We are closing in on the 100th anniversary of Fenway Park. That’s a century full of memories at the lyric little bandbox. A century full of fathers and sons, mothers and daughters, building memories over the slow pace of game nights and afternoons.

More than any other sport, baseball brings generations together. The game is a thread woven through the years, a bond that gives fathers and sons something to talk about even as the real world strips them of all common ground.

Last week, modern-day Red Sox fans were reminded that Red Sox Nation didn’t begin with the comeback against the Yankees in 2004, the ball going through Bill Buckner’s legs, or even the Impossible Dream season of 1967.

At a ceremony outside of Fenway Park, a new statue was unveiled. It pays homage to The Teammates, four Red Sox players immortalized by the late David Halberstam’s 2003 book by the same name.

Cast in bronze, Ted Williams, Johnny Pesky, Dom DiMaggio and Bobby Doerr are truly larger than life. The quartet lords over Gate B, a reminder of those legendary yet star-crossed teams that captivated the hearts of New Englanders even though they were never quite good enough to win it all.

Doerr and Pesky, the two surviving teammates, were on hand for the event. Both in their 90s, they don’t get to the ballpark often. Yet neither was going to miss this day.

“I want to thank (Red Sox principal owner) John Henry here for keeping Fenway Park looking so nice,” said Doerr. “It’s always nice to come back and see the ballpark and for keeping the club up.”

Doerr, still incredibly sharp at the age of 92, lives in Oregon. His presence made the unveiling a truly special day.

To see him with Pesky, who has spent his entire adult life around Fenway, reminded us off the special bonds between the team and its fans — and between the players themselves.

“Ted, Dom and Bobby have been my closest friends since my rookie year in 1942,” Pesky said. “I have had some great times with them and I am glad that, thanks to the Red Sox, our friendship will now be remembered forever in the form of this statue.”

Halberstam’s book tells the story of a 2001 trip to Florida taken by DiMaggio, Pesky, and longtime Boston television commentator Dick Flavin.

Doerr couldn’t make the trip, staying in the Northwest with his ailing wife. The trip was to visit Williams, who was gravely ill.

The three-and-a-half-day ride became a chance to tell stories. To reminisce about long-gone days of summer and journeys nearing their end.

Williams passed away the next summer, and DiMaggio in 2009. The Red Sox wanted to bring the statue to life while Pesky and Doerr could enjoy it.

It was clear they did. now, every Sox fan worth his salt knows the story of the teammates.

Those of us “of a certain age” grew up hearing the stories of their playing days.

Now, a new generation of fans coming to the park will be reminded of the role they played in building one of the world’s most financially successful sports franchises.

To some passing through Gate B, the new bronze sculpture may seem like nothing more than a decoration. Yet, to the two remaining members of that special group, it was a truly special honor, a passing along of their legacy to a new generation.

It’s what baseball does better than any other sport.

 

Tom Caron is the studio host for Red Sox broadcasts on the New England Sports Network. His column appears in the Press Herald on Tuesdays.