Today In History – Red Sox Propose New Fenway Park

15 May 1999 – On this day nine years ago, Red Sox ownership, led by CEO John Harrington, announces plans to replace 87-year-old Fenway Park with a brand-new complex that features near-identical dimensions across Yawkey Way by 2003; however, plans never got off the ground and new ownership announced the abandonment of any such plan in 2005. The design was to have followed in the spirit of retro-style ballparks like Camden Yards in Baltimore and Jacobs Field in Cleveland, while the old ballpark would have seen new development built in place of what is now center field, the bleachers, and first-base side of the ballpark. However, plans also including turning part of the old Fenway Park into a baseball museum and park. The new plan would also have allowed construction of the new park to take place as the Red Sox played their final games in its historic ball yard.

Ownership claimed that with the current structure, the Red Sox would be unable to stay competitive as player salaries increased; the new stadium, which would be financed by the team, would include 10,000 more seats including luxury boxes and premium seats. All the team asked in return from the state was improvement to the local infrastructure, such as the building of parking garages and improved transportation. However, city, county, and state legislators balked at the idea and, after the sale of the team by the JR Yawkey ownership group in 2002, the idea was scraped as the new ownership, led by John Henry, Tom Werner, and Larry Lucchino, instead poured money into renovations, such as expanded concourses, added bathroom facilities and concessions, and innovations such as the Monster Seats and Conigliaro’s corner that have added close to 6,000 seats to bring the park’s present capacity to just under 40,000. In March of 2005, all plans for a new facility in the foreseeable future were abandoned as the club announced their commitment to remain at Fenway.

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