May 22, 2012

Photographs Of Turn Of The Century Boston Baseball

Michael T. McGreevey, saloon owner and baseball fan, lived the classic American success story. Born the son of an Irish immigrant day-laborer, McGreevey opened his first bar in 1894. His establishment soon became the headquarters of the Boston Royal Rooters, the rabid and riotous fans of Boston’s professional teams, the Boston Nationals, also known as the Braves, and the Boston Americans, later to be known as the Red Sox. We don’t know when McGreevey hung the first photos on the walls of his saloon, creating one of the first sports bars in Boston, but by 1916, he had hundreds of baseball photos festooning his establishment.

But with the passage of the 18th Amendment prohibiting the sale of alcohol and inaugurating the Prohibition Era, McGreevey was out of business. Always entrepreneurial, McGreevey looked to lease his bar and found a willing tenant in the Boston Public Library. The City of Boston signed a lease for $91.66 a month and in 1923 the Roxbury Crossing branch was opened. In the same year, McGreevey formally gave his collection of baseball photographs to the Boston Public Library. As a result of McGreevey’s generosity, the Boston Public Library now owns one of the most important collections of early baseball images in the United States.

The collection consists of early Boston baseball photographs dating from 1875 to 1916. Represented are many of the most important ballplayers of the 19th and early 20th century including Cy Young, Ty Cobb, Mike “King” Kelly, Kid Nichols and many others. Also included are panoramic photos of the ballparks of the era including the Huntington Avenue Grounds in Boston and the Polo Grounds in New York. The centerpiece of the collection is a series of photographs related to the first World Series in 1903 between Boston and Pittsburgh. Featured are photographs of the fans of the Boston team, the “Royal Rooters” and their leader Michael T. “Nuf Ced” McGreevey.

Boston Red Sox players on automobile tour in Los Angeles, 1911

Connie Mack, Manager and owner of the Philadelphia Athletics, 1912

Michael T. McGreevey and the Nuf Ced Team. McGreevey poses with members of the Nuf Ced Team, an amateur squad that he sponsored.

Boston Rooters Batboy, 1912 World Series. Jerry McCarthy was the bat-boy for the Boston Red Sox. The Boston Red Sox won the World Series beating the New York Giants.

Opening Day for the Boston Americans, 1904

The Pittsburgh Pirates in the dugout at the Huntington Avenue Grounds, 1903 World Series

The Boston Royal Rooters return from Pittsburgh, 1903 World Series

Boston Policemen pose in dugout at the Huntington Avenue Grounds, 1903 World Series. The caption refers to the riot between the Royal Rooters and the Boston Police when the Police attempted to clear the overflow crowd from the field before the start of game three. Taken before game eight on October 13, 1903.

Boston Royal Rooter beating a drum, 1903 World Series

John McGraw and Christy Mathewson, New York Giants, 1911 World Series

Young fans climb pole next to Huntington Avenue Grounds, 1903 World Series

Boston Red Sox at Spring Training, Arizona, 1911

Interior of Third Base, Michael T. McGreevey's Saloon where all the photo hung. Unofficial headquarters of the Boston Royal Rooters at 940 Columbus Avenue in the Roxbury Crossing neighborhood. The saloon was located near both the South End Grounds and the Huntington Avenue Grounds.

The Boston Royal Rooters at the Huntington Avenue Grounds, 1903 World Series

McGreevey and Red Sox players at Spring Training in Hot Springs, Arkansas

Fans scaling the wall at the Huntington Avenue Grounds, 1903 World Series

Boston Americans and Pittsburgh Pirates,1903 World Series

Fans outside the Huntington Avenue Grounds, 1903 World Series

Cubs vs White Sox, 1906 World Series. Chicago Cubs first baseman Frank Chance, slides safely into first as Jiggs Donahue of the Chicago White Sox tries to apply the tag. During World Series game at West Side Grounds.

Boston Red Sox Spring Training in Little Rock Arkansas. Left to right: Railing, Killian, pitcher Ralph Glaze, Michael T. McGreevey, pitcher Cy Young, pitcher Rube Kroh, and trainer Charlie Green in front.

Napoleon Lajoie and Honus Wagner shake hands, 1904. Hall of fame infielders shake hands in Cleveland. Lajoie was a second baseman for Cleveland and Honus Wagner a shortstop for the Pittsburgh Pirates.

Detroit Tigers, Champions of the American League in 1907

King George V attends his first baseball game

John I. Taylor, owner of the Boston Americans, ca. 1905. Taylor, son of Boston Globe publisher Charles Taylor, owned the Boston American League Team from 1904 to 1911. While the team did not win the World Series under his direction, he renamed the team the Boston Red Sox in 1907 and started construction of Fenway Park in 1911.

First Baseman Stahl and Owner McAleer at Spring Training, 1912

The Boston Rooters watch a foul ball, 1903 World Series

Michael T. McGreevey, owner of photo collection and Boston baseball fan. Saloon owner and Boston baseball fan, Michael T. "NufCed" McGreevey



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