One of the more indelible moving images in Major League Baseball is that of a line drive hitting off Fenway Park's iconic Green Monster, a fence that stands 37 feet tall and sits 211 feet long. Not only does the Monster frequently leave a formidable impression on major leaguer hitters, but players also leave impressions on the Monster. The question is: How many impressions have they made, since 1976, when a newer fence replaced the old tin one?
Based on various estimates of famous Boston Red Sox ballplayers, the answer lies between 850, and 10 million dents. Or, as groundskeeper Dave Mellor says in the Boston Globe:
"Dimples. They're not called dents because of Bucky Effin' Dent."
Gotcha. The guy from the New York Yankees who hit that "pop fly home run" to kill the Red Sox in '78.
Anyway, how many pock marks does the Monster have? Stan Grossfeld, a Pulitzer Prize-winning photojournalist with the Globe, was curious. So he and his son ascended a two-man telescopic boom lift early one morning in order to count the dents by hand. They got as far as 33 of the Monster's 116 panels, each of which are 2 feet wide, before deciding to estimate the rest.
The Globe's official number: 211,044 and counting. In addition to the addition, fancy technology was used to get a conclusive number:
Dynamic Ventures counted 164,630 dents using multiple algorithms to detect density, radius, size, and depth of the dimples. Some spots had been hit at least six times, they said.
The best parts of the post were the guesses of Boston players, current and past, which included a funny moment with Hall of Famer Carl Yastrzemski, whose career spanned both Monsters:
Asked to guess the number of dents, he asked the reporter to get a calculator.
“Geez and you’re just counting the new wall?” he said. “Let’s see — BP (batting practice), probably would get hit by both the teams probably 100 times. In a game, 10 times. 210 x 81. Multiply that out (646,380).”
Yaz isn’t done.
“A lot of times a high fly ball that scrapes the wall, it’s not going to make a dent,” he observed. “I’ll bring it down to 400,000.”
Dustin Pedroia is the player who guessed "10 million," with "300-400" per day in batting practice (which seems a little high. But perhaps it's 1 million?
Roger Clemens wouldn't even venture a guess at first:
"Oh, you got no chance," he said.
What else is comparable with counting Green Monster dents from around the majors?
• Soaked home runs in the Kauffman Stadium fountains.
• Roof shots at Tiger Stadium and old Comiskey Park.
• Rooftop home runs outside of Wrigley:
• McCovey Cove splashdowns.
• Warehouse hits at Camden Yards.
• Window shots, or third-deck shots, at Rogers Centre.
• Rays tank dunks at Tropicana Field.
• River blasts at PNC (Allegheny), or Great American (Ohio).
Nothing quite like the Monster, though.
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