Patriots’ Day and the Red Sox
Every year, on the third Monday in April, the Red Sox play host to the only morning game on the entire Major League Baseball schedule. The annual 11:05 a.m. game at Fenway Park is part of the festivities of Patriots’ Day, a federally recognized holiday in Massachusetts.
Many people have never heard of Patriots’ Day, which was a distinctly New England holiday prior to 2001, when Wisconsin became just the third state in the U.S. to honor the events that led to the American Revolution. Maine, a part of Massachusetts during Colonial times, is the only other state to recognize the holiday.
The Red Sox have been scheduled to play at home on Patriots' Day every year since 1960, except for an off day in 1967 and the players strike in 1995.
First observed in 1894, the holiday commemorates the battles of Lexington and Concord that were fought on April 19, 1775. These battles started the American Revolutionary War and were made famous because they spawned the midnight ride of Paul Revere.
Besides a Red Sox game, reenactments of the battles at Lexington and Concord have become a Patriots’ Day tradition.
Despite the hoopla surrounding the game at Fenway Park, the Boston Marathon is the biggest sporting event of the day, as over one million people line the 26.2-mile course that starts in Hopkinton and finishes in Copley Square.
The Boston Marathon - the world's oldest annual marathon at 114 years – has been run on Patriots’ Day since 1897 – four years before the Red Sox became a charter member of the American League.
The Red Sox first began the tradition of playing a morning baseball game on Patriots' Day in 1903, their third year of existence, when 8,376 fans showed up for a 10:00 a.m. start at the Huntington Avenue Grounds to watch the team (then referred to as the Americans) defeat the Philadelphia A’s 9-4.
At the time, Boston was a two-team baseball town and the National League’s Braves scheduled an afternoon game that drew only 1,800 fans (or cranks, as they were then called).
In later years the Red Sox and Braves agreed not to compete against each other on Patriots’ Day. By the 1940’s the Red Sox played a Patriots’ Day home game only on even-numbered years while the Braves got to host the holiday game on odd-numbered years.
Each team frequently scheduled a doubleheader on their home date, something the Red Sox first did in 1904 when 28,000 showed up for a morning-afternoon DH against the Washington Senators.
The Braves finally tired of playing second fiddle to the Red Sox in 1953 and moved to Milwaukee, leaving the Patriots’ Day tradition to the boys at Yawkey Way.
In the 1970's the Red Sox experienced a surge in attendance at Fenway Park and discontinued playing doubleheaders on Patriots’ Day for financial reasons. But they continued to play a single game in the morning, usually starting at 11:05.
After complaints by Red Sox players to the Players Association, the 1987 game began at noon, but in 1988 game time was switched back to 11:05 and it has remained that way since.
Through 2010, the Red Sox' record on Patriots' Day is 66-49.
Games were postponed due to weather in 1959, 1961, 1965 and 1984.
The Red Sox played 26 home doubleheaders on Patriots' Day between 1903 and 1966.
On Patriots’ Day the gates to Fenway open an hour before game time. It’s the only home date of the year when the gates don’t open their customary two hours prior to first pitch.
Kenmore Square is hopping throughout the day. Local watering holes like the Boston Beer Works and Cask & Flagon are open in the morning to welcome Red Sox fans, who flood into the Square after the game just in time to see the Boston Marathon leaders pass by the Citgo Sign.
Red Sox' Record Against Opposition on Patriots' Day
|Opponent ||Record ||Most Recent Game|
|New York Yankees ||22-11 ||4/19/04|
|Washington Senators ||13-7 ||4/20/53|
|Philadelphia A's ||10-10 ||4/19/48|
|Detroit Tigers ||5-4 ||4/21/86|
|Cleveland Indians ||2-5 ||4/20/98|
|Baltimore Orioles ||4-1 ||4/20/09|
|Chicago White Sox ||2-2 ||4/18/94|
|Toronto Blue Jays ||1-3 ||4/18/05|
|Texas Rangers ||3-0 ||4/21/08|
|Milwaukee Brewers ||1-2 ||4/16/90|
|Tampa Bay Rays ||0-2 ||4/19/10|
|Los Angeles Angels ||1-0 ||4/16/07|
|Minnesota Twins ||1-0 ||4/19/76|
|Seattle Mariners ||1-0 ||4/17/06|
|Kansas City Royals ||0-1 ||4/20/87|
|Oakland A's ||0-1 ||4/17/00|
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