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Harry Frazee sold the team during the summertime when a group of investors from Columbus, Ohio, headed by Bob Quinn, bought the Red Sox.

The club changed hands on August 1. Frazee had come to be portrayed as a team-wrecker, the man who sold off Babe Ruth, and Red Sox fans were thrilled to have anyone else take over the ballclub. A tongue-in-cheek sub-headline in The Sporting News reflected fan feeling: “Hub May Make Date of Red Sox Sale New Holiday.”

The Red Sox had a new manager from the beginning of the season, Frank Chance. Unfortunately, the Columbus group was really under-financed and when the key money man, Palmer Winslow, died less than four years later, Quinn just didn’t have enough money to build a decent team on the depleted one he’d taken on. And then a couple of years after Winslow died, the Depression hit.

The whole decade was a depressing one for Red Sox fans, though. They hardly ever escaped last place and, if they did, they soon found themselves back at the bottom. In 1923, the Red Sox were in fifth place after Opening Day (Babe Ruth hit a three-run homer to beat the Red Sox, 4-1) and never once reached the first division (the top four teams). From June 16 on, they never left eighth place.

The Yankees (just to obsess for a moment) won their third pennant in a row, and their first World Series. Four of the five pitchers the Yankees used in the World Series had come from the Red Sox: Joe Bush, Waite Hoyt, Sam Jones, and Herb Pennock. Everett Scott and Wally Schang were former Red Sox on the New York team, as was – of course – Mr. Ruth, who hit 41 homers, drove in 131 runs, and batted .393.

It wasn’t unreasonable to say that the team which won the World Series was the Boston Red Sox, wearing Yankees uniforms. The actual Red Sox finished 61-91 and some 37 games behind New York. The 1923 Red Sox had received players from the Yankees, of course, but history hardly has them as household name: the pitchers were Alex Ferguson, George Murray, Lefty O’Doul, Bill Piercy, and Jack Quinn. Other players were Al DeVormer, Chick Fewster, Norm McMillan, Johnny Mitchell, Muddy Ruel, Camp Skinner, and Roxy Walters.

O’Doul later became a well-respected baseball man, but it was in spite of his one season with the Red Sox; as a pitcher he was 1-1 and as an outfielder, he batted .143. Almost a full third of the 61 Red Sox victories were thanks to the pitching of Howard Ehmke (20-17, 3.78 ERA). He’d come to Boston after six years with the Tigers in a trade for Rip Collins and Del Pratt. Ehmke threw a no-hitter on September 7, 1923 and then threw a one-hitter on September 11.

Three days after that (on the 14th), George Burns executed an unassisted triple play for the Red Sox. His 82 RBIs led the club and his .328 average wasn’t far behind Joe Harris’s .335. Harris hit 13 homers and Burns hit seven. Outfielder Ira Flagstead – selected off waivers from Detroit in April - hit eight.

By Bill Nowlin
 

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Tagged:
Al DeVormer, Alex Ferguson, Babe Ruth, Bill Piercy, Bob Quinn, Camp Skinner, Chick Fewster, Del Pratt, Everett Scott, George Burns, George Murray, Harry Frazee, Herb Pennock, Howard Ehmke, Ira Flagstead, Jack Quinn, Joe Bush, Joe Harris, Johnny Mitchell, Lefty O'Doul, Muddy Ruel, Norm McMillan, Palmer Winslow, Rip Collins, Roxy Walters, Sam Jones, Waite Hoyt, Wally Schang

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