Tuesday, August 15, 2006

Past as Prologue: Red Sox Vs Yankees

Another summer weekend. Another time of joy and heartbreak for fans of the Red Sox of Boston and the Yankees of New York. Where THE GREAT RIVALRY began is known. But where it will end no one knows.

The Boston Red Sox came into existence in 1901 and remained one of the most successful of all baseball franchises through the first 19 years of the team's existence. They were known briefly as the Americans and Somersets and then Pilgrims. Boston won the first "modern" World Series in 1903 and repeated as champions of the American League in 1904.

But the rough and cynical manager of the New York Giants John J. McGraw - born in Truxton, New York , one of nine children of a father who was a nine dollar a week railroad man - refused to allow his team to face Boston in post-season action. The Giant manager deemed the American League an inferior organization. He wasn't right about everything despite his often saying he was.

By the early 1910s the nickname for the Boston American League team was the Red Sox. They moved into Fenway Park in April, 1912, and that initial campaign in the little ball park was a momentous one. Boston captured the American League pennant and won the World Series.

Those were the glory years for Boston's Red Sox. In 1915, 1916, and 1918 the franchise repeated as pennant winners and won post-season championships. Those teams were built around a great pitching staff and terrific hitting especially from the outfield of Tris Speaker, Harry Hooper and Duffy Lewis. The rest of the supporting cast fit in quite well.

Manager Bill Carrigan, Boston manager from 1913-16, made the most of his pitchers like Joe Wood, Carl Mays, Dutch Leonard, Herb Pennock, Waite Hoyt, Ray Collins. Pitcher Babe Ruth was on the scene for the 1915,1916 triumphs.

The New York Highlanders (they officially became the New York Yankees in 1913) were a sad counterpoint to the attractive, successful and glamorous Red Sox. In their first 16 years of existence, the New Yorkers finished under .500 eight times, and last in the league twice.

After the Red Sox won the 1916 World Series, Harry Frazee, a former Peoria, Illinois billposter, purchased the club from Joe Lannin. All agreed that the future looked bright for Frazee and the Bostons.

"Nothing is too good," declared Frazee who hadn't even paid Lannin for the purchase of the team, "for the wonderful fans of the Boston team." Hub zealots should have taken Frazee at his word. For as the future was to show time and time again - Frazee meant exactly what he said.

He had a home in Boston, but Frazee's main residence was on Park Avenue. He had made the comment that the "best thing about Boston was the train ride back to New York." A show business wheeler-dealer who owned a theater on 42nd Street in Manhattan, close by the New York Yankees offices, Frazee was a gambler. And he was always hustling, scuffling about for a buck, always overextended in one theatrical deal or another.
And the rest . . .as the cliché goes . . . is history.

HIGHLY NOTABLE: If you are a baseball fan who loves good reading, good photos, good stuff - then you must be a reader of the new, exciting and wonderful magazine:"108" Baseball history, culture, and community are all in its pages. And so is your faithful scribe!
Go now to its website for more info and to subscribe. http://108mag.com/
Tell them that Harvey sent you.

No comments: