October 23, 2020

April 20, 1912: The First Game at Fenway Park

April 19, 2012 by · Leave a Comment 

To celebrate the 100th anniversary of Fenway Park, here is a look at how the Boston Globe of April 21, 1912 described the first game at Fenway, played the day previously. Of course it was a Red Sox-Yankees affair, with perhaps Boston’s best team ever winning 7-6 on a run in the 11th. (The Yankees, conversely, had perhaps their worst team ever in 1912.) The Globe reported:

Boston’s beautiful new ball park in the Fenway was yesterday opened before a crowd of 24,000 spectators.

There was no time wasted in childish parades. Mayor Fitzgerald dignified the occasion by tossing out the new ball and the Speed Boys and Highlanders were soon at it, starting the game at 1:10 and closing the entertainment at 4:20, when Tristram Speaker, the Texas sharpshooter, with two down in the 11th inning and Steve Yerkes, on third, smashed the ball too fast for the shortstop to handle and the winning run came over the plate, making the score 7 to 6, and the immense crowd leaving for home for a cold supper, but wreathed in smiles to see the Speed Boys come from behind and by dint of staying prowess land the victory.

The day was ideal. The bright sun brought out the bright colors of the flags and bunting that decorated the big grandstand, and gave the new uniforms of the players a natty look. Before the game started, the crowd broke into the outfield and remained behind the ropes, forcing the teams to make ground rules, all hits going for two bases.

This ruling was a big disadvantage to the home team, for the Highland laddies never hit for more than a single, while three of Boston’s hits went into the crowd, whereas with a clear field they would have gone for three-base drives and possibly home runs, and would have landed the home team a winner before the ninth inning.

While the grounds were in fair condition, there were spots where the earth was soft and lumpy, and this caused fumbling that would never have occurred on a dry field. . . .

The game was full of interest, the crowd holding its seats to the end, figuring that the Red Sox would eventually nose out the Broadway swells. . . .

The Boston Braves were represented by “Duke” Farrell, “Cy” Young and C. James Connolly.

The park was crowded with veteran ball players and fans, and everyone praised the new park, which is a model in every way.

Here’s the Globe’s box score for the game, featuring the infamous Hal Chase at first for the Yankees, and the Red Sox’s great outfield of Tris Speaker, Harry Hooper, and Duffy Lewis (but Charley Hall rather than Smoky Joe Wood started for Boston, and the Yankees went with Hippo Vaughn):

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