Ballparks don’t live to be 100. All the great old ones, except Fenway Park, are gone. Forbes Field, Tiger Stadium, Ebbets Field, the Polo Grounds, Shibe Park, Crosley Field, the original Yankee Stadium. All gone.
Not many people live to be 100. Bob Hope, George Burns, Strom Thurmond, Irving Berlin, and the Queen Mum all crossed the century line. Rose Kennedy, made it, too. Rose was 104 years old when she died in 1995.
Rose is on my mind today because Fenway Park is turning 100 today (you may have heard), and her father threw out the first pitch when the ballpark opened on Saturday, April 20, 1912. I’m told that the NESN broadcast of that Red Sox-New York Highlanders game aired promotions for “The Jake Stahl Show,’’ featuring video of the Sox manager salsa dancing.
John “Honey Fitz’’ Fitzgerald was mayor of Boston in 1912. He wore a top hat and an overcoat to the inaugural game. Honey Fitz’s grandson, Senator Edward Kennedy, looked forward to throwing out the first pitch for the 100th anniversary today. In 2006, he told me, “I’m practicing. I’ve been watching and checking the distance and getting ready. That would be great, especially since Grandpa threw the ball out in 1912.’’