When the Red Sox won the 1912 World Series at Fenway Park, the winners share was $4,024.68 per player. That may not seem like a whole lot but it more than doubled the salary of some players. Well it set me to thinking( oh oh), so I went on a search and now you’re coming with me.
Although salaries of this time are somewhat inconclusive, Tris Speaker was paid about $10,000 and Harry Hooper about $8,000 for the 1912 season. Both are in the Hall of Fame. Thirdbaseman Larry Gardner played for about $2000.
The Red Sox returned to the World Series in 1915 but believe it or not, they did not play their games at Fenway Park, they played them at Braves Field. It may seem a bit coo-coo and it actually get’s a little coo-cooer (is that a word?) so let me digress a moment and explain.
Fenway Park opened in 1912. A couple of years later the Boston Braves began building their new ball park which they called, strangely enough, Braves Field.
Well in 1914, the “Miracle Braves” won the National League pennant. They were called the “Miracle Braves” because they were in last place in July and came back and won the pennant! But I digress yet again. They played their home World Series games at the NEW Fenway Park and they won the Series! The doors to Braves Field opened in 1915 and when the Red Sox won the American League pennant in ’15’ they played their home World Series games in the NEW Braves Field,
and they won the Series!
How many guys can you recognize from the 1912 team?
The Red Sox winners share for the 1915 World Series was $3,780.25 while the Phillies cashed checks for $2520.17. Now in 1915, the 1912 MVP and still the Red Sox best player, Tris Speaker played for $17,500.00. This is considerably more than his 1912 salary and that is because of the renegade Federal League. The Federal League was in operation in 1914 and 1915, and they had “raided” the existing major leagues driving salaries upward. The players liked this a lot! Babe Ruth, in his second year, played for $3,500.00 in 1915. He made more money from the series than he did for the entire season. So, you can see how important it was to win the pennant and get to the World Series!
In 1916, the Red Sox won the American League pennant again and guess what? Yup, they went back to Braves Field to play their home World Series games and again they won the Series!
The winning shares for the 1916 World Champions were $3,910.26. Tris Speaker had been traded just before the start of the 1916 season and Babe Ruth emerged as the star of the team. Babe anchored the pitching staff with a 23-12 record and a 1.75 ERA. He also tied for the team lead in home runs with three in just 136 at bats. He earned the same salary as the year before, $3,500.00. The leader of the offense was Larry Gardner who led the team in hitting, .308 and RBI with 62. His salary for 1916 was in the $7,500.00 range.
The 1916 Red Sox, led by Babe Ruth, beat the Dodgers in the World Series for their third World Championship in five years.
With the collapse of the Federal League, salaries plummeted and there began talk among the players of forming a “brotherhood”. The average salary of the 1916 Red Sox was in the $4,000.00 range, a figure that was virtually doubled by winning the World Series.
The lowest winners share in World Series history was just on the horizon and it would involve Fenway Park’s Boston Red Sox.
to be continued…..
And so it was at this time in Fenway Park history, 1912, 1915 and 1916. World Series time.