By Christopher Smith
---- — Andover resident Ernie Paicopolos attended his first game at Fenway Park on July 8, 1956 and watched as Ted Williams went 4 for 8 with a homer and five RBIs in a doubleheader that Sunday afternoon.
From that day forward, Paicopolos’ Red Sox passion has been unmatched and has gotten him involved way more than just being a season ticket holder.
Paicopolos was featured in The Eagle-Tribune in July of 2011 for being the editor-in-chief of the popular Red Sox website FenwayNation.com, which remains his labor of love and has received more than four million hits per year with visitors from more than 100 different countries.
The 61-year-old Paicopolos’ most recent Red Sox project includes writing the forward for author Greg Pearson’s new book, “Fenway Fanatics: 50 Boston Red Sox Fans Tell Their Stories.” Paicopolos also is one of the 50 fans featured in the book.
“He (Pearson) had stumbled across my website somehow and he liked it and so he just gave me a call out of the blue,” Paicopolos said. “He explained he was working on this book, which was an attempt to look at the whole Red Sox phenomenon from the perspective of a selected number of fans.
“He actually was asking me to lead him to fans that I might be acquainted with. So I did that. I gave him three or four names of people, including the co-founder of my site. And from there, we talked a few times on the phone and he asked if I would like to be profiled.”
One thing Paicopolos learned through being interviewed by Pearson is just how important his baseball relationship was with his dad, who died at 92 last year.
“He took me to my first game when I was 4 years old and they used to rip the tickets up,” Paicopolos said. “He convinced the ticket taker not to rip up my ticket because it was my first game. And the guy allowed it and I still have the ticket framed in my office — the whole ticket from 1956.
“You know how fathers and sons always have issues with each other over the years?” Paicopolos added. “I just think what I realized is how important our relationship was over baseball — over the Red Sox.”
One story Paicopolos especially is glad that he mentioned while being interviewed is how he attended the 1961 All-Star Game at Fenway Park.
“I was like 9 or 10 years old then and it really made an impression on me,” Paicopolos said. “In that game, there were some of the all-time great Hall of Famers playing, National Leaguers in particularly. To see Willie Mays and those guys in person was incredible.”
As the book came more to fruition, Pearson asked Paicopolos to write the forward.
“I agreed because I thought it was kind of cool,” Paicopolos said.
Paicopolos didn’t receive much guidance writing the preface except for being told the publisher wanted a certain number of words.
“Which I failed at,” he said, laughing. “I didn’t write enough for them. But I had never done it before. So I had no clue. So I literally went on the internet and looked up, ‘What does it take to write a forward?’ I just went with it. I tried to explain from my perspective what it is to be a fan and kind of summarize a few key points in the book. It was a fun experience.”
Paicopolos said Pearson did a fine job finding what all 50 fans have in common.
“It’s such a diverse group of people,” Paicopolos said. “My favorite story is about a nun who’s a complete nut Red Sox fan and her experiences of how all that developed. And then he has people like Jim Calhoun, the (former) Connecticut Huskie basketball coach and my friend and co-founder of my site, Rick Glaub, who about 10 years ago was posted to Uzbekistan but has followed the Red Sox crazily since then.”