Glenn Stout, a long-time Red Sox rooter, with several books about the franchise under his belt, goes deep into the nuts and bolts (almost literally) in FENWAY 1912: The Birth of a Ballpark, a Championship Season, and Fenway’s Remarkable First Year.
You wouldn’t think such an investigation into the art and architecture would be of interest to the general reader, but Stout, who serves as series editor for the excellent annual Best American Sports Writing, mixes all the behind-the-scenes deals and decisions behind Fenway’s construction as one of the first “modern” steel-and-brick facilities, ushering in a new and majestic era in fan enjoyment. His style is at once scholarly and gossipy as he tells tales of intra-team strife among various “factions,” designated by education, religion and culture, which would seem to be the norm for all teams of the era (as depicted in the film version of Eight Men Out). That the Red Sox overcame all this distraction to cap their first season in Fenway with a thrilling walk-off World Championship was just the icing on the cake.
Reviewed by Ron Kaplan on August 9, 2011