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Manager Ed Barrow took a position with another ballclub – he moved to the New York Yankees and became the business manager (what we today call the GM). Harry Frazee hired Hugh Duffy to become the field manager of the Red Sox. Frazee was making over the ballclub, sending four more players to the Yankees in December 1920 (including future Hall of Fame pitcher Waite Hoyt), and trading Harry Hooper to the White Sox in March 1921, for Shano Collins and Nemo Leibold. Stung by the success of Ruth in New York and trading away the popular Hooper, the demonization of Frazee began. Some of the sportswriters changed their tune and started to flagellate Frazee. Nick Flately of the Boston Evening American even urged fans to boycott the team.
It wasn’t as though all his trades were without merit. No one could have predicted that Hoyt (10-12 with a 3.85 ERA in two Red Sox seasons) as going to become a Hall of Famer, and the Red Sox did get second baseman Del Pratt in the trade. He led the 1921 Red Sox in all three primary offensive statistics: a .324 batting average, 102 RBIs, and five home runs. Shano Collins was second in homers and third on the team in RBIs, and Leibold his well, too, his first year.
Sam Jones had an excellent year on the mound (23-16, 3.22) and Joe Bush had a very good one, too (16-9, 3.50). No other pitcher had a winning record. Pennock won 13, but lost 14. Two pitchers who’d come from the Yankees (Hank Thormahlen and Allen Russell – who’d had that good year in 1919) were a combined 7-18.
It’s fair to say the team was treading water. They finished 75-79, in fifth place again, with just three more wins to their credit. The Yankees won the pennant for the first time in history. The Red Sox finished 23 ½ games behind New York. And the Red Sox finished last in attendance. There just wasn’t the excitement.By Bill Nowlin