The First Game at Fenway Park: April 20, 1912

Here’s how the Boston Globe of April 21, 1912 described the game:

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 visitors piled up five runs in short order through the misplays around the infield and unlooked-for wildness by “Buck” O’Brien. The Red Sox made it very plain at the start that they were out to make a game fight to a finish, for they scored one run in the first on spanking doubles by Yerkes and Speaker.

There was also the fumble, Yerkes making no fewer than three of them, but he was forgiven, for he was stinging the ball in a phenomenal way, turning in five hits in succession, all of them pretty drives, and two doubles in the bunch. There was some grand outfielding by Lewis, Hooper, Daniels and young Zinn. . .

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. . . .

[In the bottom of the first] Yerkes doubled to the bank in left for two bases and scored on Speaker’s drive into the crowd at center for two bases. . . .

[In the bottom of the 11th] Hall opened for Boston with a strikeout, and Hooper sent up a foul fly for Street. Yerkes rolled a slow one that Dolan gathered in on the run and threw over Chase’s head, Yerkes landing on second. He made third on a passed ball. At first Vaughn intended to pass Tris Speaker, then changed his mind and tried to sneak one over. But the Texas boy smashed the ball past short, and Yerkes scored the winning run.

The Globe’s box score:

And the headline:

Published in: on April 18, 2011 at 3:50 am  Comments (2)  
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