Fenway Park, A Stadium That The Fans Say Is Too Important to Die.


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Fenway Park 1914 World Series.   www.forgottenhollywood.com

Fenway Park is, arguably, the most heralded baseball stadium built in the United States. It has the distinction of being the oldest Major League Baseball Stadiums still in use today (2015). When constructed in 1912 it was one in a series of baseball stadiums constructed out of predominately Concrete and Steel.


The Jewel Box Era


The grandstand was extended down the left-field line, replacing the space once occupied by the wooden bleachers that had burnt down in 1926.  (boston.redsox.mlb.com)

As baseball entered the early 1900’s the old wooden stadiums were starting to decay and, in many cases, burned to the ground. A more permanent, fire restraint, venue was needed to house the ever growing hordes of new baseball fans. Baseball owners, eager to cash in on this growth, responded with an avalanche new ballpark construction. These new parks would affectionately be labeled “Jewel Box Stadiums” and along with Fenway these new concrete and steel structures would reshape the future for all baseball parks built afterwards.

Starting in 1895 and continuing through 1923, thirteen (13) new concrete and steel baseball stadiums were built here in the United States.

·         Forbes Field and Shibe Park in Pennsylvania -1909

·         Comiskey Park in Chicago  and League Park in Ohio -1910

·         Polo Grounds IV in Manhattan, New York City and Griffith Stadium in                          Washington, D.C -1911

·         Tiger Stadium in Detroit, Michigan, Crosley  Field in Cincinnati, Ohio, and                 Fenway Park -1912

·          Ebbets Field in Brooklyn, New York City -1913

·         Wrigley Field in Chicago, Illinois-1914

·          Braves Field in Boston Massachusetts -1915  

·         Yankee Stadium in the Bronx, New York in-1923


Boston Red Sox, a Gift From Dad


Fenway Park during the 1914 World Series Photo Courtesy of Boston Public Library on Flickr;   blog.birdmaster.com

New England was gaining prominence in the baseball world having the Boston Red Stockings and Boston Braves in town. Great rivalries were developing between the New England clubs and the teams from New York, Pennsylvanian, Ohio and Illinois.

Fenway Park was built in 1912 in a dense neighborhood at Fenway-Kenmore in Boston Massachusetts. In 1904 General John H Taylor, owner of the now Boston Globe, purchased the Boston Red Stockings from Henry J. Killilea, for his son, John I. Taylor. John would implement changes that would become historical, starting with the renaming the team, The Boston Red Sox.

Young John started immediately looking to build a new stadium as the home for the Red Sox’s. This new park was named after its location in The Fins, a prominent Fenway neighborhood.   As it happens, the Taylor family owned the Fenway Reality Company which helped John in the purchase of the land bordered by Brookline Avenue, Jersey Street, Van Ness Street and Lansdowne Street (basically  buying from himself)  to build his new stadium.


opening day delayed


Fenway Park Through The Years | redsox.com: Fenway Park 100 boston.redsox.mlb.com

The genesis of Fenway Park was as a replacement for the aging Huntington Avenue Baseball Grounds.  The opening of the New Park was delayed two day because of rain and the first official professional baseball game was played on April 20, 1912. Ironically the opening day was overshadowed by the sinking of the Titanic which took all of the front page news coverage in Boston. 


titanic takes front page


Jackson Daily News Coverage over the sinking of the Titanic.  (Newspapers mdah.state.ms.us)

From that first official major league game at this new stadium, no one could ever have imagined the enormous history that would emerge from this glorious new baseball venue.

Fenway Park would go through many changes and alterations, some were designed and some out of necessity.  The most notable major modification came after a fire destroyed the wooden bleachers along the left field foul line in 1926. Reconstruction of that section of the park would not take place until after Tom Yawkey bought the Red Sox’s in 1933.


Fenway Park Still Lives Today.


Fenway Park was a Baseball stadium for the Fans and it stayed true to that notion throughout its history.  Like a rare bottle of wine it would slowly age and marinate to become, what is now, a national treasure?  A ballpark like no other, Fenway has earned a spot in the National Registry of Historic Places. This is an honor never before bestowed on any other baseball stadium in United States history.


21 Hall of Fame Greats Who Called Fenway Home.


As the Oldest Major League Ball Park still in use it has played host to some of the greatest ball players in history.

As the only home of the Boston Red Sox there has been over 21 hall of fame greats that, at some piont, called Fenway Park home.

And there are more waiting to join.

As a tribute to these Fenway greats I offer you this video tribute for your enjoyment.



Park Facts;

Architect;                                1912                              James McLaughlin

Civil Engineers:                     1912                              Osbom Engineering 

                                                       1912                              Osbom Engineering

                                  Construction              1912                             Charles Logue Building Company

                                                            1934                              Coleman Brothers, Inc.

Cost;                          1912                              $65,000.00

                Owner;                         1912                              Boston Red Sox, Inc      

   Field Surface;               1912                                           Blue Grass

                                    

                           

Dimensions;

Constructed: 1912
Rebuilt: 1934
First Game: April 20, 1912 - Red Sox 7, Highlanders 6 (11 inn)

Seating Capacity (Night): 37,493
Seating Capacity (Day): 37,065
EMC Club/Pavilion: 4,997
Box Seats: 13,650
Grandstand: 11,927
Bleachers: 6,448
Green Monster: 269
Right Field Roof Deck: 202

OUTFIELD DIMENSIONS

Left Field: 310 feet
Left-Center Field: 379 feet
Center Field: 390 feet
Deep Center Field: 420 feet
Deep Right Field: 380 feet
Right Field : 302 feet

HEIGHT OF OUTFIELD WALLS

Left Field: 37 feet
Center Field: 17 feet
Bullpens: 5 feet
Right Field: 3-5 feet

LENGTH OF LEFT FIELD WALL

231 feet (228 feet in fair territory)



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When I started this article I found myself a bit confused. What was the Park's actual name?,  Was it Washington Park and if so Why? Who was in charge of naming these new structures? Why did they all have more than one name at the same time?

Well as it works out the blame lies with the Baseball Owners. Almost every new stadium built carried the phrase "Also Know As" and that is how the Fans liked it. It was actually the Fans that determined what name the stadium would carry. 

Brooklyn had it's Park but so did Chicago, Philadelphia, Ohio and Missouri. Each parks name was fueled by the neighborhood in which belonged. When you look at it there is no difference even in today's Baseball

The growth and popularity of almost every region of America was dependant on  the presence of a Professional Baseball Stadium.

The Stadium was one of those Historic Cathedrals but it would die before it's time.

It was clear that the ultimate value of a Baseball Stadium comes from the performances on the field. Those performances are made memorable because of the Athletics who played the game. Player acquisition became an art form and, often times that quest would, challenged the legal system.

Player stealing and Team Hopping became a way of life and ultimately led to the adoption of ,what is now, the Collective Bargaining System.

It was the Home runs that brought the fans to the parks and Eastern Park could not deliver. To add insult to injury the park was built in what was called the Dead Ball Era which exasperated the parks woe's

 

Home> (Baseball Field History, The Evolution of Our Field of Dreams)


Eastern Park & The Home Run


This new stadium was a Glorious Cathedral that was eagerly anticipated. This original, all wood, structures was built on a large parcel that allowed the field dimensions to be very large. The finished Stadium, like most of the time, was too big and didn't give the fans what they were looking for, the Home Run.

A Home run to left had to travel over 300 feet and clear a wall 25ft high. It took a shots of over 380 feet in the allies and over 410 feet to dead center.

It was the Home runs that brought the fans to the parks and Eastern Park could not deliver. To add insult to injury the park was built in what was called the Dead Ball Era which exasperated the parks woe's

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