Notes from the BoSox Club Luncheon - November 11, 2016

The annual meeting followed, run by Paul Shorthose, who indeed made short work of it with an efficient presentation. He acknowledged the departures from the Board of Paul Boghosian, MJ Fietze, and himself. The appropriate business was conducted.

Steve Hollingsworth offered a number of remarks about his tenure as president, offering appreciation for their support and assistance to many people, and closed with a final thanks to all the members of the Club for their passion and loyalty, the characteristics which make for a successful club.

Head table guests included MC Tom Leyden (Sports Director of FOX25 News), Rico Petrocelli, President Emeritus Larry Lucchino, and Red Sox President Sam Kennedy.  We were joined just after the luncheon by surprise guest Jerry Remy, who had come on the spur of the moment after sharing a couple of texts with Pam Kenn earlier in the morning. He took a seat at the head table, thanks to the gracious acquiescence of Paul Shorthose.

After autographs were offered to the usual line of appreciative seekers, Steve introduced Carol Flynn, who in turn announced the recipients of the Dom DiMaggio Scholarships. This year they were awarded to two St. Anselm's students, one on the softball team and one on the baseball team. The softball team recipient was center fielder Amanda Bickford of Salem, New Hampshire who accepted her scholarship in person. Unable to attend was Autrey Gates, the baseball recipient, but his father was able to be present and gratefully accepted on his son's behalf.

Tom Leyden took over the MC role and began by inviting Sam Kennedy to the podium.  The year 2016 represented Sam's first full calendar year as President of the Red Sox, and we all were able to look back on a first-place finish in the AL East. Sam recognized Larry Lucchino as hiring him in San Diego and serving as his mentor for 20 years. Sam was asked about the arrival of Dave Dombrowski, and he noted that the way in which they somewhat share executive functions (Sam doing more of the business side and Dave doing more of the baseball side) was becoming more and more common throughout baseball. Reflecting on the recent retirement of David Ortiz, he simply said, "There is no replacing David Ortiz."

Whereas last year there were some burning needs to fill, this year the team does not need as many; but Sam quoted Larry Lucchino as teaching him the never-ending need for "pitching, pitching, pitching."

Tom then interviewed Rico Petrocelli, who recalled his first hitting instructor with the Red Sox, Pete Runnels, and a memory of owner Tom Yawkey coming down to the clubhouse to interact with the players. He said the new ownership group (the Henry/Werner/Lucchino group) has really made a difference in the way business is conducted at the park, and had many nice things to say about various staff members – singling out Pam Kenn and Sheri Rosenberg – and then went on to thank the current owners for what they have done to save and improve Fenway Park.

Rico closed by recalling that he had attended the BoSox Club in its very first year – 1967 – and that it was really nice every time to come back.

Tom Leyden then said, "Let's bring up the Rem-Dawg." Jerry said it was such an honor to appear at the same table as Rico Petrocelli, who he still remembers catching that final popup which won the pennant for the Red Sox in the Impossible Dream Year of 1967.  Next year, he said, would be his own 39th year with the Boston Red Sox. He himself had been the BoSox Club Man of the Year in 1981. Jerry said that he believed Larry Lucchino was the greatest executive in Red Sox history. To those in attendance, he said, "You're the greatest fans in the world." He closed by reflecting on the 2016 Red Sox team, which he thought were one of the nicest teams he's been around, in terms of their personalities and the way they carried themselves.

The annual Jernegan Award was presented to Larry Lucchino. The Jernegan Award is named in honor of the late Brad Jernegan, a charter member and President of the BoSox Club in 1969 and 1970. His dedication and tireless efforts on behalf of the BoSox Club remain an inspiration to all that follow. His enthusiasm during the founding of the club and his leadership during the formative years were indispensable to the ultimate success of the Club. The Award, presented by a vote of the Board of Directors, recognizes special and continuing contributions to the BoSox Club.

Larry began his remarks by noting that December 20, 2001 was the date he and those in the Henry/Werner/Lucchino group were notified by John Harrington that theirs was the bid that was being accepted.  He said that when he himself left San Diego to come to Boston, the two people he most wanted to bring with him were Sam Kennedy and Theo Epstein. There was a little resistance to letting the two go, too, but he urged his superior there to "Free the Brookline Two" and allow the two to come back home to Boston to work for the team with which they had grown up.

He then went on to note eight special moments that stood out to him in the 15 years since that time. They are: (1) Pedro Martinez making an appeal for them to sign David Ortiz and vouching for him, (2) Dave Roberts' steal of second base in the 2004 ALCS, (3) the $69,000 bar bill presented them by the place they partied in Denver after sweeping the Rockies in 2007 – a bill that was negotiated down considerably, (4) the 100th anniversary celebrations of Fenway Park in 2012, (5) David Ortiz speaking on the mound before the first home game after the Boston Marathon bombing in 2013, (6) the victory celebration in 2013 when the Red Sox won their first World Series at home since 1918, when David Ortiz pointed to his shirt and said it says BOSTON, not Red Sox, (7) the decision to preserve and protect Fenway Park; they were the only one of the groups in the bidding that was committed to that objective, and (8) the relationship with the community and commitment to charity that has now seen around $90 million raised by the Red Sox Foundation and donated to charity.

Larry expressed his thanks to all the players and club officials which proceeded him and on whose shoulders he and his group stood, and to the ushers, the ticket takers, and all who make the ballpark experience what it is. "We owe them all an enormous debt of gratitude," he said. He concluded his remarks by expressing his appreciation for the BoSox Club and saying that we not only have American's most beloved ballpark, but also America's most beloved franchise.

The annual special raffle followed.

Outgoing president Steve Hollingsworth then closed the meeting by introducing incoming president Mike Vining.

Thank you to Bill Nowlin for this update.

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