Tony Conigliaro made an inspiring comeback in 1969 after missing nearly two years with facial injuries. However, the Red Sox finished in third place team and Dick Williams lost his job as manager. In July, Bruno Sammartino and Killer Kowalski headlined a wrestling carnival at the park, the first major wrestling event at Fenway Park since the 1930s.
Record: 87-75, 3rd in American League East
Manager: Richard H. Williams (87-17), Edward J. Popowski (5-4)
After missing the entire previous season, Tony Conigliaro made his first comeback in 1969. The Red Sox opened the season in Baltimore and Conigliaro hit a two-run home run to lead Boston to victory. The right fielder hit 20 home runs in 1969, allaying concerns of the Fenway faithful who wondered if he'd ever be able to play again.
With Conigliaro back in the fold, the team dealt Ken "Hawk" Harrelson to Cleveland in April and received pitcher Sonny Siebert in return. Siebert went 14-10, joining a staff led by Ray Culp (17-8) and rookie Mike Nagy (12-2).
A June doubleheader against the Yankees at Fenway Park epitomized the up and down nature of the season. In the first game, the Yankees scored three runs in the top of the 11th, but Boston came back with four runs to win it. In the second game, the Red Sox were one strike away from a sweep but New York's Roy White hit a go-ahead, three run triple, leading the Yankees to victory.
On August 18th against the Twins, two years to the day after he was beaned, Tony Conigliaro hit a three-run home run in the last of the eighth inning to tie the game, 6-6. The Red Sox won the game in the 10th.
In the newly arranged American League East Division, the Red Sox finished in third place with a record of 87-75 and Dick Williams was fired with nine games remaining in the season, just two years after being named Manager of the Year.
The Sunday Advertisers beat the Record Americans in a low-scoring Hearst tournament game on August 1, 1969.
|1969 Non-Red Sox Baseball At Fenway Park|
|August 1||William Randolph Hearst Sandlot Tournament: Sunday Advertisers 4, Record Americans 1|
On June 28, 1969, wrestling returned to Fenway Park and a crowd of more than 12,000 cheered on Bruno Sammartino, Killer Kowalski and several other wrestlers as part of a wrestling carnival. In the main event, Bruno Sammartino defeated Killer Kowalski in the first major wrestling match at Fenway Park since the 1930s.
|1969 Non-Baseball Events At Fenway Park|
|January 29||Junior Goodwill Dinner*|
|June 28||Wrestling Carnival|
*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.
Over 12,000 gathered to watch the first wrestling carnival held at Fenway Park since the days of Dan O'Mahoney and Gus Sonnenberg in the 1930s. With ringside tickets at $10, the infield was filled on a hot, steamy night as fans roared for such grapplers as George "The Animal" Steele, Victor Rivera, Slave Girl Moolah, Vivian Vachon and the Boucher sisters. The main event showcased Bruno Sammartino and Killer Kowalski and was contested both in the ring and on the surrounding infield dirt in the "no referee" bout.