At 100, Fenway Park testament to bygone era
While world around it changed, stadium remains iconic fixture
For 100 years, Fenway Park has remained relatively unchanged.
Sure, it's added a lot of modern bells and whistles. There have been scoreboards and video screens and advertisements added, seating areas expanded and renovated, luxury boxes installed, new drainage systems implemented, lights installed and even seats built atop the Green Monster. But since 1912, Fenway has stood in Boston, a prominent landmark in the world of sports, one of the few remaining testaments to a previous era and a stadium where baseball has always been the main attraction.
"As I grew up, I knew that as a building [Fenway Park] was on the level of Mount Olympus, the Pyramid at Giza, the nation's Capitol, the czar's Winter Palace and the Louvre," Bart Giamatti, Major League Baseball's seventh Commissioner, once said. "Except, of course, that is better than all those inconsequential places."
The Red Sox have been its tenant since then, though Fenway has seen plenty of others come and go. There were the Boston Braves in 1914-15, the American Football League's Bulldogs in 1926 and later the Shamrocks (1936-37) and Patriots (1963-68). The National Football League housed the Boston Redskins (1933-36) there as well as the Yanks (1944-48). The North American Soccer League had a team, the Beacons, that played there in 1968.
When Fenway Park opened ...
|U.S. president||William Howard Taft|
|Movie ticket||5 cents|
|Baseball game||50 cents|
|World Series champ||Boston Red Sox|
|Top song||The Haunting Melody|
|Top movie||Richard III|
|Died||James S. Sherman|
When the Red Sox and Yankees meet at Fenway on Friday, there will be a big celebration to celebrate the park's 100th anniversary. The Red Sox have invited every former player and manager in club history.
The first game was April 20, 1912, a 7-6 Red Sox victory over the New York Highlanders. The Highlanders changed their name the next year, becoming the Yankees.
How much else has changed between Fenway Park's first game and its 100th anniversary? It's almost more a matter of what hasn't changed.
A stamp cost all of two cents then. A gallon of gas would run you about seven cents. A new Ford Model T would break the bank for slightly less than $700.
A little more than three months before the first game at Fenway, New Mexico was admitted as the 47th state in the United States. A month after that, Arizona joined. Alaska and Hawaii wouldn't be admitted for 47 more years.
Woodrow Wilson was elected the 28th president that November, succeeding William Howard Taft. Eight years later, the 19th Amendment was ratified, prohibiting any U.S. citizen from being denied the right to vote based on gender.
That was also the same year the Titanic made its fateful journey, sinking five days before Fenway's debut. The Girl Scouts of America were founded that year, as was Universal Studios. "Singin' In The Rain" star Gene Kelly was born in 1912.
In sports, the Red Sox went on to win the World Series, beating the New York Giants, 4-3-1. They played eight games -- one was a tie, called on account of darkness. Boston was led by pitcher "Smoky Joe" Wood, who threw a whopping 344 innings that year.
Harvard was the NCAA football champion. The NBA and NFL were far from being founded. Good thing, because touchdowns weren't worth six points until 1912. The Quebec Bulldogs won the Stanley Cup -- not in the NHL, but rather the National Hockey Association.
Wrigley Field opened two years after Fenway Park, though it was known as Weeghman Park and Cubs Park for another 12 years after that.
Tiger Stadium opened alongside Fenway in 1912, also hosting its first game on April 20, 1912. It closed on Sept. 27, 1999.
Meanwhile, amid all that's changed, Fenway Park is still going strong 100 years later.