Baseball, running, & football: Boston Globe headlines from 1903

This week’s headlines from sports history come from The Boston Globe, as published the week of October 14-20.

Location: Boston, Massachusetts.

The Boston Globe is an American newspaper founded in 1872. The daily is still published today, although like many printed publications, has seen its share of troubles in recent years.

In 1903, Theodore Roosevelt was the US president and the Wright Brothers would complete the first man-powered flight in December. Crayola Crayons were introduced into the world and Henry Ford founded the Ford Motor Company. In sport, the first modern World Series took place, the New York Yankees were born, and golfer Harry Vardon won his fourth British Open.

Here is a sampling of sports headlines The Globe published this week in 1903:


Publication Date: October 14
This panoramic image of the Huntington Avenue Grounds ran above the article on the fifth page.

As touched on above, 1903 saw the first-ever modern World Series (then called “the world’s championship”) between the ballclubs of Boston and Pittsburgh. Boston’s team, which was known then as the Americans due to its American League affiliation, won the best-of-nine series over the Pirates 5-3.

This headline for final game’s report highlighted the paper’s front page along with three other articles about the series: an interview with Pittsburgh captain Fred Clarke, the projected players’ share of the gate, and how The Boston Globe planned to award the winners medals. The game report spilled over to the fifth page, where it took up the entire space.

This cartoon made the front page alongside the Series articles.

The Americans, who didn’t pick up their current Red Sox moniker until 1908, won that final game 3-0 behind Hobe Ferris’ two-run single in the fourth inning and his eighth-inning single that brought home Candy LaChance. Bill Dinneen, starting his fourth game of the series, pitched a splendid shutout in which he gave up four hits, walked two, and fanned seven. The clincher took place at the Huntington Avenue Grounds in Boston’s South End.

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Boston’s victory capped a four-game win streak where the club rallied from a 3-1 series deficit. Clarke called the Bostonian comeback “one of the grandest uphill fights in the history of baseball.”

The Pirates would eventually win the Series in 1909. Boston, meanwhile, won its next title three years after that.


Publication Date: October 15

A day after the World Series finale, Boston’s business manager, Joseph Smart, announced that each winning player’s share of the series’ gate totaled $1,182.18 (about $34,000 in today’s money). The players’ share of the postseason gate is a tradition that lives on to today.

Per the article, Pittsburgh players were unsure how much of the gate they’d take home. The article’s author surmised that members of the Steel City club “would be lucky” to collect $500. In reality, Pirates owner Barney Dreyfus donated his portion and each player came away with a whopping $1,316 (the players returned the generosity by gifting Dreyfus a gold watch). This is in contrast to Boston owner Henry Killilea keeping his portion, which accounts for why the losing side made out better than the winners.

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The article also noted that Massachusetts state senator Michael Sullivan called Americans captain Jimmy Collins by telephone and invited the team to a celebratory banquet. However, the ballclub declined because players were eager to return to their homes after a “strenuous season”. The end of the season certainly took its toll: every player in the Boston lineup dropped between six and 12 pounds during their series against Pittsburgh.

One notable journey home was that of catcher Lou Criger, who lived the off-season in Elkhart, Indiana. According to the article, Criger planned to take the ball of the Series’ final pitch home. The ball was stained with the blood of pitcher Bill Dineen, whose finger was “bleeding freely” by the game’s end. Criger told The Globe that Dineen displayed great “gameness” for fighting through the injury. As of 2012, the ball could be seen at the Baseball Hall of Fame in Cooperstown, New York.


Publication Date: October 16

This article detailed the 19-mile, 163-yard road race around the Hamilton Bay in Ontario, Canada. Now known as the Around the Bay Road Race, this event ran its 10th edition in 1903. It—alongside the Boston Marathon—was one of the major North American long-distance running races around the turn-of-the-century.

Billy Sherring, of Hamilton, Canada, topped the field in ’03 with a time of 1 hour, 51 minutes, 57 seconds. His mark was five seconds shy of the race record held by fellow Hamilton resident John Caffery. Despite missing out on the record, Sherring still outran the second-place American, Sammy Mellor, by over a minute.

The Globe also noted that local New Englander, Edward Fay of Cambridge, Massachusetts, ran a good first 10 miles but faded down the stretch. Fay previously took seventh in the 1903 Boston Marathon in April.

In total, an estimated 20,000 watched the race on a “clear and cool” Thursday. The Hamilton Herald promoted the race “for the amateurs of the world”.

Sherring and Caffery were long-distance heroes for Canada during the 1900s. Caffery won the ’00 and ’01 Boston Marathons and raced in the marathon at the 1908 London Olympics. Sherring’s record included snagging Olympic marathon gold at the 1906 Intercalated Games in Athens, as well as taking second to Caffery in the ’00 Boston race.

Mellor, meanwhile, was victorious in the 1902 Boston Marathon. The native of Yonkers, New York later represented the United States at the 1904 Olympics in St. Louis, but had to withdraw from the marathon after taking a wrong turn.

The Around-the-Bay-Road-Race is still held annually. Predating Boston’s event by three years, it is the oldest road race in North America.


Publication Date: October 18
This image of Harvard’s Harry LeMoyne preparing to punt ran alongside the story on the second page.

This college football tilt was chronicled in a front-page report. Held in West Point, New York, the game was a low-scoring affair between the hosting US Military Academy and Harvard, a now-Ivy League school located nearby Boston in Cambridge.

The only points came near the start of the game when Daniel Knowlton rushed 22 yards for the touchdown. Because the rules of the day only gave five points for reaching the end zone, the scoreboard read 5-0 in favor of Harvard (the currently-standard six-point per touchdown rule wouldn’t go into effect until 1912).

The Crimson also had a few more scoring opportunities. One of the better chances came before they lost the ball via downs on West Point’s 7-yard line. Team captain Carl Marshall also missed a pair of field goal attempts which could’ve extended the lead further.

Now commonly referred to as Army, West Point failed to offensively threaten the entire game. The Harvard defense held so strong that the Cadets never got within 70 yards of the Crimson goal line.

With such a low-scoring contest, the article highlighted the work of Harvard punter and swimming world-record holder Harry LeMoyne. The freshman boomed kicks of 73 and 68 yards, both of which helped pin the Academy deep in its own half. LeMoyne, who starred for Harvard in numerous other sports besides football, didn’t return to school the next fall because he failed his sophomore entrance exams. Soon after, he journeyed west to start what became a successful sheep ranch in Idaho.

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The Crimson would finish out the 1903 season with a 9-3 mark, closing out the promising year with a pair of disappointing losses to Dartmouth and Yale. The Cadets of West Point went 6-2-1 in a season highlighted by a defensive effort that shut out five of its nine opponents.

Headlines for this article were sourced from