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The Boston Patriots rebounded in 1966 but were bested by the Buffalo Bills at the wire, just as they had been two years earlier. The Red Sox improved their record by 10 games but still finished with 18 games below .500. Fenway Park also hosted college and minor league baseball in 1966 as well as the Junior Goodwill Dinner, which was started by Joe Cronin in 1952.

The Red Sox

Record: 72-90, 9th in American League
Manager: William J. Herman (64-82), James E. (Pete) Runnels (8-8)
Attendance: 811,172

In 1966, the Red Sox finished in ninth place again, but for the first time since 1948, Boston finished ahead of the Yankees.

Opening Day at Fenway Park was a 13-inning affair against the eventual World Champion Orioles. Boston lost on a balk by Jim Lonborg in front of 12,386.

One of the highlights of the year came against the Yankees on June 4. In 1966, Boston had a Saturday midnight curfew and as the June 4 game reached the 16th inning, the clock neared midnight. At 11:53 PM, Jim Gosger drove a ball into the bullpen, securing a 6-3 Red Sox victory over the Yankees with seven minutes to spare.

Still only 21 years old, Tony Conigliaro led a youth parade and hit 28 home runs, his seasonal average for the first three years of his career. Other newcomers included 23-year old Joe Foy at third base and 22-year old George Scott at first. For the first time in their history, the Red Sox had several core African American players, including Reggie Smith, who was called up in September. Along with 23-year-old Rico Petrocelli at shortstop, Boston's lineup seemed to have a bright future.

On the mound, Jim Lonborg and Jose Santiago were the only hurlers with double digit win totals. With this lack of pitching depth, the losing continued and with 16 games left in the season, manager Biller Herman was relieved of his duties.

Non-Red Sox Baseball At Fenway Park

Northeastern University prevailed in the 1966 NCAA District One Playoffs at Fenway Park en route to an appearance in the College World Series. The Pittsfield Red Sox (Boston's Double-A minor league affiliate at the time) and the Pawtucket Indians (a Cleveland Indians affiliate) also played each other at Fenway Park in 1966. The game started at 4:30 PM on August 15 but was halted during the fifth inning with Pittsfield winning, 5-0. Two days later the game resumed in Pittsfield and resulted in a 10-2 victory by the Double-A Red Sox.

1966 Non-Red Sox Baseball At Fenway Park
June 7Boston College 8, University of Massachusetts 5 (NCAA District One Playoffs)*
June 8Northeastern 5, Colby College 4 (NCAA District One Playoffs)*
June 9Northeastern 10, Boston College 2 (NCAA District One Playoffs)*
August 4William Randolph Hearst Sandlot Tournament: Record American Stars 8, Sunday Advertiser Stars 1
August 6Boston Typos 5, Washington 0 (National Union Printers Championship)
August 15Pittsfield Red Sox vs. Pawtucket Indians Game Postponed in Fifth Inning
August 17William Randolph Hearst Sandlot Tournament: Greater Boston Stars 5, New England Stars 2

* Fenway Park was an occasional site for the NCAA District One Baseball Playoffs, which decided who went to the College World Series in Omaha, NE.

More Than a Ballpark™

In 1966, the Boston Patriots barely missed out on winning the Eastern Division title, which went to the Buffalo Bills again. Though they defeated the Bills in their last home game of the season, the Patriots lost the following week on the road to finish a half game behind their rival.

1966 Non-Baseball Events At Fenway Park
January 26Junior Goodwill Dinner*
September 25Kansas City Chiefs 43, Boston Patriots 24 (Football)
October 2New York Jets 24, Boston Patriots 24 (Football)
October 23Boston Patriots 35, San Diego Chargers 17 (Football)
October 30Boston Patriots 24, Oakland Raiders 21 (Football)
November 6Denver Broncos 17, Boston Patriots 10 (Football)
November 13Boston Patriots 27, Houston Oilers 21 (Football)
December 4Boston Patriots 14, Buffalo Bills 3 (Football)

*For several years, Fenway Park hosted a Junior Goodwill Dinner that brought hundreds of local high school students to the ballpark. The tradition was started by Red Sox legend Joe Cronin and the event typically took place in late January.

The 1961 MLB All-Star Game at Fenway Park (Credit: Boston Red Sox)