While the previous few seasons had seen little go right, everything seemed to click for the Red Sox in 1995. Mo Vaughn had an MVP season and new addition Tim Wakefield led the rotation. The team's run of luck ended in the playoffs however, as the juggernaut Cleveland Indians quickly dispatched the Red Sox in the ALDS.
Record: 86-58, 1st in American League East
Manager: Kevin C. Kennedy
Postseason: Played in American League Division Series
The baseball strike, which began in August 1994, lingered through the first month of the 1995 season and the 1995 schedule was shortened to 144 games. On a belated Opening Day at Fenway Park on April 26, Aaron Sele threw a 9-0, two-hitter against the Twins. Due to the strike, only 12 exhibition games with the regular players took place before the start of the season.
With the rules regarding signings up in the air due to the ongoing strike, Dan Duquette had secured agreements with starting pitcher Kevin Appier, reliever John Wetteland and slugger Sammy Sosa in January, but these deals were nullified when the National Labor Relations Board intervened in the strike and re-established the pre-existing system.
Though they lost Appier, Wetteland and Sosa, Boston picked up two players who were reelased by their previous teams: outfielder Troy O'Leary and first baseman-turned-pitcher Tim Wakefield.
In Wakefield's third start, the knuckleballer tossed a 10-inning, complete game victory over Seattle at Fenway Park. By August 13, Wakefield's record stood at 14-1 and Boston was well on its way to winning the Eastern Division. From May 13 on, the Red Sox claimed sole possession of first place and eventually finished the year with a dramatically-improved record of 86-58.
Mo Vaughn hit 39 home runs and a league-leading 126 RBIs on his way to the AL MVP. Complementing the big first baseman was John Valentin, who collected 27 HRs, 102 RBIs and a .298 average. Wakefield led the team in wins and ERA (16-8, 2.95) and Erik Hanson went 15-5.
Under wild card playoff format, Boston faced Cleveland in the Division Series, a best-of-five round. Unfortunately the series was a short one and the Red Sox were swept at the hands of the powerful Indians. Fenway Park hosted just one post-season game in 1995.
In 1995 the club also established the Red Sox Hall of Fame. The inaugural class of Red Sox Hall of Famers included some of the biggest names in team history, while subsequent elections (held on a biennial basis) have recognized legendary players, coaches, executives and broadcasters who have called Fenway Park home.
In 1995, a re-measurement yielded a new, reduced distance from home plate to the base of the left-field foul pole. The new distance of 310 feet was five less than the previous official distance of 315 feet.
In addition, Boston Edison Company installed energy efficient lighting, heating, cooling and control systems throughout Fenway Park.
For the second year in a row, the Northeastern Huskies won the Baseball Beanpot at Fenway Park in April 1995.
|1995 Non-Red Sox Baseball At Fenway Park|
|April 18||Northeastern 5, Boston University 3 (Beanpot Semi-Finals)*|
|April 18||Boston College 12, Harvard 3 (Beanpot Semi-Finals)*|
|April 20||Northeastern 7, Boston College 3 (Beanpot Championship)*|
|April 20||Boston University 7, Harvard 1 (Beanpot Consolation)*|
*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.