The new year marks the commemoration a few prominent events which serve as the topic for several recently-released and forthcoming books.
As the oldest Major League ballpark still in use, Fenway Park is the subject of a great deal of nostalgia and mystique (and no, Curt Shilling, these are not dancers in a New York nightclub). The landmark Boston ballyard opened its doors in 1912 and the celebration has been underway for some time.
The indefatigable Harvey Frommer was the first to publish, with his Remembering Fenway Park: An Oral and Narrative History of the Home of the Boston Red Sox released all the way back in March 2011. As one has come to expect, Frommer has produced another colorful coffee-table edition, full of anecdotes and recollections from a wide array of sources, including Red Sox players and staff, fans, and opponents. (He wrote a similar volume when “old” Yankee Stadium was preparing to shutter its gates in 2008.)
Saul Wisnia‘s Fenway Park:The Centennial: 100 Years of Red Sox Baseball came out in September and is similar in spirit to Frommer’s homage. There’s more in the way of straight narrative in Wisnia’s book, which features a DVD narrated by Redc Sox legend and Hall of Fame catcher Carlton Fisk.
Richard Johnson was next with Field of Our Fathers: An Illustrated History of Fenway Park, a nice “scrapbook” featuring reproductions of articles written about Red Sox games and other events.
Then there are Glenn Stout, Bill Nowlin and Jim Prime, who have made a cottage industry of writing about all the Sawx.
Stout, who edits the annual Best American Sportswriting collections, released Fenway 1912: The Birth of a Ballpark, a Championship Season, and Fenway’s Remarkable First Year late last year. As the title implies, this one concentrates on the exciting inaugural and goes beyond the play on the field as it delves into the planning and construction of Fenway. It’s an interesting look at urban considerations and philosophies that often go overlooked and underreported when new stadiums are built.
(I included mini-reviews on Stout and Wisnia’s books in my annual fall baseball feature for Bookreporter.com, as well as a review of Frommer’s work here on the Bookshelf following the release of his Fenway project.)
Messers. Nowlin and Prime, who also have a strong resume of Red Sox literature, will release 100 Years of Fenway Park: A Celebration of America’s Most Beloved Ballpark in March.
Sports Illustrated has a commemorative issue about Fenway on newsstands now, but they’re scheduled to release a hard-cover version of Sports Illustrated 100 Years of Fenway Park in March as well.