Wednesday, February 25, 2009

A Counterpoint to Dan's Curse Nonsense

Here is a book I have not read except for the excerpt in the link. "It Was Never About the Babe", subtitled "The Red Sox, Racism, Mismanagement and the Curse of the Bambino", is an attempt to see the history of the Red Sox as not the product of mystical powers but the product of deeply embedded racism.

A key article in debunking the curse is Glenn Stout's "A 'Curse' Born of Hate."

Leigh Montville's "The Big Bam" partially counters some of the issues raised by Stout. You can check out the whole mess on the 'Curse of the Bambino' wikipedia page.



girlanachronism said...

Haven't read the book either, but that Stout article should be required reading for every Boston Red Sox fan. I read it in the program they hand out at Fenway a few years ago. Good show by the team to publish it.

Jerry M. Gutlon said...

Among those interviewed for It Was Never About the Babe were Glenn Stout, Dick Johnson, Clark Booth, George Kimball, Bruce Allen, Tony Massarotti and John Molori, along with more than fifteen Red Sox, past and present, including Luis Tiant and Curt Schilling.

I trace the genesis of the book to several pieces written by Stout for; Stout and Johnson's Red Sox Century, and a column I wrote while sports editor at the Griffin (Ga.) Daily News after the Sox won the 2004 World Series, entitled, "Curse? Bah, humbug! What Curse?"

Again, you can read an excerpt of the book by clicking on my name above this posting. There's also a terrific review posted on

ObjectiveBruce said...

The idea that the Curse was anything other than a metaphor has been debunked repeatedly, but we now have a cottage industry developing among people who seem to think they need to "disprove" it.

Fact is, when Ruth was sold, he had already started a revolution in baseball and was the game's most prolific hitter. He was sent to New York in a cash transaction. It was a terrible trade at the time and many accounts at the time reacted negatively to the transaction. The particular use to which the money was put by Frazee is entirely irrelevant, he was the owner of a baseball team and dumped the best player in baseball without helping his club at all.

The trade was, in fact, denounced at the time, even as the club tried a technique now well-used by the Henry regime of slandering a star who had outlived his usefulness.

Ruth launched the first Yankee dynasty; his departure rendered the Red Sox spectacularly noncompetitive -- for the entire duration of Ruth's stay in New York, the Sawx never finished closer than 23.5 games out of first place and made it to .500 only in Ruth's final season in New York. The average season saw the locals finishing an average 40 games out.

I realize the Frazee apologists are providing what must seem like manna to the Shaughnessy haters who either never understood the concept of the 'curse' book or who like to pretend that it was meant literally in order to mock Shaughnessy. However, the Ruth deal was defining moment in club history -- and the transaction was inspired by greed, an undeniable fact despite the protests from the Harry Frazee Rehabilitation Society. Money, none of which was used to improve the ballclub, was also the factor in the trade of Carl Mays, the trade of Joe Dugan, the trade of Herb Pennock all to New York.

Jerry Gutlon said...

Subjective Bruce...

Your points are completely fallatious.

To begin with, only ONE daily newspaper in Boston found fault with the trade.

Read the book.

By the way, you also might want to read Shaughnessy's book again, since it is rife with misinformation. But Dan never saw fit to correct any of it ... even though it's in its 21st printing.

And Danny Boy ignored at least FOUR requests for interviews while I was writing It Was Never About the Babe.

But, like Dan, why let the FACTS get in the way.

dbvader said...


OB has little time for these "facts" that you speak of.

Jerry Gutlon said...

You're right db...

All Brucie would have to do is read the short form ... Glenn Stout's marvelous piece for

Jerry Gutlon said...

Oh, OB...

While I'm at it, I'm not remotely stupid enough to think that Shank really believed in a "curse." But, as Curt Schilling astutely told me, "It was one man's cash cow. Period."


Chris said...

You mean a newspaper hack could write a book that is rife with misinformation? Perish the thought! I have three words for Mr. Brillo Pad: 'Rocky Mountain News.'

Jerry Gutlon said...


I would very much like to pen a guest column regarding the scads of misinformation in Danny Boy's "book."

If nothing more, it'll piss Subjective Bruce off. Pleaes contact me at the e-mail address I previously supplied.

ObjectiveBruce said...

I may make the occasional slip, but my facts are generally dead-on. Inconvenient and uncomfortable for some, I understand.

Hopefully his prose in a book is a bit better than the vulgarity offered here. I'll take a look, but so far don't see much beyond what we've already seen from Howard Bryant, Al Hirshberg or even Dave Egan.

Hopefully, too, he offers more than Stout's bizarre claim that trades involving tens of thousands of 1920s dollars flowing to Boston from New York in exchange for very good ballplayers were not one-sided. There's more than the $100K for Ruth. Carl Mays had won 61 games in three years with Boston, he was traded for a guy who had won 21 games over three years, another who had a single big-league victory, and $40K cash. Dugan and another regular were swapped for a utilityman, a pitcher with one major league victory, a pitcher with arm miseries and $50K. Pennock had won 54 games over four years and was dealt for a player with 78 lifetime at-bats, a pitcher with four lifetime wins and a player with six lifetime hits -- and $50K.

That's $240,000 in early 1920s money in an era when minor league stars could be freely bought. But Frazee was busy taking a team that won 101 games the year he bought it and made it a 91-game loser the year he sold out.

Yes, Ban Johnson was a soundrel, Tom Yawkey was a racist, Pinky Higgins was a drunk, Bob Quinn was undercapitalized, and 1920s Fenway Park was a dump. This is not new. But aside from 1946-50, nothing much went well until Dick O'Connell's second term as general manager and the dreary years were a continuation of the disaster that was Frazee's ownership.

Oh, and is there anything to the claim that the original version of "No, No Nanette" opened in 1919 and only became a hit after a lot of money was spent re-working it? Maybe some citations to original scripts and the papers of the people who wrote it would be helpful.

Jerry Gutlon said...


Carl Mays jumped the team (as did Ruth .. twice during his final season in Boston), leaving Frazee no other option but to trade him. And Ban Johnson tried to stop the trade, with the Yankees finally securing Mays' services via an injunction.

Oh, and the Mays trade took place before the sale of Ruth. And, do you know why Joe Dugan was called, "Jumpin' Joe?" It wasn't because of his fielding prowess ... it was because he constantly jumped his contracts. Hmmm ... see a pattern here?

To the largest extent, Frazee sold off his best players because he knew he wasn't going to win his power struggle with Johnson, who -- from the very first -- made it his mission in life to drive Frazee from the game ... because he wrongly believed Frazee was a Jew.

As the son of a Jew myself (I'm a half-a-Yid), I'm particularly sensitive to prejudice ... because the very first time I was exposed to it was the result of my father being Jewish ... even though I was Protestant.

If there's any vulgarity I've entered into in my posts on the Dan Shaughnessy Watch, it's the above statement.

The real vulgarity is that you seem to take Dan's book as gospel. Trust me, it's NOT. Not by a long shot. He's the modern day Dave Egan (see: Schilling, Curt, treatment thereof).

You have passed judgement on my book without reading a paragraph. Hmmm ... sorta sounds like ... Dan!

I spent almost four years, all told, researching and writing It Was Never About the Babe, probably nearly four times as much as Dan spent researching (??!!??) The Curse of the Bambino.

And did you, by any chance, notice that Shaughnessy doesn't cite any sources for his claims, except for Fred Lieb, who has been widely discredited for his vaporous and made-up assertions?

Oh, and while I'm at it, Dick O'Connell was in his second full year of serving as general manager when the Sox won the pennant in 1967. And, just for your information, Frazee had several hit plays between the time the Ruth sale went through in January 1920, and the time Nannette debuted in September 1925 ... two years after Frazee sold the team.

But, let's not let facts stand in the way.

Again, the reader can click on my name above to read an excerpt from It Was Never About the Babe. And, Brucie, while I'm at it, you might want to go to the Accolades section of my website and read about how a REAL reporter approaches a critical NEWS story...hah!

Happy trails, Bruce...

mike_b1 said...

Well done, Jerry.

ObjectiveBruce said...


The issue was and is Frazee's constant peddling of front-line players to New York and receiving little more than money in return as the quality of his ballclub declined rapidly.

The timing of Mays vs. Ruth is entirely irrelevant; both transactions were part of a larger pattern and the Ruth deal was the biggest in the series, perhaps the biggest in the history of organized baseball, and thus the basis for the invention of a "curse" as a literary device.

Frazee made trades with other clubs, not just New York and Chicago. Post-Mays player deals were made with Washington, Cleveland, and Detroit and players were bought or sold in transactions with other teams.

Still, with all that cash, Frazee could have bought quality players from National Association teams, some of which lived off the money they made selling players. That kind of transaction may have prevented his team's descent into the far recesses of the second division. I see no evidence that Frazee spent much at all to improve the team after getting money in return for his stars.

You really ought to check facts before attempting corrections.

Dick O'Connell was in his second term, and fourth full season, as general manager of the Red Sox in 1967, having served in that capacity for the entire 1961 and 1962 seasons (replacing Bucky Harris) before being reassigned as the VP for business administration when Pinky was kicked upstairs to make way for Johnny Pesky as manager. O'Connell was reappointed in Sept. 1965 when Higgins was sacked. You could look it up.

Players jumped teams in the days of the National Commission, and not just in Boston. In the case of Mays, Johnson attempted to enforce a suspension that he ordered served prior to a trade being made; that's what the temporary restraining order permitting Mays to play was all about, the "injunction," was issued in October and had to do with an attempt by the owner of the Tigers to have his team declared the third place team so its players could share in the World Series money by having Mays victories for New York nullified since there had been no final adjudication of the validity of the suspension, only a restraining order to prevent further harm to New York while the matter was litigated.

You also jump to the unjustified conclusion, that I "have passed judgement on my book without reading a paragraph." In reality, when I said "so far don't see much beyond what we've already seen from [...]," I was clearly referring to the publicly available excerpt (which, for a tome that took a reported four years to research, seems afflicted with a dearth of footnotes, but perhaps you covered that a chapter note.)

I've seen the list of sources you offer, a good number of them sportswriters and commentators. If you are trying to debunk the curse (to use dbvaders' term), then it might have been appropriate to use primary source materials -- such as the actual papers filed in the Mays litigation; original source material, and not secondary or anecdotal information on the history of No No Nanette and Frazee's play producing business (although you seem intent on merely dismissing the claim that No No Nanette was a reworking of a flop that debuted in 1919.)

As for Shaughnessy, his Curse book never been presented as a definitive or authoritative baseball history, nor do I take it as gospel. A good part of it repeats legend. However, the Red Sox slide through the middle of the 20th Century was deep and it was long-lasting and it began when Frazee took a team that had won 101 games and turned it into a team that lost 91 games. You could look it up.

If, in fact, the troubles of the Red Sox lie in deeply embedded racism, and I believe a good part of it does, you might want to give some attention to writings about that very topic which appeared under Egan's byline.

I'm not sure what Shaughnessy's purported treatment of Schilling has to do with anything, other than to make clear, once again, that the criticism of Shaughnessy is based mainly on his lack of devotion to Our Heroes.

Jerry M. Gutlon said...


Again, you haven't a clue.

My research includes:

(Only a ...) Selecte Bibliography


Adomites, Paul, ed. Cooperstown: Baseball’s Hall of Famers. Lincolnwood, Ill.: Publications International, 1999.
Alexander, Charles C. Ty Cobb. New York: Oxford University Press, 1984.
Allen, Maury. Jackie Robinson: A Life Remembered. New York: Franklin Watts, 1987.
Angell, Roger. Game Time: A Baseball Companion. Orlando, Fla.: Harcourt, Inc., 2003.
_______. Late Innings. New York: Simon and Schuster, 1982.
_______. Season Ticket, Boston: Houghton Mifflin Company, 1988.
Appel, Marty and Matt Winick, eds. The Illustrated Digest of Baseball. New York: Stadia Sports Publishing, 1973.
Asinof, Eliot. Eight Men Out. New York: Holt, Rinehart and Winston, 1963.
The Boston Red Sox. Official Media Guides, various editions.
_______. Official Scorebook Magazine, various editions.
_______. Official Yearbook, various editions.
Boswell, Thomas. How Life Imitates the World Series. New York: Penguin Books, 1982.
Bryant, Howard. Shut Out: A Story of Race and Baseball in Boston. Boston: Beacon Press, 2002.
Clemens, Roger and Peter Gammons. Rocket Man. Lexington, Mass.: Stephen Greene Press, 1987.
Coleman, Ken and Dan Vaneti. The Impossible Dream Remembered. Lexington, Mass.: Stephen Greene Press, 1987.
Creamer, Robert. The Legend Comes to Life. New York: Simon and Schuster, 1974.
Davis, Mac. Baseball’s Unforgettables. New York: Bantam Books, 1966.
_______. The Greatest in Baseball. New York: Scholastic Books, 1962.
Epstein, Beryl and Sam Epstein. Stories of Champions. New York: Scholastic Books, 1963.
Frommer, Frederick and Harvey Frommer. Yankees vs. Red Sox: Baseball’s Greatest Rivalry. New York: Berkeley, 2002.
Gammons, Peter. Beyond the Sixth Game. Boston: Houghton Mifflin, 1985.
Goldman, Steven, ed. Mind Game: How the Boston Red Sox Got Smart, Won a World Series, and Created a New Blueprint for Winning. New York: Prospectus Entertainment Ventures, 2005.
Golenbeck, Peter. Dynasty: The New York Yankees 1949-1964. Englewood, N.J.: Prentice-Hall, Inc., 1975.
_______. Fenway. New York: G.P. Putnam and Sons, 1992.
_______. Red Sox Nation. Chicago: Triumph Books, 2005.
Grossman, Leigh. The Red Sox Fan Handbook. Cambridge, Mass.: Rounder Books, 2005.
Gutman, Dan. Baseball Babylon. New York: Penguin Books, 1992.
Halberstam, David. Summer of ’49. New York: William Morrow and Company, 1989.
_______. The Teammates. New York: Hyperionbooks, 2004.
Harrelson, Ken and Al Hirshberg. Hawk. New York: The Viking Press, 1969.
Helyar, John. Lords of the Realm. New York: Ballantine Books, 1994.
Higgins, George V. The Progress of the Seasons. New York: Prentice Hall Press, 1990.
Hirshberg, Al. What’s the Matter with the Red Sox? Cornwall, New York: Dodd, Mead and Company, 1973.
Holley, Michael. Red Sox Rule: Terry Francona and Boston’s Rise to Dominance. New York: HarperCollins Publishers, 2008.
Honig, Donald. The Boston Red Sox. New York: Prentice Hall Press, 1990.
Kahn, Roger. October Men. New York: Harcourt, Inc., 2003.
Kaiser, Ken and David Fisher. Planet of the Umps. New York: St. Martin’s Press, 2003.
Keene, Kerry and Raymond Sinibaldi and David Hickey. The Babe in Red Stockings. Champaign, Ill.: Sagamore Publishing, 1997.
Kiersh, Edward. Where Have You Gone, Vince DiMaggio? New York: Bantam Books, 1983.
King, Stephen and Stewart O’Nan. Faithful. New York: Scribner, 2004.
Langguth, A.J. Patriots: The Men Who Started the American Revolution. New York: Touchstone. 1988.
Laurila, David. Interviews from Red Sox Nation. Hanover, Mass.: Maple Street Press, 2006.
Lee, William F. and Dick Lally. The Wrong Stuff. New York: Viking Press, 1984.
Lindberg, Richard. Who’s on Third? The Chicago White Sox Story. South Bend, Ind.: Icarus Press, 1983.
Linn, Ed. Hitter: the Life and Turmoils of Ted Williams. New York: Harcourt Brace & Company, 1993.
_______. Inside the Yankees: The Championship Year. New York: Random House, 1978.
Lieb, Frederick. The Boston Red Sox. New York: G.P. Putnam and Sons, 1947.
Mantle, Mickey and Mickey Herskowitz. All My Octobers. New York: HarperCollins Publishers, 1994.
Massarotti, Tony. Dynasty: The Inside Story of How the Red Sox Became a Baseball Powerhouse. New York: St. Martin’s Press, 2008.
McLain, Denny and The Sporting News. Strikeout: The Story of Denny McLain. St. Louis, Mo.: The Sporting News Publishing Co., 1988.
Montville, Leigh. The Big Bam: The Life and Times of Babe Ruth. New York: Doubleday, 2006.
Morgan, Joe and David Falkner. Joe Morgan: A Life in Baseball. New York: W.W. Norton and Co., 1993.
Mnookin, Seth. Feeding the Monster: How Money, Smarts, and Nerve Took a Team to the Top. New York: Simon & Schuster, 2006.
Murdock, Eugene. Ban Johnson: Czar of Baseball. Westport, Conn.: Greenwood Press, 1982.
Nash, Bruce and Allan Zullo. Nash & Zullo’s Believe it or Else!! New York: Dell Publishing, 1992.
Neft, David S. et al. The Boston Red Sox Fan Book. New York: St. Martin’s Griffin, 2002.
Nemec, David. Great Baseball Feats, Facts and Firsts. New York: New American Library, 2004.
O’Connor, Dick. Reggie Jackson: Superstar. New York: Scholastic Books, 1975.
Ortiz, David and Tony Massarotti. Big Papi: My Story of Big Dreams and Big Hits. New York: St. Martin’s Press, 2007.
Piersall, Jimmy and Al Hirshberg. Fear Strikes Out. Boston: Little Brown, 1955.
Rampersad, Arnold and Rachel Robinson, Jackie Robinson. New York: Alfred A. Knopf, Inc., 1997.
A.J. Reach and Company. The Reach Official American League Baseball Guide. Philadelphia: A.J. Reach Company, 1902.
Reynolds, Bill. Lost Summer: The ’67 Red Sox and the Impossible Dream. New York: Warner Books, 1997.
Riley, Dan, ed. The Red Sox Reader. Thousand Oaks, Calif.: Ventura Arts, 1987.
Ritter, Lawrence. The Glory of Their Times. New York: Macmillan, 1984.
Robinson, Ray, ed. Baseball Stars of 1960. New York: Pyramid Books, 1960.
_______. Baseball Stars of 1969. New York: Pyramid Books, 1969.
_______. Baseball Stars of 1970. New York: Pyramid Books, 1970.
Ross, Alan. Echoes from the Ball Park. Nashville, Tenn.: Walnut Grove Press, 1999.
_______. The Red Sox Century: Voices and Memories from Fenway Park. Nashville, Tenn.: Walnut Grove Press, 2004.
Roth, Allan, ed. 1967 Who’s Who in Baseball. New York: Harris Press, 1967.
Rust Jr., Art. Get that Nigger off the Field. Los Angeles: Shadow Lawn Press, 1992.
Seidel, Michael. Ted Williams: A Baseball Life. Chicago: Contemporary Books, Inc., 1991.
Shaughnessy, Dan. The Curse of the Bambino. New York: Dutton, 1990.
_______. One Strike Away. New York: Beaufort Books, 1987.
_______. The Legend of the Curse of the Bambino. New York: Simon & Schuster, 2005.
_______. Reversing the Curse: Inside the 2004 Boston Red Sox. New York: Houghton Mifflin Company, 2005.
Simmons, Bill, Now I Can Die in Peace. New York: ESPN Books, 2005.
Simon, Scott. Jackie Robinson and the Integration of Baseball.” John Wiley & Sons, Inc., Hoboken, NJ, 2002.
Smith, Robert. Babe Ruth’s America. New York: Crowell Publishing, 1974.
The Sporting News. The Sporting News Official Baseball Guides, various editions.
Stout, Glenn and Richard A. Johnson. Red Sox Century. New York: Houghton Mifflin Company, 2004.
Stout, Glenn, ed. Impossible Dreams: A Red Sox Collection. New York: Houghton Mifflin Company, 2003.
Stump, Al. Cobb. Chapel Hill, N.C.: Algonquin Books, 1994.
Tygiel, Jules. Baseball’s Great Experiment. New York: Oxford University Press, 1983.
Various. The Rivals: The Boston Red Sox Vs. The New York Yankees. New York: St. Martin’s Press, 2004.
Vecsey, George. A Year in the Sun. New York: Random House, 1989.
_______. Baseball: A History of America’s Favorite Game. New York: Random House, 2006
Wagenheim, Kal. Babe Ruth: His Life and Legend. New York: Praeger Publishers, 1974.
Walton, Ed. Red Sox Triumphs and Tragedies. New York: Stein and Day, 1980.
Waterman, Ty and Mel Springer. The Year the Red Sox Won the Series. Boston: Northeastern University Press, 1999.
Williams, Dick and Bill Plaschke. No More Mr. Nice Guy. New York: Harcourt, Brace and Jovanovich, 1990.
Williams, Ted and John Underwood. My Turn at Bat. New York: Simon and Schuster, 1969.
_______. The Science of Hitting. New York: Simon and Schuster, 1971.
Wood, Allan James. 1918: Babe Ruth and the World Champion Boston Red Sox. Lincoln, Nebraska: Writers Club Press, 2000.
Wood, Bob. Dodger Dogs to Fenway Franks. New York: McGraw-Hill Book Company, 1988.
Yastrzemski, Carl and Al Hirshberg. Yaz. New York: Viking Press, 1968.


Baseball Magazine
Boston Baseball
Boston Magazine
Sports Illustrated
The New Yorker
The Saturday Evening Post
TV Guide

On-line Resources


A 2004 Boston Red Sox World Series Ring, courtesy of Red Sox vice chairman Les Otten
Exhibit A
The Boston Phoenix
The Massachusetts Historical Review
The Sporting News


The Boston American
The Boston Daily Record
The Boston Globe
The Boston Herald
The Boston Herald-American
The Boston Morning Journal
The Boston Post
The Boston Record American
The Boston Times
The Boston Transcript
The Boston Traveller
The Daily Commercial
The Georgetown (S.C.) Times
The Griffin Daily News
The New York Daily News
The New York Post
The New York Times
The (North Andover) Eagle-Tribune
The Patriot Ledger
The Portland (Me.) Press Herald
The Providence Journal
The Scrantonian
The (Attleboro) Sun Chronicle
The Worcester Telegram & Evening Gazette

Dan's bibliography included ... oh, wait! He didn't HAVE a biblbiography. Oh, shucks!

Egan wrote a couple of pieces about the nearly aborted tryouts of Jackie Robinson, Sam Jethroe and Marvin Williams (whom your hero Dan called "Williamson"), probably the high point of Egan's journalistic career.

Ruth, after bullying Frazee into signing a new, 3-year contract at $10,000 per year beginning in 1919, demanded a new "new" contract at $20,000 per year, whereupon Frazee sent him to the Yankees.

If you researched some of the subsequent trades Frazee made, most writers at the time agreed with them, and a statistical analysis of their potential gave the nod to the Red Sox.

Dick O'Connell was appointed general manager of the club on Sept. 16, 1965. My research indicates that Pinky Higgins served as GM in 1961 and 1962 -- not O'Connell.

And my so-called "dearth of footnotes" is due to the fact that, in the vast majority of cases, I provided attributions within the text of the book ... and was extremely careful in doing so.

There's no doubt in my mind that Glenn Stout and Dick Johnson (see: Red Sox Century, among others) are perhaps the pre-eminent historians to recount the definitive history of the Sox.

And, your boy Shaughnessy provided NO SOURCES whatsoever in his fable, The Curse of the Bambino. But, apparently, that's fully acceptable in your eyes. And, just FYI, I spent three weeks in the belly of the Boston Public Library last May doing my best to verify the assertions I had essentially drawn.

Not only that, but, in many cases, if I came across dissenting views to those conclusions I'd come to, I qualified them BY INCLUDING THEM in my manuscript.

Imagine that! Holy cow!

The Schilling reference was simply intended to illustrate how Danny Boy slandered Schilling in much the same way that Egan slandered Ted Williams.

I'll betcha you never bother to read the "Ode to Jerry Gutlon" that can be accessed by clicking on my name above. That wieghed a HELLUVA lot more than ANYTHING I could EVER write about sports.

And, one last thing, OB, old buddy, if you're so certain about the stances you take, why not use your REAL NAME instead of a pseudonym? I'm using mine.

Anonymous said...


I've been a travelin for a while.

Just now catching up with the daily Shanks.

Seems like Mr. Gulton is spot on.

The best "typist" in town didn't use a "biblio", how typical of the laziest scribe of the Globe.

Cain't wait to get to the truth.

My money is on Gulton.


ObjectiveBruce said...

Great. A list of secondary sources.

If you're going to claim to rewrite history without use of primary source material, your work is not going to have the authority to accomplish your goal. I've read a good number of the works you cite. I also note that Hirshberg's article for the Saturday Evening Post and subsequent book What's The Matter With The Red Sox are significant omissions from the secondary sources, especially in light of the fact that the first quoting of Higgins' "N" comment seems to have been in Hirshberg's reporting (and his papers were donated to the BPL but apparently eluded your fingertips while in the belly of the BPL.)

It is my understanding that your research on O'Connell is wrong. He was GM after Harris was fired while Pinky was the field manager. Stout and Johnson ignore O'Connell I, but curiously do not refer to Higgins as holding both the field manager and general manager's jobs simultaneously -- which he would have had to do to make your chronology work. Moreover, had Higgins managed to drink Yawkey into enough of a stupor to claim both titles, it would be signficant consolidation of power on the baseball side worthy of greater attention as it would have given this avowed racist power to not only acquire players, but to encourage their development and use on the field. Higgins' first trade set the tone; he acquired Dick Stuart, a the quintessential white no-field, high-strikeout slugger, the prototype for an inefficient ballplayer which the locals were notoriously enamoured for years.

For someone who writes for a living, you make rather curious use of the word slander.

Frazee's trades involving large sums of money from New York were disasters; only the acquisition of O'Doul had even potential and he apparently didn't have sources to whisper that the lefthander's arm was dead. It's undeniable that there were players with National Association clubs that could have been bought with the Yankee cash, but Frazee reinvested little, just as the slide of the team under Frazee, and for decades after Frazee, is similarly undeniable.

It is not my intent to compare you and Shaughnessy; his was not a history but an extended commentary built around a premise -- a premise that many people seem more intent on dousing with water more because of who wrote it than for what it says. The zeal with which Shaughnessy is attacked often seems based primarily on his opinions; he doesn't treat Our Heroes with luv, luv, luv and it drives emotionally overextended fanboys insane.

I did read the Ode, and I'm embarrassed for you as I can think of little worse than an intra-newsroom encomium making it into print at a 25,000 daily which, presumably, has "helluva" and "betcha" in its stylebook.

As for my name, it's really not important; you're trying to sell something and I am not.

Jerry M. Gutlon said...


Oh, my...

You da man!


Howard Bryant said...

Hello gents,

I was just alerted to this thread so take into account:

1) I have not yet read the book.
2) But I will very soon.

I do, however, take issue with the Amazon product description that this is "The first book to tell the entire story of why the Red Sox are now a dynasty--and what kept them from winning for more than eight decades. For years, Red Sox fans were told that their team was cursed because the Sox sold Babe Ruth to the hated Yankees. But as Jerry Gutlon reveals in It Was Never About the Babe, there is much more drama to Red Sox history than the “Curse of the Bambino.”"

First, the combination of Glenn Stout's 2000 Red Sox Century and my 2002 book Shut Out deal with the race issue directly. I noticed Mr. Gutlon referenced both books in his bibliography and still chose to refer to his book as the first to deal with the racial history of the Red Sox. This is not a way to gain admirers. Nor is it very accurate, coming from a journalist.

Secondly, the "Curse" narrative existed for less than a dozen years before being dealt with directly, especially by Glenn Stout.

Scholarship builds upon scholarship. Mr. Gutlon may have produced a valuable work that adds to the story of the Red Sox and the history of the club. At the very least, this book comes seven years after the first full treatment of the Red Sox and its treatment of black players, and a full nine after Glenn Stout. It was our two books that changed the narrative _ and the willingness of the club and the press to discuss the issue with anything resembling candor.

So, let's be a little careful about our advertising, shall we?

Sincere good luck to Mr. Gutlon and his project.

Howard Bryant