In 1963, the Boston Patriots began playing their home football games at Fenway Park, which also featured the annual Mayor's Charity Field Day that year along with another Harlem Globetrotters game. On the diamond, several young Red Sox players gained valuable experience in 1963 but the team finished with 76 wins for the third season in a row.
Record: 76-85, 7th in American League
Manager: John M. Pesky
Several players truly came into their own in 1963, with 43-year old former Red Sox shortstop Johnny Pesky at the helm. Pesky had the team playing inspired baseball and through their June 28 game, Boston was 10 games over .500 and only 1½ games behind the Yankees.
It's been said that one play in the June 27 game changed the course of the 1963 season. The Red Sox trailed, 6-3, with two on and one out in the bottom of the eighth. Dick Williams belted a long drive destined for the Red Sox bullpen but Cleveland right fielder Al Luplow dove over the wall, landing just inches from the bullpen mound. A run scored on the sacrifice but Bressoud grounded out and ended the threat. The Red Sox went to Yankee Stadium and dropped four of the next five games and by the time the season was over they were in seventh place with a 76-85 record.
Bill Monbouquette became Boston's first 20-game winner since Mel Parnell and Carl Yastrzemski won his first batting title with a .321 average. Newly-acquired first baseman Dick Stuart led the league with 118 RBIs and finished with an impressive 42 home runs, winning Comeback Player of the Year honors.
Dick Radatz had one of the greatest years ever for any closer, finishing with a 15-6 record, 1.97 ERA and 162 strikeouts in 132? innings. Nicknamed "The Monster," Radatz appeared in the All-Star Game and had five strikeouts in two innings.
For the second straight year, the American All-Stars swept the Record All-Stars in the William Randolph Hearst Sandlot Tournament games at Fenway Park.
|1963 Non-Red Sox Baseball At Fenway Park|
|August 1||William Randolph Hearst Sandlot Tournament: American All-Stars 8, Record All-Stars 3|
|August 1||William Randolph Hearst Sandlot Tournament: American All-Stars 6, Record All-Stars 3|
In 1963, the Boston Red Sox and Boston Patriots agreed to a contract allowing the Patriots to play their home games at Fenway Park. In their first season playing at Fenway Park, the American Football League's Boston Patriots won six of their home games, en route to clinching a playoff berth. The Patriots opened their Fenway stint in grand fashion, beating the Oakland Raiders, 20-14, before a crowd of 26,494 on October 11. The Patriots' lone home loss came at the hands of the eventual league-champion San Diego Chargers, to whom the Patriots would fall in the AFL title game. Earlier in the year, the Mayor's Charity Field Day at Fenway Park showcased a softball game between a team of local media personalities and a team of local boxers. On the team of pugilists was Tony DeMarco and future Massachusetts State Auditor Joe DeNucci. The Harlem Globetrotters also returned to Fenway Park in August 1963 and played a team of US All-Stars.
|1963 Non-Baseball Events At Fenway Park|
|January 24||Junior Goodwill Dinner*|
|July 1||Mayor's Charity Field Day**|
|August 23||Harlem Globetrotters vs. US All-Stars (Basketball)|
|September 8||Boston Patriots 38, New York Jets 18 (Football)|
|October 11||Boston Patriots 20, Oakland Raiders 14 (Football)|
|October 18||Boston Patriots 40, Denver Broncos 21 (Football)|
|November 1||Boston Patriots 45, Houston Oilers 3 (Football)|
|November 10||San Diego Chargers 7, Boston Patriots 6 (Football)|
|November 17||Kansas City Chiefs 24, Boston Patriots 24 (Football)|
|December 1||Boston Patriots 17, Buffalo Bills 7 (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.
Patriots Head Coach Mike Holovak had enjoyed fame at Fenway Park as an All-American back at Boston College during the Frank Leahy glory days in the late 1930s and early 1940s. His Patriots won perhaps their most significant game as tenants of Fenway Park when they beat the rival Bills on December 1, 1963, in front of a crowd of slightly less than 17,000.
Asked about his team's title hopes after the game, Holovak observed, "It's up to us now. We just got what we asked for and now we can win it all by ourselves. It's up to us." (Bennington (VT) Banner, December 2, 1963)
After the December 1 game, the Patriots split their last two regular season contests on the road and finished tied with the Bills in the Eastern Division. On December 28, the Patriots and Bills met in Buffalo for an extra game to decide the AFL Eastern Division. After defeating the Bills in swirling snow and icy conditions at Buffalo's War Memorial Stadium, the Patriots were soundly beaten in the AFL Championship Game against the Chargers in San Diego, losing by a score of 51-10.