New Bullpens Installed at Fenway Park in 1940, ‘Williamsburg’ is Born


Jun 21, 2011

Editor’s note: Fenway Park opened on April 20, 1912. will be celebrating Fenway’s 100-year anniversary with unique content from now until April 20, 2012.

After a remarkable rookie season, Ted Williams did not ask for, nor did the lefty need, any help to boost his already stellar hitting numbers. But in 1940 he got it anyway when bullpens were installed in front of Fenway Park's bleachers, moving in the right-field fence approximately 20 feet.

Although the move did not immediately pay dividends for "the greatest hitter who ever lived," (he only hit 23 homers in '40) the bullpen area eventually became known as "Williamsburg" because of the ease with which he could belt bombs there.

The new bullpen area was not the only thing to debut in 1940. Dom DiMaggio (yes, he is related to that other DiMaggio fellow) also made his major league debut with the Red Sox. The "Little Professor," as he was known, hit over .300 for the season and crossed the plate 81 times.

Just like the current Sox team, the '40 Red Sox were a dynamic offensive juggernaut, with Joe Cronin, Jimmie Foxx, Bobby Doerr and Williams all driving in 100 runs or more. The hitting clinic the team put on helped to increase attendance to 716,234 fans for the year. It was the first time in the team's history that attendance at Fenway had been over 700,000.

But while the team's bats were hot, their pitching was only lukewarm. The team finished 82-72, tallying seven fewer wins than the year before.

The Boston College football team had no trouble winning, though. The Eagles flew through their six games at Fenway on their path to an undefeated season, which included a Sugar Bowl victory. One particularly memorable contest was the team's Nov. 16 match-up against Georgetown. BC came back from 10-0 deficit to win the game that sportswriting columnist Grantland Rice called the best collegiate football game he'd ever witnessed.

For more information on Fenway Park, visit Fenway Park 100.

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