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About The Beaneaters

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Recently people have been asking me where I derived the rather peculiar name for this blog.  The Beaneater was chosen as the name due to the phrase’s roots in the old time Boston sports scene.  Here’s a little history…

The Boston Red Stockings baseball club was founded in 1871 by Ivers Whitney Adams who invited player-manager Harry Wright, his brother George and two other players (one of whom was Al Spalding, a future team owner and the founder of Spalding sporting goods) from the recently dissolved Cincinnati Red Stockings to move to Boston and make up the nucleus of his new ball club.  The Red Stockings were a charter team in the National Association of Professional Base Ball Players.  The team became one of the charter members of the National League in 1876 along with a reestablished Cincinnati Red Stockings club.  The Boston team was sometimes called the Red Caps to avoid confusion but officially changed their name to the Boston Beaneaters in 1883.  This was a reference to Bostonians being called “Bean Eaters” due to the prevalence of baked beans–which is also where the city’s nickname “Beantown” comes from.  The Beaneaters enjoyed a dominant run winning six National League pennants, five of them from 1891 through 1898.

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When the Boston based American League team–sometimes referred to as the Pilgrims, Puritans and Somersets but most frequently called the Americans–was founded in 1901, the Beaneaters’ fortunes paid dearly.  Many of the best players jumped ship to the new franchise as ownership did not bother even countering the contracts offered by the Americans.  The Beaneaters’ long string of success dried up.  In 1907, the team name was changed to the Doves when George and John Dovey bought the club.  The ballclub name changed again in 1911 to the Rustlers.  Finally in 1912 the organization became known as the Braves, the moniker the franchise still claims to this day (although they were briefly called the “Bees” in the late 1930s).  The Braves continued to play in Boston until 1953 when they moved to Milwaukee and they now reside in Atlanta where they’ve been based since 1966.

The Boston Americans of course eventually became the Boston Red Stockings (after a temporary scare that red dye in uniforms would cause injuries to become infected which almost resulted in the team adopting white or navy blue as beaneater-logoking-kelly2its color of stockings–the Blue Sox just doesn’t sound right) and then the Boston Red Sox that Bostonians still love to this day.  So this blog is dedicated to those forlorn Beaneaters who were pieced together with the scrapped parts of other teams.  Who found a place in a city and were forced to endure name changes simply because other teams that subsequently joined the league decided to use the same nickname.  Who saw a long string of success in terms of pennants but rarely in the form of championships (frighteningly fitting for the baseball tradition of Boston over the next century) ended when another team with deeper pocketed owners set up camp in town.  Who ultimately were eliminated from existence in order to be renamed the Doves after a pair of egotistical new sibling owners.  I admire the tenacity of that Beaneaters team and there’s something comical about the peculiar inner workings and dealings of old time sports–a levity of which I think modern era sports could use more.  That same tenacious good humor are the concepts I hope will be reflected in this blog…and hence the name.  Here’s a look at a few more of the Beaneaters:

Ezra Sutton

Dick Conway

Jack Burdock

Tommy McCarthy

Kid Madden

John Morrill

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