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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 nineteen 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 postseason action.

The Giants 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 postseason 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 and 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 bill poster, 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.

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You can reach Harvey Frommer at:   

Email:  harvey.frommer@Dartmouth.EDU 

About the Author:

Harvey Frommer is in his  38th year of writing books. A noted oral historian and sports journalist, the author of 42 sports books including the classics: "New York City Baseball,1947-1957" and "Shoeless Joe and Ragtime Baseball," his acclaimed REMEMBERING YANKEE STADIUM was published in 2008 and his REMEMBERING FENWAY PARK: AN ORAL AND NARRATIVE HISTORY OF THE HOME OF RED SOX NATION was published to acclaim in 2011.  The prolific Frommer is at work on When It Was Just a Game, An Oral History on Super Bowel One. 

His work has appeared in the New York Times, Los Angeles Times, Washington Post, New York Daily News, Newsday, USA Today, Men's Heath, The Sporting News, among other publications.

FROMMER SPORTSNET (syndicated) reaches a readership in the millions and is housed on Internet search engines for extended periods of time.
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Harvey Frommer along with his wife, Myrna Katz  Frommer are the authors of five critically acclaimed oral/cultural histories, professors at Dartmouth  College, and travel writers who specialize in cultural history, food, wine, and Jewish history and heritage in the United States, Europe, and the Caribbean. 

This Article is Copyright © 1995 - 2014 by Harvey Frommer.  All rights reserved worldwide.

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