Sox fan to celebrate his and Fenway's 100th
Centenarian Hogan to throw out first pitch on his birthday
Fenway Park isn't the only beloved piece of Boston history turning 100 this week.
Nope, that honor also belongs to Bill Hogan, a native Bostonian who was born April 14, 1912 -- exactly 100 years ago -- and will celebrate his momentous birthday and that of his favorite stadium by throwing out the ceremonial first pitch for Saturday's game against the Tampa Bay Rays.
"I think it will be great," he said. "I'd love to be out there in the middle of it. It's kind of a thrill to think that you're out in Fenway Park and you're going to throw a baseball."
But don't think for a second that he's taking this lightly.
Hogan has been training for a year at the assisted living facility where he lives outside Boston, working on getting that right arm in shape. In a video posted on the AARP website, Hogan is shown snapping off some pretty good pitches in a training session and lifting weights to stay in shape.
He's also been keeping his mind sharp. In the video, Hogan is seen and heard very clearly as he corrects a much younger man on Ted Williams' correct batting average in 1941, which was .406.
His grandson, Austin O'Connor, wrote in an article for the AARP site that Hogan's memory is also in very fine form.
"Ask him about his childhood and he'll reel off the names of the kids he walked to grammar school with, or the Cambridge fireman who would open a hydrant on cold winter days to flood the local playground and turn it into a pickup hockey rink," O'Connor wrote. "He remembers the exact route he'd take -- a walk, a streetcar, another walk -- to get to his high school, Cambridge Latin.
"He remembers the day he met Agnes McHugh, my grandmother. And he remembers the name of the mutual friend she was visiting when he first laid eyes on her, and where they went on their first date."
Bill also remembers the fact that the Red Sox won the World Series in 1918, when he and Fenway were 6 years old, and then didn't win another for 86 years until finally breaking through in 2004. Fortunately for Bill, they won again in 2007.
And now, with a new season, comes this classic Fenway moment.
Bill will make his throw in front of his own four children plus 13 grandchildren and 18 great-grandchildren, and then he'll get down to doing what he really loves: watching the Red Sox play.
According to O'Connor, Bill still watches every game and knows all about the team, including the prospects working their way up through the Minor Leagues.
"Oh, I've been a Red Sox fan since I walked into the park," Bill says in the AARP video.
On Saturday, he'll take the mound and throw the pitch he's been waiting to throw, for, well, 100 years.
"It's important to have things to look forward to," he says. "Every day I have something."