Fenway Park is the home ballpark for the Boston Red Sox baseball
club. It is located near, and named for, the Fenway neighborhood in the
heart of Boston, which in turn is named for the nearby fens, or marshes.
It opened on April 20, 1912, the same day as the now-defunct Tiger
Stadium in Detroit. This makes it the oldest ballpark still in active
use in Major League Baseball.
Features of the park
Historically, Fenway Park has been decidedly unfriendly to left-handed
pitchers. Babe Ruth is one of the few southpaw hurlers who found success
there. Ruth started his career as a pitcher (mostly during the
"dead-ball era",) and had a career record of 92 wins, 44 losses.
Ruth also set a World Series record by pitching 29 2/3 scoreless innings,
a record that lasted until broken by Whitey Ford of the New York Yankees
Fenway Park is one of the few remaining classic parks in major league
baseball to have a significant number of obstructed view seats. These are
sold as such, and are a reminder of an era of less commercially-driven
Field Line - 310 ft (94.5 m)
Left-Center (deep) - 379 ft (115.5 m)
Center Field - 389 ft 9 in (118.8 m)
Right-Center (deep) - 420 ft (128 m)
Right Field "Average" - 380
ft (115.8 m)
Right Field Line - 302 ft (92 m)
Backstop - 60 ft (18 m)
"The Green Monster"
The stadium is most famous for the left field wall called "The
Green Monster". Constructed in 1934, the 37-foot (11 m) high wall is
240 feet long, has a 22-foot deep foundation, and was constructed from
30,000 pounds of Toncan iron. Previously, a 23-1/2-foot tall screen
protected cars and pedestrians on Lansdowne Street. However, the screen
was replaced with more seating atop the Green Monster (in an attempt to
squeeze in as many seats as possible in Fenway).
The wall measures only 310 feet (94.5 m) from home plate down the left
field line (See Duffy's
Cliff). See comments below about the original measurement.
During the 1934 remodeling, the left-field scoreboard was added, and is
one of two remaining original manual scoreboards in professional baseball
(the other being at Wrigley Field in Chicago, Illinois). Running
vertically down the scoreboard, between the columns of out-of-town scores,
are the initials "TAY" and "JRY" displayed in Morse
Code; a memorial to former Red Sox owners Thomas A. Yawkey and Jean R.
to Fenway Park!
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In 1947, advertisements covering the left field wall were painted over
using green paint, which gave rise to the "Green Monster"
moniker. Prior advertisements were: the Calvert Brewery's owl mascot ("Be
Wise",) Gem razor blades ("Avoid 5 O'Clock Shadow",)
Lifebuoy soap ("The Red Sox Use It!",) and Vimms vitamins
("Get that Vimms Feeling!")
In 1975, the wall was remodeled and an electronic scoreboard installed,
and manual scoreboard changed to only show out-of-town scores from other
American League games. In 1976, the tin panels in the wall were replayed
by a Formica-type panel which resulted in more consistent caroms and less
noise when balls hit the wall. In 2003, National League scores returned;
American League East division standings were first displayed 2005.
"The Triangle" is a region of center field where the walls
form a triangle 420 feet (128 m) from home plate. That deep right-center
point is conventionally given as the center field distance.
"Williamsburg", dubbed by sportswriters, is the bullpens
built in front of the right-center field bleachers in 1940 for the benefit
of Ted Williams. The name parodied Yankee Stadium's right field area that
was often called "Ruthville."
The Lone Red Seat
The lone red seat in the right field bleachers (Section 42, Row 37,
Seat 21), signifies the spot where the longest measurable home run ever
hit inside Fenway Park landed. Ted Williams hit the home run on June 9,
1946 off Fred Hutchinson of the Detroit Tigers. Williams' bomb was
officially measured at 502 feet (153 m) -- well beyond
Profile of the
Green Monster, Fenway Park's left field
wall, on June 22, 2004.
"The Belly," is the sweeping curve of the box-seat railing
from the right end of "Williamsburg" around to the right field
corner. The box seats were added when the bullpens were built, and they
cut the 1934 remodeling's right field line distance by some 30 feet.
Pesky's Pole is the name for the pole on the right field foul line. The
pole was named after Johnny Pesky, a light-hitting Hall of Fame shortstop
for the Red Sox, hit the pole for a home run. Pesky and the Red Sox
attribute Red Sox pitcher Mel Parnell with coining the name. In his career
Pesky hit 17 homeruns, with six of those being at Fenway Park. The most
notable for Pesky, is a two-run homerun in the eighth inning of the 1946
Opening Day game to win the game. In similar fashion, Mark Bellhorn hit
what proved to be the game-winning homerun in Game 1 of the 2004 World
Series off that pole's screen.
Fisk’s Pole is the name for the pole on the left field foul line atop
"The Green Monster." In a ceremony before the Boston Red Sox's
2005 interleague game against the Cincinnati Reds, the pole was officially
named "Fisk's Pole" in honor of catcher Carlton Fisk, who
provided one of baseball's most enduring moments in Game 6 of the 1975
World Series against the Reds. Facing Reds right-hander Pat Darcy in the
12th inning with the score knotted 6-6, Fisk launched a pitch down the
left field line. It appeared to be heading foul, but Fisk, after initially
appearing unsure of whether or not to continue running to first base,
famously jumped and waved his arms as if to somehow will the ball fair. It
ricocheted off the foul pole, winning the game for the Red Sox and sending
the series to a seventh and deciding game the next night, which was won by
at FENWAY PARK
Yankees 6, Red Sox 7 (11 innings)
Tommy Connolly, Eugene Hart
Jake Stahl, Red Sox
Harry Wolverton, Yankees
Buck O'Brien, Red Sox
Ray Caldwell, Yankees
Boston Mayor John F. Fitzgerald
Guy Zinn (walk)
Harry Wolter (single)
Walter Johnson (04/24/1912)
Hugh Bradley (04/26/1912)
Rabbit Maranville (Braves
Ty Cobb (05/09/1912)
Hal Chase, Bert Daniels
Duffy Lewis (05/07/1912)
Joe Cronin (09/02/1929)
Joe Wood (05/20/1912)
Hit by Pitch
Buck O'Brien hit Cozy Dolan
Rube Foster (06/21/1916)
research by Jim Herdman & David Vincent
Courtesy of Retrosheet.
From 1912 to 1933, there was a 10-foot (3 m)-high mound that formed an
incline in front of the left field wall at Fenway park, extending from the
left-field foul pole to the center field flag pole. As a result of the
mound, a left fielder in Fenway Park had to play part of the territory
running uphill (and back down). Boston's first star left fielder, Duffy
Lewis, mastered the skill so well that the area became known as
The mound served two purposes: 1) it was a supporting for a high wall;
and 2) it was built to compensate for the difference in grades between the
field and the street on the other side of that wall. It also served as a
spectator-friendly seating area during the dead-ball era when overflow
crowds would sit on the mound behind ropes. It is often compared to the
infamous left field "terrace" at Cincinnati's Crosley Field,
but, in truth, the 15-degree all-grass incline there served an entirely
different purpose: as an alternative to an all dirt warning track found in
most other ballparks. It was a natural feature of the site on which
Crosley Field and its predecessors were located; slightly less severe
inclines were deliberately built in center and right fields to compensate.
As part of the 1934 remodeling of the ballpark, the bleachers and the
wall itself, Red Sox owner Tom Yawkey arranged to flatten the ground along
the base of the wall, so that Duffy's Cliff no longer existed, and thus
became part of the lore of Fenway Park. Thus the base of the left field
wall is several feet below the grade level of Lansdowne Street, accounting
for the occasional rat that might spook the scoreboard operators. (source:
For decades there was considerable debate about the true left field
distance, which was posted as 315 feet (96 m). For years, Red Sox
officials refused to remeasure the distance. Reportedly, the Boston
Globe was able to sneak into Fenway Park and remeasure the line. When
the paper's evidence was presented to the club in 1995, the line was
finally remeasured by the Red Sox and truly restated at 310 feet (94.5 m).
The companion 96 meters sign remained unchanged, until 1998, when it was
finally corrected to 94.5 meters. A theory about the incorrect foul line
distance is the former 315 ft (96 m) measurement came from the Duffy's
Cliff days. That measurement likely included the severity of the incline,
and when the mound was leveled, the distance was never corrected. A quick
study of the geometry of "Duffy's Cliff" suggests that the
theory has merit. Regardless of the posted distance, frustrated pitchers
will always argue that "The Green Monster" is closer than the
The ".406 Club" (formally, "The 600 Club")
In 1983 private suites were added to the roof behind home plate. In
1988, 610 stadium club seats enclosed in glass and named the "600
Club," were added above the home plate bandstand, replacing the
existing press box. The press box was then added to the top of the 600
Club. The 1988 addition is largely credited with changing the air currents
in Fenway Park to the detriment of hitters. In the 1980's, a Massachusetts
Institute of Technology (MIT) professor published his finding that the
addition does, in his opinion, curtail home runs at Fenway Park, giving
credence to that claim by players, coaches, and fans.
In 2002, the club renamed the club seats, the ".406 Club," in
honor of Ted Williams' batting average in 1941, six days after his death.
Williams was the last time that a player hit .400 or better in the major
Following the 2005 season, the glass will be removed from the .406
Club, as part of a total renovation of the section behind homeplate. For
the 2006 season, the area behind homeplate will feature two levels. The
bottom level which will be the new "EMC Club" featuring 406
seats and concierge services. The Home Plate Pavilion Club section will
feature 374 seats and a dedicated standing room area. The added seats will
be wider than the current seats.
Center field "triangle"
There was once a smaller "triangle" at the left end of the
bleachers, posted as 388 feet (118.3 m). The end of the bleachers form a
right angle with "The Green Monster," and the flagpole stands
within that little triangle. That is not the true power alley, but deep
left-center. The true power alley distance is not posted. The foul line
intersects with "The Green Monster" at a right angle, so the
power alley could be estimated at 336 feet (102.4 m), assuming the power
alley is 22.5 degrees away from the foul line as measured from home plate.
A phrase made popular by Boston television commentators, "Canvas
Alley" is the open alley behind the first base line where the rain
tarp is kept.
Early photo of
Photo by Geoge Bain:
Library of Congress, Prints &
Foul poles, screen poles and screen on top of left field fence are
outside playing field.
A ball going through scoreboard, either on the bound or fly, is two
A fly ball striking left-center field wall to right of line behind
flag pole is a home run.
A fly ball striking wall or flag pole and bounding into bleachers is
a home run.
A fly ball striking line or right of same on wall in center is a
A fly ball striking wall left of line and bounding into bullpen is a
A ball sticking in the bullpen screen or bouncing into the bullpen
is two bases.
A batted or thrown ball remaining behind or under canvas or in tarp
cylinder is two bases.
A ball striking the top of the scoreboard in left field in the
ladder below top of wall and bounding out of the park is two bases.
Changes in Fenway Park
In 1946, upper deck seats were installed; Fenway Park is essentially
the first double-tiered ballpark in Boston since the South End Grounds of
In 1947, arc lights were installed at Fenway Park. The Boston Red Sox
were the third to last team out of 16 major league teams to have lights in
their home park.
In 1976, metric distances were added to the conventionally-stated
distances because it was thought that the United States would adopt the
metric system. Today, few American ballparks have metric distances posted.
Fenway Park retained the metric measurement until mid-season 2002, when
they were painted over. Also, Fenway's first message board was added over
the centerfield bleachers.
After Red Sox won the 2004 World Series, a new drainage system was
installed on the field. The system, along with new sod, was installed to
prevent the field from becoming too wet to play on during light to medium
rains, and to reduce the time needed to dry the field adequately. Work on
the field was completed only weeks prior to spring training.
After the 2005 season, Red Sox announced plans to open the new EMC Club
below the new Home Plate Pavilion Club section behind homeplate. The Sox
announced plans to add 852 pavilion club seats, 745 pavilion box seats,
and approximately 200 pavilion standing-room seats along the left- and
right-field lines for the 2006 season, replacing approximately 1,300
The Red Sox plan to also add approximately 700 tickets for the 2007
season and 1,400 tickets for the 2008 season. In adding additional
seating, the Red Sox plan to have 1,000 of the seats added over the three
years be high-priced premium seats, to help deflate ticket costs and bring
the Fenway up to the MLB average of percentage of premium seating.
Fenway Park currently holds over 35,000 spectators. This number has
increased over the years as seats have been added in what was once foul
territory, throughout the upper decks, and, most recently, on top of
"The Green Monster" and atop the right field wall. Some people
have proposed increasing the seating capacity by up to 10,000 more seats
through the expansion of the upper decks, while others have proposed
razing the historic ballpark entirely and building a similar, but larger
and more modern, scalable facility nearby.
Despite its relatively small size, Fenway Park's oblong-esque layout
actually makes it a reasonably viable football facility. The National
Football League's Washington Redskins played at Fenway for four seasons,
1933 to 1936, as the Boston Redskins after playing their inaugural season
in 1932 at Braves Field as the Boston Braves, and the American Football
League's Boston/New England Patriots called Fenway Park home from 1963 to
1968 after moving to there from Nickerson Field, the direct descendant of
Braves Field. The Red Sox's one-time crosstown rivals, the Braves used
Fenway Park when they were the Boston Braves and played their home games
there during the 1914 World Series. At various times in the past, Boston
College and Boston University teams have also played football games at
Fenway Park, too.
One of the most famous campaign speeches in American political history
was made at Fenway Park in the 1940 Presidential race, when President
Franklin D. Roosevelt promised that he would not send American servicemen
into foreign wars. During this time World War II was raging in Europe, but
the United States was officially neutral, although it was aiding Great
Britain and the Soviet Union. This speech was noted repeatedly by
Roosevelt's opponents, even after Japanese Imperial Naval forces attacked
the United States at Pearl Harbor, Hawaii on December 7, 1941, forcing the
United States to enter World War II.
Although Fenway Park was not previously a frequent venue for concerts,
the Red Sox' new ownership has recruited recent performances by acts such
as the Rolling Stones, Bruce Springsteen, and Jimmy Buffett.
Fenway Park on the Silver Screen
The park was featured in a pivotal scene in the 1989 Kevin Costner film
of Dreams. It was the only location filmed outside the
The 2005 movie, "Fever
Pitch" included scenes shot on location during the 2004 American
League Championship Series games and scenes from Busch
Stadium were filmed after Game 4 of the 2004 World Series.
Some scenes from "Blown Away" (1994) and "Little
Big League" (also 1994) were filmed at Fenway Park.
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