Essential Architecture- Boston

Fenway Park "America's Most Beloved Ballpark"


Osborn Architects & Engineers


4 Yawkey Way Boston, Massachusetts 02215


Broke ground September 25, 1911 Opened April 20, 1912




Construction cost $650,000 USD


  Map showing Fenway Park in 1917.
  The Front of Fenway Park facing Yawkey Way.
  Fenway Park in 1914.Library of Congress Collection
  View from the Green Monster looking down the 3rd base line.
Fenway Park is the home ballpark of the Boston Red Sox baseball club. The park, the oldest of all current Major League Baseball stadiums, opened in 1912. Fenway hosted the Major League Baseball All-Star Game in 1946, 1961, and 1999, and has played host to nine World Series. Fenway is regarded as one of the most historic and tradition-rich stadiums in all of sports.

Features of the park

Historically, Fenway Park has been decidedly unfriendly to left-handed pitchers, Babe Ruth being one of the few southpaw exceptions. Ruth started his career as a pitcher (mostly during the "dead-ball era"), and had a career record of 94 wins, 46 losses (.671 winning percentage). Ruth also set a World Series record by pitching 29⅔ scoreless innings, a record that lasted until broken by Whitey Ford of the New York Yankees in 1961. Just the same, when Satchel Paige first set foot in Fenway he said, "Huuuueee! This place is a pitchers' cemetery."

Fenway Park is one of the three remaining classic parks in major league baseball (the others being Wrigley Field and Yankee Stadium, although Yankee Stadium was completely remodeled in the 1970s and is scheduled to be replaced for the 2009 season), and one of the only two, with Wrigley, to have a significant number of obstructed view seats, such as pillars supporting the upper deck. These are sold as such, and are a reminder of the architectural limitations of older ballparks.

"The Green Monster"

The stadium is most famous for the left field wall called the "Green Monster". Constructed in 1934, the 37-foot high wall is 240 feet long, has a 22-foot deep foundation, and was constructed from 30,000 pounds of Toncan iron. Previously, a 23-½-foot tall screen protected cars and pedestrians on Lansdowne Street. However, the screen was replaced after the 2002 season with more seating atop the Green Monster.

The wall measures 310 feet (94.5 m) from home plate down the left field line (See "Duffy's Cliff").

During the 1934 remodeling, the left-field scoreboard was added, and is one of two remaining pre-1950s manual scoreboards in Major League Baseball with the other being at Wrigley Field in Chicago, Illinois. Running vertically down the scoreboard, between the columns of out-of-town scores, are the initials "TAY" and "JRY" displayed in Morse code; a memorial to former Red Sox owners Thomas A. Yawkey and Jean R. Yawkey.

The view of the Green Monster from the Grandstand Section.

In 1947, advertisements covering the left field wall were painted over using green paint, which gave rise to the "Green Monster" moniker. Prior advertisements were: the Calvert Brewery's owl mascot ("Be Wise"), Gem razor blades ("Avoid 5 O'Clock Shadow"), Lifebuoy soap ("The Red Sox Use It!"), and Vimms vitamins ("Get that Vimms Feeling!").

In 1975, the wall was remodeled and an electronic scoreboard was installed elsewhere in the park. The manual scoreboard changed to only show out-of-town scores from other American League games. In 1976, the railroad tin panels in the wall were replaced by a Formica-type panel which resulted in more consistent caroms and less noise when balls hit the wall.

In 2003, National League out-of-town scores returned; American League East division standings were first displayed in 2005. Another major renovation made was the addition of seats on top of the Monster. These replaced the screen that was used to catch balls and keep them from going onto Lansdowne Street. The Monster seats quickly became the most sought-after ticket in the park. Advertisements have also returned to the Green Monster in recent years, most notably for Volvo, CVS and W.B. Mason. There is also a large Coca-Cola bottle situated around the left light stand atop the structure.

In 2005, ads for Granite City Electric, Red Sox Foundation and F.W Webb, which replaced the Bob's Store ad, were added to the Green Monster.

In more recent years, also, other artwork has appeared on the Monster, including ads for the 1999 All-Star Game, the 100th anniversary of the Boston Red Sox, Fenway Park's 90th birthday and the Jimmy Fund/Dana-Farber Cancer Institute.

Another long-standing ad is outside the ballpark, very visible well beyond the monster: a Citgo sign, which has been standing for many years. It replaced a Cities Service sign which had first been raised in 1940. The company changed its name to Citgo in 1965.

"The Triangle" (present day)
"The Triangle" is a region of center field where the walls form a triangle whose far corner is 420 feet (128 m) from home plate. That deep right-center point is conventionally given as the center field distance. True center is unmarked, 390 feet from home plate, to the left of "The Triangle" when viewed from home plate.

"Williamsburg" was the name, invented by sportswriters, for the bullpen area built in front of the right-center field bleachers in 1940. It was built here primarily for the benefit of Ted Williams, to enable him and other left-handed batters to hit more home runs, since it was 23 feet closer than the bleacher wall. The name was inspired both by Colonial Williamsburg and Yankee Stadium's hitter-friendly right field area that was often called "Ruthville".

The Lone Red Seat
The lone red seat in the right field bleachers (Section 42, Row 37, Seat 21), signifies the spot where the longest measurable home run ever hit inside Fenway Park's 1934 configuration landed. Ted Williams hit the home run on June 9, 1946 off Fred Hutchinson of the Detroit Tigers. Williams' bomb was officially measured at 502 feet (153 m)—well beyond "Williamsburg". According to Hit Tracker Online, the ball, if unobstructed, would have flown 520 to 535 feet[2].

The ball landed on one Joseph A. Boucher, who was supposedly taking a nap at the time, penetrating his large straw hat and hitting him in the head. A confounded Boucher was later quoted as saying,

“ How far away must one sit to be safe in this park? I didn't even get the ball. They say it bounced a dozen rows higher, but after it hit my head, I was no longer interested. I couldn't see the ball. Nobody could. The sun was right in our eyes. All we could do was duck. I'm glad I didn't stand up. ”

No other player at Fenway Park has ever hit that seat since, although on June 23, 2001 Manny Ramirez hit two home runs; one measuring 463 feet and another one that was said to have traveled 501 feet. The 501 foot blast landed somewhere in the MassPike/Railroad cut beyond left field and the official estimate deferred to Williams' record, placing Ramirez's home run exactly one foot short.

As noted in the 2007 book The Year Babe Ruth Hit 104 Home Runs, researcher Bill Jenkinson found evidence that on May 25, 1926, Babe Ruth hit one in the pre-1934 bleacher configuration which landed five rows from the top in right field, an estimated 545 feet from home plate. Ruth also hit several other "Ruthian" blasts at Fenway that landed across the street behind straightaway center field, estimated at 500 feet.

The Lone Red Seat

"The Belly"
"The Belly" is the sweeping curve of the box-seat railing from the right end of "Williamsburg" around to the right field corner. The box seats were added when the bullpens were built in 1940. The right field line distance from the 1934 remodeling was reduced by some 30 feet.

"Pesky's Pole"
Pesky's Pole is the name for the pole on the right field foul line, which stands a mere 302 feet from home plate, the shortest right field porch in Major League Baseball. The pole was named after Johnny Pesky, a light-hitting shortstop for the Red Sox, who hit some of his six home runs at Fenway Park around the pole but never off the pole. Pesky and the Red Sox give credit to pitcher Mel Parnell for coining the name. The most notable for Pesky is a two-run homer in the eighth inning of the 1946 Opening Day game to win the game. (In his career, Pesky hit 17 home runs.) In similar fashion, Mark Bellhorn hit what proved to be the game-winning home run off of Julián Tavárez, in Game 1 of the 2004 World Series off that pole's screen.

On September 27, 2006, on Pesky's 87th birthday, the Red Sox organization officially dedicated the right field foul pole as Pesky's Pole with a commemorative plaque placed at its base.

Fisk Foul Pole
In a ceremony before the Red Sox's 2005 interleague game against the Cincinnati Reds, the pole on the left field foul line atop The Green Monster was named Fisk Foul Pole, in honor of Carlton "Pudge" Fisk. Fisk provided one of baseball's most enduring moments in Game 6 of the 1975 World Series against the Reds. Facing Reds right-hander Pat Darcy in the 12th inning with the score tied at 6–6, Fisk hit a long fly ball down the left field line. It appeared to be heading foul, but Fisk, after initially appearing unsure of whether or not to continue running to first base, famously jumped and waved his arms to the right as if to somehow direct the ball fair. It ricocheted off the foul pole, winning the game for the Red Sox and sending the series to a seventh and deciding game the next night, which Cincinnati won.

"Duffy's Cliff"
From 1912 to 1933, there was a 10-foot-high incline in front of the then 25-foot high left field wall at Fenway Park, extending from the left-field foul pole to the center field flag pole. As a result, a left fielder in Fenway Park had to play part of the territory running uphill (and back down). Boston's first star left fielder, Duffy Lewis, mastered the skill so well that the area became known as "Duffy's Cliff".

The incline served two purposes:

it was a support for a high wall; and
it was built to compensate for the difference in grades between the field and Lansdowne Street on the other side of that wall.
It also served as a spectator-friendly seating area during the dead-ball era when overflow crowds would sit on the incline behind ropes. It is often compared to the infamous left field "terrace" at Cincinnati's Crosley Field, but, in truth, the 15-degree all-grass incline there served an entirely different purpose: as an alternative to an all dirt warning track found in most other ballparks. It was a natural feature of the site on which Crosley Field and its predecessors were located; slightly less severe inclines were deliberately built in center and right fields to compensate. The incline in center field of Minute Maid Park has been considered a tribute to Duffy's Cliff.

As part of the 1934 remodeling of the ballpark, the bleachers and the wall itself, Red Sox owner Tom Yawkey arranged to flatten the ground along the base of the wall, so that Duffy's Cliff no longer existed, and thus became part of the lore of Fenway Park. Thus the base of the left field wall is several feet below the grade level of Lansdowne Street, accounting for the occasional rat that might spook the scoreboard operators. ("The Fenway Project", ISBN 1-57940-091-4.)

For decades there was considerable debate about the true left field distance, which was posted as 315 feet (96 m). For years, Red Sox officials refused to remeasure the distance. Reportedly, The Boston Globe was able to sneak into Fenway Park and remeasure the line. When the paper's evidence was presented to the club in 1995, the line was finally remeasured by the Red Sox and restated at 310 feet (94.5 m). The companion 96 meters sign remained unchanged, until 1998, when it was corrected to 94.5 meters. A theory about the incorrect foul line distance is that the former 315 ft (96 m) measurement came from the Duffy's Cliff days. That measurement likely included the severity of the incline, and when the mound was leveled, the distance was never corrected. A quick study of the geometry of "Duffy's Cliff" suggests the theory has merit. Regardless of the posted distance, frustrated pitchers will always argue that "The Green Monster" is closer than the sign says.

EMC Club (formerly "The .406 Club" and "The 600 Club")

View of the field from the former .406 Club.

In 1983, private suites were added to the roof behind home plate. In 1988, 610 stadium club seats enclosed in glass and named the "600 Club", were added above the home plate bandstand, replacing the existing press box. The press box was then added to the top of the 600 Club. The 1988 addition is largely credited with changing the air currents in Fenway Park to the detriment of hitters. In the 1980s, a Massachusetts Institute of Technology professor published his scientific finding that the addition does, in fact, curtail home runs at Fenway Park, giving credence to that claim by players, coaches, and fans, most notably Wade Boggs.

In 2002, the organization renamed the club seats the ".406 Club" (in honor of Ted Williams' batting average in 1941), six days after his death. (Williams is the last player to hit .400 or better to finish a season in the major leagues.)

During the fall and winter of 2005–2006, as part of the continuing expansion efforts at Fenway Park, the existing .406 club was rebuilt. The second deck now features two open-air levels: the bottom level is the new "EMC Club" featuring 406 seats and concierge services, and above that, the State Street Pavilion, with 374 seats and a dedicated standing room area. The added seats are wider than the previous seats. All work was done by D'Agostino Izzo Quirk Architects of Somerville, MA.

"The Triangle" (old feature)
There was once a smaller "triangle" at the left end of the bleachers in center field, posted as 388 feet (118.3 m). The end of the bleachers form a right angle with "The Green Monster", and the flagpole stands within that little triangle. That is not the true power alley, but deep left-center. The true power alley distance is not posted. The foul line intersects with "The Green Monster" at nearly a right angle, so the power alley could be estimated at 336 feet (102.4 m), assuming the power alley is 22.5 degrees away from the foul line as measured from home plate.

"Canvas Alley"
A phrase made popular by Boston television commentators, "Canvas Alley" is the open alley behind the first base line where the grounds crew sits. Canvas Alley has recently been narrowed to accommodate seats. Contrary to common belief, it does not actually house the tarp. The tarp sits next to the camera pit which is next to the Red Sox dugout.

"Hitters' ballpark"
As discussed by George Will in Men at Work (MacMillan, 1990), Fenway Park is a "hitters' ballpark", with its short right-field fence (302 feet), narrow foul ground, and generally closer-than-normal outfield fences. By Rule 1.04, Note(a) [3], all parks built after 1958 have been required to have foul lines at least 325 feet long and a center-field fence at least 400 feet from home plate. Regarding the narrow foul territory, Will writes (p.175): "The narrow foul territory in Fenway Park probably adds [5 to 7 points onto] batting averages. Since World War II, the Red Sox have had 18 batting champions (through 1989)... Five to 7 points are a lot, given that there may be only a 15- or 20-point spread between a good hitting team and a poor hitting team." Some observers might feel that these unique aspects of Fenway give the Red Sox an advantage over their opponents, given that the Red Sox hitters play 81 games at the home stadium, while each opponent plays only a handful (9 or 10 games at most). Will does not share this view (p.117). "Question: When you hear the phrase 'hitters' park', which parks come to mind? Wrigley Field and Fenway Park. Which two teams have not won a World Series since 1908 and 1918, respectively? The Cubs and the Red Sox. Moral: It is bad to play in a park that is beastly to your pitchers." Will's book pre-dates the smaller retro ballparks and the home run barrage that began in the early/mid-1990s, as well as the Red Sox World Series wins of 2004 and 2007.

Public address announcers
Sherm Feller 1967–1993
Leslie Sterling 1994–1996
Ed Brickley 1997–2002
Carl Beane 2003–current

Retired Numbers
There are six retired numbers above the third base grandstands. All the numbers retired by the Red Sox are red on a white circle. Jackie Robinson's 42, which was retired by Major League Baseball, is blue on a white circle. The Red Sox policy on retiring uniform numbers is based on the following criteria: Election to the National Baseball Hall of Fame and at least 10 years played with the Red Sox.
1 Bobby Doerr
4 Joe Cronin
8 Carl Yastrzemski
9 Ted Williams
27 Carlton Fisk
42 Jackie Robinson
Note: At the time of Fisks' induction into the Hall of Fame, there was an additional requirement that a player must finish one's career with the Red Sox in order to have his number retired. This was somewhat waived for Fisk as he had finished his playing career with the Chicago White Sox. However, Fisk was assigned a Red Sox front office job and effectively "finished" his baseball career with the Red Sox in this manner.

Ground rules

Fenway Park 90th Anniversary Logo

Foul poles are inside the field of play.
A ball going through the scoreboard, either on the bounce or fly, is a Ground rule double.
A fly ball striking left-center field wall to right of or on the line behind the flag pole is a home run.
A fly ball striking wall or flag pole and bouncing into bleachers is a home run.
A fly ball striking line or right of same on wall in center is a home run.
A fly ball striking wall left of line and bouncing into bullpen is a home run.
A ball sticking in the bullpen screen or bouncing into the bullpen is a Ground rule double.
A batted or thrown ball remaining behind or under canvas or in tarp cylinder is a Ground rule double.
Rumor had it that a fly ball striking the ladder on the Green Monster awards a batter the only ground-rule triple in Major League Baseball. According to official ground rules[4], this is not the case. However, a fly ball that strikes the top of the ladder and then bounces out of play is two bases.

Changes to Fenway Park
In 1946, upper deck seats were installed; Fenway Park is essentially the first double-tiered ballpark in Boston since the South End Grounds of the 1880s.

In 1947, arc lights were installed at Fenway Park. The Boston Red Sox were the third-to-last team out of 16 major league teams to have lights in their home park.

In 1976, metric distances were added to the conventionally-stated distances because it was thought that the United States would adopt the metric system. Today, few American ballparks have metric distances posted. Fenway Park retained the metric measurement until mid-season 2002, when they were painted over. Also, Fenway's first message board was added over the center field bleachers.

In 1999 the auxiliary press boxes were added atop the roof boxes along the first and third base sides.

Before the 2003 season, seats were added to the Green Monster.

Before the 2005 season, a new drainage system was installed on the field. The system, along with new sod, was installed to prevent the field from becoming too wet to play on during light to medium rains, and to reduce the time needed to dry the field adequately. Work on the field was completed only weeks prior to spring training.

After the 2005 season, the Red Sox completed their plans for the .406 Club area, which became the EMC Club. The construction resulted in 852 pavilion club seats, 745 pavilion box seats, and approximately 200 pavilion standing-room seats along the left- and right-field lines, resulting in approximately 1300 additional seats.

The winter of 2006 renovations focused on renovating the luxury boxes as well as adding a new food concourse area and renovated bathrooms behind the third base grandstands.

The old wooden seats of Fenway's Grandstand section.

Proposed changes
The Red Sox plan to also add approximately 700 tickets for the 2007 season and 1,400 tickets for the 2008 season. In adding additional seating, the Red Sox plan to have 1,000 of the seats added over the three years be high-priced premium seats, to help deflate ticket costs and bring Fenway Park up to the MLB average of percentage of premium seating.

The Red Sox have also stated that at some point before the 2012 season (Fenway Park's centennial) they would like to replace the old wood seats in the Grandstand section.

Proposed New Fenway Park
On May 15, 1999 then Red Sox CEO John Harrington announced plans for a New Fenway Park to be built near the existing structure[5]. It was to have the same dimensions on the field, include a new Green Monster, basically be a replica of the current park, but be modernized to replace some of the old features of Fenway Park. Some sections of the old Fenway Park were to be preserved (mainly the original green monster and the third base side of the park) as part of the overall new layout.

This was a highly controversial move, with groups such as "Save Fenway Park" created to try to save Fenway Park. Their efforts were ultimately successful, as the current owners announced on March 23, 2005 that plans for the New Fenway Park were abandoned and chose to stay in the current Fenway Park.[6].

Seating capacity
Fenway Park long prided itself on being the smallest park in the major leagues. For the 2007 season, however, Fenway Park's capacity has been increased from its longstanding 36,298 to 38,805[7]. — meaning that the smallest ballpark is now Pittsburgh's PNC Park. While technically a larger stadium, Oakland's McAfee Coliseum has the smallest capacity in the majors due to Athletics management's decision to limit seating to 34,077 by putting a tarp over the upper deck.

The seats atop the Green Monster
By the park's centennial in 2012, the team has announced that capacity could be increased to as much as 39,968.

Capacity has increased in recent years as additional rows have been added in front of the field boxes in former foul territory (the "Dugout Seats"), on top of "The Green Monster" (the "Monster Seats"), atop the right field roof (the "Right Field Roof Seats"), in 2006 to the roof boxes (the "Pavilion Seats"), which has been raised by about 10 feet, to the former .406 Club (now the EMC club and HP Pavilion), and in 2007 through the addition of "Conigliaro's Corner" in right field and additional standing room in left field. There have been proposals to increase the seating capacity to as much as 45,000 through the expansion of the upper decks, while others (notably former team owners, the JRY Trust) have called for razing the historic ballpark entirely and building a similar, but larger and more modern, scalable facility nearby. Any such action would likely be met by strong local opposition. Fenway Park also has standing room areas on the Roof, HP Pavilion, Green Monster and throughout the park.

Other uses

The Red Sox's one-time cross-town rivals, the Boston Braves used Fenway Park for the 1914 World Series and the 1915 season until Braves Field was completed.

Since 1990 (except in 2005, because of field work, where it was held in a minor league ballpark), Fenway Park has also played host to a baseball version of Boston-area intercollegiate sports' prestigious Beanpot tournament.

Beginning in 2006, the Red Sox have hosted the "Futures at Fenway" event, where two of their minor-league affiliates play a regular-season doubleheader as the "home" teams. In 2006, the Lowell Spinners and Pawtucket Red Sox played, with both winning. The 2007 event featured Lowell and the Portland Sea Dogs as the two featured farm clubs, again with both teams winning. Before the Futures day started, the most recent minor-league game held at Fenway had been the Eastern League All-Star Game in 1977.

The 2009 Atlantic Coast Conference baseball tournament will be held at Fenway Park.

On May 30, 1931, 8,000 fans came out to Fenway Park to see the Fall River F.C. of the American Soccer League beat Celtic of Scotland 4 - 3. Fenway Park was used by the NASL team, the Boston Beacons, for one year (1968) as their home field. After that season, the Beacons went bankrupt. There has been talk of the New England Revolution of Major League Soccer playing a game or two at Fenway Park, but that has yet to happen.

Despite its relatively small size, Fenway Park's oblong-esque layout actually makes it a reasonably viable football facility. The National Football League's Boston Redskins (later becoming the Washington Redskins) played at Fenway for four seasons, 1933 to 1936, after playing their inaugural season in 1932 at Braves Field as the Boston Braves; the Boston Yanks played there in the 1940s; and the American Football League's Boston Patriots called Fenway Park home from 1963 to 1968 after moving to there from Nickerson Field, the direct descendant of Braves Field. At various times in the past, Boston College and Boston University teams have also played football games at Fenway Park.

Political speeches
One of the most famous campaign speeches in American political history was made at Fenway Park in the 1940 Presidential race, when President Franklin D. Roosevelt promised that he would not send American servicemen into foreign wars. During this time World War II was raging in Europe, but the United States was officially neutral, although it was aiding the United Kingdom and the Soviet Union. This speech was noted repeatedly by Roosevelt's opponents, even after Japanese Imperial Naval forces attacked the United States at Pearl Harbor, Hawaii on December 7, 1941, causing the United States to enter World War II.


Dave Matthews Band concert at Fenway Park

Although Fenway Park was not previously a frequent venue for concerts, the Red Sox new ownership has used the venue for two concerts each year, starting in 2003 with Bruce Springsteen and the E Street Band's The Rising Tour, Jimmy Buffett in 2004, and The Rolling Stones who kicked off their 2005 A Bigger Bang Tour with two consecutive shows at Fenway Park. On July 7–8, 2006 the Dave Matthews Band played at the stadium, with Sheryl Crow. In the summer of 2007, The Police played two of their shows on their 30th anniversary reunion tour at Fenway. In 1973, there were concerts on consecutive evenings, with Stevie Wonder and Ray Charles as the headliners. After that weekend, the next major rock show at the park was Springsteen's 2003 performance.

Fenway Park in film and television
The park was featured in a pivotal scene in the 1989 Kevin Costner film Field of Dreams. It was the only location shot outside the Iowa-Illinois area. Archive footage is used in several films such as Good Will Hunting and Frequency.

Some scenes from Blown Away (1994) and Little Big League (also 1994) were filmed at Fenway Park.

In the episode "A Leela of Her Own" of the animated television series Futurama, Fenway Park is home of a professional blernsball team, the Boston Poindexters.

In an episode of the television series The Practice, the characters played by Dylan McDermott and Kelli Williams get married at home plate.

In the Family Guy episode "Mr. Griffin Goes to Washington", Peter Griffin pulls the kids out of school to go and see the opening game of the season for the Red Sox at Fenway Park.

In the episode "Big Hair & Baseball" of The Suite Life of Zack & Cody, Mr. Moseby takes Zack and Cody to a Red Sox game at Fenway Park. Also, in the episode " Poor Little Rich Girl" it is said that Maddie lives across the street from Fenway Park.

The 2005 movie, Fever Pitch included scenes shot on location during the 2004 American League Championship Series games and scenes from Busch Memorial Stadium were filmed after Game 4 of the 2004 World Series.

Fenway Park can be reached by the MBTA Green Line's Kenmore Station on the "B" "C" & "D" branches, as well as the Fenway Station on the "D" branch.

Yawkey Station is served by the MBTA Worcester/Framingham commuter rail trains on Red Sox home game days. The station is not open on other days.

Although I-90, the Massachusetts Turnpike, passes right behind Fenway Park, there is no direct connection, and traffic must use local streets to access the park.