BOSTON (CBS) – All who enter Fenway Park remember that first time.
WBZ NewsRadio 1030’s Mary Blake has more in Part 1 of her series, Fenway Hits 100:
This holds true for the fans, like writer and columnist Mike Barnicle, who spoke with WBZ NewsRadio 1030’s Jonny Miller during Red Sox spring training in Florida.
Listen: “Fenway Hits 100” Series
“In my mind’s eye, I still have the image of walking up the ramp right beneath section 16 along the right field line when I was about 7 or 8 years of age and being dazzled by the green before me–the lawn, the sunshine, the brilliance of it all,” recalls Barnicle.
It also affects the players, like former Red Sox pitcher Jim Lonborg of the 1967 Impossible Dream season.
“You just stop and stare, and realize this is where you’re going to work,” said Lonborg.
One hundred years of momentous wins, devastating losses, political speeches, movie shoots and rock concerts. They have all taken place within the brick walls of Fenway Park.
Richard Johnson is curator of the Sports Museum in Boston and has penned the book, “Field of Our Fathers, An Illustrated History of Fenway Park.”
He says the seven months between the 1911 groundbreaking and the April 1912 park opening was a time frame almost unheard of in this day and age.
“The architecture of the park was actually designed to conform with the neighborhood. The brick and the facade of the building were meant to look like the apartment buildings that surround the Fenway area,” said Johnson.
Johnson also says the inside of the park looked quite different 100 years ago.
“There was a big gap, from about Section 25 over to what was then a wooden wall, not the Monster that we know now. The concrete footing of the park was built to support an upper deck, but they ran out of time and never built one,” said Johnson.
The field from 1912 to today has not changed.
“The playing field that you see today– you can squint a little bit and imagine Tris Speaker coming in and making an unassisted double play from center field. Can you imagine?” asks Johnson.
The list of memorable games played at Fenway is long and storied. Chief among them, says Johnson, was the Red Sox 1967 Pennant win.
“The ’67 club was the longshot of longshots,” said Johnson.
Jim Lonborg was part of that unstoppable team.
“I sometimes liken it to the spark that started the fire. After the 67 season, the fire and people’s passion about the Red Sox had really been lit,” said Lonborg.
Mary Blake’s “Fenway Hits 100” series will be airing all week on WBZ NewsRadio 1030.