If 1967 was the season that changed the team's place in New England athletic culture, 1975 was the year that cemented the Red Sox as a true regional phenomenon. The Red Sox staved off the Orioles in September, swept the A's in the ALCS and squared off against the Cincinnati Reds in an unforgettable World Series. Though the Red Sox lost to the Reds in seven games, Carlton Fisk's walk-off home run at Fenway Park in Game Six endures to this day as one of the most indelible moments in baseball history.
Record: 95-65, 1st in American League East
Manager: Darrell D. Johnson
Postseason: Played in World Series
Injuries defined much of 1975 for the Red Sox. Carlton Fisk had been out since midsummer 1974 and then had his arm broken by a pitch early in spring training in 1975. Fisk didn't appear in a game until June 23, 1975 but in his half-season, he batted .331 and drove in 52 runs. Against all odds, after 3½ years out of baseball, Tony Conigliaro made the Red Sox as an invitee to spring training. He singled in his first at-bat then pulled off a double steal, taking second base while Carl Yastrzemski scored. However, Conigliaro's eyesight problems proved insurmountable and after hitting just.123, he ended his season in June.
Jim Rice and Fred Lynn, two rookies who had gotten a taste of the majors late in 1974, became starters in 1975 and had breakout years. They were called the "Gold Dust Twins" with Rice in left field and Lynn in center. In their first full seasons, Lynn hit .331, drove in 105 runs and had 21 home runs, while Rice hit .309, drove in 102 and led the team with 22 homers. However, adding to the list of impactful injuries for the Red Sox in 1974, Rise was hit on the wrist by a pitch on September 21, ending his season.
No Boston pitcher won 20 games in 1975 but Rick Wise (19-12), Luis Tiant (18-14) and Bill Lee (17-9) comprised the core of a formidable staff. The Red Sox moved into first place for good in late June and held off Baltimore down the stretch, thanks in large part to a string of clutch performances by Tiant, including the September 16 game at Fenway Park, when the right-hander bested Jim Palmer and the Orioles, 2-0. Boston finished 4 1/2 games in front of Baltimore and Fred Lynn earned both AL Rookie of the Year and MVP honors, the first time any player had one both awards in the same year.
The Red Sox swept the defending World Champion Oakland A's in Boston's first appearance in the American League Championship Series, then took on Cincinnati's "Big Red Machine" in the World Series. Though the Red Sox lost to the Reds in seven games, Carlton Fisk's legendary, game-winning home run off Fenway's left-field foul pole in Game Six remains one of Fenway Park's greatest moments, in one of baseball's greatest games.
In 1975, Fenway Park hosted its first all-star game featuring the Cape Cod Baseball League, which included some of the best college baseball players in the country. The format of the game pitted a team of Cape Cod League All-Stars against a team of all-stars from the Atlantic Collegiate Baseball League, another summer league full of talent.
|1975 Non-Red Sox Baseball At Fenway Park|
|July 21||Cape Cod Baseball League 1, Atlantic Collegiate Baseball League 0*|
* From 1975 to 1987, on a biennial basis, Fenway Park hosted an all-star game between the Cape Code Baseball League and the Atlantic Collegiate League. The all-star game alternated between Fenway Park and sites closer to the ACL's teams, such as Yankee Stadium and Veterans Stadium. In 1988, the Cape Cod Baseball League returned to an intra-league format for their annual all-star game and in 2009, Cape Code League All-Stars returned to Fenway Park for the Cape Cod League All-Star Game, which was played again in 2010.