One of the great teams in Red Sox history, the 1986 American League championship club, will be honored in pregame ceremonies on Wednesday, May 25, before that night's game against the Colorado Rockies.
From Dwight Evans's home run on the first pitch of the '86 season to Dave Henderson's miraculous ninth-inning home run in Game 5 of the American League playoffs against the Angels, the '86 team thrilled Red Sox fans and came within one strike of winning the World Series against the New York Mets.
Coming off a season in which they won just 81 games and finished fifth in the AL East, the '86 Red Sox won 95 games, finishing 5 ½ games ahead of the second-place Yankees. They were led by 23-year-old Roger Clemens, who went 24-4, struck out a record 20 batters against Seattle on April 29, and was named AL Most Valuable Player and Cy Young Award winner. Wade Boggs had 207 hits and batted .357 for the third of his five batting titles, Jim Rice had an even 200 hits and knocked in 110 runs, and Don Baylor hit a club-leading 31 home runs.
"I was 13 that season,'' said Red Sox President Sam Kennedy, "and that summer remains magical to me, the year that I truly fell in love with the Red Sox. Those guys were my heroes, and I'm delighted to be able to welcome them back."
Close to 30 members of the 1986 team are expected to participate in the anniversary celebration (subject to change), including Marty Barrett, Wade Boggs, Dennis "Oil Can" Boyd, Mike Brown, Bill Buckner, Roger Clemens, Steve Crawford, Pat Dodson, Dwight Evans, Bill Fischer, Rich Gedman, Mike Greenwell, Walt Hriniak, Rene Lachemann, Tim Lollar, Steve Lyons, Joe Morgan, Jim Rice, Ed Romero, Joe Sambito, Jeff Sellers, Dave Stapleton, Mike Stenhouse, Sammy Stewart, Marc Sullivan, La Schelle Tarver, Mike Trujillo, and Rob Woodward.
A special tribute to Henderson, who died of a massive heart attack last December at age 57, will be held. Henderson's widow, Nancy, is scheduled to be in attendance.
The 1986 anniversary celebration is part of an eight-day stretch in which the Red Sox will celebrate former players with a variety of "Homecoming" events, starting with the induction of the newest members of the Red Sox Hall of Fame at a gala event on May 19 celebrating the careers of Jason Varitek, Tim Wakefield, the late Ira Flagstead, and Red Sox President/CEO Emeritus Larry Lucchino. The inductees will also be honored the following night, May 20, during ceremonies before the game against the Indians. The celebration continues with the 1986 Anniversary Reunion on May 25, and ends with the club retiring Wade Boggs' number 26 on May 26.