In 2001, the John Hancock sign was installed above Fenway Park's scoreboard in center field and the Red Sox celebrated the 100th anniversary of the franchise. Though the season started with high expectations, Pedro Martinez and Nomar Garciaparra missed significant time with injuries and the clubhouse fell apart during the season's final several weeks. In December, the Yawkey Trust agreed to sell the Red Sox to a group led by John Henry, Tom Werner and Larry Lucchino, who announced their intentions to win a World Series for long-deserving Red Sox fans and to seek all possible options to keep the club at Fenway Park.
Record: 82-79, 2nd in American League East
Manager: James F. Williams (65-53), Joseph T. Kerrigan (17-26)
The 2001 Red Sox approached spring training with the two-time defending American League batting champion (Nomar Garciaparra), the two-time defending American League Cy Young Award winner (Pedro Martinez), a potent slugger added in free agency (Manny Ramirez) and a pair of veteran pitchers bolstering the staff (Hideo Nomo and David Cone).
However, Garciaparra learned of a split tendon in his right wrist at the start of spring training and missed all but 21 games in 2001. Martinez went 7-3 in just 18 starts during an injury-plagued season as well. Still, Ramirez and Nomo lived up to immediate expectations. In his Red Sox debut on April 4 in Baltimore, Nomo threw the first no-hitter by a Red Sox pitcher since Dave Morehead did in 1965. The Japanese pitcher went on to lead Boston's pitching staff with 13 wins and struck out a league-leading 220 batters. Two days after Nomo's feat, Ramirez hit the first pitch he saw at Fenway Park for a three-run home run, the first of 41 he slugged in 2001.
The Red Sox celebrated the 100th Anniversary of their membership in the American League throughout the season, displaying a special commemorative logo on the center of the Green Monster (the first time this had ever been done except for the 1999 All Star Game), as well as a commemorative patch on their uniform all season. The Red Sox also produced an Emmy Award winning DVD on the history of the team, gave away promotional items over the summer and staged events celebrating the anniversary. Pumpsie Green, the first African-American to play for the Red Sox, returned to Fenway Park for the first time since his playing career.
Though the Red Sox were in the race for most of the summer, Jimy Williams was fired and replaced by the team's pitching coach Joe Kerrigan in mid-August. Infighting engulfed the Red Sox soon thereafter and the team unraveled over the season's final few weeks.
This on-field disappointment was tragically overshadowed by the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks. After baseball resumed following a hiatus of several days, the Red Sox rallied to win their final five games but the team still finished 13 games out of first place.
On December 20, the Red Sox were sold to a group led by John Henry, Tom Werner and Larry Lucchino. After 69 years under the stewardship of Tom and Jean Yawkey and their trustees, the club entered a new era. At their introductory press conference the next day, the new ownership group pledged to Red Sox fans to fulfill five commitments: to field a team worthy of the fans' support; to preserve all that's good about Fenway Park and take that experience to a higher level; to market aggressively to a new, broad region; to be active participants in the community; and to end the Curse of the Bambino and win world championships for Boston, New England and Red Sox Nation.
In 2001, the John Hancock sign was installed over the scoreboard in center field.
The Boston College Eagles baseball team flew high in 2001, winning the year's Baseball Beanpot. Another Massachusetts/Connecticut High School all-star game was also played at Fenway Park during the summer.
|2001 Non-Red Sox Baseball At Fenway Park|
|May 2||Boston College 10, University of Massachusetts 5 (Beanpot Championship)*|
|May 2||Northeastern 7, Harvard 2 (Beanpot Consolation)*|
|June 19||Massachusetts High School All-Stars 7, Connecticut High School All-Stars 2|
*Starting in 1990, Fenway Park has hosted the annual Baseball Beanpot, baseball's version of the longstanding Boston hockey tradition. Originally, the competition featured the same schools that battle for Hockey Beanpot: Boston College, Boston University, Northeastern University and Harvard University. However, when BU dropped their baseball program after the 1995 season, the University of Massachusetts took their place. The Baseball Beanpot has been held at Fenway Park every year since its inception except for in 2004 and 2010, when the tournament was played at Campanelli Stadium in Brockton, MA.