His Red Sox memories date back to the 1920s and he was in attendance the day Ted Williams hit a home run in his final at-bat, but Bill Hogan’s best Fenway memory just might be made at 4 p.m. tomorrow, April 14, the eighth game of the Sox’ 2012 season.
Yes, it’ll be quite the 100th birthday gift for Hogan, who was born April 14, 1912, six days before his beloved Red Sox played their first game at Fenway Park.
“I thank the good lord for leaving me here with enough strength to at least get a round in,” Hogan, a Lexington resident, told AARP in a video interview. “I don’t know much about 100-year-old pitchers, but I’ll throw the ball and see what happens.”
For a while now, Hogan has been practicing his pitch with the staff members at Brookhaven at Lexington. It’s a different kind of exercise, but working out is a regular part of the routine for Hogan, who says he was working out three times a week well before taking the mound at Fenway was ever a part of the conversation.
“I think it’ll be great. I’ll love to be out there in the middle of it,” Hogan told AARP. “I hope the day is good and a few of my friends are still around there, and family. It’s quite an honor.”
As a Sox fan, Hogan was around for all 86 years of the championship drought, and remembers more of them than most. His best memories include the one-game playoff against the Indians for the American League pennant in 1948 and Ted Williams’ home run in his final at-bat in 1960.
Hogan’s throwing out the first pitch on his 100th birthday is one in a series of events the Red Sox have planned for Fenway Park’s centennial celebrations.
According to the Globe, Hogan’s grandson, Bill Hogan IV, who works for Fenway Sports Management, said his grandfather’s attendance at a Red Sox announcement promoting the centennial celebrations helped secure his moment on the mound.
A former second baseman for Boston College, Hogan isn’t sure he’ll be able to throw a strike tomorrow, but it won’t be for lack of trying. The pitch will be as much about the balance on his back leg as it will be arm strength, he said.
Still, he’s been testing out his “two-seamah” and knuckleball during practice sessions with Brookhaven, and he’s hoping for the best.
“It’s kind of a thrill to go out in Fenway Park and throw a baseball,” Hogan told AARP. “I’ve been a Red Sox fan since back when I could walk into the park. Oh, I go back into the 20s.”