Tuesday night, over 37,000 ladies and gentlemen rose and removed their cap at Fenway Park. Then, they got sad news over the intercom.
The bright lights on the outfield scoreboard went black and the capacity crowd at the Cathedral of Baseball went silent in honor of a local son.
“Coach Walsh is from the Greater Boston area, he grew up here, coached here, he threw batting practice at Fenway,” said Marty Ray, manager of special projects for the Boston Red Sox. “We thought it was an appropriate gesture to observe his passing.”
When Ray was alerted to Walsh’s death by Ray’s close friend, Kurt Svoboda, Harvard’s assistant athletic director, he “immediately” decided to pay tribute to Walsh before the night’s home game.
Ray said that the Red Sox generally reserve the memorial service for cases in which the Red Sox community and greater New England community are “especially impacted.”
“He touched a lot of us here at the Red Sox,” Ray said.
Even though Ray did not have much interaction with the Harvard coach, he still had respect for the kind of man Walsh was. Ray recalled a moment during Harvard’s trip to Fenway this April to commemorate the stadium’s 100th anniversary when Walsh noticed a boy on the field who was suffering from cancer.
“He smiled as soon as he saw that child,” Ray said. “That showed that even during…performing his role as coach he still had a soft spot for kids, especially kids who were sick. It showed he was a great man.”