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Fenway Park: A Crown Jewel

Hosting this year's All-Star game, Fenway Park has not only been home to the Boston Red Sox for 87 years but the ballpark has long held a special place in the hearts of fans. And co-authors Dan Shaughnessy and Stan Grossfeld have immortalized it in their new book. CBS This Morning's Mark McEwen reports.



When the Major League baseball All-Stars step onto the field Tuesday night at Boston's Fenway Park, another memorable game will unfold in a ballpark with more than its share of history.

"The 'Titanic' went down five days before this ballpark opened," says The Boston Globe sportswriter Dan Shaughnessy, co-author with Stan Grossfeld of Fenway: A Biography In Words And Pictures.

"When you go back through microfilm, it's very hard to find a lot about the opening of the ballpark because there's so many stories about the list of survivors and the living and dead who went through that tragedy," Shaughnessy says. "So Fenway really opened under this terrible cloud," he says.

"Early in its history, the Red Sox were very good," says Shaughnessy. "They won a lot of World Series--5 in the first 15 years of baseball. They won three of them here [at Fenway]. Since 1918, since Babe Ruth was dealt, no championships."

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Fenway: A Biography In Words And Pictures

Depending on whom you talk to, Fenway Park is either an American architectural marvel or a mishap.

The last of the single-deck baseball theaters, Fenway Park has inspired perhaps more lavish praise and outrageous comparison than any other sports arena. Sporting a manually operated scoreboard, obstructed-view seats and the famed "Green Monster'' - the huge green wall in left field, Fenway Park is the last of a breed.

Fenway Park has evolved into an enduring symbol of the city, something Bostonians can be proud of. Unlike modern sports arenas outside city limits, Fenway Park is smack dab in the city of Boston. "There are no miles of parking lots here. They call it 'Fenway No-Park,'" Grossfeld says.

"A ballpark should be in the city," says Shaughnessy. "They play 81 home games here. It's not like a football stadium where they play once a week."

Shaughnessy points out that the country's oldest ballpark is a draw for a lot of young people in Boston, including the city's considerable college-student population.

"The ballpark plays into that. You need the park to be in the city," he say.


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For Grossfeld, a Pulitzer-Prize winning photographer, Fenway's Green Wall is probably the most famous wall in the world, apart from the Great Wall of China and the Berlin Wall.

He even compares it to Jerusalem's Wailing Wall. "There has been a lot of sorrow here," he says. "It's recognizable around the world. There's only one Green Monster. It's a wonderful place."

"We were under fire," recalls Grossfeld of a trip in Beirut. "This guy came up ... racing toward me. I didn't know if he was going to shoot me. He came to me. He said, 'Fenway, the Red Sox - they are no good. The pitching is bad!' "

Some call the Red Sox snakebit, however, ever since the team's sale of prize player Babe Ruth to the Yankees. The team has not won the World Series since then. "That's one of the reason why some fans don't mind a replacement [park] sometime in the next century," Shaughnessy said.

Shaughnessy compares older fans' first in-person sighting of the Green Monster after watching games on black-and-white TV to the revelation of seeing color in The Wizard of Oz. "The first time they walk into [the] baseball field, they are struck by color. If you grew up with black and white TV, the color overwhelms you here. It's like the first scene of color in The Wizard of Oz, where Dorothy walks into this lush [array] of color."

For more stories go to Fenway Park To Be Replaced?

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