Sitting lonely on my coffee table for the longest time, by itself, has been Remembering Yankee Stadium by Harvey Frommer. Finally, it has suitable company, Remembering Fenway Park by, you guessed it, Harvey Frommer.
As we approach Fenway’s 100th birthday (it opened in 1912), we can only expect a slew of books on the subject, but I surmise there will be few that will be able to equal the sheer beauty of this oral and narrative history of the home of the Boston Red Sox. Quotes and recollections abound from the likes of Jeff Idelson president of the Hall of Fame, Congressman Ed Markey, Dick Bresciani, the Red Sox vice president/baseball historian, former governor Michael Dukakis, writers like Bill Nowlin, Dan Shaughnessy, Roger Kahn, Leigh Montville, and announcers like Tom Caron, Joe Castiglione, Tina Cervasio, Jon Miller, and Jerry Trupiano.
But the comments that I treasure are those of former players like Fred Lynn, Tony Cloninger, Ike DeLock, Dennis Eckersley, Lou Merloni, Frank Malzone, Mike Lowell, Eddie Kasko, Johnny Pesky (who also wrote the Foreword), Bruce Hurst, Bill Monbouquette, Brooks Robinson, Ron Blomberg, Mel Parnell, and more. Plus managers like Joe Morgan, Don Zimmer, Butch Hobson, and Terry Francona.
Those are just some of the contributors to Remembering Fenway Park: An Oral and Narrative History of the Home of the Boston Red Sox, (no I’m not forgetting my friends Terry Guiney and Tracy Nieporent) and while the recollections are interesting, the design and the photography in this book is unforgettable. From full page (10 x 11) photographs of the majesty of a Carl Yastrzemski swing or of Yankee Babe Ruth batting at Fenway, to a magnificent two-page spread of Ted Williams pitching (was he really a submariner?), you cannot help but want to turn every page (235 pages) as you await to see what baseball card may appear or old ticket or photograph will simply take your breath away.
The book is as much a history of the Red Sox as it is of Fenway, and that is both good and bad. While it is an interesting to have a chronology of the Red Sox, and some great quotes about playing for the team, as a history book of the ballpark, it will leave you searching for more. But don’t worry, you know there will be many more books to accompany this beauty. And while there will be others that will give you more stories, give you more facts, give you more history, I can’t imagine there will be one that will take Remembering Fenway Park‘s place on the coffee table. And I can assure you, this will be the one that will draw the most attention.