Opened: April 20, 1912
Architect: James McLaughlin
Capacity: 37,497 (day), 37,949 (night)
Championships: 1912, 1915, 1916, 1918, 2004, 2007, 2013
Fenway Park is a true gem of not just major league baseball, but professional sports worldwide. Built before the Titanic sailed (the opening day at Fenway Park shared front-page space with the Titanic sinking, just five days prior), Fenway Park has hosted tens of millions of baseball fans, and virtually every great player of the modern game, from Babe Ruth to Mike Trout.
Although it has been enlarged, renovated, modernized, expanded, and otherwise tweaked over the past 104 years, the seating capacity has stayed roughly flat over that entire period: the capacity upon opening in 1912 was 35,000 people. Due to changes in fire code, the capacity actually decreased to 33,400 in the mid-1990s. (It was during this period that Fenway introduced its unique split-capacity for day games vs. night games: During day games, when sun glare is an issue, they close off the section of seats in the 'batter's eye' position behind the pitcher; for night games those seats are open, giving Fenway 500 more seats under the lights.)
From Pesky's Pole (the right-field foul pole, just 302 feet up the line--named for little Johnny Pesky, the Red Sox shortstop with just enough power to hook a ball around the pole) to the Fisk Foul Pole (in left field, in 2005 this pole was officially named for the iconic game-winning home run Carlton Fisk hit off of the Reds pitcher Paul Darcy in the bottom of the 12th inning of Game 6 of the 1975 World Series), everywhere you look in Fenway Park you'll see history.
Of course, the most recognizable feature at Fenway is the storied Green Monster, a 37 foot high wall in left field. Like many classic ballparks, Fenway Park's dimensions are the direct result of the land available for the park: in this case, a wedge-shaped parcel on Lansdowne Street in the Boston area known as "the Fens". For most of its history, a net was built on top of the wall to keep balls from flying out onto Lansdowne street. It was not until 2003 that the Red Sox built a seating and standing area on top of the wall. Although traditionalist fans were initially outraged, these "Monster Seats" have become among the most popular in baseball.
Fenway Park is, by any measure, a bucket-list destination for a sports fan. Love the Red Sox or hate them (and there seems to be no in-between), if you are a sports fan, a visit to Fenway is something you do not want to miss.
One of my best ballpark moments was the private tour we got of Fenway last summer. This is not a bad screeshot of my location:
Of course, this is only beginning to scratch the surface of one of the most storied locations in all of sport. Have a favorite memory of your own? Share it in the comments below! The best story will win a 2017 calendar from Ballpark Blueprints!