Harvey Frommer / Players
See Also: Remembering Yankee Stadium (published September 1, 2008) Buy the book
Park (2011) / Radio
Excerpts: Remembering Fenway Park: Twenties / Forties / Fifties / Sixties / Seventies / Eighties / First Match Up At Fenway: April 20, 1912 (From the Vault) / Fenway Park Flashback: All Star Game 1999 / Nun's Day / Sad Days at Fenway Park
THIRTIES AT FENWAY PARK
Momentous events for Fenway Park and the Red Sox were on the horizon as the new decade dawned: new ownership, a major fire, significant renovations and the arrival of the greatest star in the history of the franchise.
Under manager Heinie Wagner, the 1930 BoSox were one of the worst teams in franchise history finishing dead last in the American League standings with a record of 52 wins and 102 losses. Just 444,045 fans came to their home games, an average of 5,767 a contest.
The 1931 season saw the
introduction of players' uniforms with numbers. The easier to find
them and boo them, a sarcastic fan noted. But Babe Ruth didnt
need a number to be identified. His return to Fenway on April 22, in a Yankee
uniform, elicited cheers as well as
jeers. Attempting to score from
third base on a sacrifice fly, the Babe collided with
Then on September 28th, he returned, this time as pitcher, a role that had earned him much early fame and glory at Fenway. He walked away with a 9-3 complete game triumph over his former team. But Lou Gehrig, positioned in the Sultan of Swats normal position in left field, saw his streak of playing first base for 885 games straight end.
Earlier that 1931 season
when the Short-wave and Television Corporation offered to televise games
The request was premature.
It would take another seventeen years before baseball from Fenway would be
Sunday baseball did debut that year on July 3rd (the Yankees ripped
No matter the day, game attendance languished in the doldrums for the 1932 season with only 182,150 passing through the Fenway turnstiles, an average of 2,366 per game, a home low for the decade. It was the worst season for the Red Sox in history; they finished in last place, 64 games behind the first place Yankees. With 43 wins and 111 losses, a .279 percentage; they were the only team to have a winning percentage under .300. It was worst won-and-lost record in franchise history. What else could one expect of a team that scored 518 runs while allowing 915.
From 1924 to 1932, the Quinn years, the Red Sox were the sorriest team in the American League. They finished last or next to last in all but one of those seasons. He had borrowed $400,000 from the American League just to keep the team afloat.
It was no wonder, therefore, that a depressed and desperate Red Sox owner John Quinn called a press conference on the 25th of February, 1933. His announcement was not unexpected but nevertheless a shocker.
I haven't got the money to continue, he said. Then he
informed the press that he had sold the Red Sox and
It was not the sale as much as the buyer that got the attention of Boston's newspaper men, a 30-year-old with a fortune estimated to be more than $40-million. They thought him too young to have that kind of money. "He's just a kid," wrote one wizened scribe.
Most thought that Yawkey had been taken,
paying more than a million dollars for one of the worst teams in baseball
and a decaying
But Tom Yawkey had the courage of youth, a sportsmans zeal, and the money to spare. He figured he could handle it all. And he did.
(Excerpt from Remembering Fenway Park: An Oral and Narrative History of the Home of the Boston Red Sox/Abrams 2011 - -now available in stores and on-line and direct from the author)
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