The Major League Baseball postseason officially kicks off today, which is fitting because it was on this day in 1903 that Boston’s Huntington Avenue American League Base Ball Grounds played host to the first game of the first World Series.
The 1903 World Series was the first meeting between the 27 year old National League and the fledgling, two year old American League. When the American League arrived on the scene, there was a bit of a war between the leagues, with each one trying to steal each other’s most talented players and in a few cases entire teams. Eventually, the two leagues reached a peace, and talk began about a possible interleague championship series. By the start of September of 1903, the Boston Americans of the American League and the Pittsburgh Pirates of the National League had both already locked up their respective league championships. So, in mid-September the two champion clubs agreed to face each other in a best-of-nine championship series.
This World Series featured a few future Baseball Hall of Famers, including Pirates veteran Honus Wagner and 36 year old Americans pitcher Cy Young. The series itself was highly entertaining. The Pirates won three of the first four games, but the Americans came back to win the next four, making them the first World Series champions.
Baseball’s great, but that’s not really what I want to talk to you about. No, I want to tell you about a song called “Tessie.” The story goes that part of the Americans’ victory was thanks to a group of Boston fans who called themselves the Royal Rooters. It is said that the Rooters distracted the Pirates fans by loudly singing the unofficial Americans team song, a little ditty called “Tessie” from the 1902 Broadway musical The Silver Slipper. The Americans, now going by the name Red Sox, would go on to win the World Series in 1912, 1915, 1916 and 1918. However, as any Boston sports fan can tell you, the Red Sox then went on an epic 86 year championship drought during which they suffered one magnificent postseason collapse after another.
In 2004, Quincy, Massachusetts based punk band the Dropkick Murphys released a reworked version of “Tessie” that now told the story of how the Royal Rooters sang the Americans on to victory. The Dropkicks said that they hoped that their version would “bring back the spirit of the Rooters and to put the Red Sox back on top” and would you believe it; later that year the Boston Red Sox became World Series champions for the first time since 1918.
So, as the baseball playoffs begin, I propose a toast to the first World Series champs, the Royal Rooters, the Dropkick Murphys and baseball fans everywhere with a Boston Cocktail. It’s a gin based cocktail that’s not as harsh as the typical gin cocktail, largely because the apricot brandy and grenadine help sweeten the mixture.
- 1 1/2 ounces Dry Gin
- 1 1/2 ounces Apricot Brandy
- 1/4 ounce grenadine
- 1/2 ounce lemon juice
Shake with ice and strain into a chilled cocktail glass.
Tomorrow: Good grief!