Sports Temples of Boston: Sports Temples of Boston: Images of Historic Ballparks, Arenas, and Statiums 1872-1972

Fenway Park

Photographer: Jones, Leslie, 1886-1967

Boston, Massachusetts
1934

Fenway Park opened on April 20, 1912 as the home field of the Boston Red Sox. The park was named by John I. Taylor, the team’s owner, after the Boston neighborhood in which it was built. At the opening game, the Red Sox beat the New York Highlanders - later named the New York Yankees – by a score of 7 to 6.

Fenway is famous for its many quirks and unusual architectural features including the famous left field wall and the jutting angle in center field. Both features have made visiting outfielders miserable for almost 100 years. The left field wall, now called the “Green Monster”, was at one time covered with advertisements but always featured the hand-operated scoreboard. From 1912 to 1933, Fenway sported an even more unusual feature along the base of the left field wall. Duffy’s Cliff, a 10 foot high incline, was named for Red Sox outfielder Duffy Lewis who was adept at playing the ball off the incline. During big games, Duffy’s Cliff would be roped off and rows of fans would stand to watch the game. The incline allowed fansin the back to see the action.

In 1914 while Braves Field was being built, the Boston Braves played their World Series games in Fenway Park. The park was also used for various football teams: by the Boston Redskins from 1933 through 1937 and by the Boston Patriots from 1963 through 1968, and by collegiate teams such as Harvard and Boston College.

The Red Sox won the World Series in Fenway Park in 1912, 1915, 1916, 1918 and 86 years later in 2004. The 86 year drought began after Babe Ruth was sold to the Yankees in 1919. Superstitious fans have named this trade the “Curse of the Bambino”, a colorful aspect of Fenway Park and Red Sox folklore.

Fenway Park was built to hold about 35,000 fans but during the 1930s as many as 47,500 fans would crowd into the park on any given day. Fire laws enacted in 1940s, however, began to seriously restrict this crowding.

A major fire in 1934 caused the then owner, Tom Yawkey, to make some changes to the original configuration and change the bleachers from wood to steel seating. Later in 1947, the 37 foot left field wall was painted green, creating Fenway Park’s signature “Green Monster.” Although other changes were made in later years, Fenway Park, as the country’s oldest baseball stadium, has maintained it’s architectural and social link to its baseball past and continues to be one of the most beloved of Boston’s sports temples.

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Big fire at Fenway Park

1. Big fire at Fenway Park

Image number: 05_02_010187
Photographer: Jones, Leslie, 1886-1967
Boston, Massachusetts (1934)

Firemen and fire engines fight blaze that has spread to Fenway Park from burning building across the street.

Fighting fire at Fenway Park

2. Fighting fire at Fenway Park

Image number: 05_02_010188
Photographer: Jones, Leslie, 1886-1967
Boston, Massachusetts (1934)

Firemen using hose to fight fire near Fenway Park.

Fenway Park fire

3. Fenway Park fire

Image number: 05_02_010189
Photographer: Jones, Leslie, 1886-1967
Boston, Massachusetts (1934)

Firemen and fire engines fight fire at Fenway Park that has spread from burning building across the street.

Fighting Fenway Park fire

4. Fighting Fenway Park fire

Image number: 05_02_010190
Photographer: Jones, Leslie, 1886-1967
Boston, Massachusetts (1934)

Firemen fight fire near Fenway Park.

Military service at Fenway Park

5. Military service at Fenway Park

Image number: 05_02_010193
Photographer: Jones, Leslie, 1886-1967
Boston, Massachusetts (ca. 1930)

Soldiers on field in front of crowd in stands. Facing of stands decorated with American flags, the seals of the City of Boston and the State of Massachusetts and what looks like a regimental banner.

Governor Ely throwing out first ball

6. Governor Ely throwing out first ball

Image number: 05_02_010194
Photographer: Jones, Leslie, 1886-1967
Boston, Massachusetts (1931-1934)

Governor Joseph B. Ely in stands, ready to throw out the first ball of the season at Fenway Park.

Snow-covered stands, Fenway

7. Snow-covered stands, Fenway

Image number: 05_02_010220
Photographer: Jones, Leslie, 1886-1967
Boston, Massachusetts (1940)

Snow-covered seats at Fenway

8. Snow-covered seats at Fenway

Image number: 05_02_010221
Photographer: Jones, Leslie, 1886-1967
Boston, Massachusetts (1940)

Snow-covered seats at Fenway

9. Snow-covered seats at Fenway

Image number: 05_02_010222
Photographer: Jones, Leslie, 1886-1967
Boston, Massachusetts (1940)

Clearing snow off the tarp, Fenway

10. Clearing snow off the tarp, Fenway

Image number: 05_02_010229
Photographer: Jones, Leslie, 1886-1967
Boston, Massachusetts (ca. 1950)

Ground crew on infield tarp at Fenway Park. View shows left field wall and center field and right field stands.

 
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Sports Temples of Boston: Images of Historic Ballparks, Arenas and Stadiums, 1872-1972
has been made possible through a Library Services and Technology Act grant
administered by the Massachusetts Board of Library Commissioners.