The Boston Red Sox and Fenway Park have a long and storied history in baseball. Most fans of the team are familiar with this history, but there are still some little known facts that they might be surprised to learn. Here are just a few of those facts.
Fenway Park & the “Green Monster”
Fenway Park was built in 1914, so there’s no wonder it holds such a rich history. Most baseball fans have heard of the infamous left-field wall known as the Green Monster. This 37-foot high wall in left-field, the tallest wall in a baseball stadium, was part of the renovations done by team owner, Tom Yawkey. The interesting part is why he chose to erect the wall. It is said he was walking down Landsdowne Street when he realized that all of the bars and restaurants had an unobstructed view of the game. Yawkey decided it was time to do something about it, so he built the wall to ensure everyone had to pay to get a good view of the game.
And that’s not all, on the inside of the wall, you will find the name of hundreds of baseball players. It has long been a tradition in major league baseball that the first time a player comes to the park, they sign their name on the wall.
Another interesting fact that many people may not know is that team owners, Tom and Jean Yawkey’s initials (T.A.Y. and J.R.Y) are written in morse code on the vertical white dividing lines on the Green Monster.
Aside from the Green Monster, there is another distinguishing piece of nostalgia that exists in Fenway Park. Those who have visited the park may have noticed a single red seat in section 42. As legend would have it, this seat was inhabited by a man named Joe Boucher on July 9, 1946, during a game between the Red Sox and the Yankees. On this date in Red Sox history, Ted Williams hit (to this day) the longest home run in baseball history, at 502 feet, right into the hat of Mr. Boucher! There seems to be some debate over whether Joe Boucher was asleep or a notorious Yankee’s fan, but in many reports, Williams is credited for hitting Mr. Boucher intentionally.
The Red Sox Name
The Red Sox name itself has an interesting story behind it. And before you ask, yes, the team does know how to spell socks correctly. The team name was originally the Boston Americans, but in 1907 they officially adopted the name Boston Red Socks based on their iconic red socks; however, when they went to put it on the uniforms, Red Socks wasn’t symmetrical, so they shorten it to Sox so it would look better.
Opening Day 1912
The Boston Red Sox and Fenway Park began their legendary baseball career on April 20, 1912, in a brand new stadium. That day they won 7-6 against the New York Highlanders (later the Yankees). Which seems like it would be an excellent start to a baseball legacy. However, the front pages of the newspapers in Boston never even announced it because it was overshadowed by the infamous sinking of the RMS Titanic! Despite this, the team went on to win the 1912 World Series.
In 1919 the Boston Red Sox traded George Herman “Babe” Ruth, Jr. to the New York Yankees. Many fans speculated that this brought a curse upon the team which resulted in losing every World Series they took part in between 1918 and 2004. That’s 86 years! Over the course of those years, diehard Sox fans tried to no avail to “break the curse,” going as far as to perform an exorcism on the stadium.
The legacy of the Boston Red Sox lives on today, and so does the legendary Fenway Park. Whether or not you’re a Sox fan, if you’re into baseball, it’s well worth a visit for the extraordinary history of baseball it encompasses.