Thursday, October 9, 2008

History and Current Notes on Teams in Championship Series

Boston Red Sox: In 1901, the American League, led by Ban Johnson, established a competing club in Boston. For seven (7) seasons the AL team wore dark blue stockings and had no official nickname. They were simply the "Bostons" or the "American Bostons" as in American League.

Boston being a two-team city, their 1901-07 shirts, both home and road, simply read "Boston." Except for 1902 when they sported a large letter "B" and "A" for Boston of the American League.

The temporary decision by the Boston National League team to drop the color red from their uniforms led to a history-making decision:

"Red Stockings had been part of all Boston NL teams up to 1907, but Fred Tenney, the NL clubs' manager, told Peter F. Kelley, baseball writer for the Boston Journal, he'd abandon the red stockings in favor of white stockings, because of the danger that colored stockings might cause leg injuries to become infected. (Gee, I wonder if he thought the world was flat.)

Kelley wrote a story condemning Tenney for parting with the National League club's tradition and the next day, John Irving Taylor, Boston AL club president, told Kelley, "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."

The name Red Sox is non-standard english for "Red Socks" and short for "Red Stockings."

The familiar "Red Sox" first appeared in 1912, coincident with the opening of Fenway Park.
Brooklyn/Los Angeles Dodgers. When in Brooklyn they were originally known as Trolley Dodgers but once they moved to Los Angeles and there were no trolleys to be dodged they were simply referred to as the Dodgers.

Philadelphia Phillies. 'They've been Phillies or Quakers ever since the team entered the National League in 1883.' Phillies or Phils is a short form of Philadelphians.

Bob Carpenter acquired the Phillies in the late fall of 1943. The following spring, a new name, "Blue Jays" was selected in a fans' contest. (BBG) This change never caught on with the general public, especially as the uniform shirts continued to say Phillies, albeit with a blue jay shoulder patch. That experiment was dropped after a couple of years.

Tampa Bay Devil Rays. Came into the American League in 1998.
The team's logo included an illustration of a manta ray, also known as a devilfish or devilray. Although the creature (like the team for which it is named) has proven to be mostly harmless. (Exact words of Wikipedia!)

As of 2007, one version of their home uniforms said "Rays," and there were no versions that said "Devil Rays," although a patch of the manta ray was used. They were called the D-Rays in much the same way as Arizona's Diamondbacks were referred to as the "D-Backs." We have a society that is always looking to abbreviate something to save time because other things that eschew their time is so much more important.

In the August 25, 2008 edition of ESPN magazine in a column referred to as Page 2 had this as #4 of the BIG 10. MLB: Giddy out West. They love Manny in LA, and why not? He likes to leave in the 6th inning too.
#5. MLB: Stunned Back East.
Brian Cashman: The Rays will fade, right?
Theo Epstein: They have to, don't they?
J.P. Ricciardi: You two are pathetic.
Continued on Page 2 is the history of Take Me Out to the Ball Game.

It's been 100 years since Jack Norworth, an anchor from Philly, wrote the words to "Take Me Out to the Ball Game." On the New York City subway, no less. Paired with the melody by a shoe salesman Albert (no, not Al Bundy) Von Tilzer.

When the song was written in 1908, neither Norworth nor Von Tilzer had attended a major league game. The lyricist did make an appearance when the Trolley Dodgers played at Ebbets Field on June 27, 1940- it was "Jack Norworth Day."

The song inspired a 1949 musical starring Gene Kelly and Frank Sinatra.

The Marx Brothers' A Night at the Opera has a scene in which the orchestra accidentally plays "Take Me Out to the Ball Game."

In 1896, the mixture of peanuts, popcorn and molasses took its name from a slang term for anything "very good." It has been in ballparks since 1907, except for a 16-day window in 2004, when the Yankees switched to Crunch'N-Munch. Fans cried out and the Bronx located team switched back.

The year "Take Me Out to the Ball Game" was released the song was number #1 on the charts for 7 weeks-longer than any other song that year. Those who have recorded it include Haydn Quartet, Der Bingle Crosby, Frank "ole blue eyes" Sinatra, Billy Joel, Aretha Franklin, the Boston Pops and Donald Duck.

In 1927, Norworth created a second edition of the song. The chorus was unchanged but the little-known verses involved a differently named heroine. Some say this is because Norworth got divorced that year. Others claim the decision was financial-by creating a new song, he extended the copyright 95 years.

1908 version:
Katie Casey was baseball mad/ Had the fever and had it bad/ just to root for the hometown crew/ ev'ry sou/Katie blew/On a Saturday her young beau/ called to see if she'd like to go/to see a show, but Miss Kate said "No./I'll tell you what you can do" (Chorus)

Katie Casey saw all the games/knew the players by their first names/ told the umpire he was wrong/all along/good and strong/when the score was just two-to-two/Katie Casey knew what to do/just to cheer up the boys she knew/she made the gang sing the song. (Chorus)

1927 version.
Nelly Kelly loved baseball games/knew the players, knew all of their names/you could see her there every day/shout "Hurray"/when they'd play/Her boyfriend by the name of Joe/said "To Coney Isle dear, let's go"/then Nelly started to fret and pout/and to him, I heard her shout: (Chorus)

Nelly Kelly was sure some fan/she would root just like any man/ told the umpire he was wrong/ all along/ good and strong/ when the score was just two-to-two/Nelly Kelly knew what to do/just to cheer up the boys she knew/she made the gang sing the song (Chorus)

Chorus: Take me out to the ball game
Take me out with the crowd
Buy me some peanuts and Cracker Jack
I don't care if I never get back
Let me root, root, root for the home team
If they don't win it's a shame
For it's one, two, three strikes you're out
at the old ball game.

(thanks to Wikipedia and ESPN magazine, August 25, 2008 edition)

Kevin Marquez