The 1920 Boston Red Sox (Credit: International Film Service, New York, NY)
For Red Sox fans, 1920 started with the devastating news that Babe Ruth had been sold to the Yankees, ushering in the start of a miserable decade for the Red Sox on the field. Still, some good things did happen at Fenway Park in its first year without Ruth, including the park's first boxing match and concert.
While Fenway Park's attendance for Red Sox games took a sharp turn downward in 1921, the park continued to open its gates for amateur football after the Red Sox season ended.
The Red Sox finished in last place in 1922, beginning a stretch of 11 years in which the team finished last all but twice. However, Fenway Park continued to host crowds at a variety of events including a third straight Columbus Day football doubleheader, high school baseball, an annual war memorial service and a meeting held by the Irish Republican Army in May.
Though Red Sox owner Harry Frazee exited the Fenway Park stage in 1923, the losing continued under new management. Still, Fenway Park's schedule of non-Red Sox events remained full in 1923 with football and amateur baseball.
In Bob Quinn's first full year as owner of the Red Sox, Fenway Park attendance grew quite dramatically. However, the team only finished one spot better in the standings and the seventh place showing would be the last time they finished above place for the rest of the decade. As the club's president, Quinn continued the use of Fenway Park for amateur football, baseball, and other non-Red Sox events.
In 1925, soccer arrived at Fenway Park for the first time with a pair of matches in October. Several amateur baseball and football teams also played at the park during the year and provided a change of pace from the dispiriting Red Sox season.
A trio of fires in May 1926 destroyed the wooden bleachers down Fenway Park's left-field line. The damaged seating was a visible reminder of the club's woes until the charred section was taken down that August. However, the removal of the stands didn't change the team's fortunes as they staggered to a 107 loss season. In the fall, Fenway Park was busy with over a dozen football games, the most it had hosted in one year.
Bill Carrigan, manager of the Red Sox championship teams in 1915 and 1916, returned to Fenway Park as Boston's manager in 1927. However, Carrigan's arrival did little to change the team's fortunes and they finished in last place for the third straight year. Another continuing trend was the increasing amount of football played at Fenway Park in the fall, including a rare tripleheader of three football games on November 24, 1927.
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.
A difficult decade of Red Sox baseball at Fenway Park concluded in 1929 with another last-place finish. Symbolic of the team's decade of misfortunes, the 1929 Red Sox finally had the ability to play Sunday games in Boston, but Fenway Park's proximity to a house of worship forced the team to play its Sunday home games at Braves Field instead.