Fenway Park is the oldest Major League Baseball stadium in the United States, having opened on April 20, 1912. On that date, the Red Sox played against the New York Highlanders (later renamed the New York Yankees) and celebrated a 7-6 victory over them. Fittingly, the Red Sox will mark 100 years of baseball at Fenway Park today when they play against the Yankees in a three part series.
If you live in the Boston area, you know that the local media has been buzzing about Fenway this week. From the Red Sox letting off 100 balloons with tickets inside the park (Read more…) to the free 10 hour Open House at Fenway Park, where nearly 54,000 people were able to be part of history; walking the warning track, touching the Green Monster, sitting in the dugouts, even peeking inside the manual scoreboard. (Read more…)
The Boston news reminded Bostonians this week that Fenway Park is special. Some of the interesting historical facts included:
- Fenway’s original capacity was 35,000. Between 1912 and 2004, Fenway’s capacity had fluctuated between 33,000 and 36,298.
- The grandstand section has the original seats, 15 inches across, packed together and the wood on them is splintering. (I should know–I got a splinter from sitting on one of them!)
- One red seat stands out amongst a sea of green seats in the right field bleachers. That’s where Ted Williams hit the longest homerun in Fenway history, a whopping 502 feet, on June 9th, 1946. The ball crashed through the hat of a Yankees fan sitting in his seat. After he “woke up” he was asked by reporters if he would switch his allegiance to the Sox after being hit. He said that he would and the next day’s newspaper headlines read, “Williams Knocks Sense into Yankees Fan”. The green seat the man sat in was then replaced with a red seat (Seat 21, Row 37, Section 42). The original chair is in the Baseball Hall of Fame in Cooperstown, NY.
- Between 1912 and 1933 Fenway had a slope, running up to the centerfield fence. It was nicknamed “Duffy’s Cliff” after Red Sox left fielder Duffy Lewis had become skilled at running up the slope to make plays.
- In 1936, the Sox constructed a 23 foot net atop the Monster, located in left field, to protect the windows of businesses on Lansdowne Street
- After the 1975 World Series, the Sox added padding to the lower portions of the left and center field walls, after a play in the 1975 World Series. Fred Lynn had crashed into the padding-less walls to make a play.
There are many more interesting facts that make Fenway Park a legendary field. But if you’re from Boston, you know what makes Fenway is its devoted fans. Listening to scalpers, standing outside the ball park, shouting with their thick South Boston (Southie) accents tells you where you are. You’re in Boston and Boston loves Fenway Park, the home of the Red Sox for the past 100 years.