‘Wouldn’t miss it for the world’: Father-son Opening Day bond going strong for 5 decades

For fifty years, Opening Day hasn’t had to be planned. It’s a formality that Tom McAuliffe Jr. and his father Tom Sr., would be in the stands to see the new Red Sox squadron take the field at Fenway.

“We never had to discuss whether or not we were going to go,” Tom Jr. told Boston 25′s Butch Stearns.

Ever since April 6, 1973, an intradivision matchup against the New York Yankees, the McAuliffes had been a matching pair. Both in the Fenway and in the broadcasting world.

The McAuliffe name has been synonymous with local radio since the late 1950′s. Tom Jr. serves as president of MyFm in Milford, a legacy he inherited from his father.

“I learned from the best. I really did,” remarked Tom Jr. “It’s local. It’s caring about your communities and giving back to the communities. It’s not work.”

Broadcast and baseball. It’s the heart of their relationship. And they’ve seen some of Boston’s biggest moments.

Fisk’s iconic, foul-pole-hugging home run in Game 6 of the 1975 World Series.

The night Carl Yastrzemski tallied his 3,000th career hit.

And four World Series titles shared together.

But their most memorable game of all was during one of their hardest years, in 1999.

“One day I went in for my annual physical and discovered I had extremely serious cancer,” said Tom Sr. " I thought it was all over.”

“I think the odds of him beating it were a long shot, to say the least,” remembered Tom Jr. “I think every visit was always sort of a little goodbye. And he just said ‘Im sorry, Im not going to be able to make Opening Day this year.”

Although Tom Sr. couldn’t make Opening Day, he promised his son that he would be there for the 1999 MLB All-Star Game at Fenway. A promise he fulfilled.

During the pregame festivities, Red Sox legend Ted Williams threw out the game’s ceremonial first pitch in one of his last public appearances before his death in 2002. Players, with more than a few future Hall-of-Famers among them, swarmed Williams, paying their respect to baseball royalty.

Baseball’s preeminent pitching maestro, Pedro Martinez, painted a masterpiece in front of the hometown fans. The soon-to-be 1999 Cy Young winner shut down the top of the National League batting order. A lineup that included Barry Larkin, Larry Walker, Sammy Sosa, Mark McGwire and Jeff Bagwell, with 40 combined All-Star game appearances, was rendered impotent behind Martinez’s five electrifying strikeouts.

“That’s probably the most special game I’ve ever been at,” Tom Jr told Boston 25, wiping away a suddenly leaky nose.

“Someone said to Tom, what has been the happiest moment in your life and he said ‘going to Opening Day with my dad.’ And I never thought it meant that much to him,” said Tom. Jr.

Over the last 50 years, they’ve missed just three home openers.

Making this year, number 47.

47 brands surprised the father-son duo with some gear so they can celebrate Opening Day.

When the pair first sat down in their seats those 50 years ago, they never envisioned the connection and tradition that would come to define them.

“Not when the tickets became more expensive,” laughed Tom Jr.

Opening Day at Fenway means something a little different for every Red Sox fan. For the McAuliffes it promises the start of spring, and a chance to make new memories.

“Well, I wouldn’t miss it for the world,” said Tom Jr.

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