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How Boston got its red socks & a nickname

@IanMBrowne
December 21, 2020

For their first seven years of existence, the Red Sox weren’t the Red Sox. In fact, they didn’t have an official team nickname. Most often, they were referred to as the Americans, because they were in the American League and this differentiated them from Boston’s National League entry, the team

For their first seven years of existence, the Red Sox weren’t the Red Sox. In fact, they didn’t have an official team nickname.

Most often, they were referred to as the Americans, because they were in the American League and this differentiated them from Boston’s National League entry, the team that eventually became the Braves.

It was actually the Braves -- dubbed the Nationals at the time -- that set the wheels in motion for the creation of “Red Sox” as a team name.

It all started in 1907, according to the ever-informative and exhaustive book “Red Sox Century” by authors Glenn Stout and Richard Johnson. That was when the “Boston Nationals abandoned their traditional red stockings in favor of blue.”

In December 1907, Boston “Americans” owner John I. Taylor met with a sporting goods supplier to order uniforms for the upcoming season.

Noting that the city’s National League entry had abandoned its dashing red stockings, Taylor decided to model his uniform with them.

According to research in “Red Sox Century,” Taylor settled on grey uniforms trimmed in red with pale blue stockings on the road. But at home, the Red Sox would have white uniforms with bright red stockings.

And Taylor came up with the name “Red Sox,” which took hold in 1908 and has remained ever since.

There was great excitement for the change in uniform design and team name. The Boston Journal, in an excerpt later printed in “Red Sox Century,” wrote, “It will be an aggressive, blazing color scheme that will be heard farther than the chortle of the fan when the home team wins out in the 15th inning.”

The Sporting News also weighed in with this sampling printed in “Red Sox Century.”

“The Boston Americans have a new name. The ‘Red Sox’. Ever since Boston became identified with the American League, an effort has been made to give the team an appropriate nickname which would sound good in print … but no two writers will agree on any one name. It was consequently up to John I. Taylor to re-christen his bunch and he has done so effectively.”

The Red Sox have gone on to become one of the most historic franchises in sports.

Ian Browne has covered the Red Sox for MLB.com since 2002. Follow him on Twitter @IanMBrowne and Facebook.