4 Yawkey Way
Boston, MA 02215
For ticket information call (617) 267-1700
Boston Red Sox (AL)
Opened: April 20, 1912
First night game: June 13, 1947
Osborn Engineering (1912)
Construction: James McLaughlin (1912)
Owner: Yawkey Trust
Fenway Park was opened in 1912 and is
the oldest ballpark in the Major Leagues. Fenway was named by then owner John I.
Taylor for the section of Boston in which it is located. The ballpark is best known for its Green Monster, a 37 foot high wall that extends straight from left field to center field.
The park has the lowest seating capacity in the Major Leagues but continue to draw two million in annual attendance.
Fenway has played host to three All-Star games and what some may regard as the best World Series game
ever - Game 6 in
1975 (Boston vs Cincinnati). Fenway Park has one of the last hand-operated scoreboards in the Major Leagues in the left-field wall. Green and red lights are used to signal balls, strikes, and outs.
Before 1934, a steep 10-foot embankment ran in front of the wall where fans were allowed to sit.
The Sox' Duffy Lewis was so skilled at playing balls hit to the ledge that it became known as "Duffy's Cliff."
Teamed with Tris Speaker in center and Harry Hooper in right, Lewis was part of what many argue was the best defensive outfield of all time.
A May 8, 1926 fire destroyed bleachers
along the left field line, and John Quinn (the owner at the time) neglected to rebuild the
bleachers due to a lack of funds. Left fielders didn't complain though, since they were able catch foul balls for outs behind the stands.
That continued until the park underwent a major overhaul in 1934 under Tom
Yawkey, who bought the financially-strapped club in 1933. The 1934 project to revitalize Fenway came to a screeching halt on January 5 when a second fire ravaged the building for five hours.
Few areas of the park were left undamaged.
Click to purchase from the Danbury Mint collection
The Green Monster: Still, Fenway had a new look on Opening Day 1934.
Concrete bleachers in center replaced wood, "Duffy's Cliff" was leveled off (though not completely), and the 37-foot wooden left field wall was replaced by a more durable, 37-foot sheet metal structure, which would later become known as the infamous "Green Monster" after advertisements were covered by green paint in 1947.
Though it was tall, the "Monster" wasn't tall enough to protect the windows of Lansdowne Street and a 23 1/2' screen was placed on top in 1936.
Williamsburg: In 1939, a sweet-swinging left-fielder named Ted Williams made his debut. Since
he was a dead pull left-handed
hitter, the club had the bullpens constructed in right field to bring the fence 23 feet closer to home plate for Williams.
Appropriately, the new bullpens became known as "Williamsburg."
After sky-view seats were installed in 1946, followed by lights in 1947 and Diamond Vision over the center field bleachers in 1976, Fenway for the most part has gone unchanged.
The left field runs along Lansdowne Street to
the north, along the Boston & Albany Railroad tracks in left center and the Massachusetts
Turnpike. The right field wall, to the east, runs along Ipswich Street and the Fenway Garage
building. Third base (W) is on Brookline Avenue and Jersey Street (renamed Yawkey Way after BoSox owner in 1976),
and first base (S) is bordered by Van Ness Street, which was built after park was
Left field: 324 (1921), 320.5 (1926), 320 (1930), 318 (1931), 320 (1933), 312 (1934), 315 (1936)
(figure revised to 310 in 1995)
Left-center: 379 (1934)
Deep left-center at flagpole: 388 (1934); flagpole removed from field of play
Center field: 488 (1922), 468 (1930), 388.67 (1934), 389.67 (1954), 390
Deepest corner, just right of center: 550 (1922), 593 (1931), 420 (1934)
Right-center, just right of deepest corner where the bullpen begins: 380 (1938), 383
Right of right-center: 405 (1939), 382 (1940), 381 (1942), 380 (1943)
Right field: 313.5 (1921), 358.5 (1926), 358 (1930), 325 (1931), 358 (1933), 334 (1934), 332 (1936), 322 (1938), 332 (1939), 304 (1940), 302 (1942); backstop: 68 (1912), 60
Foul territory: smallest in the majors.
Though not the hitters'
paradise it once was, Fenway Park still plays very lively, especially for
right-handers. In 1983, private suites were built on the grandstand roof along
the foul lines, largely cutting off the wind that used to blow out so
fiercely in the summer months; since then Fenway has been an
average home run park. In recent years it has been pretty close to neutral for
runs as well, and among the toughest place to homer for
The reasons for this being a great park for batsmen are threefold:
The park has the
smallest foul territory in the majors, and near the foul poles it is
non-existent. That means that pop-ups that might get caught elsewhere end
up in the seats, and give hitters another swing.
The 17-ft center field wall
also provides a great
hitting background, since most pitchers' release points take place against a
solid green background instead of the multicolored distraction of the
bleachers. (Some left-handers with an overhand delivery can reach "over the
top" and into the bleachers to camouflage their pitches, but statistically
speaking lefties generally don't do much worse than righties.)
Most importantly, all of the action unfolds in the shadow of
baseball's most recognizable landmark - the Green Monster, the 37-foot wall in
left field which makes left
field a cozy space and which can convert routine flyballs into extra-base hits.
For over 50 years, the wall was listed at 315 feet away from the plate, a very
generous estimate that was regarded as about as accurate as David Wells' listed
weight of 235 pounds. In 1995 the Red Sox (without explanation) changed the
number to 310 feet, but more realistically the wall is probably closer to 300
Both the quirks of the Monster and the vast amount of territory in right field -
plus the quirks of the wall near the right-center bullpen, which extends onto
the playing surface and is surrounded by an 8-foot fence - makes Fenway a great
doubles park. The bullpen was built in 1940, with the arrival of lefty Ted
Williams onto the scene, and cut down the distance to the right-center wall from
405 feet to just over 380 feet.
Fenway may be the only park in the majors where the corner outfielders have it
tougher than the center fielder. Playing the Green Monster, with all its quirks
and bounces, is a special skill, and the enormous right field - one of the
largest in the majors - is also difficult. Although the right field foul pole is
just 302 feet from the plate, it drops back almost immediately to 380 feet; as a
result, the right fielder has as much territory to cover as the center fielder,
and must have a strong throwing arm.
The deepest part of the park - "The Triangle" - is in right-center,
where the high, 17-foot center-field fence meets the "Williamsburg" bullpen at a
bizarre 90-degree angle. A ball hit here will take unpredictable caroms, and the
result is that Fenway tends to give up a lot of triples here.
The Green Monster is extremely forgiving to left fielders with poor range, but
the fielder must also learn to play the Wall's tricky rebounds. As soon as the
ball is hit, the fielder must judge the strength and angle of the drive and
anticipate the point of return; Carl Yastrzemski became a master at this, and
threw out dozens of baserunners trying to stretch Fenway singles into doubles.
As a result of all this, Fenway typically has the highest outfield error indices
in the majors.
The error index for infielders is also among the highest in the majors. It
isn't clear why this is so; the infield is short grass and well-kept. Most
likely, pitchers try to keep the ball down in order to avoid giving up flyballs
to the corners, and the result is a higher proportion of infield
It is a common misconception that the Wall only helps right-handed
hitters. Right-handed hitters gain more in the home run department, and
right-handed pull hitters who loft the ball do improve their numbers. But
left-handed batters who can use the inside-out swing to hit the ball to left can
add points to their average as well - Wade Boggs practically coined the term
"wall double," and Fred Lynn, Carl
Yastrzemski, and of course Ted
Williams all learned to use the Wall. In 5 of the last 6 years, Fenway has
boosted left-handed batting averages more than right-handed averages.
current Red Sox players who experience huge increases in average are Troy
O'Leary and Reggie Jefferson. Historically, O'Leary has had the widest
home-road splits, though in 2001 the now-departed Carl Everett batted 114 points
higher at home (in 2000, he hit 38 points better on the road). Rolando
Arrojo (2.90 vs. 4.35), Derek Lowe (2.79 vs. 4.50) and Ugueth Urbina (3.25 vs.
4.11) had a significantly lower ERA at home, while Rod Beck and Hideo Nomo did
slightly better at home.
Flyball pitchers suffer because the Wall in left turns routine
flyballs into extra-base hits. Groundball and strikeout pitchers tend to fare
much better here - for example, Tom Gordon and Derek Lowe do very well in Fenway.
Left-handed dead pull hitters must contend with the vast right field.
Pedro Martinez had a slightly higher ERA at home (2.63 vs. 2.18), similar to his
stellar 2000 Cy Young season (1.84 ERA at home, 1.66 ERA on the road).
Rich Garces and Frank Castillo did significantly better on the road.
- Second highest double factor in AL in 2001
- Third highest batting average/LH avg factor
in AL in 2001
- Third lowest infield error factor in AL in
Highest error factor and infield-error factor in the AL in 1999 and 2000
Second highest batting average factor in the AL in 1999 and 2000
- Third highest left-handed batting average factor in the AL in
Second highest right-handed batting average factor in the AL in 2000
- Second highest left-handed batting average factor in the AL in 1999
Third highest run factor in the AL in 1999
- Second lowest home run factor in the AL in
Lowest home run factor in the AL in 1999
Lowest LHB home run factor in the AL in 1998, 1999 and 2000
Highest double factor in the AL in 1998
Highest RHB batting-average factor in the AL in 1998
No ball has ever been hit over the right-field roof, though during the home
run derby in 1999, Mark McGwire hit several moonshots into the light standards
in center field
Infield grass was transplanted from Huntington Avenue Baseball Grounds to Fenway in 1912.
Fenway opened on April 20, 1912, the same day as Detroit’s Tiger Stadium, and before any of the other existing big league parks. It held 35,000 fans then, and today it holds 34,218. The Red Sox fit 47,627 people into Fenway for a September 22, 1935, doubleheader against the New York Yankees. Fire laws in the 1940's ended that type of overcrowding and the biggest postwar crowd was 36,388 for a game against the Cleveland Indians in 1978.
Site of the 1999, 1961 (II) and 1946 All Star games.
The seats made of oak.
1976 electronic scoreboard significantly altered the wind currents.
43 private 28-seat rooftop boxes added in 1984.
Duffy’s Cliff was a 10-foot-high mound which formed an incline in front of the left field wall from 1912 to 1933, extending from the left-field foul pole to the flag pole in center; named after the Red Sox’s Duffy Lewis, the acknowledged master of defensive play on the cliff. It was greatly reduced but not completely eliminated in
A ladder starts near the upper-left corner of the scoreboard, 13 feet above ground, and rises to the top of the Green Monster; this allows the groundskeeper to remove batting-practice home run balls from the netting above the wall.
Behind the manual scoreboard in left field is a room where the walls are covered with signatures of players that have played left field through the years.
Scoreboard numbers - runs and hits: 16 inches by 16 inches, 3 pounds; errors, innings, pitcher’s numbers: 12 inches by 16 inches, 2 pounds.
Home run balls that hit uprights above the left-field wall were declared in play by the umpires.
Wooden bleachers stood in foul territory down the left field line in the 1910s and 1920s but burned down on May 8, 1926. The charred remains were removed, increasing the size of foul territory there. Wooden bleachers were completed in center and right-center for the 1912 World Series.
During the winter of 1933-1934, all of the wooden grandstands were replaced with concrete and steel. A big fire on January 5, 1934, destroyed much of what had already been built, but all was finished for the season opener on April 17, 1934.
In 1936 a 23-foot, 7-inch net was placed atop the wall in left to protect windows on Landsdowne Street.
Wind usually helps the batters. A new pressbox built in the late 1980s above home plate causes wind swirl that pushes foul balls back into fair territory.
When tin covered the 2-by-4s on the left-field wall, balls hitting the tin over the 2-by-4s had a live bounce, but balls hitting between the 2-by-4s were dead and just dropped straight down.
In 1940, in an effort to help Ted Williams hit home runs, the Red Sox added the right-field bullpens, known as Williamsburg, which reduced the distance to the fence by 23 feet.
A seat in the right field bleachers is painted red to mark the spot where 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. It was measured at 502 feet and supposedly crashed through the straw hat of the man sitting in the seat (Section 42, Row 37, Seat 21).
The 1946 roof boxes were replaced in 1982.
The screen behind home plate, designed to protect fans and allow foul balls to roll back down onto the field of play, was the first of its kind in the majors.
Left-field scoreboard, installed on the wall in 1934, moved 20 feet to the right in 1976.
The low concrete base of the left- and center-field walls was padded after the 1975 World Series, during which Fred Lynn crashed into the concrete wall in center.
The left-field foul line was measured by Art Keefe and George Sullivan, authors of The Picture History of the Boston Red Sox, in October 1975 as 309 feet, 5 inches. On October 19, 1975, the Boston Globe used aerial photography and measured it at 304.779 feet. Osborn Engineering Co. blueprints document the distance at 308 feet. In 1995, the Red Sox, with no fanfare, revised the distance to left field to 310 feet.
Retired Red Sox uniform numbers hung in right field in numerical order: Bobby Doerr (1) in 1988, Joe Cronin (4) in 1984, Carl Yastrzemski (8) in 1989, Ted Williams (9) in 1984 and Carlton Fisk (27) in 2000.