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Boston Red Sox History: Origins

Updated on July 15, 2011
The front of Fenway Park facing Yawkey Way.
The front of Fenway Park facing Yawkey Way.
Huntington Avenue Grounds
Huntington Avenue Grounds

The league is often called the Junior Circuit because it was elevated to Major League status in 1901, 25 years after the formation of the National League (the "Senior Circuit").

Through the 2009 season, the Yankees have won the most American League pennants (40), followed by the Athletics (15), Red Sox (12), and Tigers (10). Likewise, the Yankees have also won the most World Series (27), with the Athletics second with nine, the Red Sox third with seven and the Tigers fourth with four.*

Neil Diamond Opening Day Fenway 2010

Collins joined the Boston Red Sox in 1901 as a player and a manager.
Collins joined the Boston Red Sox in 1901 as a player and a manager.
1903 World Series - Boston Americans
1903 World Series - Boston Americans
1903 World Series: Boston Americans vs. Pittsburgh* Pirates
1903 World Series: Boston Americans vs. Pittsburgh* Pirates
The Huntington Avenue Grounds during a game. Note building from which the famous 1903 "bird's-eye" photo was taken.
The Huntington Avenue Grounds during a game. Note building from which the famous 1903 "bird's-eye" photo was taken.
Young currently holds the Major League records for most career innings pitched (7,355), most career games started (815), and most complete games (749).
Young currently holds the Major League records for most career innings pitched (7,355), most career games started (815), and most complete games (749).
Tris Speaker
Tris Speaker

BOSOX: Beginnings

The storied franchise was founded in 1901 as one of the original 8 American League teams.

Prior to 1908 the team was named the Red Stockings named by owner John Taylor. As one might guess the name referred to the Red Hose worn by the players after the 1907 season.

Red Sox roots go back all the way to 1867 with the Cincinnati Red Stockings who were then a member of the National Association of Base ball Players.

When the team folded post 1870, manager Harry Wright was hired to form a new team in Boston.

He brought with him 3 players from the Cincy squad along with the team nickname of Red Stockings. The successful franchise, were winners of 4 of 5 seasons of the First Professional League, the National Association.

They later became known as the Boston Braves, until the team moved to Milwaukee then finally Atlanta.

Fast forward to 1901; enter the upstart American League. The original 8 consisted of

Baltimore Orioles,

Boston Americans,

Chicago White Stockings,

Cleveland Blues,

Detroit Tigers,

Milwaukee Brewers,

Philadelphia Athletics,

Washington Senators.

For 7 seasons the Boston Americans had bandied numerous nicknames in an attempt to distinguish them from the National League Boston counterparts.

The "Bosox", whom actually wore blue stockings auditioned nicknames such as the Bostonians, Somersets, Beaneaters, Plymouth Rocks & Pilgrims to name but a few.

“The Pilgrims At Home” written by Edwin Fitzwilliam was sung at the 1907 home opener (“Rory O’More” melody). John I. Taylor had said in December 1907 that the Pilgrims “sounded too much like homeless wanderers”. *

Finally, at the end of the 1907 season, the National League Boston rivals changed to an all white uniform. They became the Braves thus providing the AL team the opportunity to adopt the RED SOX logo across the front of their shirt uniform.

The Sox played their home games at the Huntington Avenue Grounds led by their Manager/Third Baseman star Jimmy Collins and Icon CY Young.

In 1903 they won their first pennant and beat the favorite Pittsburgh Pirates comprising the First Modern day World Series, 5 games to 3.

The Sox followed with another pennant victory in ’04.

In the 1904 pennant race between the Sox and the surprise contenders, New York Highlanders, the NY Giants decided their city rivals were of a Minor league quality opponent and refused to play in a World Series.

As it turned out, the Sox won on a wild pitch winning the pennant at Hilltop Park on the last day of the season. The Giants maintained their refusal to participate thereby concluding the season without a World Series.

Fenway Park opened in 1912 and is currently the oldest venue used in professional sports today.

* Wikipedia

1912 Boston Red Sox
1912 Boston Red Sox

1913 to 1916: Sox owner J. Lannin era

Ruth pitching for the Red Sox in 1914, at Comiskey Park in Chicago
Ruth pitching for the Red Sox in 1914, at Comiskey Park in Chicago

These successful times soon ended, however, as Bostonlost 100 games in 1906. However, several new star players helped the newly renamed Red Sox improve almost immediately.

By 1909, legendary center fielder Tris Speaker had become a fixture in the Boston outfield, and the team worked their way to third place. However, the Red Sox would not win the pennant again until their 105-win 1912 season.

The Red Sox beat the New York Giants 4–3–1 in the classic 1912 World Series


Part 2 of the series on the history of the Boston Red Sox: The Ruthian Era, now available for your enjoyment.


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    • profile image

      Peter K.M. 

      7 years ago

      Cincinnati Red Stockings vs: Boston Red Stockings on the Boston Common Field. Denny Wright, Great Grandson of George Wright will be there. After game a visit to the Wright house in Dorchester, where George die 164 years ago.

    • gjfalcone profile imageAUTHOR


      8 years ago from Gilbert, Arizona

      As a long time fan I really enjoyed researching the history of the sox. I hope to bring it through present day eventually. The 1975 team with Freddy Lynne may have been my fav Sox team. I'm looking forward to uncovering some nuggets during that era. THX. for the feedback.

    • Tom T profile image

      Tom T 

      8 years ago from Orange County, CA

      Go Sox! Great Hub.


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