The Green Monster is a popular nickname for the 37.2-foot-high (11.3 m) left field wall at Fenway Park, home to the Boston Red Sox baseball team. The wall is 310 feet (94.5 meters) from home plate and is a popular target for right-handed hitters.
The wall was part of the original ballpark construction of 1912, along Fenway's north side facing Lansdowne Street. It is made of wood and was covered in tin and concrete in 1934. It was then covered with hard plastic in 1976. A manual scoreboard is set into the wall, which has been there, in one form or another, at least as far back as 1914 (see photo at right). Despite the name, the Green Monster was not painted green until 1947; before that, it was covered with advertisements. The Monster designation is relatively new. For most of its history it was simply called "The Wall."
The Green Monster is the highest among the walls in current Major League Baseball fields, and is the second highest among all professional baseball fields (including minor leagues), falling approximately 6 inches short of the left field wall at the PeoplesBank Park in York, Pennsylvania.
Ballparks occupied by professional baseball teams have often featured high fences to hide the field from external viewers, particularly behind open areas of the outfield where bleacher seating is low-lying or non-existent. The wall might also reduce the number of "cheap" home runs due to the barrier's relatively close distance to home plate. Fenway's wall serves both purposes. Past ballparks of Fenway's era or even later which featured high fences in-play included Baker Bowl, Washington Park, Ebbets Field, League Park, Griffith Stadium, Shibe Park, and more recently, Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum. Fenway is the last of the exceptionally high-walled major league ballparks. Relatively high walls in modern ballparks have been constructed for their novelty rather than by necessity, as Fenway's wall had been.
The Green Monster is famous for preventing home runs on many line drives that would clear the walls of other ballparks. A side effect of this is to increase the prevalence of doubles, since this is the most common result when the ball is hit off the wall (often referred to as a "wallball double"). Some left fielders, predominantly those with vast Fenway experience, have become adept at fielding caroms off the wall to throw runners out at second base or hold the batter to a single. Compared with other current major league parks, the wall's placement creates a comparatively shallow left field; the wall falls approximately 304-310 feet (93-94 m) from the plate along the left-field foul line. With this short distance, many deep fly balls that could be caught by the fielder in a deeper park rebound off the wall for base hits. And while the wall turns many would-be line-drive homers into doubles it also allows some high yet shallow fly balls to clear the field of play for a home run.
During 2001 and 2002, the Green Monster's height record was temporarily beaten by the center field wall at Riverfront Stadium in Cincinnati, Ohio. During the construction of Great American Ball Park, located right next to Riverfront Stadium, a large section of seats was removed from the center field area to make room and a 40-foot (12 m) black wall was erected as a temporary batter's eye. The entire wall was in play. This new wall was often called "The Black Monster." When Riverfront Stadium was demolished in 2002, the Green Monster reclaimed the record. In honor of the famed wall, the Red Sox mascot is a furry green monster named Wally the Green Monster, joined in 2016 by his younger sister Tessie.
From 1912 to 1933, a 10-foot-high (3.0 m) mound formed an incline in front of the Green Monster, extending from the left-field foul pole to the center field flag pole. This earthwork formed a "terrace", a common feature of ballparks of the day (where a dirt-surfaced warning track would normally be today), whose purpose was to make up the difference in grade between street level and field level, as with Cincinnati's Crosley Field. It also served to double as a seating area to handle overflow crowds, another common practice of that era.
As a result of the terrace, when overflow crowds weren't seated atop it, a left fielder in Fenway Park had to play the territory running uphill. Boston's first star left fielder, Duffy Lewis, mastered the skill so well that the area became known as "Duffy's Cliff". In contrast, rotund outfielder Bob Fothergill, known by the indelicate nicknames of "Fats" or "Fatty", reportedly once chased a ball up the terrace, slipped and fell, and rolled downhill.
Long after the much-higher location manual scoreboard from c.1914 existed (as seen in the 1914 photo), the placement of the modern "ground-level" manual scoreboard occurred in 1934. It forms the lower half of the Green Monster and is still updated by hand from behind the wall throughout the game. The American League scores are also updated from behind the wall. The National League scores need to be updated from the front of the wall between innings. There is also a board which shows the current American League East standings. There are 127 slots in the wall and a team of three score keepers move around two-pound, 13-by-16-inch plates to represent the score. Yellow numbers are used to represent in-inning scores and white numbers are used to represent final inning tallies. The numbers of the current pitchers weigh three pounds and measure 16 by 16 inches.
Fenway's left-field distortion is offset by the odd shape and generous size of right field, which is 302 feet (92 m) (although its actual distance has been disputed over the years) along the line (almost the same as in left), but 380 feet (120 m) at its deepest. The bullpen was added along the right field wall in 1940 to shorten the distance for left-handed slugger Ted Williams' home runs to clear the fence. For years afterward, the bullpens were known as "Williamsburg".
In 1936, the Red Sox installed a 23-foot (7.0 m) net above the Monster in order to protect the storefronts on adjoining Lansdowne Street from home run balls. The net remained until the 2002-03 offseason, when the team's new ownership constructed a new seating section atop the wall to accommodate 274 fans. Wildly popular, these "Monster seats" were part of a larger expansion plan for Fenway Park seating. The Red Sox later added a smaller seating section in 2005, dubbed the "Nation's Nest," located between the main seating section and the center field scoreboard.
Comprising yet another quirk, a ladder is attached to the Green Monster, extending from near the upper-left portion of the scoreboard, 13 feet (4.0 m) above ground, to the top of the wall. Previously, members of the grounds crew would use the ladder to retrieve home run balls from the netting hung above the wall. After the net was removed for the addition of the Monster seats, the ladder ceased to have any real function, yet it still remains in place as a historic relic.
The placement of the ladder is noteworthy given the fact that it is in fair territory; it is the only such ladder in the major leagues. On many occasions, a batted ball has struck the ladder during game play, at least twice leading to an inside-the-park home run. During a 1950s game, Red Sox outfielders Ted Williams and Jimmy Piersall both tracked a fly ball in left center, but the ball struck the ladder and caromed into center field, giving batter Jim Lemon enough time to round the bases. Later, in 1963, the slow-footed Dick Stuart hit a high fly that ricocheted first off the ladder, and then the head of outfielder Vic Davalillo, before rolling far enough away to allow Stuart to score.
After the wall was painted green in 1947, advertisements did not appear on the wall until 1999, when the All-Star Game at Fenway was being promoted. Various ads have appeared above the scoreboard since then, such as the Jimmy Fund, W.B. Mason, and Granite City Electric. The Coke Bottles on the left light tower were a target for power-hitters when they were placed in 1997. These 3D advertisements were taken down before the 2008 season, when an LED sign was built above the new left-field upper deck seats. As a lead up to his 500th career home run, Manny Ramirez's home run count was tallied on the bottom of the light tower. Ads beside the manual scoreboard were added when the scoreboard was expanded. Above the manual scoreboard, where a Jimmy Fund advertisement had remained for many years, the logo for Foxwoods Resort Casino is now a prominent aspect of Fenway Park. Outside of Fenway in Kenmore Square, but able to be seen in the view above the left-field wall, is the Boston Citgo sign.
There's a never before seen member of the Red Sox family that has perimeter and diehard Red Sox fans alike asking, "wait, who?" Her name is Tessie, and apparently, she's Wally the Green Monster's sister. In a video posted by the team, Wally is seen heading home to visit his parents at JetBlue park in Fort Myers when Tessie runs out onto the field. Together -- to a special Dropkick Murphys track -- the pair enjoy some sibling time at the park. But when Wally gets ready to head back to Boston, it's decided that Tessie's coming too.