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October 30, 2013

Home at last

BOSTON — Generations of New Englanders are preparing. Practically no one alive can remember seeing such an event unfold: The Boston Red Sox could win a World Series title on the celebrated green grass at Fenway Park.

Ted Williams never did it. Not Carl Yastrzemski. Not Carlton Fisk. Not even Pedro Martinez and Curt Schilling, who ended The Curse nearly a decade ago but did it on the road.

When the Red Sox last won a World Series at home, Babe Ruth, Carl Mays and Harry Hooper were the stars in September 1918, a season cut short by World War I. Ahead of the St. Louis Cardinals 3-2, the Red Sox have two chances to reward their faithful.

“It would be awesome,” said John Lackey, who starts Game 6 on Wednesday night against Cardinals rookie Michael Wacha.

Fenway was just a kid the last time the Red Sox won a title at home, a modern 6-year-old ballpark. A crowd of 15,238 watched the Red Sox defeat the Chicago Cubs 2-1 to win the Series in six games.

“It was a ball game that nobody who was present will forget. It left too many lasting impressions,” Edward F. Martin wrote the following day in the Boston Globe.

That was so long ago that Woodrow Wilson was president of the United States, television hadn’t been invented and the designated hitter didn’t exist. There were 16 major league teams — none west of St. Louis — all games were played in the daytime and the NFL was 23 months from formation.

Now, Fenway Park is a centurion, the oldest home in the majors and listed on the National Register of Historic Places.

The last time a World Series Game 6 was played between Lansdowne and Van Ness Streets was in 1975, the night Fisk sent Pat Darcy’s second pitch of the 12th inning high down the left-field line and waved his arms three times, urging the ball fair, before it clanked off the yellow foul pole atop the Green Monster.

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