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Red Sox History:Ruthian Era 1914-60

Updated on November 18, 2011

July 11,1914: Ruth debut

Harry Frazee

Tom & Jean Yawkey

Ted Williams

1914 through 1960

It was on this date in 1914, George Herman Ruth made his pitching debut for the Boston Red Sox at Comiskey Park in Chicago. He appeared in a total of five games that year, signed by the short term owner, Joe Lannin. He was optioned to the minors until securing a spot with the big league team, the following Spring Training Season. Harry Frazee bought the Sox in 1916 for half a million dollars. Thus marks the emergence of drama and possibly the greatest rivalry within sport ever to be told.

It all began in 1917 while on the mound; Ruth took exception with the umpire’s strike zone. Ruth’s decided to throw a haymaker at the ump, similar to “Big Poppy’s” foray this past weekend. Although it didn’t do any damage, it’s sufficient to scare the hell outta the man on the receiving end. Thus we have the basis for the curse of the Bambino. Suffice it to say, Ruth was plagued by self discipline problems throughout his career.

Can you imagine having to put up with, say a modern day Manny Ramirez on your club? In any event, December 26th, 1919, Frazee had enough of Ruth’s antics and the rest is history. Although legend has it, he sold Ruth to finance a Broadway Play, “No No Nanette”, truth be told, Ruth wanted a significant raise, double his previous salary. Frazee’s interest seemed to favor the December 1919 play on Broadway needing finance “My Lady Friends.” The Broadway play widely held for this sale being “No No Nanette” did not debut until 1925.

Beginning in 1920, Harry Frazee made it clear he was getting out of the Baseball business. He began liquidating his star players in some of the most outrageous one sided trades in history. From 1925 through 1932 the Bosox were losing, on average, 100 games per year. Considering the success they had prior to, as well as during the Ruthian Era, they were flat out, sold out by Frazee. Finally the Boston faithful were granted relief, as Tom Yawkey bought the club in ‘33. Let the healing and building process begin; with the acquisition of legends Joe Cronin, Lefty Grove, Wes Ferrell and yes…Jimmy Foxx, thus brought respect back to BoSox Baseball. Tom Yawkey laid the ground work toward correcting the wrongs of Harry Frazee. It wasn’t so much the curse of the Bambino. It was indeed instead the curse of Broadway Harry.

In 1939, arguably the greatest Baseball player in the history of the game comes to town, and you learn from your mistakes. The “Ted Sox era” is born, and in all of its glory, Ted Williams signs from the minor league Padres. An interesting point of fact, the Right field Bullpens are widely held to be designed for “Teddy BallGame’s” swing. Prior to Ted Williams’ emergence upon the scene, the distance to Right Center was 400 feet, thus the term “Williamsburg” was born. Yet, the lack of a championship eluded the Boston faithful throughout the “Ted Sox” era which ended at the end of the 1960 season.

On Deck ,The Yaz years…


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    • cebutouristspot profile image


      6 years ago from Cebu

      I seen a lot of movies about the red sox but none as detail as you have written here. Very informative and a job well written :D Voting Up

      Thanks for sharing.

    • Billrrrr profile image

      Bill Russo 

      6 years ago from Cape Cod

      gif....that Yankee rivalry thing is way over rated. It was invented by the baseball writers. Most New England fans respect the yankees in the same way boxing fans respected the Frazier-Ali, and the Ward-Gatti fights. And believe me, many of us start rooting for the Yanks, if the sox fall out and New York is still in the hunt.

    • gjfalcone profile imageAUTHOR


      6 years ago from Gilbert, Arizona


      Thanks for the kind words, fore I fear they may be the last I hear from you. Nonetheless, here goes.

      I get this question alot. Not from the perspective of one whom presently resides in Arizona though.

      Let me say, in 1975 my fav player in the league was Fred Lynne, hands down. At that time I was unaware of the 'Fan hatred' of the Bosox/Yankee rivalry. Therefore I enjoyed watching each series, because they always lived up to my great expectations. Simply, if the Yankees didn't win I rooted for the Sox. I choose not to take part in hating fans whom have a historic rivalry with a team I feel as strongly about as Bosox feel about their team.

    • Billrrrr profile image

      Bill Russo 

      6 years ago from Cape Cod

      Nice job, but how does someone living in Arizona become a fan of Boston teams? Were you persuaded to leave the "North End" for the promise of gold out West?


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