Green Monster ladder: Fenway quirk, OF foe

December 4th, 2020

Without question, anyone would need a ladder to get to the top of the 37-foot wall at Fenway Park known as the Green Monster.

But that doesn’t answer the question: Why is there a ladder attached to the famous Monster?

Luckily for you, we come with an answer.

In 1936, a 23-foot net was attached to the Monster to protect local businesses.

The only way to prevent baseball upon baseball resting in that net for eternity was to install a ladder so that team employees could climb to the top after batting practice and/or games and retrieve them.

When the Red Sox installed the Monster Seats in 2003, they had the option of removing the ladder. But Fenway Park wouldn’t be Fenway Park without its many quirks. And so the Red Sox opted to keep the ladder in place.

The ladder poses another challenger for outfielders, as they must remember that the ladder is in play. It rests just above the out-of-town scoreboard, which is another area of the Monster that can wreak havoc for outfielders.

Though baseballs don’t hit off the ladder all that often, it can create quite a problem in the rare occurrence that it does.

Take, for example, Aug. 19, 1963, when Boston’s Dick Stuart belted a drive to left-center that hit the ladder. But that wasn’t the last thing the ball hit.

The crazy carom hit Indians center fielder Vic Davalillo in the head and then rolled by left fielder John Romano into the corner in left. Stuart somehow held his laughter enough to roar all the way around the bases for an inside-the-park home run. It was the first of two homers in the game for Stuart, the other one actually cleared the Green Monster. But give Cleveland starter Pedro Ramos credit for not being rattled by some bad ladder luck. Ramos went the distance for an 8-3 win.

In 2014, when Kansas City’s Omar Infante hit a towering drive to left, he didn’t exactly bust it out of the box, perhaps because he thought it had enough distance to clear the Monster.

Instead, the ball hit -- you guessed it -- the ladder. It took a wild bounce all the way to the corner in left, where Red Sox left fielder Daniel Nava retrieved it.

If the ball had just hit the wall and not the ladder, Nava likely could have either thrown Infante out at second or held him to a single. Infante wound up scoring on a single by Eric Hosmer, but the Red Sox held on for a 5-4 win.