Wednesday, August 10, 2011
What You Don't Know About Fenway Park
As a non-fiction writer, there is nothing I enjoy more than taking on a subject that everyone thinks they know everything about, and uncovering new material. In regard to my new book about Fenway Park - arguably the best known sporting venue in the country, and one of the best known in the world - this is once again the case.
Three years ago I set out to write the definitive account of the creation, design, and building of Fenway Park and to allow the reader to experience Fenway Park in its first year, the Red Sox championship season of 1912. A few weeks from now, Fenway 1912 will be published.
In the book I make use of sources that no other purported history of either Fenway Park or the 1912 season or the 1912 World Series has ever utilized. I promise that this book will prove to be a revelation for even the most hard core fan of either the Red Sox or Fenway Park. I believe it makes all previous histories of the park completely obsolete. Some of the new information includes:
-Period architectural drawings of Fenway Park dating from 1912 that have NEVER been used elsewhere or been reproduced. To my knowledge these are the only period drawings known to exist and as far as I have been able to determine I may be about the only person to look at them - and realize what I was seeing, since 1912.
-A detailed construction history of the ballpark. This includes not only a complete and detailed schedule of the construction of the park, clearly outlining what was built when, but a full explication of the construction methods used in the construction of the park, what it was like for workers, and how the way Fenway Park was built impacted not only the 1912 season and but the ballpark you see today.
- A biography of Fenway architect James E. McLaughlin and builder Charles Logue. These two men had a lasting impact on Fenway Park but previous to my book have been little more than names on a page.
- A discussion of the architectural influences that are the reason Fenway Park looks the way it does today. Before this book, the architectural style and influences exhibited in Fenway Park have been mis-identified
- Detailed discussions on how the new ballpark affected the Red Sox and the 1912 World Series, and a dramatic and lively reconstruction of both the season and the Series, including the infamous contest between Joe Wood and Walter Johnson on September 4, 1912, perhaps the greatest pitching matchup in baseball history. Fenway Park impacted every inning of every game played there during 1912, and to fully understand both the 1912 season and the World Series - as well as every subsequent season in Fenway - one must experience that way Fenway Park revealed itself during the course of its inaugural season
- I explain not only why the "Green Monster" exists, but precisely why it was built the way that it was, and why and when the name "Green Monster" came into use. And guess what? Long before the "Green Monster" seats were built, people were watching baseball from atop the wall.
- How changes made to the ballpark over the course of the 1912 season determined the future evolution of Fenway.
- A detailed analysis of the 1912 season, including Joe Wood's remarkable 34-5 pitching campaign, and how two small changes - one to his pitching windup, and one small injury to another player - resulted in one of the greatest season-long pitching performances in baseball history.
- How pitching great Walter Johnson almost became a member of the 1912 Red Sox.
- The true story of the 1912 World Series, how a Red Sox team torn apart by dissension nevertheless prevailed, all due to an assist from Fenway Park.
I tell the story of Fenway Park as a readable, lively, living biography, full of characters and action, not as an academic history. Thirty years ago I moved to Boston because of Fenway Park, and it changed my life. I wrote this book for everyone whose life has been changed by Fenway.
If you read and appreciated Red Sox Century, or if you have ever sat in Fenway Park, this book is for you. I promise that you will never look at Fenway park the same way again.