HYANNIS, Mass. - A small slice of baseball history was shared last Saturday night at the Hyannis Athletic Association’s Hot Stove Event at the Original Gourmet Brunch.
Dick Bresciani, vice president emeritus and team historian for the Boston Red Sox, was guest speaker at the fund-raising event for the Hyannis Harbor Hawks of the Cape Cod Baseball League. Surrounded by an eager crowd of baseball fans, Bresciani shared first-hand accounts from his 40 years with the Red Sox organization.
Mr. Bresciani began his career with the Boston Red Sox in 1972, hired as an assistant by the late Red Sox public relations director Bill Crowley, and he credited Crowley and Joe Sherman, then sports editor of the Cape Cod Standard-Times, for giving him his start in baseball. He was an assistant in the sports information office at UMass-Amherst when Sherman hired him to cover Cape Cod Baseball League games in the 1960s for the newspaper that later became the Cape Cod Times.
He told of being hired during the strike-shortened pennant race in 1972 and his first assignment dealing with Tom Yawkey’s 40th Anniversary as Red Sox owner. It was Dick’s responsibility to get Ted Williams, Texas Ranger manager, to be a part of the celebration. The plan was to have Williams give a speech and then take a few swings after the home-run hitting contest. Williams agreed to the speech but was reluctant to hit because he had not done so in a long time. Fortunately for the Fenway Faithful, Dick was able to convince Ted to participate and Williams thrilled the crowd by almost hitting one out of the park.
Mr. Bresciani highlighted 1975, 1978, and 1986 as memorable seasons and winning the World Series in 2004 and 2007 as unforgettable. Speaking about the 2004 World Series Championship, he told the audience that, like many of them, he expected to wake up the following morning to find it had all been a dream. Of course it wasn't, and the win finally removed the dreaded “Curse”.
Addressing the 100th anniversary of Fenway Park, Bresciani informed his listeners that Boston became one of the original members of the American League back in 1901 and that the team won the World Series in 1903, 1912, 1915, and 1918. In 1919, Harry Frazee sold Babe Ruth to the New York Yankees.
That led to a decline from 1920-1932, the year Mr. Yawkey bought the team. He brought in American League stars like Joe Cronin, Jimmie Foxx, Lefty Grove, and Wes Farrell.
Dick spoke of 1946 being a magic year, when the Red Sox, led by Ted Williams, Bobby Doerr, Johnny Pesky, and Dom DiMaggio, won the A.L. Pennant. After several strong second place finishes in the late 1940’s, the Red Sox posted less than stellar seasons in the 1950's and early 60's, until the 1967 Impossible Dream season when the Red Sox stunned the baseball world winning the AL Pennant advancing to the World Series for the first time since 1946.
The evening was filled with more than just history and stories. The intimate atmosphere was provided by the Original Gourmet Brunch on Main Street in Hyannis. Father and son owners, Joe and John Cotellessa, put on a spread that included clam chowder, chili, lobster macaroni & cheese, and a variety of hot and cold hors d’oeuvres.
There was a silent auction with items donated by the Boston Red Sox, the Cape Cod Baseball League, and the Hyannis Athletic Association and its supporters. Luckily winners went home with autographed baseballs by Johnny Pesky and Dwight Evans, a Mike Lowell-signed baseball card, Red Sox tickets, and CCBL merchandise.
Proceeds from the event benefited improvements to McKeon Park, home of the Hyannis Harbor Hawks.