$15,000,000 (2008 dollars)
It was a balmy Saturday afternoon in Boston on April 20, 1912, the perfect kind of day to spend at the ballpark. And that’s just what 27,000 baseball fans did as they eagerly crowded into a brand new ballpark to watch the home team defeat the New York Highlanders. The new field was called Fenway Park, named by the owner because it was in “The Fens” section of Boston. Following two rain cancellations, this was the first professional game in their new home and to the delight of the Boston fans the Red Sox won by a score of 7 to 6 after outfielder Tris Speaker knocked in the winning run in the bottom of the eleventh inning. The new steel and concrete ballpark took one year to build and is today not only the oldest major league ballpark still in use but also a Boston icon and landmark.
Red Sox Debut
The Red Sox made their American League debut in 1901. Although there is much controversy over the previous names of the team, it seems most agree it was the Boston Americans. At that time the team played at the so-called Huntington Avenue Grounds, a wooden structure that could accommodate 11,500 fans and was the ballpark where Cy Young pitched the first modern perfect game in May of 1904. The site is now part of the campus at Northeastern University. Three years later, Charles H. Taylor, the owner of the Boston Globe, bought the team and in 1907, changed the name to the Red Sox which has remained ever since. Supposedly, Taylor got the idea for the Red Sox name by shortening a nickname of a National League team called the Red Stockings.
Taylor, however, wasn’t satisfied with the decrepit condition of the Huntington Avenue ballpark and decided to build a new one on land that he owned. Designed by the architectural firm of Osborn Engineering, construction of the one-level ballpark began in September of 1911 by the James McLaughlan Construction Company. Probably the oddest feature of the ballpark was the lay out of the left field area. Fenway Park was originally designed with a 10-foot high inclined embankment in front of a 25-foot wall. As a result, when pitches were hit deep towards the left field wall the outfielder had to chase down these fly balls by agilely maneuvering up and down the grassy incline. Construction costs for Fenway Park in 1912 were $650,000.