Andover Townsman, Andover, MA

Sports

May 8, 2014

Hanigan finally home; Former Andover High star plays at Fenway Park as a major leaguer

Former Andover star revisits Fenway Park as a major leaguer

Andover’s Ryan Hanigan already had registered 494 games as a Major League player during his stellar big league career. But last Tuesday was special.

Game No. 495 — for the first time in his career — was at Fenway Park.

“Fenway Park is the cathedral (of baseball),” Hanigan said. “Everyone in New England loves the Red Sox, and I went to so many games here growing up. To have the chance to play at Fenway, in front of my family and so many friends, is really exciting.”

On April 29, Hanigan took the field at iconic Fenway Park for the first time in his eight-year MLB career, as the starting catcher for the Tampa Bay Rays.

“Fenway is such a special place,” Hanigan’s mother, Helen, said. “We used to bring Ryan here as a kid so often, so to see him on the field as a major leaguer is very, very exciting.

“His (Major League) debut was so special, but this is right up there with that day.”

The former Andover High star lived out every Boston sports fans’ dream last week. He not only started a Major League game at Fenway — with more than 102 friends and family on hand to root him on — but he hammered a line drive RBI single off the park’s iconic Green Monster during his debut against the team he grew up rooting for.

“We are so thrilled for him,” his father, Mike Hanigan, said. “The first game I ever brought him to, Roger Clemens pitched a shutout. That was a long time ago. Ryan is a mature, experienced major league player now. It’s amazing to see him here.”

Despite a lengthy and productive Major League career since his debut on Sept. 9, 2007, Hanigan had never appeared at Fenway, given the first seven years of his career were spent with the Cincinnati Reds of the National League. The Reds never played an interleague series against the Red Sox during Hanigan’s time there.

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