One of the most fascinating aspects about the Great American Pastime is the history associated with some of baseball's most famous parks. When one visits then, it is as if the spirits of the legendary players of the past still speak to us from the infield dust. The oldest ballpark still in operation today is Fenway: home of the Boston Red Sox. Here's a little history about this amazing venue.
Fenway Park opened in Boston on April 20, 1912. It has the distinction of being the oldest of all the stadiums, but Wrigley Field in Chicago runs a close second: it was built in 1914. Fenway was not the original home of its team however. In 1901, the team was called the Boston Americans and it was one of the charter members of the American League. This team underwent a variety of name changes: Puritans, Pilgrims, and even Plymouth Rocks! They played on a field located on the campus of what is now Northeastern University.
In 1907, they finally became the Red Sox and in 1910 owner John I. Taylor began construction on a park that was to be named Fenway, in honor of the Boston neighborhood in which it was located. Today, Fenway Park has remained relatively unchanged in its appearance from its introduction nearly 100 years ago! However, it has had to undergo extensive renovations over the years due to periodic fires and normal wear and tear.
In 1934, a major fire raged for 5 hours; this event prompted the installation of concrete instead of wooden bleachers. It was also at this time that the wooden left field wall was replaced with an inordinately high sheet metal structure with an attached screen designed to protect nearby building windows. In 1947, the advertisements which had adorned the structure for a decade were covered in green paint, and Fenway's famous "Green Monster" feature officially came into being.
Some of the greatest players of all time have called Fenway home at one time or another: Cy Young, Babe Ruth, Ted Williams, Carlton Fisk, Jim Rice, Carl Yastrzemski, and a host of others too numerous to mention. Fenway has also seen some of the most memorable games in baseball history and has witnessed six World Series wins: from the first one in 1912 during the Park's inaugural year to the "curse breaking" wins in 2004 and 2007.
Fenway Park will always be the Granddaddy of all major league parks, as long as Bostonians want to keep its long tradition alive.
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