One of the greatest hitters of all time roamed the short left field of Fenway Park in the 40s and 50s. He was Ted Williams, the last of the great hitters, a proud man who resented sport writers as much as his Salvation Army mother. I have always wanted to go to a baseball game at Fenway. I have been to Wrigley Field in Chicago on previous occasions. It was baseball at its best, day time only, and close to the field. I could actually see the ball curve or knuckle, hear the players and umpires argue and talk, and see the sweat on their brow. So, on this trip to Boston, I am attending a Red Sox game at fabled Fenway Park.
Ted Williams, aka “The Splendid Splinter”
Fenway Park has been home to the Boston Red Sox since it opened in 1912. It is the oldest baseball stadium still in use today. Though it has been remodeled and renovated many times over the years, the famous Green Monster remains in left field. Though the wall is slightly over 37 feet tall, it sits only 310 to 315 feet from home plate. This Green Monster serves as an inviting target to right hand power hitters. It also serves as a challenge to left fielders, to play the bounces and caroms off the wall.
A manual scoreboard still remains in the wall, now constructed of plastic over the wooden wall. It did not get painted green until 1947. The Green Monster is famous for preventing line drive that would be home runs in most other ball parks. It is especially difficult on left-handed pitchers. Up to 274 fans can be seated in “Monster” sets atop the wall and scoreboard. The official capacity of Fenway Park is 39,928. All ballparks built after 1958 are required to have foul lines longer than 325 feet. They say the narrow foul ball territory adds from 5 to 7 points to batting averages.
I remember Fenway and the Red Sox mostly for the “Curse of the Bambino”. It began when the Red Sox traded Babe Ruth (aka The Bambino) to the rival New York Yankees in 1919. Before that, they had won five world championships. From 1918 to 2004, the “Curse” had taken on a life of its own. In game six of the 1986 World Series, the Red Sox came within one out of winning the World Series. Many think the “Curse” allowed a ground ball to go between first baseman, Bill Buckner’s legs, allowing the Mets to win game 6, and move on to game 7 for the big win.
George Herman Ruth, “The Babe”
I consider this visit to Fenway Park part of my baseball trifecta. This trifecta consists of Chicago Cub’s Wrigley Field, Fenway, and on to the New York Yankee’s new Yankee Stadium, which I will visit next week. Cross it off of the old “Water Pail” list, Jack and Morgan!