In 1954, Ted Williams hit .345 in his first full season after serving in the Korean War and local product Harry Agganis made his Red Sox debut, returning to Fenway Park where he had played as a member of Boston University's football team and as a member of the Camp Lejeune Marines baseball team. In July, the park hosted a boxing match featuring local fighter Tony DeMarco and a basketball game between the Harlem Globetrotters and the George Mikan United States All-Stars. In the later months of the year, Boston College's football team played several games at the park.
Record: 69-85, 4th in American League
Manager: Louis Boudreau
Back for a full season after returning from Korea the previous summer, Ted Williams announced that 1954 would be his final year. The year's spring training had barely commenced when Williams broke his collarbone diving for a fly ball on March 1. Despite playing with a metal pin in his shoulder, Williams went on to hit .345 and would have won the batting title if he hadn't walked 136 times (17 of these intentional). At the time, qualifying for the batting crown was based on at-bats rather than plate appearances and the left fielder fell 14 at-bats short of the requisite 400 at-bats.
Williams led the club with 29 homers, while Jackie Jensen hit 25 home runs and collected a team-leading 117 RBIs. The most promising hometown rookie in years was first baseman Harry Agganis, a multi-sport star at Boston University who had been drafted by football's Cleveland Browns. Agganis hit 11 homers and drove in 57 runs in his rookie year with the Red Sox.
Big Frank Sullivan (6' 6") went 15-12 with a 3.14 ERA but the team record was almost a reverse image of the year before at 69-85. Boston finished in fourth place, 42 games behind the juggernaut Cleveland Indians, whose 111 victories set an AL record.
On October 11, even though he still had a year left on his contract, Lou Boudreau was replaced as manager by Mike "Pinky" Higgins.
Medford's own Bill Monbouquette made his Fenway Park debut in 1954 pitching in that year's William Randolph Hearst game. Four years later, "Monbo" broke in with the Red Sox, embarking on an 11-year career in which he would win 114 games and compile a 3.68 ERA.
|1954 Non-Red Sox Baseball At Fenway Park|
|July 10||William Randolph Hearst Sandlot Tournament: Boston All-Stars 5, New England All-Stars 2|
Fenway Park was humming with non-baseball activities in 1954. In June, Fenway Park hosted the annual Mayor's Charity Field Day and then welcomed boxing under the lights on July 12, as local fighter Tony DeMarco knocked out George Araujo in the 10th round before a crowd of nearly 10,000 people. Later in the month, the Harlem Globetrotters dazzled the ballpark's audience with a 61-41 victory over the George Mikan United States All-Stars. In the fall, Boston College's football team went 4-1 at Fenway Park and on November 7, an unusual, Celtic-themed doubleheader also took place at the ballpark and featured a hurling match and Gaelic football exhibition.
|1954 Non-Baseball Events At Fenway Park|
|January 27||Junior Goodwill Dinner*|
|June 12||Mayor's Charity Field Day**|
|July 12||Tony DeMarco vs. George Araujo Welterweight Fight (Boxing)|
|July 29||Harlem Globetrotters vs. George Mikan United States All-Stars (Basketball)|
|October 9||Boston College 44, VMI 0 (Football)|
|October 23||Boston College 42, Springfield 6 (Football)|
|October 31||Xavier 19, Boston College 14 (Football)|
|November 7||Cork All-Ireland Hurling Champions 37, American Hurlers 28 (Hurling)|
|November 7||Connaught 5, Munster 5 (Gaelic Football Exhibition)|
|November 13||Boston College 7, Boston University 6 (Football)|
|November 27||Boston College 31, Holy Cross 13 (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.
** For many years, the City of Boston regularly held a summertime Mayor's Charity Field Day. Many of these field days took place at Fenway Park, with a variety of sports, games, activities and other amusements for the crowds. In certain years, the Mayor's Charity Field Day even included an abbreviated baseball game at Fenway Park that was usually played between local teams.
On July 29, 1954, basketball was played at Fenway Park in front of 13, 344 people, who came out to the ballpark to watch the Harlem Globetrotters defeat the George Mikan United States All-Stars. Led by Reese "Goose" Tatum and his comedic antics, the Globetrotters prevailed in a 61-41 victory.