In his new book WHEN BOSTON WON THE WORLD SERIES, acclaimed
Boston Globe sports columnist Bob Ryan does an excellent job
transporting readers back to the fabled Huntington Avenue Grounds,
where the first modern World Series took place in 1903. He also
brings to life a period when the nation's pastime was revered by
Before Fenway Park was built in 1912, the Huntington Avenue
Grounds, now the campus of Northeastern University, was the
place to see professional baseball in Boston at the time. Ryan
masterfully describes how the Hub was the home of both the Boston
Pilgrims (American League) and the Boston Beaneaters (National
League). He also tells how owners at the time refused to turn away
any fan looking to pay the price of admission and how often crowds
would spill into the outfield and become the actual ground rules
Meanwhile, Ryan illustrates how Tim Murnane, the Globe's
baseball editor at the time, covered the 1903 Boston Pilgrims. By
doing tireless research, Ryan explains Murnane's reporting about
the Pilgrims' preseason in Macon, Georgia, their tremendous run for
the AL pennant and the breathtaking series against Honus Wagner and
the 1903 Pittsburgh Pirates.
This important historical look at the first modern "Fall Classic"
also touches on other legends in baseball 100 years ago. For
instance, Ryan delves into the past of Ban Johnson --- president of
the fledgling American League at the time --- and how Boston's ace
pitcher Cy Young dominated the entire game until he retired at age
44 in 1911. Another Hall of Famer who Ryan mentions and who Murnane
loved to write about at the time was Jimmy Collins. Not only did
Collins play just about every game, he was also the team's manager.
Murnane routinely referred to Collins in the pages of the
Globe as the "Captain" and the team as "Collins'
The book also contains a brief World Series preview written by
Murnane, several photos of players and other important figures, box
scores from the 1903 World Series and complete team rosters.
Although the Red Sox haven't won a World Series since 1918, this
stellar account of Major League Baseball at its infancy and its
impact on the Boston sports culture makes it one not to miss.
Reviewed by David Exum, who works as an online news editor/reporter for bostonherald.com in Boston. He is also a diehard Red Sox fan. on January 24, 2011