Great-grandson begins Joseph Lannin walk in Quebec

From SABR member Kevin Glew at on May 5, 2012:

In Christopher Tunstall’s mind, Boston Red Sox fans never had to worry about the Curse of the Bambino.

No, according to the 49-year-old, Asheville, N.C., native, it wasn’t Babe Ruth that was responsible for the Beantowners’ 86-year championship drought that extended from 1918 to 2004, but rather his underappreciated, great-grandfather Joseph John (J.J.) Lannin.

Though his name remains foreign to most Red Sox faithful, Lannin, a Canadian who hailed from Lac-Beauport, Que., had an ownership stake in the team from 1913 to 1916 and is the only Sox proprietor to oversee back-to-back World Champion clubs.

Lannin also had the baseball savvy to purchase Ruth from the International League’s Baltimore Orioles and bring him to Boston in 1914, before subsequent owner Harry Frazee infamously sold the slugger to the Yankees prior to the 1920 campaign.


On April 30, Tunstall began the Lannin Walk in Lac-Beauport, Que. This 410-mile journey will retrace the trek that Lannin made as a penniless 14-year-old in 1880.

Heartbroken over his mother’s death and impoverished from the economic famine in the region, the desperate but determined teenager, the ninth of 10 children in his family, set off by foot to the United States to find work.

“He followed his dream to the land of opportunity, which was supposedly America,” explained Tunstall. “He took the fur trade route to Boston and he worked with fur traders and made a little money until he got to his destination.”

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Originally published: May 14, 2012. Last Updated: May 14, 2012.