A new era in Red Sox history dawned in 2002, when a group led by John Henry, Tom Werner and Larry Lucchino took over stewardship of the club in February. While the 2002 Red Sox didn't qualify for the playoffs, the new ownership commenced a series of significant improvements to Fenway Park, which culminated before the 2011 season. By the end of 2002, the club had installed new "dugout" seating, opened Yawkey Way to increase concourse space and announced plans to build seats above the famed Green Monster. In June, the club held the first ever Father's Day Catch at Fenway Park and invited thousands of fathers and their families to the park to play catch on the ballpark's famous field. In July, the Red Sox held a day of tribute to the life of Ted Williams, who passed away earlier in the month.
Record: 93-69, 2nd in American League East
Manager: William G. Little
On January 16, 2002 Major League Baseball approved the December 2001 sale of the Red Sox to the group headed by John Henry, Tom Werner and Larry Lucchino.
Soon after the new ownership took control of the club on February 27, General Manager Dan Duquette was relieved of his duties and replaced by interim GM Mike Port. The next month, the club hired Grady Little to manage the team. Little was a member of Boston's coaching staff in the late 1990s and his ascendancy to the managerial position generated an enthusiastic clubhouse response.
On April 27, Derek Lowe threw a no-hitter against the visiting Devil Rays. Lowe, who was converted to the rotation in 2002, led the team with 21 wins, while Pedro Martinez posted a 20-4 record to give the Red Sox their first pair of 20-game winners since 1949.
July was a somber month at Fenway Park as the Red Sox lost two giants in their fields. On July 5, Ted Williams passed away in Florida at the age of 83. A celebration of Ted's life on July 22 drew over 20,000 people to Fenway Park. On his way home from the tribute, longtime team broadcaster Ned Martin passed away.
On July 23 Nomar Garciaparra marked his 29th birthday by hitting three home runs in a 22-4 victory over Tampa Bay. From that day on, Boston never came closer than four games to first place, finishing second for the fifth year in a row.
In November, the Red Sox announced the signing of Billy Beane as their new general manager but after 24 hours Beane changed his mind. Two weeks later, the Red Sox promoted 28-year old Theo Epstein to the job.
Immediately after purchasing the Red Sox in December 2001, the new ownership group, led by John Henry, Tom Werner and Larry Lucchino, began work on a series of improvements to Fenway Park that would be ready by Opening Day of 2002.
Under the direction of Vice President/Planning and Development Janet Marie Smith, an architect with a background in urban development who had teamed with Lucchino in Baltimore to oversee the design of Oriole Park at Camden Yards, the Red Sox immediately began to improve Fenway Parks amenities and infrastructure, while staying true to the ballparks unique charm. Nearly 400 new seats were added, including 161 new dugout seats that were built on the infield side of both dugouts. In addition, a media interview room was built adjacent to the Red Sox clubhouse along with a new room for players families.
While accomplishing as much as possible before the start of the season, new ownership continued to discuss, plan, and implement more improvements to Fenway Park in 2002. In June, the club hinted at the possibility of adding seats on top of the Green Monster and in July, temporary advertisement signs were added above the left-field wall, the first advertisements on the wall since the 1946. On September 5, 2002, the Yawkey Way Concourse, an expansion of the park onto the adjacent street, added 25,000 square feet and doubled the space for fans on the first-base side of the ballpark.
The 2002 renovations, though extensive, were just the start of what would be a 10-year plan of major projects to improve and preserve Fenway Park.
In 2002, Northeastern defeated the defending champion Boston College Eagles in the Baseball Beanpot championship game.
|2002 Non-Red Sox Baseball At Fenway Park|
|April 16||Northeastern 8, Harvard 4 (Beanpot Semi-Finals)*|
|April 16||Boston College 7, University of Massachusetts 5 (Beanpot Semi-Finals)*|
|April 23||Northeastern 7, Boston College 6 (Beanpot Championship)*|
|April 23||University of Massachusetts 5, Harvard 3 (Beanpot Consolation)*|
*Starting in 1990, Fenway Park has hosted the annual Baseball Beanpot, baseball's version of the longstanding Boston hockey tradition. Originally, the competition featured the same schools that battle for Hockey Beanpot: Boston College, Boston University, Northeastern University and Harvard University. However, when BU dropped their baseball program after the 1995 season, the University of Massachusetts took their place. The Baseball Beanpot has been held at Fenway Park every year since its inception except for in 2004 and 2010, when the tournament was played at Campanelli Stadium in Brockton, MA.
As the club celebrated Fenway Park's 90th year of existence, a midsummer tradition was created under the team's new ownership when the ballpark hosted 21,000 visitors for a Father's Day catch on June 9, 2002. In every year since, the Red Sox have staged an annual Father's Day event that gives fathers and their families the opportunity to walk on Fenway Park's famed field, either by playing catch on the outfield or by walking around the warning track.
July was a somber month for the Red Sox family as they lost two giants in their fields. On July 5, Ted Williams died in Florida at the age of 83. A celebration of Ted's life on July 22 drew over 20,000 people to Fenway Park. On his way home from the tribute, longtime Red Sox broadcaster Ned Martin suffered a massive coronary and passed away as well.
Later in the year, Fenway Park opened its doors on Halloween to local trick or treaters for the first time in the ballpark's history. Similar events took place at the park in 2003 and 2006, while the organization has also made several visits to area schools, clinics and community centers as part of Halloween and other holiday celebrations in recent years.
|2002 Non-Baseball Events At Fenway Park|
|June 9||Father's Day Catch|
|July 22||Ted Williams: A Celebration of an American Hero|
|October 31||Fenway Park Trick or Treat|