Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Review: Fenway (2012)


We all should have seen this coming.

Fenway Park opened in April of 1912, which means we're coming up on a 100th birthday celebration. That means everyone and his brother, and his sister, has figured a commemorative book would be a good seller. Sure enough, do a search for Fenway Park on amazon.com, and you'll see plenty of books either out or coming soon.

Sports Illustrated has gotten into the act with "Fenway : A Fascinating First Century." The magazine obviously doesn't have "Illustrated" in its name for no reason, and so they have plenty of great images filed away for just such an occasion.

The format is easy to describe. After a few introductory articles, the book offers a timeline of the park's life going decade by decade. Since the magazine only has been around since the 1950's, it was necessary to go through someone else's archives to acquire material. It's fair to say they did a nice job on it. It closes with pictures of replicas of Fenway, such as a wiffle ball field and a Lego version.

There are a few excerpts thrown in along the way. Some are from the magazine itself, while others are from books by SI writers on Babe Ruth and Ted Williams. In fact, I would have liked to have seen more stories, or at least longer ones, here. The graphics and research are all first class, as usual.

The only problem with the book is typical for coffee-table books like this. It checks in at $32.95 before the amazon.com discount, which is rather pricey for a publication that can be covered in less than a day. And no, you can't get it on a Kindle, which considering the quality of the photos is a good thing.

Glenn Stout's book, "Fenway 1912," which covers the park's birth and history, is a great companion to SI's "Fenway." Stout has the words, and SI has the pictures. If there's a Red Sox fan in your life, that person would be thrilled to get either as a gift.

Four stars

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