This is a list of objects in no particular order that define baseball’s history. They will encompass the entire history of the game up until 1994(The year they took the game away) and will be chosen due to their importance to the game, the fans, and me. I hope you enjoy the ride.
# 10- The Green Monster
As a Yankee fan I do this post with mixed emotions. All things Red Sox must perish from the Earth, but the Green Monster is a big part of Baseball history, and the 1978 NY Yankees kind of liked it as well. So I feel I need to pay my respects to this historical baseball monster.
Fenway Park is the oldest Major League park in existence today. It opened in 1912, the same week that the Titanic sunk, and it will be celebrating its 100th anniversary this season. The Green Monster was originally made of wood, painted blue, and was covered in advertising. Running along the front of this 37 foot high wall was a 10 foot high mound that became known as Duffy’s Cliff after the star right fielder Duffy Lewis.
You can see the advertising and Duffy’s Cliff in these photos. I can imagine the difficulties all visiting right fielders must have had back then trying to negotiate this grassy hill. The advertising must have made it tricky for the batters as well. After a fire in 1934 the wall was redone in concrete and tin, and Duffy’s Cliff was removed. Eventually Red Sox owner Tom Yawkey wanted to eliminate the advertising, so in 1947 the wall was finally painted green. “The Green Monster” was later used by a sportswriter to describe this baseball wonder. The wall was covered in hard plastic in 1976.
For years the distance to the wall was listed at 315 feet. There were several independent measurements made over the years that placed the distance at closer to 305 feet. In 1990 the Red Sox changed the distance marker to 310 feet. Those rascally Red Sox, lying to us all along. Eh, 310 feet?, 315 feet?, did it really matter to Bucky Dent? No it did not. Seats were added to the top of the Monster in 2003.
Red Sox fan, Yankee fan, baseball fan, we all should make the journey to Fenway Park to pay homage to the Green Monster, and Fenway Park as well. No stadium today has seen more history, no wall today has had more batted balls bang off it. From Ruth to Williams, to Fisk and Ortiz, this Monster has stood silently and watched them all.
I watched Roger Clemens strike out 10 Mariners while pitching a 3 hit shutout back in 1988 at Fenway. I actually rooted for the Sox that night. (3 years of therapy have helped me come to terms with that tragic night.) It really is a pretty cool place to watch a game, and the Green Monster is very green and very big. Make the trip, you won’t regret it. It’s baseball history at its greenest.
A History of Baseball in 100 Objects:
#4- A SABR Lapel Pin
#9- Cracker Jack