In 1901, the Boston Red Sox had not yet become one of the nation’s well-known household names. In fact, back then the name that famously coincides with the all-American sport didn’t exist at all. But, 1901 was the year the Boston Pilgrims were born and joined the American League of baseball teams.
And the rest, as they say, is history.
Just three years later, Civil War veteran and Boston Globe owner General Charles Henry Taylor would purchase the team for his son John Taylor I. Then, a few years down the road, in 1907, Taylor changed the Pilgrims’ name to Red Sox.
In its’ early years, Boston baseball was played at what was known as Huntingdon Avenue Grounds, now a part of Northeastern University. But, in 1910 Taylor announced he would open a new park for his team.
Read on to find out the long and interesting history of America’s beloved Fenway Park!
The History of Fenway Park
Few modern-day sports venues carry a history so rich as Boston’s Fenway Park.
If you have never had the opportunity to learn about the park’s journey through time, you may not fully appreciate this national treasure just yet. But once you do know it’s enduring past, you’ll want to make plans to visit with the whole family.
Whether you’re 6 or 60, visitors find this is one trip that offers something for everyone. But first, let’s take a walk down memory lane at Fenway Park and find out how this story began.
1912: Fenway Baseball Park’s Opening Day
Approximately two years after Taylor makes his game-changing announcement, Fenway Baseball Park celebrates it’s Opening Day.
The first major league baseball game at Fenway took place on April 12, 1912. It happened just a few days after the country received news of the Titanic’s demise and the loss of lives that resulted from the unexpected tragedy. The Titanic’s loss overshadowed the jovial mood on Opening Day, but still, plenty of eager fans filled the stadium.
The stadium was among the first steel and concrete architectural designs, which opposed the wood-laden traditional stadiums of the day. The dimensions pale by comparison of the typical fields of today. But, the construction was viewed as a promising alternative after the public witnessed many fires in wooden stadiums, which had damaged the burnt ballparks drastically.
1914: Fenway Elephant Trio Fills the Stadium
In 1914, the field was not confined in its use for baseball. In fact, one of the most unusual exhibits hosted by the park included a trio of elephants.
The elephants, named Mollie, Waddy, and Tony, were part of a fundraiser to benefit children, as reported by the Boston Globe.
As crazy as it might seem, the event was a definite crowd-pleaser, attracting 40,000 onlookers and filling the stadium to its capacity.
May 8, 1926: Fenway’s Touched by Fire
In 1926, Fenway caught fire destroying wood bleacher seats down the left field line.
It would be 7 years later, when Tom Yawkey purchased the Red Sox, that the bleachers would be replaced with by concrete seating, according to Fenway Ticketing.
1934: Babe Ruth Brings Home a Home Run
Babe Ruth became the first player to hit a home run over the Fenway’s newly-constructed wall in 1934.
1935: The Park’s Biggest Crowd in History
In September of 1935, the stadium had its most visitors ever. 47,627 fans came to watch a doubleheader against the New York Yankees.
In the 40’s, safety codes would be implemented, preventing a crowd this large from being in the stadium in the years to come.
1946: Fenway Stadium Hosts Its’ First All-Star Game
In 1946, Fenway Park hosted its first-ever Major League Baseball All-Star game. During this period, the league presented 2 all-star games per season.
1961: Fenway’s Second All-Star Game
The next time Fenway would have the opportunity to host an MLB All-Star game would be in July of 1961.
The game ended with a 1-1 tie.
1944: Fenway Park Bids Farewell to President Roosevelt
In 1944, President Roosevelt gave the last speech of his presidency in front of a 40,000-visitor crowd at Fenway Park.
1947: Fenway Gets Lights, The Green Monster Gets a Paint Job & the Game Night Tradition Begins
The Red Sox held their first night game at Fenway Park on June 13, 1947, according to Fenway Fanatics. They were victorious on this night, defeating the Chicago White Sox 1-0.
It was also 1947 when Yawkey would paint the new wall, which had been extended from 25 to 27 feet in 1934, its’ trademark shade of green. Before getting its first green coat of paint, “The Green Monster”, as its known today, had been a display for advertisements.
Also added to the stadium that year were lights as the Red Sox became the third-to-last team to play night games.
1956: Mickey Mantle Makes History at Fenway
In 1956, baseball-great Mickey Mantle hit the longest home run to center field.
1963-1968: Football at Fenway
Once upon a time, Fenway wasn’t just for playing baseball. From 1963 to 1968, it was home to the National Football League Boston Redskins, which would later become the Washington Redskins. It would also eventually used by the American Football League Boston Patriots, which would later change to the notorious New England Patriots.
1973: The New England Jazz Festival Features Major Celebrity Musicians
In 1973, tunes by BB King, Stevie Wonder, and Ray Charles could be heard at the Newport-New England Jazz Festival.
Since then the park’s hosted concerts by celebrity musicians such as Bruce Springsteen and Neil Diamond.
1974-1980’s: Fenway’s Famous Fouls
In 1974, Willie Horton hit a foul ball that killed a pigeon in-flight.
In the 80’s there were more fouls than there should have been, due to the newly-built press boxes that created swirling winds.
1997: The Coke Fad at Fenway
In 1997, large coke bottles were added atop the Green Monster. However, these proved to be short-lived, as they were removed just over a decade later in 2008.
2006: David Ortiz Makes Home Run History
In 2006, Red Sox player David Ortiz beat the home run record when he hit his 51st home run ball at Fenway Park.
2012: Fenway Hosts its 100 Year Anniversary Celebration
In 2012, Fenway Baseball held its centennial celebration, which honored a century of baseball and entertainment.
The event was widely covered by media, as the world cheered on its past and looked to a promising future filled with many more exciting memories to be made at Fenway.
Want More Tips for Family Travel That Doesn’t Break the Bank?
One of the great things about a family trip to Fenway Park is that it won’t cost a fortune.
Want more great ideas for frugal family vacations?
Check out this post for money-saving tips before hitting the road with your crew!