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In 1973, Fenway Park was a District One host site for the NCAA baseball tournament and in July, the Newport-New England Jazz festival was held at the ballpark. However, the event descended into pandemonium and violence in certain parts of the ballpark, which would not host another concert until 2003. In the American League's first season with the designated hitter, Red Sox catcher Carlton Fisk led the team into battle, hitting a team-high 25 home runs and getting into a brawl with Yankees catcher Thurmon Munson on August 1.

The Red Sox

Record: 89-73, 2nd in American League East
Manager: Edward M. Kasko (88-73), Eddie Popowski (1-0)
Attendance: 1,481,002

In 1973, the American League implemented the designated hitter and the Red Sox added Orlando Cepeda on January 18. Cepeda was the first player clearly signed for the specific purpose of being a DH. The future Hall of Famer hit .289 in his lone season with Boston and his 86 RBIs were second on the club behind Carl Yastrzemski's 95. Reggie Smith led the team with a .303 batting average and hit 21 home runs, including one from each side of the plate in an April 16 game at Fenway Park. Tommy Harper scored a team-high 92 runs and stole 54 bases, a Red Sox record that stood until Jacoby Ellsbury broke it in 2009.

Carlton Fisk's club-leading 25 homers included a pair of shots in Boston's Opening Day victory over the Yankees at Fenway Park. The Red Sox Opening Day starter, Luis Tiant picked up the win, his first of 20 in 1973. Two southpaws, Bill Lee (17-11) and Roger Moret (13-2), were Boston's other star pitchers.

The most dramatic moment of the season came on August 1 at Fenway Park, when New York's Thurman Munson barreled into Fisk on a ninth-inning suicide squeeze. The catchers began to brawl and both were ejected from the game. Bob Montgomery took over behind the plate for Boston and scored the winning run in the bottom half of the inning.

Non-Red Sox Baseball At Fenway Park

The NCAA District One Playoffs returned to Fenway Park in 1973. Harvard and Providence advanced to play each other in the district finals on May 27 in Cambridge, MA. Harvard prevailed and went to the College World Series in Omaha, NE.

1973 Non-Red Sox Baseball At Fenway Park
May 25Northeastern 3, Providence College 2 (NCAA District One Playoffs)*
May 25Harvard 4, University of Massachusetts 2 (NCAA District One Playoffs)*
May 26Providence College 8, U Mass 7 (NCAA District One Playoffs)*
May 26Providence College 5, Northeastern 4 (NCAA District One Playoffs)*
May 26Harvard 11, Northeastern 1 (NCAA District One Playoffs)*

* 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 July 1973, a star-studded list of entertainers highlighted the Newport-New England Jazz Festival at Fenway Park. Unfortunately, the music was often overshadowed by the misbehavior of certain patrons during the two-day festival. Perhaps it was because of many people's less-than-pleasant memories of this raucous affair that Fenway Park would not stage another concert for three decades.

1973 Non-Baseball Events At Fenway Park
July 27-28Newport-New England Jazz Festival

July 27-28, 1973
 The Newport-New England Jazz Festival At Fenway Park

A "Who's Who" of talented musicians performed at Fenway Park's Newport-New England Jazz Festival during a late July weekend in 1973. Notable acts included Ray Charles, Stevie Wonder, B.B. King, Charlie Mingus, Herbie Mann, the Staples Sisters, Freddie Hubbard, Rahsaan Roland Kirk and War. On the second night of the festival, however, a crowd of onlookers poured onto the field as soul singer and pianist Donnie Hathaway was preparing to take the stage. Order was briefly restored but chaos soon broke out in different areas of the park. One newspaper account described the scene:

"After police had partially cleared the field Hathaway began his set, but youngsters began congregating on top of the dugout on the first base side of the ball park, making it all but impossible for those in the box seats to see the performers. The aisles were also tightly packed with people who had left their seats, and those attempting to gain access to the refreshment areas were threatened, pushed and shoved and, in some cases, pickpocketed or openly robbed." (Peter Herbst, Boston Herald, July 29, 1973)

Installing Fenway Park's Center Field Scoreboard Before The 1976 Season (Credit: Boston Red Sox)