By Glen Sparks
The RMS Titanic sank in the north Atlantic on April 14-15, 1912. Just a few days after an iceberg ripped into the great ship, Fenway Park opened in Boston. Unlike the Red Sox, the Titanic collapsed just once.
Boston’s American League club began play in 1901 as the Americans. In 1908, owner John I. Taylor changed the team name to the Red Sox. The club has won 13 pennants and eight World Series, but also has suffered through plenty of heartbreak (Bucky “Bleeping” Dent in 1978, Aaron “Bleeping” Boone in 2003, etc.).
The Red Sox played their first game at Fenway on this day in 1912. They beat their future arch-rival, the New York Highlanders (later, the Yankees), 7-6 in 11 innings.
Fenway Park has hosted not just more than a century of baseball games, but also pro football (the Bulldogs, Redskins, Shamrocks, Yanks and Patriots at various times), pro soccer (the Beacons) and an NHL game on Jan. 1, 2010.
Great baseball players like Ted Williams, Bobby Doerr, Carl Yastrzemski, Roger Clemens, Luis Tiant, Manny Ramirez and more have worn the Red Sox uniform.
Below, you can read more about Fenway Park. Happy birthday!
- Fenway Park cost $650,000 to build. That is nearly $16 million in 2015 dollars. (The new Yankee Stadium, completed in 2009, cost $2.3 billion.) The park is located in the marshy Fens neighborhood. (A “fen” is a type of wetland.)
- The Red Sox moved to Fenway Park from the Huntington Avenue American League Base Ball Grounds, which opened May 8, 1901.
- Boston Mayor John F. Fitzgerald, grandfather of the future President Kennedy, threw out the first pitch at the ballpark’s first game.
- Fenway Park is nearly 2 years older than Wrigley Field (originally Weeghman Park), which opened on the north side of Chicago on April 23, 1914.
- Fenway Park was originally located at 24 Jersey St. In 1977, that section of Jersey was renamed Yawkey Way in honor of former Red Sox owner Tom Yawkey. The ballpark’s exact address is 4 Yawkey Way.
- The Green Monster, the famous wall in left field, stands 37.167 feet tall and lies about 315 feet from home plate. Made of wood, the Monster is covered with hard plastic. Minute Maid Park, home of the Houston Astros, has a similar, but shorter, wall.
- Fenway has just one red seat, located in the right-field bleachers (Section 42, Row 37, Seat 21). The seat commemorates a home run hit by Red Sox great Ted Williams on June 9, 1946. The round-tripper was measured at 502 feet.
- Pesky’s Pole is the right-field foul pole at Fenway. Officially, it is just 302 feet from home plate, but many players (pitchers, especially) insist it is even closer. It is named for the former light-hitting Boston shortstop Johnny Pesky, who wrapped a game-winning home run around the pole in 1948. Pesky hit just 17 homers in his career.
- The scoreboard, added in 1934, is still operated by hand and is located at the bottom of the Green Monster in left field. Supposedly, large, scary rodents sometimes scurry about the place.
- Seats were added above the Green Monster before the start of the 2003 season. Get your tickets early. That section, just like most sections at Fenway, sells out fast.