EagleTribune.com, North Andover, MA

Merrimack Valley

October 28, 2013

Fan of 1,000 games: Baseball almost always 'magical'

'Red Sox baseball is as much a part of New England as the beaches'

LAWRENCE — Walter Fitzpatrick still holds onto a ticket stub for a Red Sox game he watched at Fenway Park more than 22 years ago during a season that disappointed most Boston fans when their team failed to make the playoffs.

His Sox keepsakes also include tickets to eight World Series games he attended and one for the July 17, 1991, Sox-Minnesota Twins game.

Though Boston hit into two triple plays that day, Fitzpatrick calls it “the most memorable game” of more than 1,000 games Sox games he’s watched over nearly six decades since his dad first took him to Fenway.

“Two (triple plays) in one game never happened before, but the Sox still won the game, 1-0,” recalled Fitzpatrick, 68, a city native and long-time resident of the Mount Vernon area.

“I was with Jimmy Fuller, a young man who was originally from Methuen. He lives in Hawaii now, but remains a huge Red Sox fan and still calls me,” he said.

Fitzpatrick, a retired English teacher who taught 38 years at Haverhill High School, remembers another fan that day who sat in front of him but wasn’t in his seat to witness either triple play.

“The man says to his wife, ‘Save the ticket stubs. This is going to be historical.’ He was going to brag that he had been there. But he hadn’t really seen the triple plays,” Fitzpatrick said.

“It just goes to show you, you just can’t leave the game early. Baseball almost always has something magical to it.”

Like the American League pennant-clinching game Fitzpatrick watched a week ago last Saturday in Boston, when Shane Victorino hit a grand slam in the bottom of the seventh to lift the Red Sox to a 5-2 lead over the Detroit Tigers. That hit helped to send the Sox back to the World Series.

Text Only | Photo Reprints
Merrimack Valley

Eagle-Tribune News Videos
Photos of the Week