While the Red Sox endured another last-place finish, Fenway Park continued to be used for other events. In 1928, the park hosted an annual war memorial service, multiple boxing matches and a soccer game. For the first time, wooden bleachers were installed on the outfield for spectators of football, as Boston College began playing some of their games at Fenway Park that fall.

The Red Sox

Record: 57-96, 8th in American League
Manager: William F. Carrigan
Attendance: 396,920

In 1928, the Red Sox decided to spend spring training in Florida for the first time and excitement accompanied the move to Bradenton, FL. The regular season didn't get off to the happiest start, however. On April 14, the fourth contest of the season, Boston played the shortest game in team history: a 50-minute, five-inning, scoreless tie at Fenway Park that left the few hundred fans in attendance angry.

The season in May due to Boston's first seven-game winning streak in a decade, but the team only won 57 games in 1928 and finished 43 ½ games back in eighth place. On the positive side, the Red Sox had a 19-game winner, Big Ed Morris, and attendance jumped by over 90,000 to 396,920.

On November 6, 1928, Red Sox and Boston Braves ownership won a victory when voters overwhelmingly approved a statewide referendum to permit professional baseball on Sundays in the Commonwealth. There was, however, a proviso prohibiting games within 1,000 feet of a house of worship. Braves Field didn't have one in that proximity but Fenway Park did, so the Red Sox planned to play Sunday baseball in the Braves' facility for the foreseeable future.

Renovations

For the first time at Fenway Park, temporary wooden bleachers were installed for football games. The stands were placed on the outfield parallel to the right-field foul line to hold fans at several Boston College games that fall.

Non-Red Sox Baseball At Fenway Park

As the Red Sox trudged through another disappointing season, six other baseball games were played at Fenway Park in 1928. Among the notable non-Red Sox games that year was a 9-6 Holy Cross win over Boston College on June 9. American Legion teams from Worcester and Manchester, NH played to a 5-5 tie on August 9 before the game was called to permit the playing of the day's regularly-scheduled Red Sox game.

1928 Non-Red Sox Baseball At Fenway Park
June 9Holy Cross 9, Boston College 6
August 9Worcester (MA) American Legion 5, Manchester (NH) American Legion 5 (Tie)
August 12New York Printers 8, St. Louis Printers 2
August 12Detroit 9, Indianapolis 2
September 22College Avenue M. E. Church (Somerville) 3, Center Street Baptist (Jamaica Plain) 2
September 22College Avenue M. E. Church (Somerville) 6, Center Street Baptist (Jamaica Plain) 5

More Than a Ballpark™

While the Red Sox continued their decade of malaise, 1928 was a busy year on several other levels at Fenway Park, starting with the annual war memorial service in May. The following month, the Glasgow Rangers and Boston Wonder Workers soccer teams played to a 2-2 tie. Multiple boxing matches also took place during the summer months. Al Mello, in particular, had a tremendous year, winning all three of his Fenway Park bouts (twice against Billy Murphy with a six round knockout of Charlie Donovan in between). Boston College's football team played several games at the ballpark in 1928 and the Boston Tigers of the Canadian American Hockey League held a November 2 workout on the Fenway Park field.

1928 Non-Baseball Events At Fenway Park
May 20War Memorial Service*
June 18Glasgow Rangers 2, Boston Wonder Workers 2 (Soccer)
June 26Boxing Event featuring Al Mello vs. Billy Murphy (Boxing)
August 31Boxing event featuring Al Mello vs. Charlie Donovan (Boxing)
September 6-8Massachusetts Boys Days
September 13Boxing Event featuring Al Mello vs. Billy Murphy (Boxing)
September 29Boston College 38, Catholic University 6 (Football)
October 12Boston College 19, Duke 0 (Football)
November 2Boston Tigers Hockey Team Work Out
November 12Boston College 19, Fordham 7 (Football)

*Started in the 1910s, a late May memorial service coinciding with the Memorial Day weekend was often held at Fenway Park through the mid-20th Century.


June 18, 1928
 Glasgow Rangers Tie Boston Wonder Workers at Fenway Park

On June 18, 1928, the American Soccer League champion Boston Wonder Workers hosted the Scottish soccer champion Glasgow Rangers. Though the Wonder Workers controlled the action, the teams fought to a 2-2 tie in front of 10,000 spectators in Fenway Park's stands.


June 26, 1928
 Mello Retains His Welter Title in Fast,
Close Bout With Skilful Billy Murphy

The majority of the 12,000 fans that came to Fenway Park on the night of June 26, 1928 had taken the train from Lowell, where they had purchased their fight tickets at Bill Keenan's Diamond Diner. The main bout was the big attraction and featured two Lowell boxers: New England welterweight champion and darling of the Portuguese community Al Mello versus "Irish" Billy Murphy.

Other winners that day were featherweight Hy Diamond of Boston's West End, Roxbury's Jackie Donahue, Connie Holmes of the South End, Dorchester's Charlie Donovan, and Ray Cross of Milford.


November 12, 1928
 Boston College Beats Fordham 19-7, Remains Undefeated

Fenway Park was nearly packed with an Armistice Day crowd of 30,000 that welcomed back former Boston College and Dartmouth head coach Frank "The Iron Major" Cavanagh, whose Fordham squad faced an undefeated Boston College team led by his protégé, former star quarterback Joe McKenney.

At just 22 years of age, McKenney was the youngest head coach in collegiate football and his team overcame a brief second-quarter lapse, when Fordham achieved the short-lived distinction of being the only team to have led Boston College during any of the Eagles' games to date that season. Fordham's 7-6 lead was soon surmounted as Boston College scored the next 13 points and finished the game with an interception of a Fordham pass in the waning seconds.

Fenway Park In 1929 (Credit: Leslie Jones/Boston Public Library)