BOSTON — Carl Yastrzemski stood at Fenway Park among his 1967 Boston Red Sox teammates Wednesday, laughing, joking with Ken Harrelson. Yaz took a seat, peered into the cameras and in his signature abrupt way gave us his view of the 50th anniversary of the “Impossible Dream.”

“What do I think?” he said. “It’s going by too quick.”

Yaz looked around.

“We’re all gray.”

Oh, but so much of the Impossible Dream will always be in vivid colors. Like the soft popup by Rich Rollins of the Twins that shortstop Rico Petrocelli caught over his head that Sunday the Red Sox clinched the pennant, sending hundreds of fans onto the field at Fenway Park.

“My claim to fame,” Petrocelli said. “Rollins got jammed a little. It was no problem but I made sure I squeezed that ball so hard. I’ve watched that play hundreds of times. Thank God I caught that ball. Think about it. I would have been shot.”

Rico laughed.

“Man, that year was fun,” he said.

The fans descended on winning pitcher Jim Lonborg. The Red Sox wouldn’t clinch until later that afternoon when the Angels beat the Tigers, but already there was pandemonium. The fans tore at Lonborg’s uniform. Does he still have a piece of it?

“No,” said Lonborg, who won 22 games and the Cy Young Award that season. “They used to rehab those things down to Triple-A and then to Double-A. The only thing I have left is the glove.”

And the memories. Yes, he has the colorful memories.

“We sparked the fire,” Lonborg said. “That fire is now Red Sox Nation.”

The Red Sox hadn’t averaged 20,000 fans since 1948. In 1965, they averaged 8,052. The first major league game I ever attended in 1966, there were barely 11,000 fans at Fenway. They averaged 10,014 fans that season.

“My father brought me to a game once when I was smaller,” said pitcher Gary Waslewski, who grew up in Berlin, Connecticut. “There was hardly anybody here.”

“How many people showed up for Ted Williams’ last game?” Yastrzemski asked. The answer: 10,454 on Sept. 28, 1960.

“How many people did we have Opening Day in ’67 (8,324)?” Yastrzemski said. “I know my previous six years we hardly had 10,000 people on a Friday night. We brought fans back to the ballpark.”

“It flipped,” Waslewski said. “It went from ‘ho hum, do you want to go to the ballpark?’ To ‘we’ve got to go to the ballpark.’ Now you can’t get a ticket hardly.”

A team that couldn’t attract a million fans a year drew 1.7 million and an average of 21,331 in 1967. Yet the Impossible Dream would be so much more than the number of fans pushing through the turnstiles. Empty seats became full hearts.

The Red Sox hadn’t had a winning season since 1958. They finished ninth in 1965 and 1966. They were a sad-sack country club, awoken by an acerbic rookie manager named Dick Williams. Sarcasm, Lonborg said, was one of Williams’ defining characteristics. They also were only 42-40 on July 13.

That would change. Lonborg, Petrocelli, Yaz, they talked about returning from Cleveland to Logan Airport on July 23. They had swept a doubleheader to extend their winning streak to 10 games. Something was up, the pilot said, upon landing.

“It was a weird experience, especially when you think about airport travel now going through security,” Lonborg said. “We went down the runway and the pilot said we can’t stop here.”

Out of nowhere, there were 10,000 fans awaiting the team.

“It was a big pat on the back for us to realize all of a sudden we have a following here in Boston,” Lonborg said.

“Yeah, I think that’s when we knew,” Yaz said.

Yeah, the Summer of ’67 in New England was the Summer of Yaz, the summer a baseball team demonstrated, yeah, anything was possible.

“It gave everybody hope that something could happen when you least expect it,” Lonborg said.

“Players that were here in previous years all of a sudden started thinking differently,” Yastrzemski said. “Instead of being losers, they started thinking being winners. That’s how it all changed.”

Seventeen former players were honored before the game Wednesday. Yaz, of course, got the greatest reception from the 37,181 fans. In winning the 1967 Triple Crown, hitting 44 homers, he produced one of the great sustained performances in baseball history as the Red Sox emerged from an unforgettable four-team pennant race.

“Yaz had the most impactful season on a franchise in the history of the game,” Harrelson said. “It was a renaissance of baseball in New England.”

Game after game, hit after hit, catch after catch, Yaz lifted a team, lifted a region.

“Look, the ’67 team, we never claimed we were great,” Petrocelli said. “The big thing was it brought people back to the ballpark, families, kids were excited. But Yaz was everybody’s hero, including us. That was the key to the ballclub.

“We couldn’t wait for him to get up at the plate. He had it all going. A tremendous swing. He started pulling the ball, hitting homers. He used to hit to left field a lot. All of a sudden, wow, he hit shots over the bullpen in right.”

Petrocelli played his entire career with the Red Sox. He still lives in the area. He watches every Red Sox game.

“I love this team,” he said. “I love the young guys. (Rafael) Devers, Mookie (Betts, Andrew) Benintendi, all of them, there’s great future. I look at the pitching. There’s 2004, of course, but this could be one of the best staffs in a long time.”

Waslewski, who started Game 6 of the 1967 World Series against the Cardinals, a game the Red Sox won, lives half the year in Southington, Connecticut, and half in Arizona.

“Summers to see the Red Sox, winters to see the Cardinals, I miss the UConn guys and girls,” said Waslewski, who went to UConn for a year.

No, he doesn’t know Red Sox reliever Matt Barnes, another UConn pitcher. He does know this much as a fan.

“He frustrates me at times when he starts overthrowing,” Waslewski said. “He has great stuff if he’d just relax and let it go.”

Waslewski didn’t know it at the time, but he would find out later that schools in his home town had recessed classes and the intercom piped in the broadcast of the ’67 World Series games. That Game 6 he started was on a Wednesday afternoon.

“It was interesting to hear that some of the schools were even stopping classes to see what was happening,” Waslewski said. “My dad grew up in Wallingford (Connecticut). Waslewski wasn’t always spelled the same but I saw a lot of kids were named after me after what happened in 1967. That was cool.”

From Reggie Smith to Hawk Harrelson, everybody had a story, colorful memories.

“Oh, man, what laughs we’ve been having,” Petrocelli said. “But we’ve lost a lot of guys. Outstanding ballplayers and great men. We talked a lot about that, too.”

George Scott, Joe Foy … 14 players from the 1967 Sox have passed.

“That’s the thing that’s the hardest when you get a gathering like this,” Lonborg said. “But a lot of good life has been lived, grandkids born, a lot of good things have happened in Boston.”

The Red Sox finally won a World Series in 2004, breaking a curse of 86 years. They won again in 2007 and 2013. Yet it is the 1967 team that killed the greatest curse of all: A lack of interest.

Winning begot winning. The Red Sox got to the World Series in ’75 and ’86. Crowds got bigger and bigger. Television ratings got bigger and bigger. The Red Sox became a dominant New England narrative.

“I don’t think some of the magic of this Impossible Dream team would have had the same feeling had we won everything,” Lonborg said when asked about the Game 7 World Series loss. “The fact that we got so close and didn’t win almost was a better ending than having won it all, and just expecting things to be perfect after that. It was bittersweet but if I was a writer, I would have written that (loss) into the script.”

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