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BOSTON (CBS) – Fenway Park turns 100 on Friday, and the Red Sox have a big birthday bash planned for one of America’s favorite ballpark.
To get you ready for the big day, we’re bringing you 100 interesting, stat-filled and a few downright crazy Fenway Facts. Here are the first 51!
1. Charles Logue Building Company broke ground on Fenway Park on Sept. 25, 1911 with James McLaughlin serving as chief architect and Osborn Engineering of Cleveland handling civil engineering.
2. It cost $650,000 to build in the park in 1912.
3. The park was named by then Red Sox owner John I. Taylor. He said, “It’s in the Fenway section of Boston, isn’t it? Then call it Fenway Park.”
4. Yawkey Way was originally named “Jersey Street.” It was changed in the 1970’s in honor of owner Tom Yawkey.
5. When first completed, Fenway sat 24,400 fans: 11,400 grandstand seats, 8,000 in pavilion seating and 5,000 in the bleachers.
6. When Fenway opened, there were no stands in right field. The area was used as a parking lot for players.
7. Fenway Park hosted its first professional baseball game on April 20, 1912, with the Red Sox beating the New York Highlanders 7-6 in 11 innings.
8. 27,000 fans attended the opener.
9. The opener was postponed twice due to rain.
10. JFK’s grandfather, John F. Fitzgerald, threw out the first “first pitch.”
11. The first official game played in Fenway occurred on April 9, 1912 when the Sox beat Harvard University, 2-0.
12. In 1912, the team won a franchise-record 105 games and the World Series.
13. After the 1912 season, 5,000 stands were added on the third-base side, 4,500 in right field and 1,200 bleacher seats, increasing stadium capacity to about 38,600 (including standing room).
14. Some games were still played away from Fenway after it opened. Games Three and Four of the 1915 World Series against the Philadelphia Phillies were played at Braves Field to accommodate crowds of over 42,000.
15 . There were two fires at Fenway in the early years. One in 1926 burnt the left field bleachers to the ground, while another in 1934 that damaged the center field bleachers.
16. The team installed an all-electric scoreboard in 1934, the first to use red lights for strikes and green lights for balls.
17. Until 1933, there was a 10-foot incline in front of the then 25-foot wall in left field wall at Fenway Park, known as “Duffy’s Cliff.”
18. It was named after outfielder Duffy Lewis, who mastered the 15-degree incline.
19. “Duffy’s Cliff” served two purposes: It was a support for the wall in left, and was to compensate for the difference in grades between the field and Lansdowne Street.
20. Upper deck seats were not added to Fenway until 1946.
Not Just The Red Sox
21. Fenway Park hosted recreational league and high school baseball games until the 1950s.
22. The Boston Braves played the 1914 World Series and 1915 season at Fenway prior to Braves Field being completed.
23. Fenway has its first boxing show on October 9, 1920 featuring a bout against Battling McCreary and John Lester Johnson.
24. The AFL’s Boston Bulldogs and Boston Patriots were among the many football teams to call Fenway Park home. The Patriots played at Fenway from 1963-1968. BC, BU and Dartmouth also played college games at Fenway.
25. On September 8, 1942, the Philadelphia Stars defeated the Baltimore Elite Giants, 8-7, in the first Negro League exhibition game at Fenway Park.
26. The first basketball game was played at Fenway on July 29, 1954 when the Harlem Globe Trotters beat the George Mikan All-Stars.
27. Since 1990 (except for in 2005), Fenway Park has hosted a baseball Beanpot Tournament each April.
28. The Boston Bruins beat the Philadelphia Flyers in the 2010 Winter Classic at Fenway Park. The park has since hosted college and high school games during the winter, coined Frozen Fenway.
29. Fenway has hosted 19 soccer matches, with the first played in 1931.
30. Fan tours of Fenway did not begin until 1993.
31. Current Seating Capacity: 37,493 at Night, 37,065 during the day.
32. Fenway currently has the fourth lowest maximum capacity in the majors.
33. Current dimensions: Left Field: 310 feet; Left-Center Field: 379 feet; Center Field: 390 feet; Deep Center Field: 420 feet; Deep Right Field: 380 feet; Right Field : 302 feet
34. Fenway has the smallest foul territory in the majors.
35. The bullpens were originally in fair territory and were not moved to the outfield until 1940.
36. Light towers were not built in Fenway until 1947.
37. The message board was installed above the center field bleachers in 1976 and had a major effect on wind gusts.
38. The padding at the center field wall was not added until the mid-‘70s.
39. The fence in right field is just three feet high, the lowest in the major leagues.
40. The center field wall is 17 feet tall.
41. The 600 Club, a glass-in seating area behind home plate, was added in 1988. It was renamed the .406 club in 2002 after the passing of Ted Williams (in honor of his .406 batting average in 1941) until the glass was removed in 2006 and the section was renamed the EMC Club.
42. The screen behind home plate, which protects fans from foul balls by allowing them to roll back into fair ground, was the first of its kind.
43. Fenway Park has seven retired Red Sox numbers: 1 for Bobby Doerr, 4 for Joe Cronin, 6 for Johnny Pesky, 8 for Carl Yastrzemski, 9 for Ted Williams, 14 for Jim Rice and 27 for Carlton Fisk.
44. Of those seven numbers, three were added in the year 2000 or later (Fisk, Pesky and Rice). That ended an 11-year stretch in which no Sox numbers were retired (though Jackie Robinson’s No. 42 was retired by MLB in 1997).
45. The four retired numbers prior to 2000 were hung in order — 9-4-1-8 – which incidentally spelled out the date one day prior to the Red Sox’ final successful World Series appearance (Sept. 4, 1918) prior to their ’04 victory.
46. On March 7, 2012, it was announced that the park had been added to the National Register of Historic Places.
47. Red Sox fans have sold out every Red Sox home game since May 15, 2003; in 2008, the park sold out its 456th consecutive Red Sox game, breaking a Major League Baseball record.
48. Fenway didn’t always have great ticket sales though. In 1965, there were two games that had a paid attendance of under 500.
49. The Red Sox have the most expensive tickets in MLB at more than $53 for 2012. The average ticket price in 2012 around the league is roughly half that, at $26.92.
50. Fenway Park also leads the league in beer prices, at $7.25 a pop.
51. The Prudential Tower, Boston’s second tallest building, prominently displayed “Go Sox” with its lights during the 2004 playoff run. The building can be seen from Fenway behind the right field bleachers.
Read: Fenway Facts 52-100