Fenway Park became the only Major League Baseball venue in Boston when the Braves moved to Milwaukee before the start of the 1953 season. Opposing teams at Fenway Park also had a new home in 1953; during the offseason, the visitors clubhouse was moved to the third base side of the ballpark and connected to the visitors dugout via a tunnel. In July, Ted Williams returned from combat and played in 37 games for the Red Sox in the second half of the season. In the fall, Boston College football once again took to the Fenway Park field.

The Red Sox

Record: 84-69, 4th in American League
Manager: Louis Boudreau
Attendance: 1,026,133

Boston became a one-team baseball town shortly before the 1953 season, when the Braves left for Milwaukee. Also departing the scene was Dom DiMaggio, who retired on May 12 after being supplanted by Tommy Umphlett.

Even without DiMaggio and Ted Williams (who had received an Air Medal after safely landing a damaged plane while on a February 1953 mission over Korea), the Red Sox set a MLB record that still stands today when they scored 17 runs in one inning, during a 23-3 victory over Detroit on June 18. In a feat of numerical coincidence, the Red Sox set 17 records during this game, after beating the Tigers 17-1 the day before.

After 39 combat missions, Williams was discharged with an ear infection and returned home in time to deliver the first pitch at the 1953 All-Star Game. He went on to collect 34 RBIs in just 37 regular-season games for the Red Sox in 1953. On July 28, Williams showed his legendary eye when he returned to the batter's box at Fenway Park for batting practice and astutely noticed that home plate was out of alignment, a fact that went unnoticed during the first half of the season.

The Red Sox finished the season with a record of 84-69 but wound up 16 games out of first. George Kell's 73 RBIs and .307 average led the offense, while 21-game winner Mel Parnell bolstered the rotation. After the season, on December 9, the Red Sox sent 18-game winner Mickey McDermott and Umphlett to Washington for Jackie Jensen.

Renovations

During Fenway Park's first few decades, the home and visitors clubhouses had been situated side by side near on on the first-base side of the ballpark. Until 1953, both Red Sox and visiting players had accessed the field via a single tunnel but a post-game fight in May 1952 between two fiery personalities - Boston's Jimmy Piersall and New York's Billy Martin - forced owner Tom Yawkey to consider a new arrangement. In 1953, the visitors clubhouse was relocated to the third-base side of the field and connected to the visiting dugout, removing the possibility of on-field hostility spilling over into another tunnel fracas.

In addition, Fenway Park's first organ was installed in 1953 and organ music has been an instrumental part of the ballpark's personality ever since. John Kiley, the music director at WMEX, which had its studios in the Jeano Building, was Fenway Park's organist from 1953 until 1989.

Non-Red Sox Baseball At Fenway Park

The 1953 William Randolph Hearst game at Fenway Park was a veritable romp, as the American All-Stars team trounced the Record All-Stars, 16-5.

1953 Non-Red Sox Baseball At Fenway Park
August 10William Randolph Hearst Sandlot Tournament: American All-Stars 16, Record All-Stars 5

More Than a Ballpark™

After Fenway Park hosted its second annual Junior Goodwill Dinner in January and a memorial service in May, Boston College played several home games at Fenway Park in the fall of 1953. Though the Eagles were winless in their first three home games, they finished strong with victories over Wake Forest, the University of Detroit and Holy Cross. Their victory over their rival from Worcester brought out a crowd of 37,000, a dramatic increase from most of BC's 1953 games at Fenway Park, which typically averaged less than 10,000 spectators.

1953 Non-Baseball Events At Fenway Park
January 28Junior Goodwill Dinner*
May 24American Legion Memorial Mass**
September 26Boston College 14, Clemson 14 (Football)
October 11Villanova 15, Boston College 7 (Football)
October 31Richmond 14, Boston College 0 (Football)
November 7Boston College 20, Wake Forest 7 (Football)
November 15Boston College 33, University of Detroit 20 (Football)
November 28Boston College 6, Holy Cross 0 (Football)

* For several years, Fenway Park hosted a Junior Goodwill Dinner that brought hundreds of local high school students to the ballpark. The tradition was started by Red Sox legend Joe Cronin and the event typically took place in late January.

** 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.

The Red Sox during the National Anthem in 1951 (Credit: Leslie Jones Collection/Boston Public Library)