Boston Sports History Trail
This driving tour of includes stops at a dozen museums, statues, and historic venues related to the history of sport in Boston.
Harvard Stadium opened on November 14, 1903 as the first collegiate athletic stadium in the United States. The nation's oldest stadium is located in the Allston neighborhood of Boston, Massachusetts. With Greek and Roman influences, the U-shaped stadium is also the world's first massive reinforced concrete structure used solely for collegiate sports. Harvard Stadium could accommodate as many as 57,166 spectators in the steel stands located in the north end zone until the stands were removed in 1951. Currently, the stadium has a capacity of 30,323. Rich in sport history, Harvard Stadium is one of four athletic arenas recognized as a National Historic Landmark.
The Braves Field was a historic baseball field which was massive for its time period, seating up to 40,000 fans. It was named after its home team, the Boston Braves, and opened in 1915 in Boston, Massachusetts. Although the Braves Field closed its gates in 1952, parts of the field were incorporated into Boston University's Nickerson Field which stands in the former location of Braves Field.
Dedicated in 2004, this monument commemorates the life of Theodore Samuel Williams, who is widely regarded as one of the best hitters to ever play the game of baseball. Williams held many batting titles and also served in the Second World War. He played for the Boston Red Sox his whole career, from 1939 to 1960, with a break from 1942 to 1945 due to military service. There is also a chair inside Fenway Park that is painted red to symbolize the farthest home run ever hit in Fenway Park.
One of the most iconic stadiums in the history of baseball, Fenway Park has been home to Major League Baseball since 1912 and has been home to legends of the sport including Babe Ruth, Ty Cobb, Shoeless Joe Jackson, Ted Williams, Joe DiMaggio, and Carl Yastrzemski. The oldest current Major League Stadium, Fenway is known for its small size compared to modern stadiums and its unique shape including the "Green Monster" in left field.
The Huntington Avenue American League Base Ball Grounds was the first home of the Boston Red Sox, the land of which is now occupied by the Cabot Center of Northeastern University. The site was active as the Huntington Avenue grounds from 1901 until its demolition in 1912. In 1903, the Grounds hosted the first modern World Series. In addition to its famous home team, the Grounds possessed several physical quirks that help distinguish its memory.
This statue of Cy Young is located in the center of the Northeastern University campus. At first, it may seem curious to find a memorial to one of baseball's greatest pitchers amid drab academic buildings. However, the location of the statue reveals the original site of the pitching mound at the Huntington Avenue Grounds. The ballpark was demolished over a century ago, but baseball fans continue to visit this location as the former stadium hosted the first World Series of baseball's modern era. The Red Sox won that contest, beating the Pittsburgh Pirates in a best-of-nine series.
The Matthews Arena is the worlds oldest indoor hockey arena still in use today and is located in Boston, MA. It was built in April of 1910 for the original six hockey team, the Boston Bruins. The Matthews Arena is over a century old with an age of 110 and is also the first indoor sight for hockey in the Boston area. It has been home to many hockey and basketball teams since its opening. A lot of people have considered Fenway Park to be the oldest sports arena in Boston but Matthews Arena predates it by two years. It is now home to the Northeastern Huskies' hockey and basketball teams.
At this location on April 15th, 2013, two explosions about five hundred feet away claimed the lives of three people and caused over 250 severe injuries. This is the site of the second explosion, which was the result of two terrorists detonating pressure cooker bombs near the finish line of the 2013 Boston Marathon. This first detonation occurred near the public library ten seconds before this bomb exploded. The historic sporting event features the world’s best runners, but on this day, onlookers and participants were running for their lives. A memorial is planned for this intersection to be completed in 2020. The monument will pay tribute to first responders and commemorate the everyday heroism of the residents of Boston who unified under the iconic slogan, "Boston Strong."
The original Boston Garden was one of the most iconic arenas in America. The arena opened its doors on November 17, 1928. It was designed by Tex Rickard, who also designed Madison Square Garden. Some of the more popular events the Boston Garden has hosted were a political rally for Massachusetts native John F. Kennedy, home games for the Boston Celtics and Boston Bruins, and concerts for many popular artists such as Elvis Presley and the Beatles. The arena has won many awards such as being a finalist for National Sports Forum Achievement Award.
This statue honoring Bill Russell, one of the most dominant professional basketball players of his era, is located near Boston's City Hall. Rather than placing the statue near the Old Boston Garden, this statue of the Boston Celtics center is in a place generally reserved for political leaders and activists. In many ways, the fact that Russell's statue is located near a civic building is appropriate given his civil rights activism, particularly in the 1960s for integrated schools in Boston. Russell led the Celtics for thirteen seasons but was still despised by many white Celtics fan because he challenged residential segregation and spoke about about racism. Although few could deny that Russell was the best player for a Celtic team that dominated the 1960s, few Celtics fans wore his jersey during the years that Russell led the team to a total of eleven championships.
Located in front of the TD Garden at the opening of the West Walkway outside of the arena facing Causeway Street is a bronze statue of Bobby Orr. The Boston Bruins and the TD Garden unveiled the over 600-pound statue of Orr in May of 2010 by an artist named Weber. The statue is of Bobby Orr flying through the air after scoring the famous goal that won the Boston Bruins the Stanley Cup Championship in 1970. Bobby Orr was an accomplished hockey player that was deserving of his own statue - finishing his career with 270 goals and 645 assists in only 657 games. Bobby Orr is a well-known figure in the ice-hockey world, and will always be remembered for the famous moment that was recreated with this historical bronze landmark.
The New England Sports Museum is a non-profit, educational facility that “celebrate[s] the character of Boston sports— the unique brand of teamwork, determination, responsibility, courage, fairness, and other qualities of character possessed by our teams and athletes that make Boston ‘The Greatest Sports City in America’ (“The Sports Museum”).