Today In History – Red Sox Name Becomes Official

17 December 2007 – On this day 100 years ago, the Red Sox’ team name becomes official in an announcement by club owner John I. Taylor. Before that, the team had no true identity other than that of being the American League representative in Boston; in fact, most teams of that era did not have true names other than what creative sportswriters deemed necessary to make good copy. Though Bill Nowlin has shown that the name most often used by columnists was either the “Bostons” or the “Americans” (and not the Pilgrims, as some historic references have falsely reported), the truth was that there was no official nickname used by the team.

So how was Red Sox chosen by Taylor? Following the 1907 season, the National League representative in Boston, managed by Fred Tenney, had switched from wearing red stockings to white on the belief by Tenney that the red dye would cause infection if a player was spiked in the course of action on the ball field. Taylor took note of this and decided to switch his team from wearing uniforms trimmed in pale blue to bright, fire-engine red, though it should be noted that the “Nationals” had worn a dark, deep red. He also took an old nickname that had been used for the NL club, the Red Stockings, and shortened it to simply Red Sox. To emphasize the name, on the center of the jersey, he had a large red sock shown with the name Boston in white letters. That design just lasted one season and the uniforms switched back to read as they had in 1907, with just the name Boston on the front of the jersey, but the name stuck with fans and the media long enough to become synonymous with the identity of the team.

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