Boston – Fenway Park – The Boston Red Sox
The Green Monster. Fenway’s famous left-field wall really is a monster. It’s a thirty-seven-foot-high wall, the highest in baseball. It has a huge effect on the games at Fenway. Line drives that might be home runs in other baseball parks simply bounce off the Green Monster. But since the wall is close to home plate (310 feet), high, short fly balls that might be caught for an out in other parks can become home runs at Fenway. The Green Monster was originally made of wood. Later it was covered in tin and concrete. Today it’s covered in hard plastic. The wall used to be plastered with advertisements. The ads were painted over in 1947. They were too distracting.
A second home. Although it’s the oldest major-league ballpark, Fenway Park is actually the second home for the Red Sox. The Red Sox were first known as the Boston Americans. The Boston Americans were one of the original members of the American League in 1901. Before Fenway Park opened in 1912, they played at the Huntington Avenue Grounds. Fenway Park got its name because it’s in the Fenway section of Boston.
A gift from Dad. It would be nice to have a dad like Charles Taylor. Charles Taylor was a Civil War veteran and owner of the Boston Globe newspaper. He bought the Red Sox for his son John Taylor in 1904. Charles Taylor picked the name Red Sox in 1907 and changed the uniform to include red stockings in 1908.
Wally. Wally is the Red Sox mascot. He’s a large green monster, like the left-field wall, the Green Monster.
The monster and the cliff. In the beginning, the Green Monster wasn’t alone. From 1912 to 1933 a steep ten-foot hill ran in front of the wall from the left-field foul pole to the old flagpole in center field. That meant playing left field at Fenway Park wasn’t easy. Left fielders often spent most of the game running uphill to catch balls. The Red Sox left fielder Duffy Lewis was so good at playing balls along the hill that the area became known as Duffy’s Cliff. In 1934, a large part of Fenway Park burned, including the Green Monster. When the team rebuilt the stadium, it removed the cliff.
New York – Yankee Stadium – The New York Yankees
“The House That Ruth Built” – The Yankees bought Babe Ruth from the Boston Red Sox in 1920. Back then, the Yankees didn’t have their own home park. Instead, they played baseball games at the Polo Grounds. But the Yankees’ rivals, the New York Giants, owned the Polo Grounds. Starting in 1920, huge crowds came to see Babe Ruth hit home runs for the Yankees. The Yankees became more popular than the Giants. That made the Giants’ owner made. He told the Yankees to leave. Two years later, Yankee Stadium opened.
A First. Yankee Stadium was the first baseball park to be called a “stadium.” It was much larger than other baseball parks. The park held 58,000 people. It opened on April 18, 1923. On opening day, the Yankees played the Boston Red Sox. They beat them 4–1. The stadium was also the first triple decker. That meant it had three different seating levels.
Secret Room. The original Yankee Stadium had a secret. For years, there was a fifteen-foot wide room hidden below second base. The room wasn’t used for baseball or storing treasure. It was used for boxing. Yankee Stadium used to host boxing matches sometimes. The hidden room was used for the electrical and telephone equipment needed for the matches. The Yankees removed the room in 1976. It doesn’t exist in the new Yankee Stadium.
Lots of World Series. Yankee Stadium has hosted more World Series than any other stadium—over thirty-five so far.
Los Angeles – Dodger Stadium – The Los Angeles Dodgers
Jackie Robinson. Jackie Robinson made history as the first African-American to play Major League baseball. The Brooklyn Dodgers hired Robinson in 1947. Although Robinson had to endure harsh racial prejudice, he always played with dignity and control. He played second base for the Dodgers for ten years and played in six World Series. He retired before the team moved to California.
Ebbets Field / Brooklyn. Ebbets Field in Brooklyn was the home of the Dodgers from 1913 until 1957. After that, they moved to California. Ebbets Field was small and cramped, which some people felt made the games even more exciting.
Dodger Dogs. Most baseball fans like hot dogs. But Dodger fans love Dodger dogs. At Dodger Stadium, Dodger dogs can be cooked two ways, either steamed or grilled. Many people think that to be real Dodger Dogs, the hot dogs need to be grilled. Dodger fans started calling their hot dogs Dodger Dogs around the time the team moved to California.
Dodger Stadium. Dodger Stadium is the largest Major League baseball park. It sits on top of a hill in Elysian Park in central Los Angeles. The Dodgers have played there since 1962, when it opened. From 1958 to 1961 they played at the Los Angeles Coliseum. Dodger Stadium is so big that it even has its own zip code for mail!
1. (Red Sox) David A. Kelly, The Fenway Foul-Up (New York: Random House, 2011) 96 – 101.
2. (Yankees) David A. Kelly, The Pinstripe Ghost (New York: Random House, 2011) 100 – 105.
3. (L.A. Dodgers) David A. Kelly, The L.A. Dodger (New York: Random House, 2011) 100 – 105.