Remembering Fenway Park, A Book Review
- Updated: March 16, 2011
When Harvey Frommer set out to write the history of Fenway Park, he no doubt knew he had his work cut out for him. This is not a book where if the author just muddled through their research, they could get away with it as its focus is one of the most famous meccas of sports in this country. An error in research would not go over kindly with the Fenway faithful.
With that in mind, Frommer did an impeccable job putting together the most significant stories that happened at the famed ball park. The hardest task in the endeavor of this book may have been whittling down the nearly century’s worth of history at the ball park and condensing it into a book that someone can actually carry around.
The reader’s first inclination that Frommer did not short change baseball fans on his research comes at the beginning of the book when he introduces the voices that help tell the story of the park. There are nearly ten pages of voices that helped make this book complete. Everyone from players, to managers, to broadcasters, to owners, to even long time ticket holders and serious fans of the Red Sox are featured in order to encompass all views on Fenway.
Instead of those voices being the background for the story, they actually become the forefront at many points in the book with their own words telling the reader exactly what they were thinking and feeling during their time in Boston. Once the reader gets immersed in the book, they will feel as though these players are speaking right to them as their stories are passionately told in a first person point of view that fans could only dream of having.
While the writing and storytelling in this book are certainly top rate, one thing that many readers are bound to be blown away by are the pictures. The book features many full color, and black and white photographs, of the memorable, and some not so memorable, times at Fenway. These will no doubt bring back memories in even the most casual of Red Sox fans.
Some of the more famous stories covered in the book include Babe Ruth’s debut in 1914, Ted Williams’ incredible 1941 season in which he finished with a .406 batting average, the infamous Carlton Fisk foul pole home run from 1975, the improbable story of the 2004 Red Sox and of course the history of one of the most storied rivalries in all of sports, the Red Sox vs. the Yankees.
The foreword to the book is penned by former Red Sox player Johnny Pesky who has essentially lived in Fenway for the past half century. Pesky sets the tone for the book as a walk down memory lane that is also a celebration of the ups and downs of Boston’s favorite ball club.
With any quality baseball book, there has to be a mound of statistics or else the sabermetric geared baseball heads of today may lose interest. Frommer does not disappoint in this aspect either. Instead of including pages upon pages of batting statistics that any fan could find on the internet within seconds, Frommer chose to illustrate things such as the attendance across decades and chronicle the growth of the fan base in a way that even allows outsiders to see where the crazed fans of today came from.
This book is a must by for any Red Sox fan and fans that consider themselves historians of the game should take a look at it as well. Even the most learned of Red Sox fans will no doubt find something in the pages of the book that they weren’t even aware of.
Overall Rating: 4/5