Fenway Park was the site of "Morgan Magic" in 1988, as interim skipper Joe Morgan sparked a dramatic, mid-season turnaround and the team made the playoffs. After a short postseason run, significant construction on a new press box and premium club commenced.
Record: 89-73, 1st in American League East
Manager: John F. McNamara (43-42), Joseph M. Morgan (46-31)
Postseason: Played in American League Championship Series
The 1988 season started nicely for the Red Sox and they stood at 14-6 by the end of April. However, the team began to slide and manager John McNamara lost his job at the All-Star break with his team just one game above .500.
Third-base coach Joe Morgan took over as interim manager and the team subsequently won their next 12 consecutive games. The club emerged victorious in 19 of its first 20 games under the new skipper, whose immediate success gave rise to the term "Morgan Magic." When Mike Boddicker beat the Tigers 16-4 at Fenway Park on August 13, the Red Sox set a league record with their 24th consecutive home victory.
The Red Sox reached first place on September 4 and stayed there for good. Wade Boggs won the batting title for the fourth consecutive year (.366), collecting 214 hits, 125 walks, and 128 runs scored. Left-fielder Mike Greenwell led the team in home runs (22) and RBIs (119) and batted .325 with an AL-record 23 game-winning hits in 1988.
Boston's pitching staff had two 18-game winners, Roger Clemens and Bruce Hurst, but no other Red Sox pitcher won more than nine games.
The Red Sox advanced to the playoffs and a best-of-seven ALCS against the Oakland A's but the result was nasty, brutish and short. The powerful A's swept Boston and former Boston pitcher Dennis Eckersley picked up the save in each game.
In 1988, a multicolored video board was installed in the center-field scoreboard, replacing the electronic message board that was built in 1976. On May 21, 1988, Bobby Doerr's # 1 was officially retired and joined Ted Williams' #9 and Joe Cronin's #4 on the façade of the right-field roof. Late in the 1988 season, the two-year process of creating a new premium seating area and new press box began with work on the supporting structural columns in the area behind home plate. After the season, the press box was gutted to make room for the new construction.