In 1956, the Red Sox finished in fourth place for the fourth straight season but on July 14, Mel Parnell no-hit the White Sox at Fenway Park and three days later Ted Williams hit his 400th career home run. In June, Fenway Park hosted the annual Mayor's Charity Field Day and a bout featuring local boxer Tony DeMarco and in the fall, Boston College football played at the park as well.

The Red Sox

Record: 84-70, 4th in American League
Manager: Michael F. Higgins
Attendance: 1,137,158

The 1956 Red Sox finished with the exact same record (84-70) as they did in 1955 but the team never made a run at the pennant and finished 18 games back, again in fourth place.

The 32,563 fans that attended Opening day at Fenway Park in 1956 saw Frank Sullivan earn a complete-game, 8-1 victory over Baltimore. Sullivan finished the season with a 14-7 record and 3.42 ERA, while Tom Brewer had his finest year with a 19-9 record. Reliever Ike Delock chipped in with a 13 wins but the rest of the staff was nine games under .500.

With a .345 batting average, Ted Williams qualified for the batting crown for the first time since 1951 but he finished second to Triple Crown winner Mickey Mantle. Jackie Jensen led the team in RBIs again with 97 and both Williams and first baseman Mickey Vernon produced over 80 runs each as well.

There were some other nice individual accomplishments in 1956. On July 14, Mel Parnell no-hit the White Sox at Fenway Park following an early rain delay. The left-hander even recorded the final out of the game on a ground ball back to the mound that he ran over to first.

Three days later, Ted Williams hit his 400th career home run during a doubleheader sweep of Kansas City, though Williams spat in the direction of the press box as he crossed the plate. Two months later, on August 7, Williams flipped his bat at the fans in anger. The next day, Ted clamped his hand over his mouth after hitting a home run, and won back the Fenway crowd.

On August 17, at the team's first game back at Fenway Park after a brief six-day road trip, vendors were no longer allowed to sell beer directly to patrons in the ballpark's seats. Fans that wanted a beer had to walk to the concession counters under the stands to purchase one. Vendors wouldn't serve beer in the Fenway Park seating bowl until almost 50 years later.

Non-Red Sox Baseball At Fenway Park

In 1956, the McGuire Air Force Base took to the Fenway Park field to face the Georgia Chain Gang, a Mayor's Charity Field Day regular at the ballpark.

1956 Non-Red Sox Baseball At Fenway Park
June 25Mayor's Charity Field Day: Georgia Chain Gang vs. McGuire Air Force Base*
August 7William Randolph Hearst Sandlot Tournament: American All-Stars 10, Record All-Stars 6

*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™

In 1956, local favorite Tony DeMarco had another bout in Fenway Park, winning a 10-round decision over Vince Martinez. The Mayor's Charity Field Day took place once again and Boston College won three of the five football games it played at Fenway Park late in the year.

1956 Non-Baseball Events At Fenway Park
February 1Junior Goodwill Dinner*
June 16Tony DeMarco Defeats Vince Martinez (Boxing)
June 25Mayor's Charity Field Day**
November 2Boston College 7, Villanova 6 (Football)
November 10Quantico Marines 20, Boston College 6 (Football)
November 17Boston College 13, Boston University 0 (Football)
November 24Boston College 52, Brandeis 0 (Football)
December 1Holy Cross 7, Boston College 0 (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.

The Red Sox during the National Anthem in 1951 (Credit: Leslie Jones Collection/Boston Public Library)