Okay troops, let’s recap a bit. Looking over the 1912 Boston Red Sox, we have met the entire pitching staff, the spectacular outfield of Lewis, Speaker and Hooper and the manager and first baseman, Jake Stahl. Well now let’s move into the infield and start with the man behind the dish, William Francis “Rough” Carrigan.
Any idea why they called him “Rough”?
Bill Carrigan was 28 years old and in his sixth season with the Boston Red Sox when Fenway Park opened her doors in 1912. Born and bred in Lewiston Maine, he was a first generation Irish Catholic immigrant whose parents immigrated before the Civil War. He attended college at Holy Cross where he played football and baseball. And it was there where he learned the trade of catching.
Known as an outstanding defensive catcher, with a pretty good stick, it was his toughness and refusal to back down that was his trademark. An excellent receiver and handler of pitchers, he was steadfast and relentless when guarding the plate and it was in that capacity where his reputation for toughness grew. He was involved with several confrontations which were simply “witnessed” by teammates, similar to a hockey fight, as he never backed down and never lost.
He did the bulk of the catching for the 1912 Red Sox sharing it with three others along the way and it was old “Rough” who was behind the plate in Fenway Park’s first ever World Series game on October 9, 1912. Carrigan’s greatest impact on Fenway Park and the Red Sox came from 1914-1916. Following their record-setting, World Championship year of 1912, the Red Sox took a dive in 1913. The team was torn, believe it or not, with religious divisions between the catholics and the protestants. Carrigan was named the player-manager half way through the 1913 season and it was the respect that the players had for him that went a long way toward righting the Red Sox ship.
Carrigan (L) with Jake Stahl, the man he replaced as manager.
In 1914, Carrigan played a role in bringing Babe Ruth to Fenway Park and as the player-manager he led the Red Sox to back to back World Series wins in 1915 and 1916. He was the first and, until Terry Francona in 2004 and “07”, only Red Sox manager to capture successive World Championships.
Babe Ruth (L) said that Bill Carrigan was the best manager for whom he ever played.
Wanting to spend more time with his family, Carrigan retired from baseball following the 1916 season. He returned to his beloved Lewiston Maine and entered the banking industry where he enjoyed a very successful career. In 1968, a year before he died, he was inducted into the Holy Cross University hall of fame.
And so it was at this time in Fenway Park history, 1912-1916,
“Rough” Carrigan’s time.