At Fenway Park on August 15, 1916, Red Sox pitcher Babe Ruth came out victorious over Walter Johnson and the Senators, 1-0 in 13 innings. Though Johnson managed to keep Boston to four hits over the first twelve innings, he gave up three more hits in the 13th, thus allowing Jack Barry to score the game’s lone run.
That moment, when you first lay eyes on that field — The Monster, the triangle, the scoreboard, the light tower Big Mac bashed, the left-field grass where Ted (Williams) once roamed — it all defines to me why baseball is such a magical game.
The first ever no-hitter at Fenway Park was thrown by Red Sox pitcher George “Rube” Foster* on June 21, 1916. Foster no-hit the New York Yankees to win 2-0. The Red Sox had moved into Fenway in 1912.
*As opposed to Andrew “Rube” Foster, organizer of the Negro National League.
The first game ever played at Fenway Park took place on April 9, 1912. In an exhibition contest played in the cold and the snow, Crimson third baseman and captain Dana Wingate became the first batter in the Boston ballpark, being struck out on a fastball by Casey Hageman. 3,000 fans braved the wintery weather to watch the shortened contest.
Just one month until Opening Day. Who else is excited?
Why? Why should the bond between a people and their baseball team be so intense? Fenway Park is a part of it, offering a physical continuum to the bond, not only because Papi can stand in the same batter’s box as Teddy Ballgame, but also because a son might sit in the same wooden-slat seat as his father.
As I grew up, I knew that as a building (Fenway Park) was on the level of Mount Olympus, the Pyramid at Giza, the nation’s capitol, the czar’s Winter Palace, and the Louvre — except, of course, that is better than all those inconsequential places.
~ Bart Giamatti