England Had a World Cup Game, but First Its Fans Had a Quest. For Beer. In 1787, at the height of its popularity, Boston had a team. They were called the Red Stockings, and as every other city in Massachusetts they played against an opponent. As a result, Boston became the first American major-league team to win a world championship trophy.
The team was led by an Irish-born man named Benjamin Franklin Barrows, who also became the first secretary of the United States Government. He was an inventor, writer, revolutionary, surveyor, and, like his American counterparts, he was from Boston.
But back in Boston, the Red Stockings were a punchline. A team that had started out as a joke in England had become the pride of Boston.
The Red Stockings didn’t have a lot of talent, but the coach was a great motivator. His job title was “captain,” and his job was to turn his team around.
Barrows started the Red Stockings with their usual style of offense, one that relied mostly on speed. They had some great players, most notably the legendary baseball player George Herman; they had the fastest team in baseball history.
The coach’s task was made tougher because there was only 100 teams vying for the pennant. When the Red Stockings scored the first run of the game, Franklin Barrows threw his fist up in exasperation and announced, “Well, that’s it for the second half of the game.” (He was actually trying to warn them, as the second half wasn’t even over yet.)
But Franklin Barrows did more to change English baseball than any other man in its history except perhaps W.L. Mackenzie.
He introduced baseball to the United States, created a national team of American players, and inspired Major League Baseball to finally get its act together.
And, by the time Barrows turned the Red Stockings into the team that won the 1901 World Series, he had changed the way we think of baseball.
For the first time in over a millennium, a team was crowned world champions by winning its game.
In fact, Boston’s team had been pretty good