Red Sox Century

Red Sox Century

By Dick Johnson & Glenn Stout

Houghton Mifflin Co. 2000

Reviewed by Joe Kuras
Glenn Stout and Dick Johnson are a couple of baseball junkies who love to write about the sport they love. They are considered by some to be the two most qualified persons to tell the 100 year old story of the Boston Red Sox. A few years ago, A Red Sox Journal reported that they were finally in the process of writing a history book on our beloved Boston Red Sox. Their new book, Red Sox Century, is a wonderful book full of stories, some never told before, of the Red Sox. It is a book that will hopefully ease some of the pain the Red Sox seem to generate from year to year.

Glenn Stout is recognized as one of the greatest sports historians. According to Johnson, the Red Sox are the most written about team in baseball. With so much material available, "Glenn goes through this stuff like crickets through a cornfield. I can‘t imagine anyone having a greater capacity for absorbing the material, making sense out of it and finding the best stories. He is the best and I‘m humbled to work with him."

Dick Johnson is the curator of the Sports Museum of New England, currently located in the Fleet Center in Boston. With Stout, he has authored 3 other books, Ted William: A Portrait in Words and Pictures, DiMaggio: An illustrated Life, and Jackie Robinson: Between the Baselines.

According to Boston Globe columnist Dan Shaughnessy, Red Sox Century is "the definitive, indexed history of the Red Sox where you can look up what happened what happened in ‘63, and what happened in Morehead’s no-hitter and what happened with (Leon) Culberson, who’s on the cover."

Dave Morehead pitched a meaningless game on September 16, 1965 in front of 1,247 fans. It turned out the be the biggest game of his life when he hurled a no-hitter against the Cleveland Indians. He would never come close to being as effective as in that game. Overshadowed by the game was the firing of General Manager Mike Higgins, replaced by Dick O’Connell. That administrative move ended the good ole boy and country club era of the Red Sox. It signaled the conception of an impossible dream type of season to come.

Red Sox Manager Billy Herman was never a fan of Rico Petrocelli, and almost drove the shortstop out of baseball. He had worked out a trade with the Yankees, receiving 1962 Rookie of the Year Tom Tresh and shortstop Phil Linz for outfielder Carl Yastrzemski. O’Connell squashed the trade and later fired Herman, replacing him with Dick Williams. What would Red Sox history be like if Tresh and Linz wore red socks in 1967? If you ever wondered what happened to O’Connell’s predecessor Mike Higgins, he died in prison after a drunk driving incident caused him to run into a Louisiana chain gang.

This 450 page book is perfect for the coffee table at home, as well as for the journalist who must rely on a detailed and accurate reference book on such a storied team. It took 14 years for the authors to bring the concept of the book to reality.

"I am proud that we were able to produce a book I think does justice to the great history the Red Sox have created," said Johnson.

The staff of A Red Sox Journal was equally proud to be invited to the Fleet Center to celebrate the book with Johnson and Stout. The book will make an excellent Christmas gift, but I suspect that most Red Sox fans won’t be able to wait that long to pick up a copy.

Red Sox Century book review by David Nevard

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