As a founding franchise of the American League, at least in its major-league incarnation, the Boston club has had its share of colorful and fascinating owners. Though the club enjoyed considerable on-field success at the beginning of each century, it is perhaps most famous for its 86-year championship drought, a period dominated by its most prominent owner — Tom Yawkey — and his immediate successors.
When Ban Johnson and the American League agreed, in October 1900, to move ahead as a major league, competing directly with the existing and uncooperative National League, Boston was not part of their plans. The original plan was to relocate the Indianapolis, Minneapolis, and Kansas City franchises to Washington and Baltimore, which had recently lost National League teams, and Philadelphia, which would join Chicago as a two-league city. The Boston Beaneaters had long been a National League power and had won five of the previous 10 league pennants. Johnson likely believed that putting a team in Philadelphia would anger the NL enough without adding Boston to the grievance.
That same winter, plans were afoot to create a new American Association, which would work co-operatively with the National League. Word soon reached Johnson that the Association planned to put a team in Boston, and this, along with the NL’s hostility to the AL’s earlier announced plans, caused his change of heart regarding Boston. At an early January 1901 meeting to formalize plans for the coming season, the league decided to drop Buffalo and add Boston immediately. Charles Somers, the AL vice president who was already financially backing the Cleveland, Chicago, and Philadelphia clubs, once again opened his checkbook.1
Somers, born and raised in Cleveland, had just turned 32 when this was all happening, but he had already become a millionaire in coal mining and shipping in the Great Lakes region. His primary interest was in the Cleveland club, but he (temporarily) divested himself of his Cleveland interests because he and Johnson were unable to find local owners in Boston. After a search conducted by a group that included Connie Mack, Hugh Duffy, and Tommy McCarthy, Somers leased a plot of land in the western part of Boston and built (in two months) the Huntington Avenue Grounds, just across a railroad yard from the National League’s South End Grounds. Somers installed Joseph Gavin as business manager and stayed away from the day-to-day management of the team, spending most of his time in Cleveland. Understanding that team nicknames were largely a newspaper invention in those days, the media and fans often referred to the new Boston team as the “Somersets,” after its owner, though more often as the “Americans.”
The AL owners had agreed to honor National League contracts but not the reserve clause; once a player’s contract (which was almost always one year in duration) ended, the AL considered him available. The top teams in the early years of the AL were therefore the ones best able to entice National League stars to jump to their team. The Americans were fortunate to find a number of disgruntled Beaneaters, and signed Jimmy Collins (who became player-manager), Buck Freeman, Chick Stahl, and Ted Lewis right away. Along with Collins, the Americans landed a second big star with the signing of Cy Young, formerly of the St. Louis Cardinals. Young was 34 but had several great years ahead of him. The Americans finished a strong second in 1901, and (after adding Bill Dinneen from the Beaneaters) third in 1902.
In 1901 the Americans outdrew their National League counterparts by nearly 2 to 1 (289,000 to 146,000), and would beat them at the turnstiles all but seven times in their 52 years sharing the city.2
Prior to the 1903 season some momentous changes came to baseball. Most importantly, the AL and NL made peace, agreeing to work together, settling several ongoing contractual disputes and, most importantly, agreeing to honor the reserve clause. There would be no more raiding of talent. Meanwhile, Somers gave up trying to find a Boston buyer for this team and sold his interests to Henry Killilea, a Milwaukee lawyer and Johnson ally. Accounts differ, but it appears that Killilea had bought into the team the year before. In any case, by 1903 he had the whole club.3 Somers reassumed control of the Cleveland club.
Like Somers, Killilea was an absentee owner, making it to Boston only a handful of times a year. He installed Joseph Smart in Boston to run the team. “I am perfectly satisfied to remain in the game in a financial way and let the men who follow the profession more closely attend to the managing end of the sport,” he reasoned. The Boston fans did not seem to mind, especially when the 1903 club, now often called the Puritans, dominated the league, winning the pennant by 14½ games.
Although Pittsburgh’s Barney Dreyfuss is normally credited with the first World Series between the National and American Leagues, it was Killilea who accepted the offer and agreed to a best-of-nine Series — when Killilea asked Johnson his opinion, the league president told him, “If you think you can beat them, play them.”4 By the time October rolled around the great Pirates club was racked with injuries to its vaunted pitching staff, allowing the Red Sox to prevail five games to three. Young and Dinneen pitched 69 of the 71 innings for Boston.
Despite his club’s great triumph, Killilea was mired in controversy before and after Series. The original plan called for the Pirates and Americans clubs to divide the receipts (the winners receiving more) and for each owner to make his own arrangements with his players. As the Americans’ contracts expired on September 30, the players demanded two weeks’ play plus most of the Series pot (Killilea would get a single share). Killilea had planned to keep all the money, treating it the way he treated the in-season exhibitions then in fashion. For a time it seemed the players would not play at all, but just prior to a deadline imposed by Dreyfuss, the Americans agreed on a plan: The players would receive an extra two weeks’ pay, plus half of the team’s World Series pot.
When the Series was over, the Americans learned that Dreyfuss had given his club the entire Pirates share, meaning that his losing players each received more than the winners. This angered the Boston players and brought considerable ridicule down on Killilea. After dealing with this controversy all winter, in the spring of 1904 Killilea decided to sell. On October 19, the sale was announced.
The buyer was General Charles Taylor, the publisher of the Boston Globe, for a price of $145,000. Taylor bought the club for his son, John I., who was 29 years old but hadn’t really found anything to do in the world other than have fun with his father’s money. He had spent a lot of time at the Huntington Avenue Grounds for the past few years, so his dad figured this might be a good fit. He installed John I. as president and let him run the show.
The largely unchanged Americans repeated as pennant winners in 1904, but the New York Giants, still smarting from the American League’s invasion of New York the previous year, refused to play the Americans in a postseason series. It was not until 1905 that the World Series became an official part of the season. No matter — the Americans had promoted themselves as “World Champions” throughout the 1904 season and continued to do so in 1905.
But the John I. Taylor years were largely unsuccessful for the hometown team. Once the core of the 1903 team aged, Taylor showed no skill at finding replacements. The 1905 team dropped to fourth place, and the next year (thanks in part to a 20-game losing streak) fell to last. Jimmy Collins, their popular player-manager, grew so disgusted with Taylor’s inability to make player moves that he left the team a couple of times and was eventually replaced as skipper by his good friend Chick Stahl. The 1907 season was even worse — starting with Stahl’s suicide during spring training, the team went through four additional managers that year before settling in seventh place.5
Taylor did make two significant positive contributions to the history of the team. The first came before the 1908 season, when he helped design new uniforms, which included bright red socks as part of their outfit for home games. The team would now be known, he declared, as the Red Sox. And the team began to improve.6
With the team in such disarray, the parade of managers began playing youngsters. Tris Speaker came aboard in 1907, Bill Carrigan and Larry Gardner in 1908, then Harry Hooper, Duffy Lewis, Joe Wood, and Ray Collins. Gradually these players became the core of the club, which finished over .500 (though not really in contention) from 1909 to 1911.
As the 1911 season drew to a close, the Taylors made their second major contribution to the club. They agreed to sell half the team to a group handpicked by Ban Johnson that included James McAleer, who had enjoyed a long career as player and manager and was currently the manager of the Washington Senators; and Robert McRoy, secretary to the American League and to Johnson personally. The two new owners were personal friends who hunted together in the offseason. Given that the purchase price for the half-interest was $150,000, and neither new frontman had anything like enough money, Johnson rounded up the necessary investors, with McAleer owning about 10 percent of the club and Chicago banker H.W. Mahan likely owning more. Mahan was the father-in-law of first baseman Jake Stahl (no relation to Chick), and Jake Stahl became the new manager.7
With his money from the sale of half the team, General Taylor bought a parcel of land in Boston’s Fenway district for $300,000, got the city to extend a trolley line into the neighborhood, and issued bonds to fund the construction of a new ballpark on the site. The Taylors were no longer the sole owners of the team, but they were its landlords, leasing the brand-new ballpark, Fenway Park, to the club. McAleer became team president, and John I. Taylor remained on the board as vice president in charge of the ballpark, which he leased from his father. General Taylor made out in another way as well — he was a major shareholder in the Fenway Realty Company, which owned much of the land in the neighborhood that would be served by the new trolley line.8
McAleer’s reign started with what was arguably the greatest team in club history. After opening their shiny new ballpark on April 20, the largely unchanged club went on to finish 105-47, 14 games ahead of the second-place Senators, then claimed its second World Series title. The team was led by the extraordinary play of Tris Speaker (who hit .382) and his best friend, Joe Wood (34-5, 1.91 ERA).
But there was a lot of internal dissension on the club, highlighted by a long-festering feud between the team’s Irish Catholics (led by Duffy Lewis) and Protestants (led by Speaker and Wood). McAleer and Stahl also butted heads often, a dispute that reportedly included McAleer insisting that Buck O’Brien, and not Joe Wood, start the sixth game of the World Series. The Red Sox were up 3-1 in the Series, with one tie, and needed one more victory. O’Brien was battered around, and the club lost that game and the next before winning the final game and the title. All’s well that ends well, but after a slow start the next year McAleer fired Stahl (who he feared was angling to supplant him as president) and replaced him with Bill Carrigan.9
McAleer also made a mess of the World Series tickets, moving the Royal Rooters — his most famous and vocal loyalists — far out into the outfield, causing them to boycott the final game. This turned the fans and press against him, joining half of the players. Ban Johnson, also a close friend of Stahl’s, had grown tired of McAleer and was looking for a way out.
After the 1913 season McAleer joined John McGraw and Charles Comiskey on their round-the-world baseball tour. While they were gone, Johnson arranged the sale of the McAleer/McRoy half of the Red Sox to Joseph Lannin, a native of Quebec who had become a New York and Boston real-estate baron, for $200,000.10 Shortly thereafter, Lannin bought Taylor’s stock as well, spending a reported $300,000 on the latter (indicating that the value of the team had increased, or that some additional debt was settled). Lannin became president, and retained Carrigan as manager.
This three-part panorama shows Fenway Park in its inaugural year, 1912. Courtesy of the George Grantham Bain Collection at the Library of Congress.
Lannin inherited a fourth-place team, but one just a year removed from a championship. The 1914 club won 91 games and finished a strong second to the Athletics but went on to win the next two World Series. The principal addition to the club was a tall brash left-handed pitcher named George Ruth, whom everyone soon called Babe. Ruth finished 19-8 his rookie year of 1915, and followed that up the next season by winning 23 with a 1.75 ERA.
The biggest baseball story of the period was the rebel Federal League, which enticed several established players away from Organized Baseball and drove salaries up dramatically. Like most owners, Lannin dealt with this threat by signing his players to big raises and often for multiple years. When the Feds folded after the 1915 season, Lannin and other magnates reversed course and engaged in massive pay cuts. Joe Wood refused to sign at the new terms, and instead went home and sat out the entire 1916 season. Speaker wouldn’t sign either, so Lannin shocked the baseball world by selling his contract to the Cleveland Indians for two young players (one of whom, pitcher Sam Jones, enjoyed a fine career), plus a record sum of $55,000. This deal made Lannin an enemy in Boston, and he never really recovered his stature.
After winning again in 1916, thanks to an extraordinary pitching staff, manager Bill Carrigan bowed to pressure from his wife to retire and move back to Maine. Lannin, finally tiring of all the abuse, also decided to get out and found a buyer that allowed him to turn a handsome profit for his three years (two of them championships) in charge.
Harry Frazee, a New York-based theater owner, producer and director, and his theater pal Hugh Ward purchased the Red Sox and Fenway Park in November 1916 from Lannin for a total capital obligation of $1,000,000. The duo paid $662,000 for the club itself: $400,000 in cash to Lannin (of which Lannin used $100,000 to repay outstanding loans to parties from whom he had purchased the club) and a three-year note for $262,000, due November 1919. The team had also issued $150,000 of preferred stock held by Charles Taylor, the owner prior to Lannin; Frazee’s new ownership group was now responsible for both the dividend and the eventual principal repayment of this nonvoting equity interest. Frazee’s personal ownership interest in the franchise was 70 percent.11
Additionally, Frazee assumed a mortgage of $188,000 as part of the Fenway Park acquisition. (This was technically an indenture of trust, which is identical to a mortgage in terms of the loan security.) Frazee technically owned the ballpark through Fenway Realty Trust, and the team leased the facility from this company — a fairly typical arrangement between two sister companies. The stock of the Fenway Realty Trust (i.e., Frazee’s ownership interest in Fenway Park) was pledged as security for the $262,000 note.12 Taylor and a couple of associates held the mortgage on Fenway Park; on the sale from Lannin to Frazee, Lannin also apparently joined the mortgagees.13 The precise nature of Frazee’s capital sources is, of course, impossible to reconstruct at this late date, but it is fairly clear that he also borrowed much of his share of the $400,000 in cash necessary to purchase the team.
The purchase by Frazee from Lannin was the first sale of an American League franchise not vetted and approved by American League President Ban Johnson, and the two strong personalities disliked each other from the start. At the time bookies and organized gamblers operated relatively openly in many ballparks, and it was reputedly most blatant in Boston.14 Johnson seized on this gambling problem in Fenway Park in 1917 as a pretext to condemn Frazee. Frazee’s criticism of Johnson’s handling of the war-shortened 1918 season, and his defiance of Johnson’s order to suspend pitcher Carl Mays in 1919 only heightened their open hostility. Frazee, along with White Sox owner Charles Comiskey and Yankees owners Jacob Ruppert and Til Huston, formed an anti-Johnson cabal that threatened to pull the league apart.
Although moderately successful with his theater ventures, Frazee was not earning anything close to enough capital to cover the costs of his baseball team, much less to accumulate substantial wealth. Frazee had two principal sources of theater-related income: the Cort Theatre in Chicago and the production of his own plays, and a detailed accounting of his finances reveals that he was struggling to stay afloat. By 1919 he was often borrowing money from the Red Sox corporation to pay his other commitments.15
In November 1919 the $262,000 principal on Lannin’s note came due on top of his existing strained obligations. Magnifying the problem, Frazeee knew Ban Johnson would gladly use his financial distress to try to lever him out of baseball. Furthermore, Frazee was looking to purchase the Harris Theatre on West 42nd Street in New York, which would cost $410,000, later in 1920. Frazee clearly needed fresh funds — and quickly — to support his two businesses.16
With his financial squeeze mounting, on January 5, 1920, Frazee announced the notorious sale of Babe Ruth to the New York Yankees. For Ruth, Frazee received the record sum of $100,000: $25,000 up front and three promissory notes of $25,000 each at a 6 percent interest rate, due in November 1920, 1921, and 1922. In addition Ruppert gave Frazee a three-month commitment that he would lend him $300,000 to be secured by a first mortgage on Fenway Park. With Ruth dispatched, the Red Sox would not finish in the first division again until 1934. In the meantime, Frazee immediately began trying to borrow against his three $25,000 notes from the Ruth sale.
The re-mortgage of Fenway Park only prolonged Frazee’s need for a steady influx of cash, and over the next few years he became addicted to financial injections from the Yankees owners. Subsequent to the Ruth sale, Frazee sold the rest of his top players to the Yankees for more than $300,000. When the Yankees won their first World Series, in 1923, four of the eight starting position players and four-fifths of their starting rotation had come from the Red Sox. The Red Sox finished last in the American League, and their skeletal remains would be the doormat of the league for many years.
By 1923, Frazee had no more ballplayers to sell, and he decided to sell the entire team. In July 1923, Frazee sold the team for $1,150,000 — $850,000 for the team plus the assumption of Ruppert’s $300,000 mortgage — to a group led by baseball man Bob Quinn and money partner Palmer Winslow.17 Under the terms in the draft contract available in the Harry Frazee Papers, Quinn’s group paid $350,000 down ($150,000 went to pay off Frazee’s refinanced note to Taylor for his preferred stock) and then $500,000 over the next eight years. The increased value of the team, coupled with all of his player sales, almost certainly provided Frazee with a healthy profit for his tenure as owner of the club.
Although Winslow put up the cash, it was Quinn who ran the club. Quinn had a long career running the minor-league Columbus club in the American Association before becoming the general manager of the St. Louis Browns in 1917. Quinn built up this longtime doormat to contention, losing the 1922 American League pennant by just a single game. In 1923, he put together a management team to take over the suddenly terrible Red Sox.
Whatever Quinn’s acumen as a judge of baseball talent, it is clear that he badly underestimated the amount of money he needed to field a competitive team. Winslow took ill in 1924 and stopped contributing money to the club; two years later he was dead. Quinn was forced to redeem much of Winslow’s stock, converting it to debt with Winslow’s widow at 85 cents on the dollar. The 1925 financial statements reflected this new capital structure, with the team’s debt (in addition to the mortgage) jumping from just $25,000 in 1924 to $480,000 in 1925. Moreover, the hapless team drew poorly at the gate and the team lost over $200,000 between 1924 and 1929, money Quinn could only struggle to cover. Quinn’s finances were further strained when the third-base bleachers burned down in 1926. None of Quinn’s other investors were any help, and the 1929 stock-market crash dealt another cruel blow. The long-awaited legalization of Sunday baseball in1929 helped slightly as did having the league’s smallest payroll. The team actually showed a small profit in 1930, but it was not enough, and the Great Depression was about to deepen.18
To stay afloat Quinn began selling players in 1930, including pitcher Red Ruffing to the Yankees for $17,500. He hoped to sell two more hurlers, Ed Morris and Danny MacFayden, to the Bombers for $110,000, but when Morris was tragically killed in a drunken fight around a campfire while hunting and fishing in Alabama, Quinn sold MacFayden for $50,000. The sale of players, though, could do little to stanch the tide of red ink, and the team lost a staggering $155,000 over 1931 and 1932. Quinn’s money had finally run out, and he was forced to try to sell a terrible team with no worthwhile players and a ballpark said to be in disrepair. With the Great Depression in full swing, there were not many men able to spend $1 million on a baseball team.19
Thomas Yawkey Austin was born in Detroit on February 21, 1903, into a family that held substantial timber and mining interests in the Midwest. Tom’s father, Thomas J. Austin, was an insurance executive who married into the wealthy Yawkey family. Tom’s mother, Augusta, was the first child of William Clyman Yawkey, who had diligently expanded the family’s wealth by logging most of Michigan’s remaining pine forests and buying large tracts of timber in Minnesota that eventually were found to contain the world’s largest deposit of iron ore. Augusta and Thomas Austin married in 1893, and Austin soon joined the family business, buying an island of timber in Ontario and settling down on the family’s Detroit estate. Augusta had two children who survived childhood — Emma Marie and Tom — before father Thomas’s sudden death in September 1903, just seven months after the birth of his son.
In 1906, Augusta and her two children moved into the home of her brother Bill in New York City. Unlike his hard-working father, Bill Yawkey lived a life of leisure, and was never particularly interested in growing his family’s sizable fortune. He co-owned the Detroit Tigers for several years, and loved to hunt, attend ballgames, drink, and gamble on horses, often in the company of his players. He bought a 20,000-acre former plantation on the South Carolina coast, where he and his friends could hunt and fish and drink. Young Tom spent his life in posh apartments and huge estates.
In 1912, Tom was sent to the prestigious Irving School in Tarrytown, New York, and spent much of the next eight years there. Tom’s mother, Augusta, died in 1918 from influenza. Fifteen-year-old Tom was formally adopted by Uncle Bill, and his name was changed to Thomas Austin Yawkey. Six months later Bill Yawkey died, leaving behind his wife and adopted son. Suddenly the 16-year-old boy was extremely rich, with a fortune estimated at more than $7 million, and perhaps as much as $20 million. (In twenty-first-century dollars, that was roughly $100 million to $300 million.) All of the money would be overseen by conservators until Tom’s 30th birthday, February 21, 1933.
Tom graduated from the Irving School in 1920, and earned a degree from Yale (studying forestry and mining) in 1925. After leaving Yale, he married Elise Sparrow, a former beauty queen, and began spending some of his time working in the family business. He did not need to do much –Yawkey Enterprises at this point consisted mainly of buying and selling lands and stock. His wealth continued to accumulate. Mainly what he wanted was to own a baseball team. He met the all-time great second baseman Eddie Collins, a fellow Irving alum, at a school function, and asked Collins to let him know if a baseball team came up for sale. During the 1932 World Series, Collins arranged a meeting between Bob Quinn and Yawkey.
The price for the team and Fenway Park was $1.25 million, a lot of money for a struggling franchise in 1933. The sale was announced on February 25, four days after Yawkey’s 30th birthday. Before making the deal, Yawkey persuaded Collins to be the team’s vice president and general manager, running the club’s day-to-day operations. The stories in the local papers played up the role of Collins over the unknown Yawkey. “Eddie Collins and 30-Year-Old New York Millionaire Buy Red Sox Club,” announced one headline.20 Yawkey owned 100 percent of the club until his death 43 years later.
After years of living on a shoestring, suddenly the Red Sox had the wealthiest owner in the game, a man who really didn’t have anything else to spend his money on. To improve the team, Yawkey had to either begin purchasing good prospects from the many independent minor-league teams or try to acquire productive major-league players. With the impatience of a newcomer on the scene, Yawkey chose the latter course. In the meantime, he also completely renovated a crumbling Fenway Park, upgrading all the seats and adding the soon-to-be-famous left-field wall.
Over the next few years, the Red Sox acquired a few of the better players in the American League — notably Lefty Grove, Billy Werber, Rick Ferrell, Wes Ferrell, Joe Cronin, and Jimmie Foxx — to jump-start the sagging club. Cronin, purchased for a record $250,000 in October 1934, was the club’s manager for the next 13 years. The Red Sox also brought in several veterans whose best years were behind them — George Pipgras, Rube Walberg, Max Bishop, Lloyd Brown, Heinie Manush — indications that Yawkey (or Collins) was not as discriminating about spending money as perhaps he could have been. Most of these players were acquired using Yawkey’s money, as the team had little in the way of players to trade.
Armed with these players, many observers thought, unrealistically, the club should vault to the pennant. In fact, most of the star players continued to perform at a high level, but the team still did not have the kind of talent that could contend with the Tigers of the mid-1930s or (especially) the great Yankees of the late 1930s. Yawkey took over a team that finished 43-111 — two years later they were at .500, and by 1938 they were the second best team in the league. The financial losses incurred to rebuild the franchise were shocking: The team lost nearly $1.7 million from 1933 through 1940, significantly more than Yawkey paid to acquire the team in the first place. And this does not include the cost of improvements to Fenway Park, the purchase of players, or other capital items. The financial statements indicate Yawkey must have funded roughly another $3 million to cover these items.21
By the late 1930s, the Red Sox had also begun to acquire promising minor-league players, purchasing Bobby Doerr, Ted Williams, and Dom DiMaggio from the Pacific Coast League. They also established their own farm system, controlling several of their own teams by the mid-1940s. The 1942 team, largely dominated by the three aforementioned youngsters plus rookie Johnny Pesky, finished 93-59 (their best record since 1915) with the youngest core of players in the league, and the club turned its first profits under Yawkey in 1941 and 1942. The next three years saw most major-league rosters severely depleted by service in World War II, and a return to huge losses. But the returning Red Sox stars captured Yawkey’s first pennant in 1946, and the club turned an enormous profit of nearly $500,000 in baseball’s most profitable season to that point. The ’46 team lost the World Series in seven games to the St. Louis Cardinals. Four more years of contention followed, helped by Yawkey’s willingness to spend additional money on buying Vern Stephens, Ellis Kinder, and Jack Kramer from the St. Louis Browns, along with the return of financial losses as Yawkey aggressively pursued another pennant.
Eddie Collins’s health forced him to step down after the 1947 season, and Joe Cronin replaced him as general manager. Yawkey continued to defer on player matters, though he apparently personally hired Lou Boudreau to manage the team in 1951. (Cronin wanted to hire Mike Higgins.) During the 1950s, as the club fell out of contention, there was much speculation as to who was making the decisions among Yawkey, Cronin, and the field manager. Yawkey rarely spoke to the press, mainly because of an intense shyness, and never second-guessed Cronin or the manager. He primarily seemed to just provide the money. He also continued to upgrade Fenway Park, spending $500,000 on new lights, box seats, and the press box in 1947, followed by another $175,000 the next year on the “Red Sox Room,” a deluxe hangout for the baseball writers.22
Yawkey had married Elise in the 1920s but they eventually proved a poor match. Tom’s interests were mainly sporting — hunting, fishing, and baseball — while his wife loved the social whirl of New York and Beverly Hills. Tom was a very shy man, who hated parties. They finally divorced in 1944, and within a few weeks Tom married Jean Hiller. This was a great pairing — Jean loved the same things Tom loved, including privacy and quiet evenings, and grew to love baseball and the Red Sox as much as he did. The two divided their summers between New York, where his company was headquartered, and Boston, at a private suite at the Ritz Carlton, and spent most of their winters in South Carolina. Yawkey’s 20,000 acres were really a private preserve where he hunted and fished with his friends. The couple rarely missed a summer Red Sox home game for the rest of their lives, sitting in their private box above the third-base crowd at Fenway Park.
With a sizable fortune and no children (Elise and Tom had adopted a daughter, but Tom was not part of her life after his divorce), Jean and Tom became immersed in charitable causes. In 1953, the Red Sox began a long association with the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute, with its Jimmy Fund becoming the team’s official charity. Yawkey was a longtime supporter of Georgetown Memorial Hospital in Georgetown, South Carolina, near his winter home. After the tragic death of young Red Sox star Harry Agganis in 1955, Yawkey established the Agganis Foundation, which has given over $1 million in scholarships for student athletes in the Boston area. In 1968, Tom and Jean purchased property in Georgetown and built the Tara Hall Home, a place for troubled or abused boys.
The writer Al Hirshberg, in his 1972 team history, wrote that there was no nicer man in baseball than Yawkey, “no more loyal friend and no one with a more sincere feeling of good will toward his fellow man.”23 The problem, thought Hirshberg, was that Yawkey hired people he liked, and was more concerned with keeping them happy than he was in their performance. Cronin was the general manager for 11 years while the team slowly declined. Mike Higgins was hired to manage in 1955 and spent 11 years as either the manager or general manager. Yawkey liked both men, but kept them long after it was clear that the organization needed a change. The main qualification for employment by the Red Sox, it was charged, was friendship with Yawkey or Cronin. Yawkey apparently liked to drink, and he enjoyed the congenial camaraderie of those who would drink with him.
One of the more unfortunate legacies of the 1950s Red Sox was their failure to field a black player until 1959, the last major-league team to do so. Although the team did make a few attempts to acquire black stars from other teams (notably Larry Doby from the Indians and Charlie Neal from the Dodgers), the club ultimately waited for Pumpsie Green and Earl Wilson, to slowly work their way up through the farm system. Red Sox inaction in this area cost them dearly on the field — as so many black stars entered the game in this period — and the taint of their delay haunted them for decades after.
In 1960, Yawkey named longtime scout Neil Mahoney as farm director, and Dick O’Connell as vice president of the business — in charge of everything aside from major-league personnel. These two promotions might have been the first of Yawkey’s regime that were based solely on the men’s job performance and not on their personal friendships with their bosses. The organization slowly began to recover, especially after O’Connell became general manager in 1965. Two years later, the famous “Impossible Dream” club won Yawkey’s second pennant, before falling in seven games to the Cardinals. The Red Sox have contended almost every year since, and the club has remained a beloved institution in the city.
Yawkey witnessed a third and final pennant in 1975, but once more he watched his team lose a seventh game, this time to the Cincinnati Reds. The organization had never been stronger than it was at that moment, with a great farm system and a team filled with young players sure to bring more pennants.
But there would be no more winning for Yawkey, who succumbed to leukemia on July 9, 1976, after a long battle. He was 73. Walter O’Malley of the Dodgers, a longtime fellow owner, said, “He was a good man and a good friend. I never remember anyone ever saying anything bad about him personally. Things just won’t be the same without him.”24 Bill Veeck, an owner who clashed with Yawkey over the years, said, “Mr. Yawkey stood for genuine class.”25 Ted Williams, on a fishing trip in New Brunswick, said, “No one thought more of Tommie Yawkey than I did. I am really terribly sorry. I can’t put it into words.”26
Jean Yawkey and Friends
Years before his death, Tom Yawkey created a trust to control his charitable donations, and in 1959 he placed the Red Sox and Fenway Park in this trust. Upon Yawkey’s death, he left money to his daughter Julia from his first marriage and money to several employees, with the bulk of his estate shared between his widow and the Yawkey Trust. In any event, the Trust now owned the Red Sox.27 The two surviving trustees were Jean Yawkey and James Curran (the latter had been an accountant in Yawkey’s New York office), and they were soon joined by Joseph LaCour, who had also worked for Yawkey’s office. Jean Yawkey assumed Tom’s former role of team president. To manage the business of the ballclub, the trust appointed a six-member advisory board: Donald L. Miller, an executive vice president at the First National Bank of Boston; Patrick Sullivan, a partner in a New York law firm; Joseph T. Cummiskey, the former Red Sox treasurer; John Harrington, the current club treasurer; Haywood Sullivan, the current vice president; and Dick O’Connell, the current executive vice president and general manager.28 Jean Yawkey announced in September that the club was not for sale.29
It is worth remembering how volatile a time this was for the business of baseball, and how the Red Sox ownership weathered the storm during its own transition. During that summer of 1976 baseball was negotiating a new Collective Bargaining Agreement, which defined a path to free agency for the first time. On June 15, while Yawkey was just weeks from death, the Red Sox purchased outfielder Joe Rudi and pitcher Rollie Fingers, both pending free agents, from the Oakland Athletics for $2 million. These purchases, along with the sale of Vida Blue to the Yankees, were voided by Commissioner Bowie Kuhn, but clearly Yawkey was willing to spend money right to the very end of his life.
When the first free-agent “class” became available that fall, the Red Sox signed the very first player — pitcher Bill Campbell, formerly of the Twins — for four years, and $1 million. O’Connell had to go to the board to get permission, which was granted.
The team’s first post-Yawkey financial hiccup occurred with the contract of Luis Tiant. When the star pitcher signed a two-year contract (plus an option) with Tom Yawkey before the 1976 season, Yawkey promised him (Tiant claimed) that he would be the team’s highest-paid pitcher. With Yawkey dead, and the team being run by a board of advisers, Tiant wanted his contract extended to match the salaries of recent signees. The team demurred and Tiant did not report to the club until well into spring training.
Early in the 1977 season the trust decided to put the club up for sale. “In short,” O’Connell announced, “the board has concluded that baseball is a very risky business. And they’re right, it is. But these are not baseball people as such, and they’re only doing what is financially sound.”30
In October the board announced the sale of the club to a 13-person group headed by two general partners: Haywood Sullivan, a longtime executive with the club, and Buddy LeRoux, a longtime team trainer who had made money in real estate. The remaining 11 limited partners included Jean Yawkey, team doctor Arthur Pappas, former basketball star Frank Ramsey, and concessionaire H.M. Stevens, Inc. The purchase price was estimated at $15 million. Haywood Sullivan, the key to the deal, had been close with Tom Yawkey and remained close with Jean.
There were several other bids, including one by ATO, the parent company of Rawlings Sporting Goods, which was reportedly higher than the Sullivan-LeRoux offer. Dom DiMaggio, former Red Sox star who had made millions in business, was one of the bidders. The sale process was highly criticized and speculation began right away that the many American League owners were concerned about the financing of the deal — Sullivan and LeRoux had only about $200,000 invested in the club and comparatively meager resources, and the structure required that the general partners alone would be responsible for any team losses.
On October 24, with the deal awaiting approval from the American League, O’Connell, the popular general manager who had won two pennants and was largely credited with pulling the franchise up from a decade-long slumber, was fired by the executive board and replaced by Sullivan. Although a longtime favorite of Tom Yawkey’s, O’Connell was not friendly with either Jean Yawkey or Sullivan, both of whom reportedly resented the credit he had received for the club’s resurgence.31
O’Connell’s two top assistants, John Claiborne and Gene Kirby, were also fired, coming off a 97-win season. O’Connell, who had been running the baseball operation for 12 years largely unencumbered, had seen the writing on the wall. He had been lobbying other American League clubs not to approve the sale. LeRoux was named the club’s vice president of business affairs.
By early November the sale was in trouble. Word surfaced that State Street Bank and Trust had not only financed much of the purchase price (about $8 million, including a line of credit for operating expenses), but that it would hold the team and ballpark as collateral.
Amid speculation that the pending sale would keep the Red Sox from participating in that fall’s free-agent market, in early December the club signed its top priority, starting pitcher Mike Torrez of the Yankees, for seven years at $350,000 per year. Several smaller deals were similarly carried out with no visible hindrance from above.
The sale of the Red Sox was formally rejected in early December at the baseball winter meetings in Honolulu. The American League cited the financial instability of the proposed management structure of the club. Sullivan and LeRoux were advised to find a general partner with some money.
In March, a new bid was announced. Jean Yawkey had joined as a general partner, and she would also donate Fenway Park to the group. With the park valued at $5.5 million, and the $15 million put up by the limited partners (30 shares at $500,000 each), the purchase price would be $20.5 million, higher than any other previous offer and the highest ever paid for a sports franchise at that time. In addition, the three general partners were putting up $1 million each, and the limited partners $150,000 per share, for operating revenue, giving the club $7.5 million in ready cash. The limited partners would receive 90 percent of the profits until 115 percent of their investment had been paid off, with Yawkey getting 5 percent and LeRoux and Sullivan 2.5 percent each. After that the split would be 60/40 between the limited and general partners.
On May 23, 1978, the American League owners approved the reorganized sale. The deal was all cash — no debt was involved. The three general partners all maintained the titles and roles they had held for the past several months. Somewhat surprisingly, LeRoux had also purchased four of the limited-partner shares, meaning that he put up a total of $3 million in cash. Yawkey bought one of the shares as well. The Yawkey gift of the ballpark was extraordinary, and meant that the limited partners had put up $15 million for an asset that was already worth $20.5 million.32
While the team had not hesitated to spend money during the two years of ownership unrest, once the new ownership was in place they proved unwilling to spend on free agents and struggled to retain the star players from a very good team. After a 99-win club lost a division tiebreaker to the Yankees in 1978, the club lost Luis Tiant to free agency, then traded team favorite Bill Lee for little-known infielder Stan Papi.
Although the club gave a seven-year, $5.3 million deal to Jim Rice in early 1979, a couple of years later it blundered into painful goodbyes to Fred Lynn and Carlton Fisk. When the club failed to mail the two stars 1981 contracts by the required deadline, both players filed grievances asking to become free agents immediately. Sullivan managed to trade Lynn before his case was settled, but Fisk won his case and signed with the White Sox. The fan base had already turned on Sullivan and LeRoux, but this debacle sealed their case forever.
In late 1981 the Red Sox landed one of the five exemptions available for teams that did not wish to participate in free agency. This status meant that the team could not sign a Type A free agent for three years, nor would it lose any players as compensation to other teams (part of the free-agent system that existed at the time). After being one of baseball’s biggest spenders for decades, the team was now behaving like a small-market club.
By this time the general partners, formerly the best of friends, were not getting along. Jean Yawkey wanted to win, and was willing to spend money to do so, to treat the club as her husband had long treated it. LeRoux wanted to make money, and he was angry that he was not getting any profits to pay down his $3 million investment. He offered to buy out Yawkey in late 1982 but was rebuffed. In response, Sullivan and Yawkey tried to buy LeRoux’s share of the team, which was also turned down.
On June 6, 1983, as the team planned an emotional fundraiser game for stricken former star Tony Conigliaro, with most of the 1967 pennant-winning alumni on hand, LeRoux held a press conference to announce that he had found a loophole in the partnership, and that he had cobbled together enough limited-partner shares to take control of the team. Rogers Badgett and Albert Curren, two of the limited partners, were LeRoux’s allies in the coup. Dick O’Connell, who had been out of baseball since being fired in 1977, was named the new general manager. Yawkey and Sullivan quickly went to court to seek a temporary restraining order, which was granted. In August, a Massachusetts judge ruled against LeRoux, returning the ownership to its earlier form. In June 1984, LeRoux’s appeal was denied. With the coup dead, Sullivan was named CEO, and Lou Gorman, brought aboard in the recent offseason, officially became the general manager on June 5, 1984.
An embittered LeRoux vowed to fight on, and insisted that it was Sullivan and Yawkey who should sell out, not he. “We brought [Yawkey] in for window dressing, and she’s been pulling the shade up and down ever since,” he said.33 Nevertheless, the writing was on the wall. In December 1984, an arbitration panel set the value of LeRoux, Blodgett, and Curran’s piece of the team at $16 million, more than twice what they had paid six years earlier, and in 1985 the disgruntled limited partners were bought out. LeRoux remained a vice president with the club for two more years, with Yawkey finally buying his general partnership interest in early 1987 for a reported $7 million.
Jean Yawkey now controlled two-thirds of the general partnership and was in control. With Gorman running the ballclub, Sullivan faded into the background. His place as Yawkey’s senior adviser was taken by John Harrington, who had been the team treasurer in the 1970s before Jean Yawkey lured him back in the late 1980s. The JRY Trust now owned 53 percent of the club.
When Jean Yawkey died in February 1992, Harrington, as the chief executive of the Trust, became Red Sox president and gained control of the franchise. Many assumed Harrington would sell the Trust’s share of the club to Sullivan, but instead in 1993 he bought out Sullivan, giving the Trust full ownership of general partnership interests. Harrington hired Dan Duquette as general manager, and the club made three playoff appearances before the end of the decade. The team also grew its revenue and payroll significantly during the 1990s, and by 2001 the Red Sox ranked fifth in revenue and third in payroll among major-league teams.34 Still, Harrington and Duquette became somewhat divisive figures, blamed for the acrimonious departures of stars Roger Clemens and Mo Vaughn by an increasingly hostile press corps and fan base.
On October 6, 2000, Harrington announced that the JRY Trust’s controlling stake in the team (which included Fenway Park and surrounding real estate and their 80 percent share of New England Sports Network, a regional TV network) was for sale. In an unusual facet of the agreement that defined the 1978 sale, the 23 remaining limited partners — who owned 47 percent of the club — essentially had veto power over who would own the other 53 percent. Harrington planned to conduct the sale as a public auction, with each interested buyer paying $25,000 to see the team’s books. The eventual winner would then need 12 limited-partner votes to get the team, subject, of course, to the approval of Major League Baseball. In addition, because the proceeds of the sale would go to the Yawkey Trust, a public charity, the sale would have to be approved by the Massachusetts attorney general.35
The front-runners were thought to be a group of Bostonians led by Joe O’Donnell and Steve Karp, championed by both city newspapers and most of the local politicians.36
The eventual winning bid came from a partnership of three nonlocals with experience in the game:
- John Henry, the owner of the Florida Marlins, who had made his fortune as a financial trader.
- Tom Werner, a television executive who had been the principal owner of the San Diego Padres a decade earlier.
- Larry Lucchino, who had had successful stints running two teams — the Orioles and the Padres — and had overseen the building of Baltimore’s Camden Yards, ushering in a wave of stadium construction that continued unabated.
Henry had bought the Marlins in 1998 and in many ways had been a model owner. He worked in the community, his players loved him, and the baseball establishment admired him. But he was losing money and had failed in his long quest to get a new ballpark built in order to get out from under a terrible lease he had been saddled with by the previous owner. Commissioner Bud Selig knew he wanted to sell the Marlins but wanted to keep him in the game. He tried to get Henry interested in the Red Sox, but for a time it looked more likely that Henry would buy the Angels. Only when negotiations with the Disney-owned Angels bogged down did Henry turn his attention to the Red Sox.37
The man responsible for creating the winning group was Les Otten, owner of a number of ski resorts in Northern New England. He first suggested the idea of buying the Red Sox to his friend Werner, who had been out of the game for years. Werner then approached Lucchino as an executive who could oversee the team as CEO. For much of 2001 this group tried in vain to come up with the needed capital to put together a bid. When Henry heard about their dilemma, he let them know he could come up with the necessary money, but he was going to want control. All four men got along, but Henry was up-front about his requirements. He would be happy to step aside and let them keep looking. Otten was the most reluctant to surrender control, but he acceded when it was clear that there would be no bid without Henry.38
In early December, the press learned that the highest bid had been submitted by Charles Dolan, who owned Cablevision, at $405 million for the Foundation’s 53 percent of the team. When Dolan heard that some of the limited partners were concerned about his bid — his brother owned the Indians, and Dolan had an ongoing public feud with Yankees owner George Steinbrenner — Dolan let the limiteds know that he was willing to buy their shares too, for as much as $250 million. (This was less per share than the Foundation portion of the bid, but the limited partnerships afforded no operational control.)39
When Harrington heard that Dolan was talking to the limited partners, a violation of the bidding rules, he announced that all bidders would have a chance to rebid. Dolan submitted a new offer, as did Henry’s group and the O’Donnell/Karp group. The newspapers continued their daily hammering of Henry and his team for being outsiders who knew nothing of the city. For several days Henry worked with the locals to see if they could combine their bids, with Henry providing the money and O’Donnell/Karp the political muscle to soothe the locals. The venture fell apart, ultimately because the locals did not have sufficient funds, though they said they could secure the capital once they were awarded the team.40
Ultimately, the Foundation’s representatives chose Henry’s bid of $700 million for 100 percent of the entire package: team, ballpark, and NESN. Henry was chosen because (a) his bid was all cash, with no restrictions on the money or difficulty in getting it, and (b) his group would win speedy approval from Major League Baseball, which knew Henry and his partners well. The newspapers savaged Henry and the process, flatly claiming that Henry was nothing but a stooge of Commissioner Selig, someone who cared nothing for Boston or the Red Sox but was put in place to support the revenue-sharing and non-spending that Selig wanted.
The ultimate price of the franchise highlighted the massive increase in the value of sports franchises occurring at the time. It was more than double the recent record price of $323 million paid by Dolan’s brother Larry for the Cleveland Indians a couple of years before. It also far exceeded the $500 million to $525 million valuation placed on the Yankees in the late 1990s when Charles Dolan was close to acquiring that franchise from George Steinbrenner.41
Dan Shaughnessy, writing in the Boston Globe, was especially, enraged, calling Harrington “a cowardly little accountant,” who had screwed over O’Donnell and Karp. “Selig can be forgiven,” he concluded, “if we become the Kansas City Royals of the East.”42
Tom Reilly, the Massachusetts attorney general, was sufficiently concerned that he launched an investigation. O’Donnell and Karp fanned the flames, suggesting they had been wronged, and warning Henry that things would be difficult for them in Boston without political friends. Dolan and Miles Prentice (another bidder) each raised their bids above Henry’s. Reilly eventually came to realize that the process had been aboveboard, but because he was protecting a public charity, and because Dolan had now submitted a higher bid, Reilly worked out a deal with the Henry group to create a new charity, the Red Sox Foundation, that would be funded by enough to offset the new $30 million shortfall. Some of this funding came from Henry, some from the former limited partners.43
Not everyone was happy. “We are deeply disappointed by today’s events,” said Charles Dolan. “We agree with the previous statement of the attorney general of Massachusetts that the bidding process for the sale of the Boston Red Sox was fatally flawed. All of those associated with the process clearly know that to be the case.”44
On January 29, 2002, Major League Baseball approved the sale of the Red Sox by a vote of 29 to 0 — Henry, as owner of the Marlins, abstained. Within a few weeks he sold the Marlins to Jeff Loria, who in turn sold the Expos to Major League Baseball. Although Tom Yawkey had been dead for 26 years and Jean Yawkey for 10, it could finally be said that the 69-year reign of the Yawkey family over the Red Sox had come to an end.
The new Red Sox ownership group, organized as New England Sports Ventures, was publicly represented by three men: John Henry, as principal owner; Tom Werner, as chairman, largely concerned with the team’s 80 percent ownership of the New England Sports Network; and Larry Lucchino, president and CEO, who ran the club day-to-day. Although many in the media fanned the fear that the new group would run the team on the cheap to make profits, this proved not to be the case.
One of the things that distinguished Henry’s group from its competitors for the team was that the others all wanted to build a new ballpark, while the new ownership, especially Lucchino, believed that Fenway Park could be refurbished and restored. Lucchino hired ballpark architect Janet Marie Smith, who had worked with him in Baltimore (when Camden Yards was built) and San Diego, and spent the next several years overseeing the remodeling of Fenway.
A new section of seats above the left-field wall was added, and other improvements included a roof deck above the right-field stands, new or refurbished seats throughout the park, a reinforcement of all the concrete and steel in the park, wider concourses, new restrooms, new clubhouses and batting cages, and new luxury seats. The seating capacity, just over 33,000 for decades, was eventually expanded to 37,949. The team and ballpark also became much more fan-friendly, with major initiatives to recognize past players and teams. This was not an act of charity — in 2003, the club started a sellout streak that lasted nine years despite maintaining the highest ticket prices in the game. The ballpark was thought to be falling apart when Henry’s group took over, but within a few years it was one of the city’s crown jewels.45
A view of Fenway Park during its 100th season in 2012. (COURTESY OF BILL NOWLIN)
Henry’s team also maintained high payrolls, regularly one of the highest in the game. Fears that the Red Sox would behave like a small-market team quickly faded away as free-agent signings became a regular occurrence.
Most importantly for the fans, the team on the field excelled. Although the Red Sox had contended often in the 35 years before Henry’s group bought the team, it had not won a World Series title since 1918. A key turning point can be marked in November 2002 when Lucchino hired 28-year-old Theo Epstein, a Yale-educated local kid who had worked for Lucchino in Baltimore and San Diego, to be his general manager.46
Epstein proved a wise choice. The farm system was soon thriving, and he made enough savvy acquisitions to help the club win World Series in 2004 and 2007. They won again in 2013 after Epstein had left for the Chicago Cubs.
As of this writing, the Red Sox ownership has been stable since 2002. The parent company has been renamed Fenway Sports Group, which owns the Red Sox, NESN, Roush Fenway Racing (a NASCAR racing team), Fenway Sports Marketing (a marketing firm), and Liverpool FC (a soccer team in the English Premier League). As of 2012, Henry owned about 40 percent of the company, and a relative newcomer to the ownership circle, Michael Gordon, a Milwaukee native and friend of ex-Commissioner Selig, owned 12 percent, among many other stockholders.47
John Henry has been the principal owner since 2002, and Tom Werner has remained the chairman. In 2014, Larry Lucchino stepped aside from running the day-to-day operations and Sam Kennedy (who joined the organization in 2002) was named president. A year later Dave Dombrowski, recently let go by the Tigers and the GM under Henry in Miami, became president of baseball operations, assuming many of the duties Lucchino had while running the team.
When the Red Sox captured the 2013World Series, they were one of the most valuable franchises in baseball: According to the Forbes annual team valuation in March 2014, the team was worth $1.5 billion, behind only the Yankees and Dodgers. The team boasted revenue estimated by Forbes at $357 million, second only to the Yankees. Henry willingly spent this bounty to put the best team on the field: The team’s 2013 payroll of $175 million was third, behind only the Yankees and Dodgers.48
As of 2017, the organization looked to be financially stable and in fine working order.
Last updated: December 13, 2017
1 Frederick Lieb, The Boston Red Sox (New York: Putnam, 1947), 8-9.
2 Attendance figures at baseballreference.com. The Braves won in1921, 1925-26, and 1930-1933.
3 Glenn Stout and Richard A. Johnson, Red Sox Century (New York: Houghton Mifflin, 2000), 20-26.
4 Lee Allen, The American League Story, (New York: Hill & Wang, 1962), 31.
5 Stout and Johnson, 64-67.
6 Stout and Johnson, 69.
8 Stout and Johnson, 71-72.
9 Stout and Johnson, 96.
10 James Quirk and Rodney D. Fort, Pay Dirt, (Princeton, New Jersey: Princeton University Press, 1992), 401.
11 Boston Globe, February 11, 1920. Two documents from the early 1920s refer to Frazee’s 70 percent interest: a draft refinancing agreement from May 1921 that was apparently never consummated, and a Frazee financial statement for year ended October 31, 1922. It is certainly possible that Frazee’s interest had changed slightly since he first acquired an interest in the team several years earlier, but this would not affect the basic outline of his finances.
12 Boston Globe, February 11, 1920.
13 The Frazee papers contain a letter dated January 12, 1920, from attorney T.J. Barry to Frazee, conveying an alternative mortgage loan proposal from a potential lender other than Yankees owner Jacob Ruppert. The proposal makes reference to the fact that the “present de facto Trustees are Messrs. Taylor, Lannin and Lannin. The records at the registry of deeds do not show that … the election of Messrs. Lannin and Lannin were accomplished in accordance with the requirements of the declaration of trust.”
14 Daniel E. Ginsberg, The Fix Is In: A History of Baseball Gambling and Game Fixing Scandals (Jefferson, North Carolina: McFarland, 1995), 84-85.
15 Frazee Papers.
16 Freyer Realty Company tax returns for 1920, 1921, 1922, 1923, and 1924, Frazee Papers.
17 Pay Dirt: The Business of Professional Team Sports, 401; draft purchase and sale agreement, Frazee Papers.
18 Hearings, 1599; Peter S. Craig, Organized Baseball, Oberlin College Thesis, 1950, 264-274.
19 Craig, 264 -274; Daniel R. Levitt, Ed Barrow (Lincoln: University of Nebraska Press, 2008), 281.
20 Boston Sunday Advertiser, February 26, 1933.
21 Hearings, 1599; Craig, 264-274.
22 Craig, 273.
23 Al Hirshberg, What’s the Matter With the Red Sox (New York: Dodd, Mead and Co., 1973).
24 “Nice Guys Don’t Always Finish Last — Tom Yawkey,” http://thedeadballera.com/NiceGuys_Yawkey_Tom.htm, retrieved September 5, 2014.
25 Dave Condon, “Yawkey, Red Sox Owner, Dies at 73,” Chicago Tribune, July 10, 1976.
26 United Press Internaitonal, “Yawkey Died Before Sox Could Win a World Series,” Hays (Kansas) Daily News, July 11, 1976.
27 Larry Whiteside, “Unsigned Red Sox Players Hastened Darrell’s Demise,” The Sporting News, August 7, 1976: 5.
28 “Caught on the Fly,” The Sporting News, October 30, 1976: 29.
29 Larry Whiteside, “Tiant Growing Weary of Greybeard Gossiping,” The Sporting News, September 11, 1976: 21.
30 Larry Whiteside, “Red Sox Price Tag? At Least $15 Million, The Sporting News, May 7, 1977: 17.
31 Stout and Johnson, 379.
32 Larry Whiteside, “Red Sox Sale Okayed — $20.2 Million, The Sporting News, June 10, 1978: 11.
33 Joe Giuliotti, “LeRoux Loses Battle Over Sox Ownership,” The Sporting News, June 11, 1984: 24.
34 Updated Supplement to the Blue Ribbon Panel, Major League Baseball, December 2001.
35 The details of the Red Sox sale to the John Henry group are covered in fine detail in Seth Mnookin’s Feeding the Monster (New York: Simon and Schuster, 2006).
36 Mnookin, Feeding the Monster, 64-65.
37 Mnookin, Feeding the Monster, 85-97.
38 Mnookin, Feeding the Monster, 98-108.
39 Mnookin, Feeding the Monster, 110.
40 Mnookin, Feeding the Monster, 111.
41 Mnookin, Feeding the Monster, 122.
42 Mnookin, Feeding the Monster, 128-129.
43 Murray Chass, “Owners Give Approval to Sale of Red Sox,” New York Times, January 17, 2002.
45 Casey Ross, “It’s a Wrap at Fenway,” Boston Globe, August 29, 2009.
46 Daniel G. Habib, “The Babe Is 28-Year-Old Theo Epstein,” Sports Illustrated, December 23, 2002.
47 Alex Speier, “Michael Gordon Plays Private but Very Powerful Role With Red Sox,” Boston Globe, March 6, 2015.
48 http://bleacherreport.com/articles/2006471-2014-mlb-team-valuations-released-by-forbes; baseball-reference.com/leagues/MLB/2013-misc.shtml.