Fenway Park celebrates 100 years of history

Tris Speaker's game-winning RBI single in the bottom of the 11th inning defeated the New York Highlanders in Fenway Park's inaugural game, April 20, 1912. The Red Sox face the Yankees again next April 20 to mark Fenway's 100th anniversary. (AP Photo)

When you think of Fenway Park, thoughts of Carlton Fisk’s 1975 World Series home run come to mind, along with those of Pesky Pole, the curse of The Bambino, recent World Series victories and a host of other important events that have formed Fenway’s legacy over the past 99 years. On April 20, 2012, baseball’s iconic ballpark marks its 100th anniversary, and the Boston Red Sox are hoping to be better then ever.

The Red Sox won the inaugural game at Fenway, 7-6, an 11-inning victory over the New York Highlanders (now Yankees). To mark the historic event, the game on April 20 next year is also against the New York Yankees, with first pitch at 3:05 p.m. EST — the same start time as the very first game. This game, though, is more than just another Sox-Yanks rivalry game, it’s a game to celebrate one of America’s most beloved ballparks.

The Red Sox have created a website dedicated to the anniversary — Fenway Park 100. The site includes a historical perspective of Fenway along with a description of its features and the many personalities who played there. The celebrations at Fenway started last Thursday with current and past Red Sox players in attendance, including Ryan Lavarnway, Jarrod Saltalamacchia, Rico Petrocelli and Johnny Pesky. The team also released a few commemorative items, such as the 100th anniversary logo, t-shirts, hats and a large coffee-table book, all of which can be purchased on the website.

If you’ve ever been to Fenway, you easily remember your first time. The atmosphere in the stadium unlike any other. It’s one of those ballparks that gives you chills the moment you walk through the gate. On April 19, the team is having its first-ever open house at Fenway, which the team states is “a free event for fans to come into Fenway Park and enjoy every part of the 100-year-old ballpark. There will be historical artifacts, photographs and banners on display along with a chance to meet Red Sox legends and visit parts of the ballpark generally inaccessible to fans.” April 20 is Fenway’s birthday, and there will be a pre-game ceremony with the Red Sox and Yankees wearing throwback 1912 uniforms.

Next year will be a big year for Sox. After this season’s collapse, they can only look forward. During the 100-year anniversary season, Boston and its fans are hoping for a promising year. The only thing we know right now is anything can happen in baseball and Fenway’s 100 years of life can prove it.

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