Posted on: March 31, 2009 9:32 am
Edited on: March 31, 2009 12:58 pm

"Nuf Ced" McGreevy and the Royal Rooters

Michael T. "Nuf Ced" Mcgreevy was the vocal leader of the Royal Rooters, a colorful Boston Fanbase, and one of the most knowledgeable baseball men ever. McGreevy's birthdate and birthplace are unknown, though it has been guessed that he was born between the 1850's and the 1860's, somewhere in Massachusetts. Despite not playing proffesional baseball, Mcgreevy became a very good amatuer player and was very succesful in life.

By his early 30's he was a wealthy buisnessman and opened a saloon called "Third Base." The Third Base, which got it's name because, like third base, was your last stop before home. Everyone came there, including politicians, fans, ballplayers, entertainers, union leaders, blue collar workers, intellectuals and radicals. The Third Base was three blocks away from the Huntington Avenue Grounds. Huntington Grounds, found at the corner of Tremont and Ruggles Streets, was the home of the original Boston Americans who later went on to become known as the Boston Red Sox in 1908. Fenway Park was not opened until 1912.

So how did McGreevy get the nickname "Nuf Ced"?

At the saloon, the topic of discussion, or rether debate, was baseball, and usually abot the local teams. McGreevy would always outsmart other fans in the bar and after proving someone wrong, he would holler, "Nuf Ced!" He was not just known throughout Boston, he was a very famous and likeable guy around the baseball community. With McGreevy and the Royal Rooters, baseball in Boston would become great.

And who were the Royal Rooters?

The Royal Rooters were a fanbase in Boston in the late 1890's and ealy 1900's. Arriving well before game time they would stand in front of the main entrance and harass (push, shove and knock down) any fan trying to get in that they deemed to be rooters for the opposing team. At this point many of them were drunk (it would be worse later on). Inside the park they would fight with themselves and nearby fans who took exception to their remarks. And their remarks usually took account of somebody's mother, sexual practices, the so called legitimacy of your birth and various functions of your body and and lack there of.

The Umpire was their bitter enemy. He could do no right as far as Boston was concerned. There would be very few games when they wouldn't come rushing down onto the field and rough up the Umpire for some call that went against Boston. Opposing players would be manhandled as well. Most of the time, after an incident of this sort, some of the Rooters would end up in jail. They would usually be set free the next day because of the political connections that McGreevy had around town.

While McGreevy was certainly the spiritual leader (in both libations and foundations) of the Royal Rooters, John F. "Honey Fitz' Fitzgerald, the maternal grandfather of John F. Kennedy, served as chairman for a while, and during that time, M.J. Regan  was the secretary. Other members included C.J. Lavis, L. Watson, T.S. Dooley, J. Kennam and W. Cahill among others.

When the Rooters were first formed they looked around for a song they could use to rally their team along. "Tessie" was a song from the Broadway Musical "The Silver Slipper."  Though the musical ran for less than six months, the song has gone down in history. The Rooters sang Tessie at games to encourage their team, while simultaneously distracting and frustarting the other team. They were especially important in the first World Series in 1903 when the Boston Americans played the Pittsburgh Pirates. The Royal Rooters would go to Pittsburgh and sing Tessie to distract the opposing players, especially Honus Wagner. After falling to a 1-3 deficit (and with the original series being best of nine), Boston rallied to win the series with four straight victories.

The Third Base Saloon was Boston's original sports bar, there were pictures of McGreevy's favorite ball players all over the walls. There was also baseball memorabilia and gadgetry. He had huge pictures of Red Sox first baseman Buck Freeman and Hall of Fame second baseman Napoleon "Nap" Lajoie. Outside the bar, there was a manual scoreboard which McGreevy always updated. When Prohibition forced McGreevy to close Third Base, he donated his collection to the Boston Public Library. Author Glenn Stout was for many years the curator of the McGreevy collection.

During McGreevy's time (1894-1918), the Boston Americans (Red Sox) and the Boston Braves (Also known as The Beaneaters, Doves, and Rustlers, were not known as the Braves until 1912), had won a combined 10 Pennants and 6 World Series Titles.

Nuf Ced!


Category: MLB
Tags: Red Sox
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