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08/27/09 12:06 AM ET

Sen. Kennedy honored at Fenway

Red Sox reflect on life of late Massachusetts legend

BOSTON -- The Red Sox paid their respects to the life and career of Senator Edward M. Kennedy in a pregame ceremony on Wednesday at Fenway Park.

A moment of silence was held to honor the longtime Massachusetts politician, who lost his fight with brain cancer on Tuesday night at the age of 77.

"On behalf of the entire Boston Red Sox organization, I express our deep sadness and profound grief at the news of the passing of Ted Kennedy," principal owner John W. Henry said. "For 47 years, he served the people of the Commonwealth and the country with commitment and compassion. Senator Kennedy shaped the lives of millions of Americans, and we owe him a debt of gratitude for his tireless efforts on behalf of those in need."

Following a rendition of the national anthem by the Hyannis Sound -- in recognition of Kennedy's lifetime connection to Cape Cod -- the United States Army South Shore Recruiting Company presented the colors, paying homage to his military service.

A video montage in memory of Kennedy during the middle of the first inning capped the tribute, which came mere months after he threw out the ceremonial first pitch at Fenway on Opening Day.

"I have a picture in my office of that day," said manager Terry Francona, who escorted Kennedy to the mound. "I'm aware of not only what Senator Kennedy, but his family, has meant, not only to this area, but nationally. That day was very special for me. It was an honor to meet him."

A devout supporter of the Red Sox, Kennedy kept tabs on his favorite team for decades.

"As I reflect on Senator Kennedy's life, I think not only of what an American icon he was, I think of the special relationship he had with us in Red Sox Nation, of which he was a leading citizen," president Larry Lucchino said. "He was a passionately devoted fan for more than 70 years. Think of the seasons, the games, the players he watched. One can safely say that, across the country and the world, as with our club and with Fenway Park itself, all knew him, nearly all loved him, and, whether or not he was their 'team,' all admired and respected him.

"I am certain that if United States Senators had numbers like players, we would be retiring his number today -- perhaps all of baseball would be retiring his number. We shall miss him greatly, and we shall never, never forget him."

John Barone is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.