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The Historic Tale of Michael "Nuf Ced" McGreevey, the Royal Rooters, "Tessie", and Red Sox Nation

Updated on December 6, 2013
McGreevy's Bar, 3rd Base, was the first documented American sports bar with the clever moniker, "Your last stop before home."
McGreevy's Bar, 3rd Base, was the first documented American sports bar with the clever moniker, "Your last stop before home."

For those of you who have never heard of Michael T. "Nuf Ced" McGreevey, it is a tale that truly must be known. It spans more than 100 years and includes two famous songs, the first American sports bar, the Boston Red Sox, the history of Red Sox Nation, which has become a large following all over the globe, and the supposed "Curse of the Bambino".

This story begins in Roxbury, Boston originally one of the first towns founded in the early Bay Colony back in 1630. It was annexed to Boston in 1846 and became a neighborhood where today places like Jamaica Plains reside. It was around the 1890s when this tale begins with a man named Michael T. McGreevey and a group of men who called themselves the Roxbury Rooters.

Micheal T. McGreevey

Michael T. McGreevy with is amateur baseball team Nuf Ced.
Michael T. McGreevy with is amateur baseball team Nuf Ced.

McGreevey was an avid baseball fan. In fact, he was a baseball fanatic. In those days they were called "cranks" instead of fans. He used to watch Boston baseball at the old Huntington Avenue Grounds that featured the then Boston Americans, which later became the Boston Red Sox in 1908. He loved his team and baseball so much that he opened his bar, which was named 3rd Base. He also cleverly advertised his establishment at the stadium with the saying "3rd Base, your last stop before home!"

It was a wildly popular place, especially with the group that had formed known as the Roxbury Rooters or the Royal Rooters as they were later known, of whom McGreevey was a member, who had adopted it as their unofficial headquarters. It was here at 3rd base, a bar donned with sports memorabilia galore and actually the first example of an American sports bar, where they would sit and argue, or debate, about sports. This bar also featured a manual scoreboard outside that McGreevey would update constantly.

It was also there at 3rd Base that M.T. McGreevey got his famed nickname "Nuf Ced" for slamming his fist down on the table in between arguments and shouting "Nuf Ced"! This began around 1890 and interestingly ended in 1918(more on that later).

A photo of an original "Tessie" song card, shows some of the famed lyrics.
A photo of an original "Tessie" song card, shows some of the famed lyrics.

This was an amazing phenomenon in and of itself. However, this story only gets better from here. They loved their team so much that they would travel together on the road to other ball parks to cheer on their beloved Boston teams. They sometimes even brought instruments and would cheer in unison with pre-written rhymes and sing their favorite song, "Tessie" to drive the other team's players and of course fans mad

This song was the favorite of the Rooters and was taken from a musical titled, The Silver Slipper. It was sung by the Rooters over and over again and definitely had a positive impact on their team's success.

They became so famous for this that they had been featured in newspapers in other areas and became somewhat stars for the love of their team. They even went so far as to storm the gates of a game that had been sold out, busting in to see their favorite squad.

The End of the Rooters and the Disappearance of Tessie

During the time the Royal Rooters as they later became known, were together their favorite team from Boston, which held several different names over that time, won multiple pennants and World Series titles.

They disbanded in 1918 and were never heard from again. Interestingly this was the year that both the Red Sox traded Babe Ruth away as well as the last time the Red Sox won a title that century. Many believed their championship drought was due to "The Curse of the Bambino", but surprisingly there was an even more bizarre connection to "Nuf Ced", the Royal Rooters, and the song "Tessie", which had disappeared along with their championships the same year. It in fact had nothing to do with Babe Ruth at all.

Back Home at Last

The Dropkick Murphys debut a song called "Tessie" as the Red Sox played the Yankees at Fenway in July of 2004.
The Dropkick Murphys debut a song called "Tessie" as the Red Sox played the Yankees at Fenway in July of 2004.

Fast forward to 2004, July 24th to be exact. It was a day that would become legend. It had been 86 years since the Red Sox had won a championship and things were not looking good. They were down 10 games to the Yankees in the standings and were playing their hated rivals on their home field that afternoon.

Before the game, the Dropkick Murphys, a local band, were preparing to debut their new song titled "Tessie". This song was a song about the Royal Rooters, "Nuf Ced" McGreevey, the old Huntington Grounds, and in addition was a song about the old song, which included some of the original lyrics.


A photograph of M.T. McGreevey
A photograph of M.T. McGreevey
Red Sox team Captain, Jason Varitek, smashes Yankee 3rd baseman, Alex Rodriguez in the face during a heated argument.
Red Sox team Captain, Jason Varitek, smashes Yankee 3rd baseman, Alex Rodriguez in the face during a heated argument.
A brawl that ensued after Varitek and Rodriguez started fighting.
A brawl that ensued after Varitek and Rodriguez started fighting.
The Red Sox celebrate an ALCS series victory after an unlikely 4-3 series win after being down 0-3 to their hated rivals, the Yankees in 2004.
The Red Sox celebrate an ALCS series victory after an unlikely 4-3 series win after being down 0-3 to their hated rivals, the Yankees in 2004.

The Power of Tessie

Here are the some of the lyrics;

Tessie is the Royal Rooters rally cry
Tessie is the tune they always sung
Tessie echoed April through October nights
After serenading Stahl, Dinneen and Young
Tessie is a maiden with a sparkling eye
Tessie is a maiden with a love
She doesn't know the meaning of her sight
She's got a comment full of love

And sometimes when the game is on the line
Tessie always carried them away
Up the road from "Third Base" to Huntington
The boys will always sing and sway

Two! Three! Four!

Tessie, "Nuf Ced" McGreevey shouted
We're not here to mess around
Boston, you know we love you madly
Hear the crowd roar to your sound
Don't blame us if we ever doubt you
You know we couldn't live without you
Tessie, you are the only only only

The Rooters showed up at the grounds one day
They found their seats had all been sold
McGreevey led the charge into the park
Stormed the gates and put the game on hold
The Rooters gave the other team a dreadful fright
Boston's tenth man could not be wrong
Up from "Third Base" to Huntington
They'd sing another victory song

The Rooters gave the other team a dreadful fright
Boston's tenth man could not be wrong
Up from "Third Base" to Huntington
They'd sing another victory song

Don't blame us if we ever doubt you
You know we couldn't live without you
Boston, you are the only only only
Don't blame us if we ever doubt you
You know we couldn't live without you
Red Sox, you are the only only only

Once the song was unveiled the crowd roared as song would revitalize Boston. The teams took the field with Bronson Arroyo on the mound. During that game, Yankee Alex Rodriguez got upset and began jawing at Arroyo. Just then, Jason Varitek, new team captain, came to the defense of his pitcher and smashed Rodriguez in the face. This started a bench clearing brawl that will go down as one of the great moments in Boston Red Sox history. When it was all said and done the Red Sox had won the game.

They eventually came storming back after having been hanging by a string to close the 10 game deficit on the Yankees and make the playoffs that year. They would again meet in the ALCS, where the Yankees would take a 3-0 lead. However, the power of "Tessie" and the ghost of "Nuf Ced" McGreevey would come back to haunt the Yankees and lift his beloved team to the greatest comeback in MLB history as the Red Sox defeated their hated rivals 4-3 in an amazing comeback.

An original pin displays the famous quote by McGreevy
An original pin displays the famous quote by McGreevy

Nuf Ced

The Red Sox would go on to beat the St. Louis Cardinals and collect their first title in 86 years. The last time they had won was 1918, which was also the last time the Royal Rooters and Tessie were around. It had been debuted again in 2004, when they interestingly happened to win again. Tessie would become the official theme song of the Boston Red Sox who would go on to win 2 World Series titles that decade, more than any other team.

And that concludes the story of M.T. McGreevy, the Royal Rooters who were the original Red Sox Nation, the first American sports bar, the Boston Red Sox, and the song "Tessie".

Nuf Ced!

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    • MarkRFox profile image
      Author

      MarkRFox 4 years ago

      Yes, they are on top, once again! Since "Tessie" has re-emerged, the Boston Red Sox have become the most successful franchise this century in the major leagues with 3 titles since 2004.

    • profile image

      John A Gosselin 4 years ago

      Nuf' Ced must be smiling again, where ever his spirit resides, with his beloved Red Sox once again, on top of the baseball world!

    • MarkRFox profile image
      Author

      MarkRFox 5 years ago

      Thanks for reading and commenting. I am especially glad it was interesting and enjoyable to a non basball fan, which means it is a great story to begin with. Grazie

    • Charlu profile image

      Charlu 5 years ago from Florida

      Great hub and I'm not a baseball fan but you caught my attention and kept it. Great story and I love the way he named the bar Third Base and called the fans "cranks"

      Funny, interesting, and up