How They Squeezed 45,400 Fans Into Boston’s Fenway Park
Yes that’s right, square on the field of play.
Boston’s owner Tom Yawkey never spared expenses when it came to his beloved Red Sox. After the 1933 season during the height of the Great Depression, Yawkey decided to update Fenway Park.
The biggest changes would be the new outfield stands in center and right field. And of course the new 37 foot tall left field wall which would eventually become known as the Green Monster.
During the renovation on January 5, 1934, a large fire destroyed the bleachers and the outfield walls which had wood, oil and debris stored under them.
After the clean-up, work was quickly resumed and the new outfield stands were made fireproof, being encased in reinforced concrete. The new electronic scoreboard indicating balls, strikes and outs was an innovation. The feature known as Duffy’s Cliff, a hill in left field, was removed, leaving only a small incline.
The front of the ballpark was made shiny and new as the old bricks were sandblasted. New turnstiles were put in. The ushers were given beautiful military style uniforms. The dugouts were moved further from the batters box and even the bat racks were carpeted. The locker rooms, which in 2016 are considered among the worst in baseball, were modernized much to the players delight. One can only imagine how bad the locker rooms were before the renovation!
On the sixth game of the season, Sunday, April 22 playing against the New York Yankees, the Red Sox admitted 45,400 fans. Many of them stood in the aisles or sat in the outfield. 44,631 were paid admissions the remainder entered on passes. Over 10,000 fans were turned away at the gates.
The large crowd was disappointed as the Yankees won the game 8-1. Boston backstop and future Hall of Famer Rick Ferrell went three for three in the losing cause.
One year later the Red Sox would set their single game attendance record. An astounding 49,000 people crammed into Fenway Park on Sunday, September 22, 1935 to watch the Red Sox battle the Yankees in a doubleheader. The same packed in like sardines scenario occurred as fans were once again admitted on to the playing field. The paid attendance was announced as 47,627, but with complimentary passes, the actual figure was closer to 49,000 according to the Daily Boston Globe.
Unfortunately for Boston fans the Red Sox dropped both games by scores of 6-4 and 9-0.