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Saturday, October 27, 2007

Sox Patron Saint: Michael "Nuf Ced" McGreevey & Tessie

The Boston Red Sox have plenty of lore and yarns that can keep you smiling, but there is one particular story that is actually worth viewing in its entirety and committing to memory. You might have caught the special DVD, Rooters: The Birth of Red Sox Nation on NESN, but if you haven't I strongly recommend it to true Red Sox fans. It seems that the heart pounding, fanatical behavior of being a diehard Sox fan didn't start yesterday, it started back in 1903 - so we can proudly say that there's never been "just another ballgame" in Boston.

One of the Champions of fanaticism is Red Sox Nation's Patron Saint - Michael "Nuf Said" McGreevey. McGreevey was the local owner of a pub called "Third Base" near Huntington Fair Grounds (The Boston (Red Sox) Pilgrims/Somersets/Athletics) used to play.

McGreevey was the leader of the Royal Rooters, which was pretty much a wild fan club of Sox fans that used to pile into the stadium, paying 50 cents a ticket, and cheered the team on through the early years of the Red Sox franchise. A few pics can be found here.

The Royal Rooters used to sing the song "Tessie" which is much different from the one that the Dropkick Murphy's sing. If you caught the 2004 Championship series you heard the original version sung by a Barbershop Quartet. The Lyrics to Tessie are:

The chorus to the original "Tessie" goes:

Tessie, you make me feel so badly.
Why don't you turn around?
Tessie, you know I love you madly.
Babe, my heart weighs about a pound.
Don't blame me if I ever doubt you,
You know I wouldn't live without you.
Tessie, you are the only, only, only.

And this is what is sounded like based on a 1903 recording sung by Harry MacDonough via Phonograph.
During the 1903 World Series against the Pirates, the Royal Rooters substituted "Tessie, you make me feel so badly" with "Honus, why do you hit so badly?"

So what's the big deal about "Tessie", and why has it come back from Lore to active superstition?

Before the 2004, the last time "Tessie" was sung was 1918 which was the last time the Red Sox had won the world title. Someone in the back office learned this and it was resurrected - and with all the talk of curses and superstition, the Sox ownership wasn't about to take a chance. The Red Sox to this day still use the old version and the new Dropkick Murphy version.

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