Red Sox planning changes for Fenway Park’s 100th

No major league baseball park has ever reached its 100th

birthday. So the Boston Red Sox think Fenway Park deserves quite a

party.

The team began celebrations for Fenway’s 100th on Wednesday, the

99th anniversary of its first game, by announcing a new website, a

new logo and other marketing ideas designed to capitalize on the

start of the beloved ballpark’s second century of service.

”The 100th anniversary of Fenway Park deserves a fitting and a

great celebration,” team president Larry Lucchino said at a town

hall meeting with fans 99 years after the ballpark opened with a

7-6, 11-inning victory over the New York Highlanders. ”We wanted

to make it a yearlong celebration.”

Fenway opened on April 20, 1912, the same week the Titanic sank,

and was saved from the wrecking ball in the early part of this

century when the new owners led by John Henry decided to renovate

it instead of tearing it down. After 10 years and $285 million in

improvements, there are seats above the Green Monster, family

restrooms, sushi at the concession stands and a whole new vibe that

the team hopes can keep the ballpark in business for decades.

Lucchino asked the fans in attendance – several longtime season

ticket-holders and one as old as the ballpark itself – for ideas to

celebrate the occasion, and they suggested commemorative pins and

books, parades and posters that would tie together the ballpark’s

first century.

Lucchino himself suggested that the team rearrange the retired

numbers on the right-field facade so that they hang in the order

they were honored, instead of numerical order. They were originally

displayed that way, but that left them as 9-4-1-8 – the eve of the

team’s last World Series victory and thus an unpleasant reminder

that it had been almost a century since.

Now that the Red Sox have won two recent championships, fans

seemed ready to embrace the old way again. So did Rice, even though

it would put him at the end of the line.

”That’s the right way,” said the left fielder, whose number

was retired in 2009 after he was elected to the Hall of Fame in his

15th and final year of eligibility. ”Good things come to those who

wait.”

The original retired numbers were for Bobby Doerr (1), Joe

Cronin (4), Carl Yastrzemski (8) and Ted Williams (9). Four more

numbers have been retired: Carlton Fisk (27), Johnny Pesky (6),

Rice (14) and the No. 42 all of baseball has retired in honor of

Jackie Robinson.

Also among the team’s plans: inscribed bricks ($250 and $475

apiece) for a plaza in the concourse, seats ($795 a pair) that were

removed during renovations and hats and other memorabilia bearing

the newly unveiled ”Fenway Park 100 Years” logo. Through the

website, the Red Sox are hoping to collect fan memories and

artifacts that can be used during the anniversary year.

On the net: www.fenwaypark100.com