Where will Tom Brady’s return be in New England sports history?

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Patriots

Roger Clemens, Pedro Martinez and Johnny Damon also made suspenseful returns.

Fenway fans responded after Clemens struck out 16 Red Sox in eight innings upon his return to Fenway in July 1997.

Tom Brady is heading to New England this week for what promises to be a night to remember.

On this occasion, we explore the standings of Sunday’s Buccaneers-Patriots game for the most notable returns in Boston history.

A few caveats: We don’t include Babe Ruth returning to Fenway for the first time with the Yankees in 1920. While there are a few nuggets here and there, there is very little information on what’s going on. has passed – a New York Times story made no mention of any fan reaction to Boston’s 6-0 victory on April 19, 1920 at Fenway, despite Ruth getting 2v4 with a double. Boston Sports Talk Radio was supposed to be on fire that afternoon.

And while he would have been a prime candidate, Bobby Orr has never played a game with the Blackhawks in Boston, so he’s not on that list.

Here’s our top 10, ranked by pre-game hype and in-game drama.

10. Wade Boggs

The 1992 season was the 11th in Boggs’ career with the Red Sox, and marked his first year under-.300. The veteran third baseman ended up leaving Boston in the offseason to sign with the Yankees.

He returned to Fenway next May and received a mixture of boos and cheers in his first at-bat. He ended up going 4-for-4 with a walk in a 7-2 win for the Red Sox, and thanked the fans for cheering him on.

“It would be hard to think of another player in any sport who would generate such a wide reception for his first game in his old town,” speculated Dan Shaughnessy. “For weeks and months Boggs had been putting on a false front, telling us that the Red Sox meant nothing and that a game at Fenway would be ‘just another game’. This was not the case.

Adam Vinatieri was on the winning side when the Colts beat the Patriots when Vinatieri returned to Gillette Stadium in 2006.

9. Adam Vinatieri

The legendary kicker made his first appearance at Foxborough as a member of the Colts on November 5, 2006, and the only time he heard cheers was when he missed a pair of baskets in the 27- win. 20 from Indy.

He logged in 23 yards and 31 yards overnight, and appeared to take the boos with a good spirit, telling reporters he understood their feelings. “It was fun. They are big fans,” he said. “They do whatever they can to give their team an advantage.”

Vinatieri would play 14 seasons with the Colts. His last season dates back to 2019, at age 47.

8. Ray Bourque

After being transferred to Colorado, Bourque returned to Boston as a player for the last time on March 24, 2001 and he collected two assists in an Avalanche victory. He was acclaimed throughout the match with several standing ovations. He then made one last lap around the FleetCenter ice and offered one final wave before leaving.

“If yesterday was an old friend who said so long, then he said it best, with a simple wave of the hand and a just wonderful game,” wrote Kevin Paul Dupont.

7. Pedro Martinez

While there was a lot of bitterness about other returns, that wasn’t the case when Martinez returned to Boston with the Mets on June 28, 2006.

Maybe it was because Boston was already a full year in the rearview mirror – he had signed with New York after the 2004 season. Maybe it was because he was greeted with wild cheers all night long.

Or maybe it was because the Red Sox pounced on him early (he allowed eight runs on seven hits in just three innings of work against his former team). Either way, it was a rather positive experience for everyone involved. “Whatever the outcome of the game, I will always remember it as one of the best moments of my life,” Martinez said after the 10-2 loss to Boston.

Drew Bledsoe has been selected four times upon his return to Gillette Stadium.

6. Drew Bledsoe

The former Patriots QB came to Foxborough with Buffalo on December 8, 2002. In that one, Bill Belichick got the better of his former QB as New England emerged with a 27-17 victory.

Bledsoe was 32-for-51 for 328 yards and a pair of touchdowns, but the Patriots defense intercepted him four times on the way to victory. “It certainly wasn’t the way I envisioned it,” Bledsoe recalled after the game. “I wanted to emerge victorious from this field. “

5. Kyrie Irving

Irving made several returns to Boston after leaving for the Nets, with and without fans. The Nets made several saves at TD Garden in Irving’s first season with Brooklyn (2019-20), but Irving was MIA on each of those occasions.

When he was healthy, the pandemic meant he hadn’t faced the Boston fandom – even after burning sage on the field before a preseason game in 2020. He scored 37 goals in one game. in Boston on December 25, 2020 in front of an empty building.

With fans back to their seats for the start of the playoffs – and Irving hoping fans would avoid “belligerence or racism” – he came to Boston on May 28, 2021 and scored 16 points in a loss to Brooklyn ahead. a COVID – Limited crowd of less than 5,000 people.

4. Johnny Damon

A beloved member of the 2004 Red Sox, Damon signed with the Yankees after the 2005 season. Upon his return to Fenway in May 2006, he was greeted with regular and sustained boos and a mix of counterfeit money and then real bills. that he was warming up in the outfield. As he entered the batter’s box early in the first inning, he was greeted with about 30 seconds of boos and a few cheers, which escalated as he took off his helmet and waved it to the crowd. .

The weird subplot here? This is the same game that heralded the return of Tim Wakefield’s personal wide receiver, Doug Mirabelli, who got a police escort from Logan and was in such a rush to get onto the pitch that he played the first inning without a cut. .

3. Invoice the packages

The former Patriots coach drew the ire of many local fans when he decided to leave New England after the 1996 season and move on to the Jets. He returned to Foxborough with Gang Green on the night of September 14, 1997 and in a game called “The Tuna Bowl,” he managed to fend off the Patriots before New York fell into overtime, 27-24.

2. Carlton Fisk

The Eternal New England-born All-Star left the Red Sox as a free agent after the 1980 season. On opening day of 1981, he was greeted with boos as a member of the White Sox, but by all accounts he was able to turn them into cheers as the match progressed.

He gave the green light to the circuit in the start of the eighth for Chicago, setting the stage for a 5-3 victory for the White Sox. “I was more nervous today than in my first game as a rookie. But it was a nice kind of nervousness. Exciting nervous, ”Fisk said after the game. He played 13 seasons with Chicago.

1. Roger Clemens

The one against which all other returns will be judged.

In his last four seasons with the Red Sox, the former Cy Young Award winner went 40-39, then signed with the Blue Jays in the offseason after Red Sox general manager Dan Duquette moved hinted that he was in the “twilight of his career”.

Clemens returned to Fenway with Toronto on July 12, 1997 and was absolutely dominant, shooting eight innings of baseball on four hits and striking out 16 on grabs en route to a 3-1 victory over an ill-fated Boston formation. His tee shot was a deadly gaze in the direction of the owners box as he left the mound.

“It’s like the night the former Red Sox ace came back and knocked out 16 of his former teammates, turning critics into disciples and completely embarrassing the already beleaguered Boston brass,” Shaughnessy said. “If Bill Parcells is going to beat that, his Jets will have to whip the Patriots, 49-0, at Foxborough on September 14. “

Clemens will play 11 seasons after leaving the Red Sox.


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