Fenway Park Opens
After two rain delays, Fenway Park finally hosted its first professional baseball game on April 20, 1912.
(The first official game played in Fenway actually occurred on April 9 when the Sox beat Harvard University, 2-0.) The Red Sox defeated the New York Highlanders — later known as the Yankees — before 27,000 fans,7-6 in 11 innings. The event would have made front page news hadit not been for the sinking of the Titanic only a few days before.
The Red Sox moved to Fenway Park from the old Huntington Avenue Baseball Grounds. In 1911, owner John I. Taylor sold the team at the same time he developed land bordered by Brookline Avenue, Jersey Street, Van Ness Street and Lansdowne Street into a larger baseball stadium.
Former owner John I. Taylor claimed the name Fenway Park came from its location in the Fenway district of Boston, which was partially created late in the nineteenth century by filling in marshland or "fens". However, given that Taylor's family also owned the Fenway Realty Company, the promotional value of the naming at the time has been cited as well. Like many classic ballparks, Fenway Park was constructed on an asymmetrical block, with consequent asymmetry in its field dimensions.
Attendance at the park has not always been great, and reached its low point late in the 1965 season with two games having paid attendance under 500 spectators. Its fortunes have risen since the Red Sox' 1967 "Impossible Dream" season, and on September 8, 2008 with a game versus the Tampa Bay Rays, Fenway Park broke the all-time Major League record with its 456th consecutive sellout, surpassing the previous record held by Jacobs Field (now Progressive Field) in Cleveland, Ohio. On Wednesday, June 17, 2009 the park celebrated its 500th consecutive Red Sox sellout. According to WBZ-TV, the team joined three NBA teams which achieved 500 consecutive home sellouts; one of those teams was the Larry Bird-era Boston Celtics of the 1980s. Former pitcher Bill Lee has called Fenway Park "a shrine".