A Hillsborough Community College Student Publication since 1978.
~ Eric Feliu
Baseball is something that lives in our country’s history. Americans are the ones who invented the sport; Americans are the ones who built the stadiums that stand, and make it such an atmosphere to have a baseball game.
One of the most legendary ballparks that still stands is Fenway Park. Ground broke on this famed ballpark in the fall of 1911. According to Harvey Frommer, the author of “Remembering Fenway Park”, the stadium was built with electric scoreboards, a red brick facade, and 18 turnstiles. The price of the stadium was $650,000 in 1912, $14 million in today’s dollars.
The first game was played on April 20, 1912 in which the Sox defeated the New York Yankees in extra innings, 7-6. In the backdrop of this modern stadium being opened, the Titanic had sunk just days earlier, and accounted for over 1,500 casualties.
The first few years of the stadium were great for attendance, great for the teams as they went on to win three World Series titles from 1912-1918; after that, they wouldn’t see another until 2004. The history of the team was awful as the years went on; the history of the country was in turmoil. Fenway is based on three things,: the history it has been through, a player who exerts the Red Sox legacy, and some of the memorable games of Fenway Park.
In addition to baseball, the park played host to a Pachyderm Party in 1914, which is a huge festival with clowns, a marching band and acrobatics. The children donated their change to purchase elephants, and it was dubbed “the greatest crowd in enclosure in American history.” Also, the longest-serving president in American history, Franklin Delano Roosevelt, made his final campaign speech en route to his 4th term as president here, and it would be his last, he died of polio on April 12, 1945.
This stadium has been through 16 presidents, the Great Depression, and the stoppage of baseball for World War II. Baseball lives in all of us, we have such a history of conquering through so much, and baseball has been that healing. After 9/11, we saw how baseball brought us together, and that Fenway Park and all of baseball, just brought something back to our minds–Americans unite with the game of baseball.
In the 2004 playoffs, the Yankees were up big on the Red Sox, but the Red Sox did something no other team had done before in Major League Baseball history: they came back from a 3 games to 0 deficit to win the series 4-3;. The then won their first World Series title in neary 100 years, people wanted to see history made for a team who so long struggled and finally, won another championship.
Some of the most memorable moments include those from the Hall of Famer, Ted Williams. In 1960, in his last-at-bat in baseball, he hit a home run over the centerfield wall. The “Splendid Splinter” as they dubbed his name, was the best player in Red Sox history, hitting 521 home runs, and he was also a man who served his country in World War II.
Another great moment was that of the 1975 World Series Game 6, it was “do or die” for the Boston Red Sox, win to stay in or go home. It was the 12th inning. Carlton Fisk hit the ball over the fence, just fair down the line, for a game winning home run, but the Sox lost the series the next day to the Cincinnati Reds. The night of April 29, 1986, was an important date as well because Roger Clemens struck out 20 batters; he was the first to do so in MLB history. Most recently, the epic comeback in the 2004 ALCS over the New York Yankees is what most fans remember about Fenway. The comeback started at Fenway with two wins that came in extra innings.
As for the stadium itself, the Red Sox have eclipsed an attendance record; 9 straight years of sellouts, with only a few additions to the famed ballpark. The owner, John Henry, has made this place a modern park despite the antiquity it holds. For the first time, stands were implemented over the left field fence, stands down the 1st base line, in the upper deck; this has made it such an enjoyable place for a ballgame. Nowhere else can you have a Pesky Pole, named after Johnny Pesky, and a “Green Monster” fence.
The history is abundant with many memories of Ted Williams, and abundant in the games it has hosted. Bseball lives in all of us. Happy 100th Birthday, Fenway Park!