My Boston: Scaling the Walls

Huntington Avenue Grounds, October 3, 1903

scaling walls Huntington Avenue Grounds

Photograph Courtesy of the Boston Public Library

“It was the first World Series. It was before the third game, and people just flocked to the Huntington Avenue Grounds. This was perhaps the first time that all different classes and origins of people in Boston came to the same event—many immigrants thought that the way you became a true American was to follow baseball. It was the most important social entertainment of the city.

There were far more people than there were seats. So everyone just started to climb up the walls. Some of the fans went to stand in the outfield—it was allowed back then because the distance between home plate and the center-field fence was 530 feet, and no one was going to hit it that far.

When the Boston Americans—they were not the Boston Red Sox in 1903—came out for practice before the game, the crowd rushed the infield. The players were throwing the ball around the infield, and right behind them were hundreds and hundreds of spectators. They couldn’t start the game like that, so the police tied together ropes and slowly pushed the spectators back to the outfield. There were no fights. That didn’t mean everybody was stone sober, but the police were able to keep them under control. It was evident, by that game, that people were fanatics about the Boston Americans.”

—Roger I. Abrams, author of The First World Series and the Baseball Fanatics of 1903