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April 05. 2013 11:49PM

Carlton Fisk


 
Carlton Fisk, the major league catcher who played most famously for the Boston Red Sox, was born in Bellows Falls, Vt., on December 26, 1947. But the Hall-of-Famer is really from Charlestown, where he graduated from Charlestown High School, then later attended the University of New Hampshire. At UNH, Fisk played baseball and was also a starter on the basketball team. He actually dreamed of playing for the Boston Celtics as a boy; instead, he was drafted in the first round by the Boston Red Sox in 1967. It was at UNH that he met his future wife, Linda Foust, a native of Manchester.

During his first full season in the major leagues, which he played with the Red Sox, Fisk won the American League Gold Glove and the Rookie of the Year Award. In that rookie year, 1972, he would bat .293 and lead the American League with nine triples. He played in a record 2,226 games as catcher, more than any other in history. He was a ten-time All Star, and holds the American League record for the most years behind the plate, a total of 24. Fisk also holds the record for the most home runs after age 40, with 72. He remains one of the top 500 Home Run hitters of all time.

Fisk had his defining moment in Game 6 of the 1975 World Series when he smacked a sinker toward the left-field foul pole at Fenway Park. Waving his hands enthusiastically as he made his way to first base, Fisk willed the ball toward fair territory, winning Game 6 against the Cincinnati Reds in the 12th inning, and forcing a Game 7. That moment would be replayed on the big screen at Fenway Park on June 13, 2005, when the Red Sox honored Fisk with a World Series Ring to commemorate their 2004 World Series Championship. During that ceremony, the Red Sox renamed the foul pole the "Fisk Pole," to honor Fisk's winning moment in a game that is considered one of the best baseball games ever played. The ceremony coincided with an interleague game between the Red Sox and the Cincinnati Reds, who were playing their first game at Fenway since that legendary game in 1975.

Fisk, who was also known as "Pudge" and the "Commander" for the way he took control on the field, played for the Red Sox until 1980. He swapped his number from 27 to 72 when he signed with the Chicago White Sox. In 1981, the White Sox opened their season at Fenway. Fisk hit a three-run, eight-inning home run to win the game for his new team, 5-3. He retired as the all-time home run leader from the White Sox after playing with them for 13 years.

Although he played more seasons and enjoyed his most productive year (1985) with the White Sox, Fisk was accepted into the Hall of Fame in 2000 with the Red Sox on his plaque. His number has been retired by both the Red Sox and the White Sox, making him one of only eight people to have his uniform retired by more than one team. A life-sized bronze statue of Fisk was erected at U.S. Cellular Field in Chicago in 2005. In 2006, the White Sox also presented him with a World Series ring in honor of their 2005 Championship win.

On June 16, 2009, Houston Astros catcher Ivan "Pudge" Rodriguez tied Fisk's record for the most games caught and broke the record the following evening.

Mr. Fisk and his wife Linda have three children and five grandchildren. He is now retired and spends his time between Chicago and Florida, where he collects and grows orchids. On October 22, 2012, Fisk was arrested in New Lenox, Ill. for DUI when he was found unconscious behind the wheel of his car in a cornfield.

Carlton Fisk hits a walk off homerun in Game 6 of the 1975 World Series:



 

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