Harvey Frommer / Yankees
Red Sox Flashback: The First World Championship
By Harvey Frommer
With the Sox on the cusp of winning another World Series, with fans all over New England savoring the time, a look back to 1912 provides a marvelous historical treat.
Business in Boston virtually shut down on September 23,1912 as 100‚000 cheered the Red Sox returning from a western trip by train into South Station. So popular and so successful were the Sox that on the Boston Common, Mayor “Honey Fitz” Fitzgerald gave the team the keys to the city.
That 1912 team was loaded with talent, especially pitching. In addition to 34 game winner Joe Wood, Buck O’Brien and Hugh Bedient were 20 game winners.
Boston posted a home record of 57-20, .740 winning percentage. Winning a record 105 games, losing just 47, the Red Sox glided to the American League pennant. Their competition in the World Series was the Giants of New York.
Additional wooden bleachers were in place in center and right-center. Seats on the slope cost one dollar, the same as for the left field bleachers.
Speaker, Lewis, Wood, and Stahl,
Bradley, English, Pape, and Hall,
Wagner, Gardner, Hooper, too;’
Hit them! Hit them! Hit them! Hit them!
Do boys, do.
The word in the street was that if John J. McGraw’s
Giants could beat Joe Wood, they could win the series. Before the opening game, Wood received death threats in
But the 22-year-old right-hander who threw “smoke” was not the type to be intimidated. Pitching and prevailing, 4-3, in Game One at the Polo Grounds going the distance, striking out eleven Giants, Wood stood up to all challenges. After the game, he said: "I threw so hard I thought my arm would fly right off my body."
The Royal Rooters followed the
team to the Polo Grounds and back to Fenway Park as the series alternated
between both venues. On October 15th, as the Royal Rooters
prepared to take their seats at Fenway for the seventh game of the World
Series, they discovered their usual accommodations had been sold out from under
them, a consequence of some box office confusion. The Rooters made up their
mind that without them, there would be no game. Ignoring pleas that they leave
the ballpark, their bands blaring “Tessie,” they remained in place until their
“stay-in” was resolved by ranks of mounted police who swept across the field,
nudging them out of the park. One Royal
Rooter, as disoriented as he was disenchanted, tumbled over the right-field
fence on his way out and bellowed "To hell with Queen
Game Eight was for the world championship -- October 16th at
New York scored a run in the top of the tenth.
now the ball settles,” The New York Times reported. “It is full
and fair in the pouch of the padded glove of (Fred) Snodgrass. But he is too
eager to toss it to
Engle reached second base. Harry Hooper was robbed of a hit when Snodgrass made a nifty grab of his long drive. But Engle moved to third base. Yerkes walked. Speaker singled. Engle scored. And the game was tied. Duffy Lewis was walked intentionally, loading the bases. Third baseman Larry Gardner belted a deep fly ball to Josh Devore in right field. Yerkes tagged up and scored.
And the Red Sox had their second world championship. Fred Snodgrass' error would go down in history as "the $30,000 muff," the difference between the winning and losing shares for the two teams in the series. And brand new Fenway Park was off to a glorious start.
A professor for more than two decades in the MALS program at Dartmouth College, Frommer was dubbed “Dartmouth’s Mr. Baseball” by their alumni magazine. He’s also the founder of www.HarveyFrommerSports.com. Mint, signed, discounted Frommer books are available from the site.