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Luminaries Observe Red Sox Opener at Fenway

Apr. 17, 1964 - The second most popular pastime at Fenway Park today was to get someone’s autograph.

It didn’t matter whose because there were plenty of selections — the Kennedys, the Conigliaros, Jack Dempsey, Gene Tunney, Fredric March, Carol Channing, and Joe Cronin.

There were 20,213 fans at the Red Sox’ victorious home opener today, which means that $36,818 will go to the Kennedy Memorial Library Fund.

The celebrities came to Boston in tribute to the late President and out of respect and friendship to the Kennedy family.

In pre-game ceremonies, Attorney General Robert F. Kennedy (pictured with Carl Yastrzemski) thanked Red Sox owner Tom Yawkey and the crowd on behalf of the family land Mrs. Jacqueline Kennedy. He thanked “all the Redskins — er, Red Sox.” The crowd laughed at the inadvertent reference to the Washington Redskins of the NFL. The Attorney General grinned and said: “That’s what happens from living in Washington too long.”

Governor Peabody, Mayor Collins, and Joe Cronin, American League president, also spoke. Ted Kennedy waved to the crowd’s cheers, and the Harvard Band played the National Anthem. The fans stood for one minute of silence in tribute to President Kennedy.

Governor Peabody relinquished the traditional governor’s honor of throwing out the first ball to the Attorney General, who was immediately besieged by autograph hunters. One of the Red Sox players, Dalton Jones, ran up from the dugout to have him autograph a baseball.

Stan Musial, former St. Louis Cardinals star, looking trim and tan as the head of this country’s physical fitness program should, represented President Johnson and told the crowd somewhat nostalgically: “I wish I had a bat in my hand.”

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