Home of the Boston Red Sox
All across baseball, new stadiums have been constructed over the last twenty years and teams have said goodbye to old friends. In Boston, Fenway Park has withstood the test of time and provided many, many great memories throughout its long history. Red Sox greats from Ted Williams to Carlton Fisk have called this palace home. Its great moments have nearly been second-to-none.
The $650,000 Fenway Park replaced Huntington Avenue Baseball Grounds in 1912 and fast became a fan favorite. In 1911, then-owner John Taylor purchased land and began his quest to build the Red Sox a new home.
There was a push at one point to construct a new Fenway Park and make the current ballpark history. On May 15, 1999 then-Red Sox CEO John Harrington announced his plan to have a new ballpark constructed near the existing one. The idea was to create an almost-exact replica Fenway Park, but of course with new foundation, infrastructure and more amenities to accommodate the fans.
The idea went over like a lead balloon with the public. A major show of support to save Fenway ensued, with many around Boston and all of baseball considering Fenway to be sacred ground. In 2005, a collective sigh of relief could be heard all around New England as the new ownership of John Henry, Tom Werner and Larry Lucchino announced Fenway would be preserved and plans for a new facility would be scrapped. In making the declaration, ownership also vowed to pump $285 million worth of renovations in an attempt to make it a more functional and user-friendly facility. They have succeeded, and now the crown jewel of Boston is an even more enjoyable place to visit and take in a ballgame.
DISSECTING FENWAY PARK
The visionaries of the early 1900s truly were innovators, and I’m willing to bet if you were to ask the men and women who built Fenway Park if they thought it would be around today, the majority would not think so. Many changes have taken place over the years; here is a look at the features that truly define its rich history.
Looking to capitalize on every inch of space possible, the Bleacher Bar made its debut in 2008 and is a popular destination for those seeking out a libation either before or after a game. What was once the center field storage room has now expertly been transformed into a full-service bar and lounge for fans to enjoy their favorite drink. What will they think of next?
CENTER FIELD SCOREBOARD
While the old-fashioned and fan favorite manual scoreboard hangs at the bottom of the 37-foot high Green Monster in left field, an electronic scoreboard, added to Fenway in 1976, sits proudly atop the bleachers in right-center. Offering colorful replays and plenty of in-game information, the Red Sox updated their technology in 2011 with a high-definition video board. It now offers fans even better picture quality and unprecedented clarity.
To help tell the story of league titles and championships collected by the Red Sox over the years, miniature flags are displayed directly above the press box windows and lend a hand in showcasing the deep tradition of the franchise. Flags colored in red symbolize World Series triumphs, while blue showcase the years the Red Sox collected the American League pennant.
In baseball, no one sign is as famous as the one visible from the seats in Fenway Park. Located at 660 Beacon Street, the CITGO sign towers high above Green Monster in left and instantly became a part of baseball lore when it was introduced in 1965. The 60-foot by 60-foot sign comes to life, thanks in part to the 5,878 glass tubes that illuminate it and 250 high-voltage transformers that assist in lighting the sign from dusk until midnight each day. In July of 2010, the sign received a facelift and had all of its lights replaced with more technologically advanced bulbs. The sign was relit on September 17, 2010 during the seventh-inning stretch, and fans all over Fenway rejoiced at the now-updated version of the famous structure.
Named for Boston’s left fielder Duffy Lewis, this quirk could be found in left field, where Lewis mastered the art of running up a hill that used to be present at Fenway. From 1912-1933, a ten-foot high incline in front of the one-time twenty-five-foot high left field wall extended from the left-field foul pole to the center-field flagpole. As a result of this, and similar to that of the center field hill found at Minute Maid Park in Houston, it presented the same situation in having to run up and down the hill to retrieve balls hit there. The hill made its exit following the 1933 season, when Red Sox owner Tom Yawkey arranged to have the ground compressed, thus eliminating Duffy’s Cliff.
With the city of Boston and Fenway Park serving as a beautiful backdrop, the EMC Club is a stylish restaurant option with padded seating, a full-service bar and top-of-the-line amenities. There’s plenty of history surrounding this structure; it debuted in 1983 and evolved into the 600 Club before the 1988 season when 610 seats were added above home plate replacing the current press box, which was then rebuilt on top of the 600 Club. In 2002, the seats were renamed to the .406 Club in honor of Ted Williams’ batting average attained in 1941. Yet another change occurred in the 2005-2006 off-season when the .406 Club was reconfigured and now boasts of two open-air levels, consisting of the EMC Club on the bottom and the State Street Pavilion positioned on the top (see more on that later in this section).
FISK FOUL POLE
While Johnny Pesky’s name is forever linked to the right field foul pole, Carlton Fisk became a fixture of Fenway lore by having his name attached to the left field pole. Appropriately dedicated during an interleague contest against Cincinnati in 2005, Fisk provided the inspiration for the name change when he homered off Pat Darcy in the twelveth inning to win Game 6 of the 1975 World Series for the Red Sox in one of the most exciting games in history. In one of the most famous scenes in baseball, the ball looked as if though it were headed foul, but Fisk jumped up and waved his arms to the right, willing it off the foul pole. While the Red Sox lost the World Series the next night, the moment created by Fisk lives on forever.
Arguably the most famous quirk in all of baseball, the thirty-seven-foot-high Green Monster is worth the price of admission alone, and is the highest wall amongst the current Major League ballparks. The inception of the monster came following the 1933 season when 30,000 pounds of iron was used to construct the green giant in left field. The wall, fully painted green in 1947 to cover advertisements, is 240-feet-long, with the foundation sinking 22-feet below the ground.
Leaning on the Green Monster and adding even more nostalgia to Fenway Park is the manual scoreboard. Installed in 1934 and moved twenty feet to the right in 1976, it features numbers for runs and hits that measure 16-inches by 16-inches and weigh three pounds. Errors, innings and pitcher’s numbers measure 12-inches by 16-inches and weigh two pounds. Not only has it been a permanent fixture for many years, but also it adds flavor to an already picturesque left field. A door allows the scoreboard operator to park his behind in the structure, and a view from that angle is truly second-to-none.