On April 20, 1912 – The Boston Red Sox play the first game in the history of Fenway Park, after three previous attempts to play the opener have been rained out. Over 27,000 fans attended the opening, the Red Sox had “The Million Dollar” outfield of Duffy Lewis, Tris Speaker, and Harry Hooper. In 1912, there was not a “Green Monster” (that came in 1934) Fenway had what was known as Duffy’s Cliff. A mound in leftfield and fans were able to get right on top of the game. The fans knew way back in 1912, they were the best seats in the house, it only took ownership 90 years to figure that out.
New York jumped to a quick 3-0 lead of Red Sox starter Buck O’Brien. The Red Sox and the ‘‘Royal Rooters,’’ led by Roxbury saloon keeper Michael ‘‘Nuf Ced’’ McGreevy, who had been in full cry for years backed by a brass band and bellowing their theme song ‘‘Tessie.’’ They were dressed suitably, of course, in hats and high collars. We’re not going to give in to a rough start. The Red Sox tied the game in 6th, 5-5, both teams scored a run in 8th. Tris Speaker will end the game in the bottom of the 11th with a walk-off hit leading Boston to a 7-6 victory to christen the new park.
The 1912 Red Sox were known as ‘‘Speed Boys,’’ they were not renowned for muscle. They hit only 29 homers that year but stole 185 bases (52 by Speaker) and legged out 84 triples. Smoky Joe Wood went 34-5 with 35 complete games and Buck O’Brien and Hugh Bedient each won 20. That was enough to win 105 games and beat the Giants in eight games (one was a draw) for the Sox’ first Series triumph in nine years. Until 2018, this group was considered the best team in franchise history and the Red Sox will go on to win 4 of the next 7 World Series.