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Where Did The Original Green Monster Scoreboard Go?

The original Green Monster scoreboard, shown here in 1998, no longer resides at Fenway Park. (AP)

The original Green Monster scoreboard, shown here in 1998, no longer resides at Fenway Park. (AP)

BOSTON — Ask die-hard Boston Red Sox fans what they love most about their team’s home ballpark, and the answer is invariably the Green Monster left field wall, with its manually operated scoreboard.

“That has been there forever,” said Jason Chaves from East Bridgewater. “The scoreboard? Absolutely been there forever.”

Actually, that’s not true. The scoreboard, which for the 2011 home opener is showing a deplorable 0-6 season start, has only been there for 10 years.

It’s a replica.

The original was installed in 1934, during the ballpark’s last major construction before the current ownership began renovating Fenway in 2001. So what happened to the 1934 original?

“The original scoreboard is in a storage place,” said Red Sox CEO Larry Lucchino. “I believe it’s in South Dakota.”

A new display under the Fenway Park grandstand features Red Sox artifacts, including blueprints for the 1934 Green Monster expansion. (Curt Nickisch/WBUR)

A new display under the Fenway Park grandstand features Sox artifacts, including blueprints for the 1934 Green Monster expansion. (Curt Nickisch/WBUR)

Really? South Dakota?

If you get on the Mass Pike right where it nudges up against Fenway Park, you have to drive west on I-90 for 1,600 miles. Then take a right. After another 50 miles of corn and soybean fields broken up by herds of heifers, right there off the highway is a company called Counterpart, Inc.

Inside a large industrial building, Counterpart workers cut steel panels to specs for dashboards, utility boxes, and commercial signs. General Manager Don Deibert remembers how back in 2001, Counterpart got a very unusual order: To make a metal scoreboard from scratch.

“They sent us the drawings to replicate the original scoreboard,” Deibert said stoically. “And then we basically built it.”

Built what’s now the the scoreboard in the Green Monster, that is.

During the All-Star Break in 2001, the Red Sox quietly took out the original and put in the copy. Deibert’s job then became to restore the Red Sox national icon.

“The old structure was in pretty bad shape,” he remembered. “It had a lot of rust and holes in the bottom.”

Counterpart rebuilt the internal framework that holds up the scoreboard. Workers also replaced the edge that touched the field and had rusted through.

“The unique part of it was, we had to have a special insurance policy on it,” Deibert recalled. “Because inside that old scoreboard were signatures of players, bat boys, score people, whoever had signed the inside of that scoreboard all those years, and we had to make sure we didn’t destroy that.”

But what happened to the 1934 Green Monster manual scoreboard after that is not entirely clear.

Counterpart, Inc. co-founders Jeff Jacobson and Don Deibert at work in the same facility where they restored the Green Monster scoreboard and built a replica. (Greg Latza/greglatza.com)

Counterpart, Inc. co-founders Jeff Jacobson and Don Deibert at work in the same facility where they restored the Green Monster scoreboard and built a replica. (Greg Latza/greglatza.com)

Deibert said Counterpart returned the green scoreboard to Daktronics, a South Dakota company that does work for Fenway. Deibert heard that it went into a Daktronics warehouse. But a company spokesman had no comment.

However, recently retired Daktronics co-founder Duane Sander does try to put Red Sox fans at ease. Personally, he doesn’t ever remember hearing about any scoreboard from Fenway Park being stored at the company. But he said if it is in Daktronics’ custody, Sox fans need not worry.

“I’m sure we’re being very careful with all the parts and the scoreboard,” Sander said, remarking that Daktronics has good facilities. “Controlled environment as well as well-secured.”

What if somebody wearing pinstripes or named Steinbrenner showed up, saying they were looking to line the urinals at the new Yankee Stadium. Would Daktronics accidentally hand over the scoreboard?

“No,” Sander said, laughing. “I don’t think so, no.”

So that’s where the trail gets cold. If the original Green Monster scoreboard is indeed gathering dust in a South Dakota prairie warehouse, maybe the next question is, what should the Red Sox do with it?

Owner and CEO Lucchino said they’ve talked about it.

“We’re contemplating taking it perhaps to Florida, to the new spring training facility and having it up down there,” he said.

But some Sox fans hanging out at the Cask ‘n Flagon outside Fenway don’t think it’s a good idea to ship the 1934 scoreboard to hurricane country. John Beach from East Bridgewater thinks there’s only one place for it to go: the Baseball Hall of Fame.

“If the original Fenway scoreboard is not in Cooperstown,” Beach said, “I don’t know what the hell should be in Cooperstown.”

So what do you think? Keep it safe and sound on the prairie? Break it up in pieces like the parquet floor from the Boston Garden? Auction it off wholesale, so the Red Sox can buy some pitching?

Let us know in the comments below. Unless you’re a Yankee fan, of course.

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  • http://profiles.google.com/elizabeth.sweetman Elizabeth Sweetman

    Interesting story but I really wish you used a different picture of the score board–feels a little too jinxy for todays game.

    • http://twitter.com/IamSauerkraut sauerkraut

      Look at all those dings! How many of those do you suppose were caused by balls flying off Yaz’ bat?

  • http://profiles.google.com/elizabeth.sweetman Elizabeth Sweetman

    Interesting story but I really wish you used a different picture of the score board–feels a little too jinxy for todays game.

    • Superscout442

      Not to mention the Yanks are killing the Sox 13-2 on this segment of the board…

  • James_D

    Hey, hey now… I may be a Yankee’s fan but I’m also a BASEBALL fan, and even I agree that such a famous landmark belongs in the baseball hall of fame: no doubt about it!

  • Jessa

    I live in South Dakota and have a strong urge to find it now!!! Thanks for this story!

  • Larry D

    Put it in the Hall of Fame!

  • http://profiles.google.com/obviouslyrob Robert Morris

    Cooperstown sounds like a good place for it.

  • http://twitter.com/IamSauerkraut sauerkraut

    Put individual panels up for auction. All auction participants pay a fee to participate (even if only watching) and sign an agreement to only include as part of a baseball endeavor (excluding anything Yankee related) or for a museum’s use. Winners must carry insurance for individual panels won thru competitive bidding.

    Proceeds go to the Jimmy Fund.

  • http://twitter.com/MariekeVanDamme Marieke Van Damme

    If the scoreboard left in 2001, it sounds to me like it had a role in breaking the curse. Maybe it should make its way back to Fenway… at least for this season. Go Sox!

  • Bobby C

    Who knew….. Thats a damn good looking replica!

  • Mark

    If they can’t display it somewhere inside the park, then Cooperstown is the right place. I wonder if they have the original visiting team name cards there as well, from the days before all the visitors got was the boring 3-letter MLB abbreviations.

  • Mh

    I would sell my not-yet-conceived firstborn for a panel. Then I’d have an artist encase it in fireproof glass and make it into my dining room table.

  • Former Sawx Fan

    I will bet my bottom Dollar the Sawx are peddling to the highest bidder.
    Corporate greed knows no…

  • http://twitter.com/CurtNickisch Curt Nickisch

    I like these ideas, folks. How about a Red Sox Museum? It could rival the MFA in visitorship!

  • Musicjam25

    Who is the left fielder in the picture?

  • http://twitter.com/CurtNickisch Curt Nickisch

    It’s Darren Bragg.

  • Anonymous

    Lets put it in a museum here in Boston. Send it on a tour of Red Sox nation then put it in a new museum. One dedicated to all things Massachusetts. Kind of like our own little Smithsonian.

  • http://twitter.com/CurtNickisch Curt Nickisch

    I just noticed something looking at the photo of the Green Monster. You can see the rusted base that Don Deibert at Counterpart said he had to replace. Deibert also told me the company restored and created new panels for much of the Green Monster (not just the scoreboard).

  • Mark

    Remove the fake and put the real one back where it rightfully belongs!!!!!!!!!!!!!! move the fake to florida.

  • Lyndsey

    one word: cooperstown

  • AJ

    I think it would look good in my basement.

  • Gjtefft

    Why are there spaces every three innings?

    • Smith518218

      Ventilation and viewing slot for the attendant.

      • Gjtefft

         Those seem to be between ball/ strike.  I mean why every three innings is there a space.  It occurs on more than just Fenway.  I wonder if it is just an aesthetic thing or it has some historical meaning?

  • mystery guy

    I know where it is,….I spent all day today and I’ll be working tomorrow ,installing it at the new Red Sox spring training field in Ft Myers Fl. It was quite a job re furbishing the sign to meet Florida building codes ,but come on out to the new ball park and see it for youself. Nobody is telling the press ,,,,,,it’s top secret,…..but maybe we can make a deal……..

    • FL Guest

      Just toured the new stadium jetBlue Park in Fort Myers, Florida.  Great job on the scoreboard.  It looks fabulous.

  • charlie helinski

    It would be great if you could not only see the board at a museum, but peek behind into the cramped room where the numbers were changed. I see others said “Cooperstown.” They must be umpires, because that’s a good call.

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