November 1, 2013

For some Mainers, love of the Red Sox is for life – and beyond

The families of fans who didn’t live to see the team win Wednesday remember their loved ones’ passion.

By Edward D. Murphy emurphy@pressherald.com
Staff Writer

(Continued from page 1)

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Patricia Kennedy sits in her living room Thursday next to where her late husband, James, often watched his beloved Red Sox play baseball. He died Tuesday, so the family placed the jersey there for Wednesday’s game.

Gabe Souza/Staff Photographer

James Kennedy Sr.

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She said baseball is central in her family – her mother and father met at a game when her mother, the official scorer, gave her father an error on a play. Her mom was a Red Sox fan, and her father rooted for the New York Yankees.

Bobby Murphy was a rabid Sox fan. He died in 2002, and his nephew, Mark McInnis, and Mark’s son, Matthew, conspired to make sure part of him stayed in Fenway forever.

They signed up for a tour of Fenway Park and, from small plastic bags they had in their pockets, spread part of their uncle’s ashes around, McInnis-Misenor said. His final resting places include an area near home plate and the warning track in left field in front of the Green Monster, where Carl Yastrzemski roamed for much of his 23-year career.

Leah Tobin, a media relations representative for the Red Sox, said she wasn’t sure if the team has an official policy forbidding someone from spreading ashes in Fenway. She said she would check to find out, but didn’t have an answer by late Thursday evening.

McInnis-Misenor said her family figured that Bobby Murphy’s ashes would bring the Red Sox good luck and an immediate World Series win. But 2003 brought heartbreak, as the Red Sox blew a lead in Game 7 of the American League Championship Series and lost to their archrivals, the Yankees.

The Sox triumphed the next year, and the family believes that Bobby Murphy played a role in that long-sought championship, she said.

Lena Brooks and her brother, Leo Bifulco, said they never knew where their father’s love for the Red Sox came from, but they knew it ran deep.

Leo Bifulco said his parents bought a house in Winter Haven, Fla., where the Red Sox had their spring training camp before they moved to Fort Myers.

His father developed a friendship with Joe Morgan, who was the Sox manager in the late 1980s and early ’90s. Morgan had a taste for Bifulco’s mushrooms and wine that earned the Portlander a clubhouse pass.

When Antonio Bifulco was in Maine Medical Center in 2007 after a fall, he made sure to get his photograph taken with the Red Sox World Series trophy when it was brought to the hospital as part of a victory tour through New England.

Brooks said she thinks she has a clue about why her father loved the Red Sox and baseball. The game itself was just a piece of it.

“He loved being a citizen and being in this country,” she said. “It’s America’s pastime and he loved America.”

News Assistant Melanie Creamer contributed to this report. 

Edward D. Murphy can be contacted at 791-6465 or at:

emurphy@pressherald.com

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Kathy McInnis-Misenor of Saco holds a baseball given to her mother and father by the Boston Red Sox on their 60th “diamond” wedding anniversary.

John Ewing/Staff Photographer

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When Tony Bifulco died in August, his family wanted items at his funeral to reflect his passions, so they had wild mushrooms like the ones Bifulco foraged, his homemade wine and a wreath reflecting his love of the Red Sox, which began shortly after he emigrated from Italy to the U.S. in the late 1950s.

 


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