When it comes to the oldest active parks in Major League Baseball, two names stand out: Fenway Park and Wrigley Field. These iconic venues have been home to the Boston Red Sox and the Chicago Cubs respectively for over a century. But which one is older?
Fenway Park, opened on April 20th, 1912, holds the title as the oldest active park in baseball. Wrigley Field, while not far behind, opened its doors two years later in 1914. As of 2023, Fenway celebrates its 111-year anniversary, while Wrigley marks its 109th year.
Unique Features and Historical Significance
Both ballparks are steeped in history and boast unique features that make them beloved by fans. Fenway is famous for its "Green Monster," a towering left-field wall standing at 37 feet 2 inches. Wrigley Field, on the other hand, is known for its ivy-covered brick outfield wall, distinctive wind patterns off Lake Michigan, and the hand-turned scoreboard.
In 2020, Wrigley Field was designated a National Historic Landmark, further cementing its place in American sports history. Fenway Park, too, has undergone significant renovations and modifications throughout the 21st century, all while maintaining its historic charm.
The Great Debate: Fenway vs Wrigley
Despite their age difference, both Fenway and Wrigley are often compared due to their historical significance and iconic status. Some argue that Wrigley edges out Fenway in terms of architecture, surroundings, and concessions. However, others believe that Fenway's unique shape and asymmetrical design make it an architectural wonder.
The debate extends to the gameday atmosphere as well. Fenway is praised for its pregame atmosphere with live bands, food carts, and even a chance to watch the game from the Bleacher Bar. Wrigley, meanwhile, offers a sense of history that is unmatched by any other facility.
Recent Renovations: Enhancing History or Disrupting It?
Both ballparks have undergone recent renovations, but opinions differ on whether these changes enhance or disrupt their historic aspects. The Red Sox's renovations to Fenway Park, including seats atop the Green Monster and new video boards, have been praised for enhancing the ballpark's historic aspects.
Conversely, the Cubs' installation of a large, high-definition video board in Wrigley Field has been met with mixed reviews. While some see it as a necessary modernization, others feel it disrupts the historic feel of the ballpark.