Harry Frazee

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Harry H. Frazee (1881 - June 4, 1929) was an American theatrical agent and producer and owner of the Boston Red Sox from 1916 to 1923. He became one of the most infamous baseball team owners in Major League Baseball, originally from anti-semitism, and then long after his death from being blamed for the Curse of the Bambino.

Born in Peoria, Illinois, Frazee bought the Red Sox from Joseph Lannin in 1916 for about $500,000. The Sox won a World Series title in 1918. The health of the Sox took a famous plunge after that season, however. The team finished in sixth in 1919, and the team started selling off its players to the New York Yankees, most notoriously Babe Ruth after the 1919 season. After the sale of Ruth, the team would not win another World Series until 2004, the third longest drought in World Series history. (The Chicago Cubs (1908-present) currently have the longest drought. The Chicago White Sox had the second longest; after winning the 1917 World Series, they would not claim baseball's throne again until 2005—a year after the Red Sox finally won another World Series.)

Frazee also backed a number of New York theatrical productions (both before and after Ruth's sale), the best known of which is probably No, No, Nanette.

In the early 1920s, Frazee came under attack in Henry Ford's Dearborn Independent for being a Jew and thus "degrading" the noble sport of baseball. In fact, he was a Presbyterian, but he never deigned to respond to the charge.

Frazee sold the team in 1923, getting $1.2 million for it despite its reduced fortunes. In 1929, Frazee died after a long illness at age 48 in New York City. He was interred in Kensico Cemetery in Valhalla, New York.

His reputation would continue to suffer blows after his death. He was subject to an unflattering portrait in Fred Lieb's 1940s account of the Boston Red Sox, which insinuated that he had sold Ruth to finance a Broadway musical. This alleged reason for Ruth's sale would become a central element in the lore of the alleged "Curse of the Bambino". (Eventually the lore would name No, No, Nanette as the musical for which Ruth was sold, though that musical debuted five years after Ruth's sale.)

External link

A "Curse" born of hate, by Glenn Stout, discussing and criticizing the various attacks against Frazee.