red Sox batter to get a hit off of Satchel Paige, who starts the first three innings of the contest. The thing is, Paige is 59 years old, and is pitching for the first time in the majors since 1953. You will not be shocked to hear that this makes him the oldest player to ever appear in a major-league game.
It's not the Red Sox, but on the same day, Willie Mays becomes the oldest hitter to ever go deep 50 times in a season. Mays is just 34 at the time, as that used to constitute old for a slugger. Mays did not come back to the Giants when he was 59 years old, either.
Transactions: The Red Sox sign Felipe Lopez, who has been cut by the St. Louis Cardinals. Not because they hope Lopez turns around their season, as the Sox are 5-1/2 back of the wild card with eight games left in the season, but because Lopez will be a Type B free agent that will net them an extra draft pick when he is signed. The Rays circumvent this by signing Lopez to a minor-league deal, then not including Lopez in their Opening Day roster. Just one reason to be glad that the Elias Rankings are kaput.
Birthdays: Former Red Sox farmhand Lars Anderson turns 25 years old today. Rocco Baldelli, who was expected to be J.D. Drew's backup in right field back in 2009, but spent most of the year injured himself, is 31 today.
Reggie Jefferson, former Red Sox designated hitter, turns 44. Jefferson played for the Red Sox from 1995 through 1999, the last seasons of his career. He hit .316/.363/.505 in those five campaigns, numbers that sound great, but are just pretty good considering how offense was back then. Not to take away from what Jefferson accomplished, as it was still good for a 119 OPS+. Jefferson would head to Japan to play for the Seibu Lions following the end of his time in Boston, and became hitting coach for the Albuquerque Isotopes in 2005.