On April 20th, 1912, 101 years ago today, two classic ball parks opened. In Detroit, “the largest crowd that ever witnessed a baseball game in Detroit,” 24,381, saw the Tigers whip the Cleveland Naps, 6-5 in the first game played at Navin Park, which later became known as Tiger Stadium. The game went 11 innings, and Ty Cobb had a pretty good day, going 2 for 4, making two impossible catches, and stealing two bases on double steals in the first inning, stealing home “on the second pilfer.”
In Boston, the Red Sox whipped the visiting NY Highlanders in the first game played at Fenway, 7-6 in 11 innings. It sounds like kind of a sloppy game – 6 errors by Boston, 4 from the New York club. A lot of wild throws and dropped balls. One outfielder tripped over “a bank of ashes” in left field. The crowd was estimated at about 25,000, with the “25 centers” standing behind a rope in the outfield, from center to left. (Hits among the spectators were limited to two bases.) Tris Speaker went 3 for 6 for the Sox, and drove in the winning run in the eleventh.
Thanks to the Library of Congress Chronicling America site for the first-hand reports on the games, from the NY Sun.