Ranking Pesky's Pole and the 10 Greatest Stadium Features of All Time
On Monday afternoon, one of the great ambassadors of baseball passed away.
Johnny Pesky, a man who dedicated his life to the game that he so loved for over six decades, died at the age of 92. While Pesky will always be remembered for his unabashed love of the Boston Red Sox, he is also remembered for his unwavering passion for the game and for the people that played it.
The Red Sox have honored Pesky in various ways over the years by retiring his number; by having him raise the World Series championship banner in 2005; and countless other ways.
But Pesky's Pole is a feature that has become one of the most talked-about parts of Fenway Park.
In honor of Mr. Pesky and in honor of the terrific man that he was, we will take a look at various features at different ballparks throughout MLB.
10. Liberty Bell: Citizens Bank Park, Philadelphia
The Liberty Bell has been a part of the rich culture of the city of Philadelphia since 1752, and now, a replica of that iconic piece of American history sits in Citizens Bank Park.
Measuring 50' high and 35' wide, the Liberty Bell sits high atop the wall and illuminates with each Phillies' home run. The clapper of the bell even swings independently side-to-side to signify a clanging of the bell as well.
Several ballparks have incorporated parts of its city's culture into its stadium's framework. Philly did well with this one.
9. Minnie and Paul: Target Field, Minnesota
When the Minnesota Twins built their brand new stadium in downtown Minneapolis in 2010, they honored the rich tradition of the team's history in the Twin Cities in a unique way.
They erected a large statue of the original Twins' "Minnie and Paul" logo atop the wall in center field. The iconic logo features two players wearing the uniforms of two minor league teams in the Twin Cities, the Minneapolis Millers and St. Paul Saints.
The Twins have represented the Twin Cities since 1961, and the current ownership did themselves proud by bringing back a logo that was one of the best in all of baseball.
8. Buck O'Neil Legacy Seat: Kauffman Stadium, Kansas City
The 83rd edition of the MLB All-Star Game was hosted for the first time since 1973 by the Kansas City Royals at Kauffman Stadium. By all accounts, the city did itself proud, and the stadium's Water Spectacular was on display for all the world to see.
While the Water Spectacular is indeed a cool feature of the 39-year-old stadium, the Royals dedicated a stadium seat in 2007 to one of the legendary figures from the Negro Leagues—Buck O'Neil.
O'Neil distinguished himself as a great player with the Kansas City Monarchs for many years, and would later represent his hometown Royals as a scout for many years as well.
On April 2, 2007, six months after O'Neil passed away, the Royals dedicated a seat in his honor behind home plate, selecting a member of the local community to sit in the red seat at every game.
The person chosen is someone who best exemplifies O'Neil's spirit; he was indeed a man who thought nothing of giving back to the game he so loved.
7. Green Monster: Fenway Park, Boston
Fenway Park celebrated its 100th anniversary this year, and Boston Red Sox management dedicated a series of events to honor the iconic ballpark throughout the season.
Built in 1912, Fenway originally featured a large wooden wall that stretched from the left field corner all the way to left center field.
At 37 feet high, the wall was painted green in 1947 and has since been covered in tin and concrete. It has become what is now known as the Green Monster.
Many players for years have cursed the Green Monster, as its scaling height robbed them of potential home runs.
However, it is easily one of the most distinguishable and instantly recognizable features of any ballpark in Major League Baseball.
6. McCovey's Cove: AT&T Park, San Francisco
On any given day or night when the San Francisco Giants are playing at home, a number of kayaks can be seen patrolling the waters beyond the right field wall in an area that has become known as McCovey's Cove.
Named for noted Giants slugger and Hall of Fame first baseman Willie McCovey, the cove is a part of San Francisco Bay, and any ball hit on the fly into the cove is called a "splash hit."
5. Ivy Wall: Wrigley Field, Chicago
As recognizable as the Green Monster is for Fenway Park, so too are the famed ivy-covered walls at Wrigley Field in Chicago.
Home of the Cubs since 1914, the ivy-covered outfield walls were not a part of the original design. In 1937, Cubs general manager Bill Veeck planted the ivy as part of a park beautification plan.
Since that time, the ivy has presented a host of problems regarding new stadium ground rules, but the green fauna is without a doubt a feature that has become instantly recognizable and iconic.
4. Pesky's Pole: Fenway Park, Boston
As mentioned in our introductory slide, Pesky's Pole has become a feature at Fenway Park that isn't just a cool part of the park itself, but honors the legacy of one the city's most beloved athletes.
During his career in the majors, Pesky only hit 17 career home runs, and only six of them at Fenway. Former teammate and announcer Mel Parnell once said during a game broadcast that Pesky wrapped a home run around the right field pole to help him win a game.
That may have been a stretch—there's no record of Pesky ever hitting a homer in a game that Parnell won at Fenway.
But nonetheless, Pesky's Pole has become another fixture at a park filled with more than its share of iconic features.
3. Heritage Park: Progressive Field, Cleveland
Thirteen years after the Cleveland Indians opened Jacobs Field in 1994—now known as Progressive Field—they dedicated an area in center field to honor its own.
Similar to Monument Park in Yankee Stadium, Heritage Park is an area beyond the center field at Progressive Field that features: 27 plaques for members of the Indians' Hall of Fame; 38 bricks that honor special moments in Indians' baseball history; a Wall of Fame honoring the top 100 players in Indians' history; and a memorial plaque dedicated to the memory of Ray Chapman, the only player in Major League Baseball history ever killed by a pitched ball.
2. Memorial Wall: Oriole Park at Camden Yards, Baltimore
"Time will not dim the glory of their deeds."
That is the inscription on the Memorial Wall at the south end of the Eutaw Street warehouse at Camden Yards. Built in 2002, the wall is dedicated to the residents of Maryland who proudly served their country and perished defending the United States during various wars.
The old Memorial Stadium had a similar wall, so Orioles' management did well in bringing back an iconic feature and honoring the city's finest.
1. Momument Park: Yankee Stadium New York
The names of Babe Ruth, Lou Gehrig, Joe DiMaggio, Mickey Mantle and many other Yankee greats are fondly remembered by fans, and their legacy lives on at Yankee Stadium.
Monument Park is a beautiful open-air museum located beyond the center field fence, with plaques honoring many of the greatest players that ever donned the iconic pinstripes.
For many years in the original Yankee Stadium, the monuments were in the field of play; however, with the vast dimensions of the park at the time, they were rarely actually a problem for fielders.
In 2009, Monument Park was moved in its entirety to its new home in the new Yankee Stadium.
Doug Mead is a featured columnist with Bleacher Report. His work has been featured on the Seattle Post-Intelligencer, SF Gate, CBS Sports, the Los Angeles Times and the Houston Chronicle.