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We all know about the Bleacher Creatures at Yankee Stadium. If you ever sat in the  Bleachers at the Stadium then you know what they’re all about. They are loud, tough, boisterous,  have their own set of rules and code of behavior, you don’t mess with them, & having said all that they’re pussy cats compared to what the Royal Rooters were like in their heyday.

   And who were the Royal Rooters?

   In the early part of the 1900s The Boston Pilgrims (also known as the Somersets, and later to become the Boston Red Sox) played in a very nice wooden stadium known as the Huntington Avenue Grounds. Surrounding the park within a five block radius were several bars and the most famous of them all was the “Third Base Saloon.” 

   It’s proprietor was a burly, well known figure in the Boston area. His name was Michael “Nuf Ced” McGreevey and you didn’t mess around with him.

   The Third Base Saloon was three blocks away from the Huntington Avenue Grounds and everyone  came there, including politicians, Pilgrims fans and ballplayers, entertainers, union leaders, blue collar workers, intellectuals, radicals…..everyone!

   When things would get out of hand, McGreevey would step up to the bar and in a booming, authoritative voice would call out, “Nuf Ced”, thump his hand on the counter, and the crowd would settle down.

   Almost everyone there were Pilgrims fans which brings us to the Royal Rooters.

   One day a lively discussion was going on about the merits of the Boston club and one fan yelled out, “Boy we sure is loyal rooters.” Another fan picked up on that and added, “How about we is Royal Rooters?”

McGreevey heard that, liked it. and formed a group of around 15 people who called themselves, “The Royal Rooters” and a legend was born.

   They went to practically every Pilgrims home game. They could also be seen and heard at many of the away games as well. At their peak they numbered close to over 200 fans. To try to compare them to the present day Bleacher Creatures is a joke. Here is a typical day at the park for the Rooters:

   Arriving well before game time they would stand in front of the main entrance and harass (push, shove and knock down) any fan trying to get in that they deemed to be rooters for the opposing team. At this point many of them were drunk (it would be worse later on). Inside the park they would fight with themselves and nearby fans who took exception to their remarks. And their remarks usually took account of somebody’s mother, sexual practices, the so called legitimacy of your birth, and various functions of your body and lack of functions as well. The Umpire was their bitter enemy. He could do no right as far as the Pilgrims were concerned. There would be very few games when they wouldn’t come rushing down onto the field and rough up the umpire for some call that went against Boston. Opposing players would be manhandled as well! Most of the time, after an incident of this sort, some of the Rooters would end up in jail. They would usually be set free the next day because of the political connections that McGreevey had around town.

    When the Rooters were first formed they looked around for a song they could use to rally their team along. One of the hit songs from that period was a piece from a popular musical which was playing in Boston. The song was called “Tessie” and it  remained the rallying cry for Boston even after the Rooters disappeared from sight in the early thirties.

    Let’s jump ahead to January of 2005. Boston has finally won the World Series. Johnny Damon, Branson Arroyo, and other Red Sox players have gotten together with a local rock group, taken “Tessie”, added a few new words to the song, given it a rock beat, and recorded it again. It did OK in Boston but never caught on again with the fans. I guess you can’t go back to the past………but you can certainly write and read about it.

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