This weekend, I stumbled upon another batch of old Red Sox year books and scorecards that my dad had bought back in the day, from the 60s up to the early 90s. So the better part of my last 48 hours was spent pouring over the articles (at least 7 dedicated to Fergie Jenkins), photos and especially the advertisements, which really deserve some sort of retrospective volume of their own (in fact, one can track the complete evolution of TVs and other home entertainment products of the 20th century by reading the scorecard ads alone.)
One bit that caught my eye was an announcement in a 1984 scorebook magazine touting “a new network and a new broadcasting team” that would keep “cable TV watchers close to the Red Sox action this season.” The network, of course, was NESN. And the Red Sox play-by-play team was… Kent Derdivanis and former Sox second baseman and current Jimmy Fund capo Mike Andrews.
My family didn’t have NESN back in those glory days — in fact, I don’t think it was available in our neck of West Roxbury until around 1988, when the Remdawg was already in place — so I missed the Derdivanis era. Not that I’m alone; it lasted just one season, as Kent and Mike were replaced by Ned Martin and Gentleman Bob Montgomery, who were calling the games on TV-38 (free to the masses, I might add).
I was able to dig up an old post from Patsfans.com which tracked down Derdivanis in 2006 to get his take on NESN’s fledgling years:
Derdivanis fondly remembers his season at Fenway. He states, “It was Roger Clemens’ first year with the team. We had Oil Can Boyd and Dwight Evans. I pretty much had an idea going in that baseball is a religion in New England. The fans are vocal, but also knowledgeable. They didn’t have the consistent sellouts that the Red Sox have now, but I will always treasure that cramped clubhouse.”
I suppose there’s no greater testament to what Jerry and DO bring to the games than how difficult it is to imagine anyone else in the NESN booth. It just makes me hungrier for their imminent return…