The temporary wooden press boxes that were constructed on the grandstand roof in 1946 were replaced with permanent steel press ones for the 1949 Red Sox season, which ended in heartbreak for the second consecutive year. In the fall, Boston University's football team competed at the ballpark regularly and when BU played Maryland on November 12, 1949, Vin Scully, the legendary Dodgers broadcaster, made his professional debut when he provided the game's play-by-play for CBS Radio.
Record: 96-58, 2nd in American League
Manager: Joseph V. McCarthy
For the third time in four years, the 1949 season went down to the final day and again, the Red Sox fell short. On October 1, the Red Sox entered Yankee Stadium with a one game lead over New York and with only two more regular season games remaining, both against the Yankees, Boston needed only one win to clinch the pennant. However, the Red Sox lost the October 1 game by a 5-4 score and fell into a first place tie with New York. In the pennant-deciding final game of the season, Boston fell behind 5-0 but fought gamely to cut the deficit to two runs. The Red Sox even brought the tying run to the plate before the Yankees ended their hopes. In his first two seasons managing the Red Sox, Joe McCarthy's Red Sox teams had lost the pennant on the final day of both campaigns.
Despite the painful ending, the season had been an outstanding one for several Red Sox players. Mel Parnell won 25 games for Boston in 1949 and broke Babe Ruth's club record for victories by a left-handed pitcher, while Ellis Kinder went 23-6. Vern Stephens and Ted Williams tied for the AL RBI crown with 159 apiece and Williams missed out on his third Triple Crown by a single base hit; his batting average was .0002 lower than Detroit's George Kell. However, Williams did win his second MVP award in 1949, playing in every game and reaching base in all but five contests. In one late summer streak, Williams reached base in 84 consecutive games and Dom DiMaggio set a franchise record that still stands by hitting safely in 34 straight contests in 1949.
In 1949, the temporary wooden press boxes, which were installed on each side of the grandstand roof in 1946, were replaced with permanent steel boxes. The club also built a television and radio perch located at the top of the screen behind home plate. In addition, the photographer's box was enlarged and a new catwalk was built to access the expanded press facilities on the grandstand roof. Below the catwalk, the trucking entrance (present-day Gate D) was widened.
On the left-field side of the ballpark, the grandstand concourse was extended and, for the first time, Fenway Park was connected to the John B. Smith Building via a steel bridge on the building's second floor. In 1955, Red Sox owner Tom Yawkey bought the Smith Building, located at 70 Brookline Avenue, and named it the Jeano Building, after his wife Jean.
In 1949, Boston University played five football games at Fenway Park, with multi-sport athlete, and future Red Sox first baseman, Harry Agganis, making his Fenway debut. After the 1949 season, Agganis entered the Marine Corps but returned to college in 1951 and became BU's first football All-American. Though drafted in the first round of the 1952 NFL Draft, Agganis signed with the Red Sox and made his MLB debut in 1954.
On November 12, 1949, another famous figure made his debut at Fenway Park. That day, future Dodgers broadcasting legend Vin Scully provided the play-by-play call on CBS Radio for the football game between Boston University and Maryland. It was Scully's first career assignment after graduating from Fordham University; the following year, Scully began working for the Dodgers, and has ever since.
|1949 Non-Baseball Events At Fenway Park|
|October 14||Boston University 52, West Virginia 20 (Football)|
|October 22||Boston University 38, New York University 0 (Football)|
|October 29||Boston University 46, Scranton 6 (Football)|
|November 12||University of Maryland 14, Boston University 13 (Football)|
|November 19||St. Bonaventure 19, Boston University 0 (Football)|