Thursday, October 21, 2004

How the Red Sox came to be called the Red Sox

Blogger Ann Althouse: "I enjoyed waking up listening to 'Morning Edition' covering Bostonians in a bar watching the Red Sox win the final playoff game. ... I loved all the great curse-is-lifted lines that flowed out of the fans, like 'God changed his jersey.'"

That said, the Boston Red Sox only came to be called the Red Sox because the club's owner, John I. Taylor, could not resist a cheap publicity stunt.

Boston's National League club, then called the "Nationals," traditionally wore red stockings. But Fred Tenney, the Nationals' manager, believed that the red dye caused lower leg injuries—i.e., spikings—to become infected, and in early 1907 he announced that the club would henceforth wear white stockings.

Peter F. Kenney, the Boston Journal's baseball writer, was a traditionalist. He was outraged by Tenney's decision--and he aired his outrage in great detail in his newspaper column.

At that time the Americans (or the "Pilgrims" or the "Puritans"--no particular nickname had yet been established) wore blue trim, but the very next day owner Taylor told Kenney: "Here's a scoop for you. I am going to grab the name Red Sox, and the Boston American League club will wear red stockings."

Or so the story goes.