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A Yankee Fan's History of Fenway Park

The Monster is all psychological. It's all in the head." That's how noted psychologist Joe DiMaggio once summed up the effect of Fenway Park's most prominent feature: its towering left field wall. The Green Monster . . . it stands simultaneously as a symbol of the Red Sox's grand history and of their longtime championship futility. But it was an easy element for Joe D. to dismiss. He stood smack in the middle of a long progression of pinstriped party crashers who contributed to the lingering pall of

pessimism that pervades this most pastoral of parks. And as Fenway prepares to host the All-Star game— and to fend off the wrecking ball thereafter— it seems appropriate to look back at some of the great moments that venerable ballyard has played host to . . . for Yankee fans.

  • April 20, 1912 In the first game ever played at Fenway, the Red Sox beat the New York Highlanders— the Yankees' predecessor— 7-6 in 11 innings before a crowd of 27,000. The Red Sox go on to beat the Giants in the World Series.

  • December 26, 1919 Red Sox owner Harry Frazee, lacking the cash to finance his new show, No No Nannette, sells Babe Ruth to the Yankees for $125,000. At the same time, he mortgages Fenway Park to Yankee owner Jacob Ruppert for $350,000.

  • September 30, 1922 The Yankees clinch their second AL pennant with a 3-1 win over the Red Sox at Fenway.

  • September 23, 1923 In his first game at Fenway, 20-year-old Lou Gehrig hits his first Major League home run.

  • June 23, 1927 "They were as handsome and as far as any man has ever hit in one game," wrote James Harrison in The New York Times about the three home runs hit by Gehrig that day. With the Boston blasts, Gehrig becomes only the second Yankee to achieve the feat and closes to within three dingers of teammate Ruth, inaugurating baseball's first home run race. (Ruth, of course, would finish with 60, while Gehrig would bash 47.)

  • September 6, 1927 Two innings after Gehrig hits his 45th home run to move ahead of Ruth in that first great home run race, the Bambino responds with what may have been the longest home run ever hit at Fenway. "This long one yesterday was the daddy of all others," The Boston Globe reports. "The ball was still climbing when it went high over the highest part of the high fence in center field, just to the left of the flagpole. Nobody at the park could tell where it landed, but when it disappeared it was headed for the Charles River basin." That would be the last time the two would be tied. In his next at bat, Ruth hits another long ball into the right field stands, and in the ninth inning of the second game, he hits another monster blast. During the series, Ruth would hit a record five home runs in three games, pushing his total to 49.

  • July 3, 1932 The Yankees beat the Red Sox 13-2 in the first Sunday game played at Fenway. For the previous three years, the Red Sox played Sunday games at Braves Field because Fenway was deemed to be too close to a church.

  • June 6, 1934 Yankee outfielder Myril Hoag, who would collect only 67 hits that season, ties an AL record with six singles in six at bats.

  • August 12, 1934 Making his final appearance in Boston in a Yankee uniform, Ruth draws a Fenway Park record 47,766 fans, with an estimated 20,000 turned away at the gate. The Yankees split a double header, and the Bambino leaves the field to a standing ovation.

  • April 15, 1936 A 23-foot-4-inch net is placed atop Fenway's Monster— not yet painted green (which would happen in 1947)— to protect the windows on Lansdowne Street.

  • September 3, 1939 With Fenway's 6:30 curfew only nine minutes away, the Yankees score two runs in the top of the eighth to take a 7-5 lead in the second game of a double header. To speed the game along so that the winning runs will count, Babe Dahlgren swings at a would-be intentional walk and Joe Gordon and George Selkirk casually trot toward home and are tagged out. Boston manager Joe Cronin protests, but his entreaties fall on deaf ears. The angry Beantown crowd pelts the field with bottles, and the umpires declare the game a 9-0 forfeit. That decision is later reversed by league president Will Harridge, who declares the game a tie.

  • May 30, 1941 In what may be the worst game of his career, Joe DiMaggio makes three errors in the second game of a double header that the Yankees lose 13-0. In the fifth inning, the Yankee Clipper hits a fly ball to right that Red Sox outfielder Pete Fox loses in the sun and gusty wind. It's scored a hit, which breaks up Mickey Harris's no hitter, and more important, extends DiMaggio's soon-to-be record hitting streak to 16 games.

  • June 28, 1949 As the Sunday game is about to get under way, a biplane flies over Fenway, pulling a banner that reads "The Great DiMaggio," a reference to Hemingway's The Old Man and the Sea. After missing 65 games because of a bone spur in his foot, DiMaggio hits four homers and a single and drives in nine runs in a three-game sweep of the BoSox. The two teams enter the final game of the season tied, until the Yankees clinch the pennant with a 5-3 win.
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