100 Years At Fenway Park

Growing up a true baseball fan I was always intrigued by the history of the game and the grounds they were played on. Did you know that Fenway is 1 of 2 classic stadiums left? They are the Wrigley Field and Fenway Park, Fenway is the oldest Major League Stadium which just had it’s 100th birthday on April 20th 2012. When Fenway Park opened in 1912, the Red Sox beat the New York Islanders (Later named the Yankees) 7-6 in a 11 inning ball game. However it was over shadowed in the newspapers by the tragic sinking of the Titanic. That’s how old this stadium is! Today Fenway Park is known for being one of the most spectacular sports venues in the world, On March 7, 2012, the park was added to the National Register of Historic Places. With all of the celebration on Fenway it made me want to learn more about the stadium and find out more cool facts that I did not know. (Click the above picture to enlarge, check out the people on the roof top of the stadium).

Owner of the Boston Red Sox’s from 1904-1911 was John I. Taylor purchased land bordered by Brookline Avenue, Jersey Street, Van Ness Street and Lansdowne Street and started production on Fenway Park 1911. Taylor hired architect James McLaughlin who designed Fenway Park and the1912Fenway_Opening-Day construction was done by Charles Logue Building Company. The total cost to build was $650,000, ($15.7 Million in 2012 dollars). One of things Fenway is known for is it’s field dimensions and the famous Green Monster in left field. On opening day the field dimensions were: Left Field: 310 feet, Left-Center Field: 379 feet, Center Field: 390 feet, Deep Center Field: 420 feet, Deep Right Field: 380 feet, and Right Field : 302 feet. 302 feet is pretty short, which is the shortest distance for a outfield fence in the Major Leagues. there are some little league fields that are that short in distance, great for left handed pull hitters, like David Ortiz.

Below is a map showing Fenway Park in 1917, you can see how they creatively were able to build a professional stadium in such tight quarters. Fenway Park’s unique dimensions were not intended to provide a tempting target for home run hitters, but to keep non-paying customers out of the park. Taylor had claimed to name the stadium Fenway Park due to it being built in Fenway neighbor hood of Boston. Other speculate that he named it after his realty company called Fenway Realty. When the Stadium was completely finished in 1912 it had a capacity of 27,000 people, today it can fit roughly 37,500 people. It is one of seven stadiums that seat less than 40,000 people.

For the last ten years Fenway Park has been known to fill the seats, they have sold out the last 717 home games. That is a Major League Record, Boston fans love their club and created a new atmosphere around Fenway. However it was not always that way, in the mid 1965 season, the Red Sox had a tough time getting even 500 spectators to come watch a ball game. That is a jaw dropping number! In 1999 Red Sox CEO had plans to build a new Fenway Park close to the current stadium. This caused a outcry due to Boston fans considering Fenway park to be sacred ground. The fans voices were heard and in 2005 Red Sox ownership decided that they would not move the stadium and renovate the current Fenway. Engineers say that it has about 40-50 years left in it.

Fenway Park Fun Facts.

The Famous Green Monster

The Green Monster has been there ever since day one, however it was not painted green until 1947, before than it was covered completely with advertisements. It stands at an of intimidating 37 feet high Green Monster, its first purpose was to keep fans from the street from getting a free peek at the game. The Monster was first made of wood until they added the manual scoreboard in 1934. It was then covered with concrete and tin to stop the risk of it burning down in a fire. In 1976 it was covered with hard plastic making what it is today. Inside the Green Monster is a collage of many famous ball players autographs that is has received throughout the years.

The Red Seat

Farthest hit home run ever at Fenway was the one and only Ted Williams. It went down in the books on June 9th, 1946, and was a 502 foot bomb that is now remembered by a red seat. Turns out that home run hit a New York Yankee fan (Joe Boucher) in the head, and wrecking his straw hat. Joe later said that he will take that sign from the baseball gods to never route against the Red Sox’s again. The only other player to come close to the 502 ft. is Manny Rameriz on June 23, 2001 he hit a home run measuring 501 feet, falling 1 foot short.

Duffy’s Cliff

It was a 10 foot inclined slope that was in left field from 1912-1933. It was named after Duffy Lewis, a famous left fielder for the Red Sox who would run up the hill and make many catches before it hit off the wall. If you look close you can see the steep incline next to the wall.

The Yawkey Family

Thomas Yawkey and family were owners of the club from 1933-1992. They loved the Red Sox’s so much they never wanted to be forgotten. So they engraved their initials in the scoreboard with morse code. It spells out “Tay” and “Jry”. If you look between the (E and P and R and P) you can see the morse code in the white vertical lines.

Franchise Wins

In 1912, the team won a franchise-record 105 games and the World Series. They didn’t win World Series until 92 years later during the 2004 season. The Curse of the bambino was lifted.

Fires At Fenway

Three Fires at Fenway Park have left there mark on the famous ball park. This first happening on May 8, 1926. The fire burnt the left field line bleachers to the ground, due to lack of funds owner at the time John Quinn did not rebuild the seating section. During renovation in 1934 under new owner Tom Yawkey, a fire broke out for 5 hours. Leaving very few areas of the ballpark untouched. The last fire to break out happened recently on February 2012, this fire broke out in the administrative offices. The reason for the fire was a electrical shortage near a light fixture. It is estimated that there was a $100,000 in damages, mostly by smoke and water.

As for the 100 year anniversary game at Fenway Park, the Yankee’s ran away with the victory 6-2. Spoiling the celebration a little bit for Boston fans. But in all Boston has an amazing piece of history and tradition to be proud of. I look forward to the day that I walk in to that Park.

 – Matt Ingle

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