Tony Conigliaro had a terrific debut season in 1964 but the Red Sox lost 90 games. Fenway Park's other regular, the Boston Patriots, fared better but lost to the Buffalo Bills in their final home game, which decided the AFL East title. In late September, Fenway Park also hosted presidential candidate Barry Goldwater, who addressed a throng of supporters.

The Red Sox

Record: 72-90, 8th in American League
Manager: John M. Pesky (70-79), William J. Herman (2-0)
Attendance: 883,276

After an exciting Opening Day win in the Bronx, the Red Sox played their 1964 Fenway Park opener the next day, on April 17. The game served as a memorial to the recently-assassinated John F. Kennedy and was attended by his brothers Robert and Ted, and other members of the Kennedy family. Tom Yawkey donated the proceeds from the game to a fund for the JFK Library.

Opening Day was also the highly-anticipated debut of local phenom Tony Conigliaro, who hit the first pitch he saw onto Lansdowne Street for a home run.

Eddie Bressoud jumped out to a nice start with a 20-game hitting streak, the longest season-opening streak by a Red Sox batter. Conigliaro, meanwhile, belted 20 home runs by late July. Though Conigliaro spent more than a month on the disabled list after his forearm was fractured by a pitch, he finished the year with 24 home runs and a .290 average. Only Dick Stuart (33 HRs) and Felix Mantilla (30 HRs) had more home runs.

The winningest pitcher wasn't a starter (though Bill Monbouquette and Earl Wilson won 13 and 11 games, respectively); instead, Boston's leader in wins was Dick "The Monster" Radatz, who set a record for relief pitchers by striking out 181 batters in one season. He recorded 29 saves, posted a 16-9 record and an earned an All-Star selection.

The Red Sox started well but finished with a record of 72-90. The high-water mark was a June 10 win against the Yankees at Fenway Park that saw a game-winning home run by Dick Williams. Boston was two games over .500 at the time but by season's end had fallen off. Fenway Park drew a mere 306 fans on October 1, likely the smallest attendance ever at a Red Sox game. The next day, GM Pinky Higgins fired manager Johnny Pesky and all of his coaches.

Non-Red Sox Baseball At Fenway Park

On May 20, 1964, a legislative baseball game between two teams of local politicians took place at Fenway Park. Before "a roaring crowd of about 43," according to The Boston Globe, the team of Democrats wore Red Sox home uniforms and the team of Republicans sported Red Sox road uniforms. The GOP team was unable to prevent State Treasurer Bob Crane from stealing bases throughout the day and in the final inning, the Democrats capitalized on a two-run error by the Republicans to go ahead for good. The following month, the University of Maine's baseball team swept Northeastern University in an NCAA District One Playoffs. Maine, the winner of district, advanced to the College World Series in Omaha, NE.

1964 Non-Red Sox Baseball At Fenway Park
May 20Massachusetts Democrats 8, Massachusetts Republicans 7
June 3University of Maine 9, Northeastern University 5 (NCAA Division One Playoffs)*
June 3University of Maine 4, Northeastern University 2 (NCAA Division One Playoffs)*
June 15Mayor's Charity Field Day: Northeastern vs. Boston College Baseball Game**
August 4William Randolph Hearst Sandlot Tournament: Record All-Stars 3, American All-Stars 1
August 4William Randolph Hearst Sandlot Tournament: American All-Stars 4, Record All-Stars 2
August 6William Randolph Hearst Sandlot Tournament: Record All-Stars 5, American All-Stars 5 (tie)
August 6William Randolph Hearst Sandlot Tournament: Record All-Stars 5, American All-Stars 3

* Fenway Park was an occasional site for the NCAA District One Baseball Playoffs, which decided who went to the College World Series in Omaha, NE.

**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.

More Than a Ballpark™

The 1964 Boston Patriots finished with a 10-3-1 record, including a 4-2 mark at Fenway Park, but just missed going to the AFL Championship Game. Their title hopes ended in the final week of the regular season in a winner-take-all matchup against the Bills at Fenway Park. Buffalo clinched the Eastern Division behind the strong play of quarterback Jack Kemp, a future US congressman and Republican vice presidential nominee. Kemp wasn't the only GOP figure to appear at the ballpark in 1964. In September, presidential nominee Barry Goldwater spoke to over 20,000 assembled supporters at Fenway Park.

1964 Non-Baseball Events At Fenway Park
January 29Junior Goodwill Dinner*
June 15Mayor's Charity Field Day**
September 24Rally By Republican Presidential Candidate Barry Goldwater
October 9San Diego Chargers 26, Boston Patriots 17 (Football)
October 16Oakland Raiders 43, Boston Patriots 43 (Football)
October 23Boston Patriots 24, Kansas City Chiefs 7 (Football)
November 6Boston Patriots 25, Houston Oilers 24 (Football)
November 20Boston Patriots 12, Denver Broncos 7 (Football)
December 20Buffalo Bills 24, Boston Patriots 14 (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.


September 24, 1964
 Republican Presidential Hopeful Goldwater Attracts
 20,000 To Fenway Park Rally

On September 24, 1964, Barry Goldwater, the Republican nominee for President of the United States, visited Fenway Park. Speaking to a crowd that Fenway officials estimated at 18,000 to 20,000 (the Goldwater camp believed to be 25,000 to 30,000), the Republican candidate decried those who preached disarmament as the best course towards peace for the nation. Preaching that only through strength could the United States keep world peace, Goldwater received cheers from inside the park, while lines of picketers from the Committee Against Political Extremism circled outside in protest to the candidate's stand on civil rights.

"Barry Goldwater came to Boston last night as a 'peacemonger' preaching the 'cold, hard, ugly, dirty fact of life' that only through strength could the United States keep the peace in the world.

"To his New England partisans gathered in Fenway Park - park officials said 18,000 to 20,000 of them, Goldwater people 25,000 to 30,000, with the truth somewhere in between - the Republican candidate for President lashed out at 'the strange, curious crew abroad in our land' calling for disarmament as a way to peace.

While Goldwater spoke to cheers inside the park, a nearly endless line of pickets from the Committee Against Political Extremism circled the park in silence, to protest the candidate's stand on civil rights.

Police reported no incidents, and the picket line gave way, quietly, as those bearing the $1 admission tickets to the rally made their way inside." (W.J. McCarthy, Boston Herald, September 23, 1964)

The 1961 MLB All-Star Game at Fenway Park (Credit: Boston Red Sox)