It’s no secret that Vermont is a proud member of the Red Sox Nation. Greg Pearson’s book Fenway Fanatic: 50 Boston Red Sox Fans Tell Their Stories highlights a few Vermonters among the die-hard Red Sox fans he profiled. Pearson says he attempted to include a diverse group.
“This is by no means supposed to be the 50 craziest or most devoted Red Sox fans. Many of them would qualify, but some of them were kind of new fans, some of them were really young,” says Pearson.
The fans ranged in age from 12 to 92 and lived all over the world. Pearson interviewed fans from Uzbekistan, Alaska, and of course all across New England.
One of Person’s favorites was Jean DeRoche, a woman who died in 2010 at the age of 85. Pearson stumbled across DeRoche’s obituary:
“It started: ‘wicked big red sox fan.’ She’d been to 56 consecutive opening days 1950 to 2005, the last one seeing the World Championship banner being raised at Fenway after 86 years,” said Pearson.
He immediately contacted her son and daughter.
“And the two of them just had these terrific stories to tell about their mom. I mean, she was one of these fans that didn’t miss a game,” says Pearson.
In fact, DeRoche’s obituary instructed mourners to wear Red Sox apparel to her wake.
“There were Red Sox floral displays. The funeral home just said it was a wonderful celebration of her life,” says Pearson.
There were also several Vermonters featured in the book, including Pat O’Connor of Essex. O’Connor built a “Little Fenway” field in his backyard.
“I knew there was a guy who had built a Fenway Park in his yard and I figured, he’s just a natural for the book,” says Pearson.
O’Connor has built a detailed replica of the Red Sox field, complete with a little Green Monster. O’Connor even attempted to match the dirt to a type that’s similar to the type found at Fenway.
When asked what makes Red Sox fans superior to Yankee fans, Pearson has a quick answer.
“I guess because we’ve suffered,” Pearson laughs.
Pearson will be reading from his book at Muddy Waters in Burlington on Wednesday, July 31.