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Celebrate Fenway Park's 100th Birthday

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Boston's Baseball Stadium is the Oldest Major League Ballpark in America
Fenway Park 1912

This historic photo of Boston's Fenway Park was shot September 28, 1912, during the inaugural season. Fenway has been modernized and expanded, but its intimate charm endures, even as the Red Sox celebrate their storied ballpark's 100th birthday.

George Grantham Bain Collection (Library of Congress)
There is no American city more attached to its history than Boston. So, when the Massachusetts legislature allocated funds in 2000 to level Fenway Park and to build a replacement stadium, Red Sox fans and historic preservationists would hear nothing of it. Thanks to an impassioned campaign to Save Fenway Park and a 10-year investment in renovations and expanded seating, the historic 1912 ballpark--Major League Baseball's oldest stadium--will celebrate an unprecedented milestone in 2012. And baseball fans and history buffs are invited to join in the celebration of Fenway Park's 100th birthday.

A Ballpark is Born

Built over the winter of 1911-1912 by Irish immigrant Charles E. Logue's construction firm, Fenway Park hosted its first professional baseball game on April 20, 1912. I've always found it a curious bit of trivia that the results of that game between the Red Sox and the New York Highlanders (rechristened the Yankees the following year) were not the front page headline in the next day's Boston Daily Globe. Although the Red Sox bested their future archrivals in 11 innings before 24,000 fans packed inside the new Fenway Park, continued coverage of the April 15, 1912 sinking of the Titanic was a bigger story.

The Rivalry of the Century

Precisely 100 years later--on April 20, 2012--the Red Sox will face the New York Yankees at Fenway Park in a game that is guaranteed to evoke nostalgia. Game time is 3:05 p.m.: The same as it was in 1912. Elaborate pre-game festivities are planned, and both teams will wear 1912 throwback uniforms. Of course, the game's already a sellout, so unless you're willing to pay a premium for tickets on the secondary market (a quick check of StubHub shows prices ranging from $100 for standing room only to $1,650 for the home plate dugout box), you'll have to settle for watching the game on TV.

A Free Fenway Park Open House for Fans

But fans have another opportunity to celebrate Fenway's centenary, and it's absolutely free. A Fenway Park Open House on April 19, 2012, will give all those who have celebrated and suffered along with the Red Sox season after season a chance to see historic artifacts, banners and photographs; to meet legendary Red Sox players and to explore areas of the historic ballpark the public rarely gets to see. The free Open House is tentatively scheduled to run from 10 a.m. until 7 p.m. According to Zineb Curran in the Red Sox Corporate Communications office, "There might be a little bit of a wait" to enter the stadium as crowds build, but "all who come are welcome."

Can't make it to Boston on April 19 or 20?

Single game tickets are available for other Red Sox home outings during the 2012 MLB season, and any day at the ballpark is a chance to soak up history and to feel a part of Red Sox Nation for a day. Also, beginning in April 2012, regularly offered guided tours of Fenway Park will be enhanced to showcase the ballpark's status as a "Living Museum," with more interactive opportunities for visitors and an emphasis on baseball memorabilia from the park's rich, 100-year history. Call 617-226-6666 for tour schedule information.

The Red Sox have also launched a commemorative Fenway Park 100 Years Web site, where fans can trace the evolution of the park and recall great moments in its history decade by decade. Fans can even submit their own Fenway Park stories and photos as a way of sharing in the 100th birthday celebration.

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