Boston's Royal Rooters
Boston’s Royal Rooters and the Rise of the American Sports Fan is a new book project that examines the story of a loosely organized group of baseball fans that gained local fame and national recognition between 1897 and 1918. These fans displayed their devotion to both of Boston’s professional baseball teams through raucous cheering rituals in both their own and opponents’ parks; indeed, they were apparently the first large group of rooters to travel on the road with their hometown clubs. Their ardor brought them fame as a good-luck charm for the Boston teams (which went undefeated in six World Series and won two additional pennants with the Rooters at their side), and helped many of the Rooters to advance themselves financially and politically.
Boston’s Royal Rooters will explore the reasons why these fans devoted so much of their time and money to supporting the city’s professional baseball teams at a time when “cranks” (the nineteenth century term for fans) were common but such extensive efforts were unprecedented. It will also consider why the Rooters became celebrities in Boston and why newspapers from Tampa, Florida to Anaconda, Montana published stories about them. In doing so, I hope to gain new insights into both the changing role of baseball in American society and the changing nature of culture and politics in early twentieth-century Boston (which, not coincidentally, is the world in which my grandparents grew up).
If you have any memorabilia from or information about the Rooters, and particularly if you or people you know have ancestors who were part of the group, I would love to hear from you! Please contact me privately.