Best Seller List - Boston Globe read more ›
nvisioned as a fraternal "twin" to Dr. Harvey Frommer's REMEMBERING YANKEE STADIUM, the definitive REMEMBERING FENWAY PARK features almost 140 voices (two of them 100 years old) , more than 200 images, many never before published. The author's narrative fuses present and past Red Sox players and opponents, fans, media people, ballpark workers like the scoreboard operator and head groundskeeeper, team executives, a nun, a monsignor and a bishop.
Just a taste of REMEMBERING FENWAY PARK'S subject matter includes: the 1910s, featuring baseball's debut at Fenway Park in 1912 and Red Sox' first world championship, through the down times of the twenties when Harry Frazee sold Babe Ruth to the Yankees, to the thirties and the arrival of a very young owner Tom Yawkey and the strutting of their stuff by future Hall of Famers like "Teddy Ballgame," Joe Cronin, Lefty Grove, Jimmie Foxx and Bobby Doerr.
The forties witnessed Ted Williams batting .406 in 1941, the Red Sox winning a pennant, night baseball coming to Fenway. The first "Ladies Night" was staged in the fifties and the first black player Elijah "Pumpsie" Green was on the scene. Mel Parnell pitched a no-hitter and Ted Williams slammed his 400th career home run.
In the sixties, the "Splendid Splinter" homered in his final at bat. Yaz became a franchise fixture. Twice in that decade the Sox drew less than 500 to games at Fenway. Dave Morehead twirled a no-hitter. In 1967, the longshot Sox pulled off "The Impossible Dream" winning the pennant. Boston was defeated by the Cincinnati "Big Red Machine" in the 1975 World Series. Bucky Dent hit his "pop fly" homer as the Yankees won the one-game playoff in 1978. Carl Yazstremski recorded his 3,000 hit and 400th home run in 1979.
The eighties saw Yaz retire and Roger Clemens arrive. The Rocket fanned 20 in one game. Wade Boggs was the ultimate hitting machine. The Sox lost the 1986 World Series to the Mets. Morgan Magic was on parade. In the nineties ,the 50th anniversary of Ted Williams hitting over .400 was celebrated, and the movement to "SAVE FENWAY PARK" began. Attendance at Fenway climbed above a record 2 1/2 million. The 70th All-Star Game was staged with the All Century team in place with the star of stars — Ted Williams, the center of attention.
New ownership was in place in the 21st century. The "Curse of the Bambino" was finally broken as the Red Sox won world championships in 2004 and 2007. No-hitters were pitched by Clay Buchholz and Jon Lester. A new Major League attendance streak was set at Fenway Park. (And REMEMBERING FENWAY PARK was published).
Media members who would like to request review copies of any Harvey Frommer book,, publish excerpts, or arrange interviews with the author should email Harvey.Frommer@Dartmouth.edu.
Remembering Fenway Park
January 4th 7pm Pre-Launch Private Gathering NYC
Saturday March 12th READING & BOOK SIGNING Hilton Hotel 5111 Timiami, North Naples, FL 239-430-4999, 2-4pm read more
Monday, March 14th 1:00pm-3:00pm SIGNING/READING MacIntosh Books and Paper. 2407 Periwinkle Way, Sanibel, FL (239.472.1447)
Tuesday March 15th Luncheon Talk/Book Signing @ Inn at Pelican Bay, Naples FL, Dartmouth Alumni Group
Tuesday March 15th 7:00-9:00pm BOOK SIGNING/READING Barnes & Noble Fort Myers, FL 13751 South Tamiami Trail (239.437.1289) read more
March 30th (Norwich, VT) Talk/Signing/ 802-649-1114 Norwich Bookstore 291 Main Street read more ›
March 31st 5:30 pm Lebanon, NH Salt Hill Pub (details)
Tuesday, April 5th 6:00p-8:00p BOOK SIGNING Dartmouth Book Store. 33 South Main Street Hanover, NH. (603.643.3616)
Thursday, April 6th (Boston) 6:00 P.M. The Great Fenway Park Writers Series, Commonwealth Hotel read more ›
Thursday, April 7th (Boston) 6:00 P.M. Dartmouth College Greater Boston Alumni Association. Talk/Book Signing/Tour of Fenway Park
Friday April 8th Noon Old South Meeting House, 310 Washington Street, Boston (617 482 6439) read more ›
Friday April 8th (Byfield,MA) Evening (Talk/Signing) view poster
April 13th 7 pm Talk/Book Signing/Reading Howe Library 13 South St., Hanover, NH 603-640-3252 read more ›
Wednesday, May 4th 7pm RJ JULIA 768 Boston Post Road, Madison, 203-245-3959 read more
Thursday, May 5th Bergino Baseball Clubhouse 67 E. 11th St. (between Broadway and University Pl.) New York, NY 10003 read more ›
Friday, May 13th BLOHARDS - Noon luncheon at the Yale Club Vanderbilt and 44th St 20th Floor NYC Talk/Book Signings
Thursday, June 16th 12:30p-2:00p READING / SIGNING Borders 10-24 School Street, Boston, MA.
Thursday June 16th 6:00p-8:00 BOSTON PUBLIC LIBRARY 700 Boylston Street
Friday, June 17th 1:00p-3:00p SIGNING Barnes & Noble 96 Derby Street, Hingham, MA
Friday, June 17th 7:00p-9:00p Barnes & Noble 98 Middlesex Turnpike, Burlington, MA
Saturday, June 18th 2:00-4:00pm SIGNING Wellesley Booksmith. 82 Central Street, Wellesley, MA
Saturday June 18th 6pm (EVENT) (Peabody, MA). SIGNING at Barnes & Noble 210 Andover Street, Peabody, MA
Thursday, August 3rd 7pm Lyme, NH Library (Talk) View Image
Saturday, August 5th Lyme, NH Author signing, afternoon on the green
Wednesday, June 20th, 2012, 6:30pm Whittemore Library AppearanceView Flyer
"Harvey Frommer's Fenway Park first captivates the reader with its visual beauty. They are all there, some in color some in black and white, Ted the Thumper, the matchless Yaz, Mysterioso Manny, even The Babe. And the people, yes the people, from all corners of New England. Add to these images Mr. Frommer's trenchant prose and you have one memorable book."
- Roger Kahn
"Daringly organized as a mosaic of Red Sox Nation, Remembering Fenway Park glitters with fond memories and delightful surprises. Anyone who has ever sat in Fenway, or longs to, will love this book. In his sure hands with oral history, Harvey Frommer is a treasure of our national pastime."
-John Thorn, Official Historian for Major League Baseball
"A tribute to a ball park, a celebration of a game, and a love song to the players, coaches, and fans who've turned a tract of grass and dirt into sacred ground."
- James S. Hirsch, Author of "Willie Mays: The Life, the Legend"
"Harvey Frommer has produced a book worthy of its sacred subject. Remembering Fenway Park is unforgettable."
-Dan Shaughnessy, Boston Globe, author "The Curse of the Bambino"
"A lovely work of sporting art"
- Furman Bisher | Atlanta Journal Constitution emeritus
"Remembering Fenway Park is an elegant, pennant-winning look-back that should warm the hearts of Red Sox fans young and old. Ted, Yaz, Rico, Roger, Nomar, and Big Papi - they are all there, in the shadow of the Green Monster. What a feeling!"
- Peter Golenbock, author of Red Sox Nation
"Harvey Frommer is one of the most intelligent and informed observers of baseball on the American scene. It is always a pleasure to read his work."
- Roger Kahn
"For Red Sox fans, this gem of a book about a jewel of a ballpark is enough--well, almost enough--to banish from all thoughts of Bucky Dent and other disappointments."
- George F. Will
"Harvey Frommer has written 40 sports books, and this is the best of all of them."
- Ron Barr, Sports Byline USA
"Riveting narrative, great photos, and most important, words of those who have lived it."
- Johnny Pesky
"Absolutely stunning. A Gem. Incredible effort. History of the Red Sox and Fenway Park intertwined in words and images. A must for any baseball fan"
- Ann Liguori
"Harvey Frommer is an accomplished writer about many facets of baseball."
- George F. Will
"First among equals is Harvey Frommer, a great expert on all things baseball and New York (and that city within a city Brooklyn)."
- John Thorn, Baseball Historian
"As a kid who grew up with the joy of Yaz, Sherm Feller, John Kiley, and the green monster, this book gave me goose bumps."
- Marc Bernier 1150AM WNDB Daytona Beach, Florida
"Affectionate, comprehensive and splendidly illustrated"
Valley News continue
"Remembering Fenway Park: An Oral and Narrative History" by Harvey Frommer. Stewart, Tabori & Chang. 240 pp. $45.
When I die, and if there is a heaven, I'd like to think it looks like Fenway Park. No pearly gates, just turnstiles through which you gain admittance. Fluttering flags on the stadium with the names Pesky, Williams, Lynn and Rice. And then a walk through a narrow, dark tunnel that takes you up to the seats, the crowd, the noise, the bright, green expanse of playing field and the jumble of a great city all around.
As one of the last old-time ball parks in the U.S., and one of the few that is still in the heart of a city, not sequestered in the suburbs, Fenway wears its venerable history lightly. It's never had the Roman coliseum grandeur or pomp and circumstance of the old Yankee stadium (R.I.P, 2009), but it has a human scale, a New England scale. It has both the intimacy of a raucous coffee klatsch and the unifying purpose of a civic structure.
It's still incredible to me that in the late 1990s there was a serious movement afoot by gimlet-eyed bean counters to tear down Fenway and replace it with a putatively "new and improved stadium," which probably meant nothing more than a quadrupling of shiny, glass-enclosed VIP skyboxes where celebs could rub sun-bronzed shoulders while quaffing from a magnum of Cristal or Dom Perignon.
The low-slung, raffish charm of the surrounding neighborhood; the warren of streets around the stadium; the way it is tucked into and is part of the city: presumably they would have been destroyed, or so significantly altered that Fenway wouldn't look or feel anything like the original.
Fortunately, as is recounted in the affectionate, comprehensive and splendidly illustrated Remembering Fenway Park: An Oral and Narrative History by Harvey Frommer, wiser heads prevailed. Under the moniker Save Fenway Park!, a group of Bostonians rallied to the cause and eventually identified a buyer who would make needed changes to modernize it but also respect its character. John Henry, who became the principal owner of the Red Sox in 2002, recognized that Fenway's distinctive elements --- the old-fashioned, manually-operated scoreboard, the narrow confines, somewhat eccentric angles and the mighty Green Monster --- are what makes the ball park a national, not just a New England, institution. Henry is in the business of making money and making sure the team wins ball games, to be sure, but at least he had the sense to preserve what makes Fenway, Fenway.
Frommer, who lives in Lyme, is a professor in the Master of Arts in Liberal Studies at Dartmouth and has written 41 books on sports. Here he blends excerpts from oral histories supplied by players, sports writers, announcers and fans with a decade-by-decade historical overview of the whats, whens, whos and whys. There is a foreword by Johnny Pesky, the former player and manager, aka Mr. Red Sox, now 91 and still devoted to his team.
If you're looking for an exhaustive history of the team and its place in baseball and American culture and history, this isn't it. But it does provide a very good general overview of the Red Sox, their role as a center of New England life and Fenway Park through the eyes of the men and women who know and love them with an intensity usually reserved for pets and children. You love them but you also know they can break your heart.
The team was founded in 1901 as one of the American League's charter franchises. The ball park, the oldest in the country, dates from 1912, when it was carved out of the Fenway, not far from the Back Bay. The team's prior home had been, writes Frommer, a sandy, former circus lot with sand in the outfield and a tool shed in the middle of center field, so the 35,000-seat stadium was a big step up.
By 1918, the Red Sox had won five world championships, and was one of the dominant American teams. But the team's second owner, a ne'er-do-well named Harry Frazee, who, in photos in the book, bears a pronounced resemblance to a stock silent film villain, never had the team's interests at heart. In perhaps the most infamous sports trade ever, he decided in 1919 to rid himself of a pitcher and fielder by the name of George Herman Ruth, sending him over to the Yankees.
In Frommer's words: "The decade ended. The 'Curse of the Bambino' began."
It would be another 86 years before the Red Sox won a World Series, as they did in 2004 after an epic battle with the Yankees for the American League Pennant, coming back from three straight losses to take the title four games to the Yankees' three. The World Series with the St. Louis Cardinals, in which the Red Sox completely dominated, was not quite an anti-climax, but after the death match between the Red Sox and the Yankees, it was nearly a rout.
Here's a philosophical question. Would Red Sox Nation have loved its team as passionately it has over the decades if the Red Sox had brought home the championship pennants as routinely as the New York Yankees did? Didn't we identify with them precisely because they came achingly close to glory so many times, only to snatch defeat from the jaws of victory in almost mythic fashion? Would the highs have been as high if the collapses hadn't been so epic? In a foreword by Dartmouth College professor of English Donald E. Pease, he suggests that "there's something about the relationship between a game that attracts the joys of summer and a team that always seemed to be correlated with the tragic dimension of fall." It's that bittersweet relationship between anticipation and culmination that has been such a double-edged sword for the fans. (Only the Chicago Cubs fans have had it worse). Every spring: renewed hope. Every fall: despair.
What Red Sox fan doesn't recall the sixth game of the 1986 World Series between the Red Sox and the New York Mets? The Red Sox, just one out away from a championship in the tenth inning. The pitch from Bob Stanley to Mookie Wilson. Poor Bill Buckner, the ball rolling slowly through his legs, as if in slow motion, so slow that you almost felt you could will it back and reverse the course of events.
The beginning of the end, the unraveling of yet another championship. I remember sitting in shocked, deflated, brooding silence. There would be another game the next day but I had the strong premonition that the Red Sox would lose it, as they did, and the conviction that fortune now smiled on the Yankees.
Some of the best sections of the book are about Ted Williams, the Splendid Splinter, who hit .400 in a single season back in 1941, a record that still stands 70 years later. Frommer artfully compiles a series of revealing anecdotes about Williams, a boy from California who spent 21 years in Boston avoiding the press if he could, but who never failed to spend time with children who came to watch him play, or who were gravely ill and whose medical expenses were being paid by the Jimmy Fund. Like any great star, Williams was a mass of contradictions, dedicated to perfection but imperfect in his public behavior.
There's a great photograph in the book of Williams, at the 1991 Fenway Park commemoration of his 50th anniversary of joining the Red Sox, embracing Joe DiMaggio. Similarly, there's another poignant photograph, taken in 1986, of the three DiMaggio brothers --- Joe, Dom (a Red Sox) and Vince --- in the uniforms of their respective teams, standing on a Fenway dugout step.
Above all, this is a superbly designed book. The photographs are well-chosen, surprising, moving and evocative. The layout is elegant. The text is always informative, nicely combining nostalgia with anecdotes. With all due respect to the convenience of the Kindle or e-reader, there is no device that can match the beauty of a book.
"Repository of information and amusement"
- Joy of Sox continue ›
It's mid-May, but it's not too early to start dropping hints to everyone you know about how you'd sure like to receive a copy of this gorgeous book - Remembering Fenway Park: An Oral And Narrative History Of The Home Of Red Sox Nation (Abrams) - for Mother's or Father's Day, or a birthday, or perhaps that big holiday at the end of the year.
Harvey Frommer has been writing about baseball for nearly 40 years. A few of his more than three dozen titles are: New York City Baseball: The Last Golden Age, 1947-1957, Five O'Clock Lightning: The 1927 Yankees, A Yankee Century, Red Sox vs. Yankees: The Great Rivalry, and Shoeless Joe and Ragtime Baseball.
As you might have guessed from that list, Frommer is a Yankee fan.
Or, rather, he was.
In interviews for this book, Frommer insists, although people don't always believe him, that working on this project converted him from a Yankees fan to a Red Sox fan! (There is likely no better blurb for this book than that!) He mentions it in the book's acknowledgements, noting "the transformation of a lifelong New York Yankee rooter into a proud new member of Red Sox Nation!"
Remembering Fenway combines Frommer's historical narrative with memories and observations from a cast of more than 130 players (Red Sox and others), managers and coaches, members of the media, politicians, academics, vendors and ushers and front office employees, as well as fans talking about their first afternoon in the park -- from Bob Allgaier (a vendor in the late 40s who later worked for the CIA) to Don Zimmer (a gerbil).
[An Unexpected Disclaimer: Frommer used bits of my interview with Thomas Foley, who worked as a Fenway vendor in 1918 at the age of 14 (pages 37 and 45). I wrote about Foley for Baseball America in 1997 and included his memories in my book on the 1918 Red Sox.]
Frommer goes through the team's history of playing in what is the oldest existing site to have hosted a World Series game. One nice thing about this book is that the chapters, each focusing on a decade, are all roughly the same number of pages, though as you might expect, there are more quotes from the last few decades than, say, the 1920s.
The history and remembrances are great, but the stars of the book - and the reason why you'll keep pulling it off the shelf again and again - are the photos, which also include baseball cards, program covers, and ticket stubs from throughout the years, team pictures, and lots of shots of fans in the stands, including the Royal Rooters at the 1912 World Series.
One of my favourite pictures is a colour shot of Tex Hughson warming up in 1947, with the Wall looming behind him. There is no hint of the surrounding city and, with the near total absence of advertising, the field doesn't even look like a major league park. (I find it strange that when I now see video of Fenway from before 2003, when the Monster Seats were added, it looks strange and unfinished.)
There are also two full-page pictures of a sold-out game in which hundreds of fans were seated in the outfield, creating a human wall roughly 40-50 feet closer to the infield than the warning track. There is also a shot of the park's construction from 1911. You can tell it's taken from what will be the right field stands looking towards the left field wall, but it doesn't show much detail. I'd love to see more pictures from the building of the park, like the ones you can find of the original Yankee Stadium.
There are also great quotes from Erica Tarlin and Dan Wilson of "Save Fenway Park!", when in the late 90s, it appeared that Fenway's days were numbered. At that time Red Sox officials said (without evidience) it was absolutely impossible to renovate Fenway Park -- and nearly everyone believed them. Wilson singles out Bill Lee as one former player who stood on the side of preservation.
A few tidbits and some quotes:
Bill Lee used to get his mail delivered to the park and owner Tom Yawkey used to steal his National Geographics. ... Boo Ferriss says some players referred to the Wall as the Iron Monster before it was painted green. ... There were buckshots dents and holes in the Wall because Ted Williams used to shoot pigeons in the park. ... When the Red Sox were on the road, Tom and Jean Yawkey would often bring a blanket out to center field and enjoying a picnic while listening to the games on the radio.
After a 1926 fire burned some of the wooden bleachers in left field, cash-poor management simply left it as a cinder-strewn lot for seven years (and left fielders were suddenly able to run behind the existing stands after foul balls). ... In the late 40s, beer was sold at the park, but you had to drink it either at the concession stand or at the back of the top row of grandstand seats.
The day I signed a Red Sox contract in 1955, I finished pitching batting practice and joined my mom and dad in the right-field grandstand to watch the game. Two drunks behind us spilled their booze on my mother. They were swearing. I turned. "I don't appreciate your language or spilling your beer on my mother. No more!" "What are you going to do about it?" I looked at my farther and he nodded and we sure did a job on them. We cleaned their clocks. The next thing was that my dad and I were cuffed behind the back and put in a holding cell. We had to call Johnny Murphy, the Red Sox farm director, to get us out.
Bob Sannicandro worked in the clubhouse and often autographed baseballs for players, i.e., he forged their signatures:
If [you've got] a Yaz ball, it might not be Yaz. ... [One player,] I'll leave him nameless, showed me how he signed his name. He told me to go home and practice. I went home and the next day he says, "Not bad, keep working at it."
Being a center fielder, all the speakers were right behind me. I could hear [Sherm Feller] clicking the microphone on and off and sometimes he would forget and I'd hear him mumbling stuff. ... The players' parking lot was as big as a postage stamp. Fans had access to it. So it was very difficult to get your car out. Either they were beating on your car because you had a good game or they were beating on your car because you had a bad game. Either way your car got beat to crap.
During rain delays, I would sneak out with an usher named the "Whale". We would run out the back entrance down Ipswich Street, cut back through the back alleyway, and end up in the Eliot Lounge. They'd hear the clicking of my spikes and they'd have a beer pulled for me. I'd have two beers, watch them pull the tarp off the field, be back in time, and never miss a pitch.
I remember when we used to come back from a trip at three or four in the morning. The bus would leave us off at the stadium, and we'd have to wait around for the truck that carried our luggage. Sometimes we'd just sit in the stands and look out on the field ... The place was silent, with just a few lights and the clock on. Now I get picked up at the airport in a limo and go directly home. Of course it's more convenient. But there was something cool about the way we did it before.
About Harvey Frommer
Dr. Harvey Frommer received his Ph.D. from New York University. Professor Emeritus, Distinguished Professor nominee, Recipient of the "Salute to Scholars Award" at CUNY where he taught writing for many years, the prolific author was cited by the Congressional Record and the New York State Legislature as a sports historian and journalist.
His forty-one sports books include autobiographies of sports legends Nolan Ryan, Red Holzman and Tony Dorsett, the classics "Shoeless Joe and Ragtime Baseball," "New York City Baseball: 1947-1957," "The New York Yankee Encyclopedia," "A Yankee Century," "Red Sox vs. Yankees: The Great Rivalry" (with Frederic J. Frommer), and "Five O'clock Lightning: The 1927 Yankees." His "REMEMBERING YANKEE STADIUM" was published to acclaim in 2008.
Together with his wife Myrna Katz Frommer, he has written the acclaimed oral histories "It Happened in the Catskills," "It Happened in Brooklyn," Growing Up Jewish in America," "It Happened on Broadway" and "It Happened in Manhattan."
Highlights from Dr. Frommer's life:
Along with his wife Myrna Katz Frommer, he is a professor in the MALS program at Dartmouth College where he teaches oral and cultural history. Dr. Frommer has also taught "Sports Journalism" and "Sports and Culture at Dartmouth College, Adelphi and New York University.
His work has appeared in The New York Times, Los Angeles Times, Washington Post, New York Daily News, Newsday, USA Today and other publications.