In August 1903 the National League and the American League agreed that each league’s champion would compete for the world’s championship. 

1903 Royal Rooters
The Americans finished 1903 in first place, with a record of 91-47-3, 14 1⁄2 games ahead of the Philadelphia Athletics, which featured three future Hall of Fame pitchers: Eddie Plank, Rube Waddell, and Charles “Chief” Bender. Right fielder Buck Freeman led the American League in home runs, with 13, and led the team in runs batted in, with 104. Freeman also hit 39 doubles and 20 triples. Left fielder Patsy Dougherty led the American League in hits (195) and runs (107), batted .331, and stole 35 bases. Second baseman Hobe Ferris hit nine home runs. Shortstop Fred Parent batted .304. Seven players stole ten or more bases. Jimmy Collins again set the fielding standard among third basemen. Hobe Ferris committed the most errors among all second basemen, with 39.

With the exception of manager Collins, the seven other position players each led the American League in games played at his respective position.

Cy Young led the American League in complete games (34), wins (28), shutouts (7), and saves (2); finished second in earned run average (2.08); and third in strikeouts (176). Bill Dinneen and Long Tom Hughes won 21 and 20 games respectively. Five pitchers pitched all but eight of the team’s innings. For the third consecutive season, pitchers recorded 123 complete games.

World Series
: The Americans faced the heavily favored Pittsburgh Pirates in the first World Series. Cy Young made the first World Series pitch, but yielded 12 hits, seven runs (three earned), and one home run in a game one loss. Young may have been distracted by having manned a ticket booth before the game. The Americans, led by Patsy Dougherty’s three hits and two home runs, prevailed in game two; and, despite trailing the nine-game series three games to one, the Americans went on to win the World Series five games to three, taking game eight before the Huntington Avenue Baseball Grounds home crowd. 1903 marked the first time the Boston American League team would win four consecutive games in a post-season series, repeating the feat in 2004.

In the series Bill Dinneen started four games, won three, pitched 35 innings, and pitched two complete-game shutouts. Cy Young started three games and pitched 34 innings. Only two innings were pitched by other than Young and Dinneen. Offensively the Americans were balanced, with six of the eight starters collecting between eight and ten hits. For the Pirates seven of the eight games were started by the Pirates’ two 25-game winners, Deacon Phillippe and Sam Lever. Honus Wagner managed only a .222 batting average. Future Hall of Fame outfielder Fred Clarke fared better, with nine hits and a .265 batting average. The American League victory in the first World Series, in only the league’s third season, added credibility to the upstart, competing American League.

1903 World Series


The 1902 Americans finished in third place with a record of 77-60-1. Right fielder Buck Freeman led the team with 11 home runs, 19 triples, 121 runs batted in, and a .309 batting average. Rookie left fielder Patsy Dougherty batted .342, and manager-third baseman Jimmy Collins and center fielder Chick Stahl both batted above .320. Stahl scored 92 runs and shortstop Fred Parent scored 91. Jimmy Collins led third basemen with a .954 fielding percentage. Fred Parent made 57 errors at shortstop.

Freeman’s runs-batted-in total stood as a team record for 34 years. Over the next 36 seasons only Tris Speaker would hit for a higher season batting average than Patsy Dougherty’s .342.

Cy Young led the American League in games (45), complete games (41), innings (384⅔), and wins (32). Young finished with a 2.15 earned run average. Young’s innings total remains a team single-season record. Bill Dinneen, who joined the team before the season from the cross-town Boston Beaneaters, recorded 21 wins, with the same number of losses. Dinneen recorded a decision in every game in which he appeared (all starts) and pitched 39 complete games. 1902 was the first of Dinneen’s three consecutive 20-win seasons with the Americans (in five seasons with the team). For the second consecutive season, of the 138 games the team played, pitchers recorded 123 complete games.

The 1902 Americans’ attendance total exceeded all but one American League team and all National League teams.


The Americans played its first game on April 26, 1901, losing to the Baltimore Orioles by a score of 10-6. Win Kellum was the team’s first starting pitcher, but made only five other appearances that season. Denton True “Cy” Young, already an 11-season National League veteran, started, and lost, the team’s second game. 

The Americans played its first home game at the Huntington Avenue Baseball Grounds on May 8, 1901. The Americans’ starting pitcher was the 34 year old Young, and the Americans prevailed by a score of 12-4, pounding out 19 hits. 1901 was the first of Young’s eight seasons with the Americans.
The 1901 team was managed by future Hall of Famer Jimmy Collins, making his managerial debut, and finished the season in second place with a record of 79 wins, 57 losses, and 2 ties, four games behind the Chicago White Sox. The team was dominant at its home park, recording 49 wins against 20 losses, outscoring its opponents 383-252.

First baseman Buck Freeman finished the season with a .339 batting average, hit 12 home runs, and batted in 114 runs, finishing second to Napoleon Lajoie in the latter two categories. Manager and third baseman Collins managed a .332 batting average and batted in 94 runs. Shortstop Fred Parent and center fielder Chick Stahl both finished with batting averages above .300. The regular seven players (all but the pitcher and catcher position) each stole 11 or more bases. First baseman Buck Freeman committed 38 errors; second baseman Hobe Ferris committed 61 errors; shortstop Fred Parent committed 63. Jimmy Collins made 50 errors at third base. The catcher position combined for 44 errors. The tallest member of the regular starting lineup was five feet, ten inches.

Cy Young led the American League in wins (33), strikeouts (158), earned run average (1.62), and fielding percentage. Young pitched 38 complete games and five shutouts. Ted Lewis and George Winter each recorded 16 wins. (Lewis earned the team’s fist save.) Of the 138 games the team played, pitchers recorded 123 complete games.

With the exception of the catcher position, the team fielded a regular seven players: only 64 at bats were recorded by other than the regular seven. Five players led the American League in games played at their position. Two, including hitting star Freeman, led the league in errors, and Freeman was ejected from five games.

In the inaugural American League season, the Boston Americans attendance total exceeded all but one American League team and all but two National League teams.


At the turn of the twentieth century, the National League of Baseball Teams had enjoyed a quarter century of success in America, including success in Boston with a team formed by Harry Wright and George Wright.* At that time Ban Johnson undertook to form a competing league, to be known as the American League. A Boston team, first known as the Americans (to distinguish the team from the town’s National League team), was an original member of the eight-team American League, which began competing in 1901. Over the next century its fans would see more bad times than good; but the recent success of the team, combined with its melodramatic history, has created great interest and legions of fans. Today those fans are known as Red Sox Nation. The following pages are intended to provide a glimpse into the players who have contributed to the team’s history.

            The Boston American League entry played at the newly built Huntington Avenue Baseball Grounds (the present site of Northeastern University). Construction began in March 1901, and games began in May 1901. The grounds allowed only one entrance for the entire audience, and capacity was 11,500. The construction cost was $35,000.00.

            * In addition to the Wright brothers, the inaugural Boston team that competed in 1871 included Albert Goodwill Spaulding, who pitched 257⅓ of the team’s 276 total innings. That team had an 11-man roster.