In the first year of Harry Frazee's ownership of the club, the Red Sox missed out on the World Series for the first time since 1914. With World War I engulfing Europe, Fenway Park hosted a public drill and march by the Shepard Norwell Women's Military Company and war memorial mass over the Memorial Day holiday weekend.
Record: 90-62, 2nd in American League
Manager: John J. Barry
Coming off back-to-back titles, the 1917 Red Sox won 90 games (just one less victory than the previous season) but finished in second place, a full nine games behind the White Sox.
Harry Frazee purchased the team in late 1916, with the sale reportedly contingent on Bill Carrigan's return as manager. However, Frazee's visit to Carrigan in Maine just before the New Year proved fruitless and on January 4, Frazee accepted the situation and named Jack Barry as the new player/manager.
With World War I underway, ballplayers were told that those who enlisted in the military would have their positions held open for them. Frazee nonetheless cut some salaries even below the depressed 1916 levels. Players from both teams frequently marched on the field before games in military drills.
The Red Sox leader on offense was Duffy Lewis, who hit .302. Babe Ruth and Carl Mays led the pitching staff with 24 and 22 wins, respectively. The team started 12-4 and sat in first place as late as July 31.
Though the Red Sox didn't reach the postseason, there were a number of memorable occurrences during the 1917 season. In early June, Fenway announcer Red Armstrong gave way to Stonewall Jackson, who would hold the position for many years. On June 16, a near-riot occurred due to a combination of rain and the suspected involvement of gamblers who were displeased that Chicago was beating the Red Sox. Somehow, 500 spectators ended up on the field and wouldn't leave but the game eventually resumed.
One week later, Babe Ruth and Ernie Shore combined for one of the most bizarre no-hitters in history. Ruth was ejected after he walked the first batter and vociferously objected to the call but Shore came in and retired every one of the batters he faced. Later in the season, plainclothes policemen arrested five gamblers in Fenway's right-field bleachers during an August game, as part of a crackdown ordered by American League President Ban Johnson.
At the end of the season, the Red Sox and Senators played a benefit game with proceeds going to the 101st Regiment Fund. Two days after the final game of the World Series, five members of the Red Sox were called to duty by the United States Navy, including Jack Barry and Duffy Lewis.
In the midst of the 1917 Red Sox season, four other baseball games were played at Fenway Park, including the third Fenway match-up between Noble & Greenough and the Volkmann School.
|1917 Non-Red Sox Baseball At Fenway Park|
|May 25||Volkmann School, Noble & Greenough 4|
|June 20||Mechanic Arts High 8, High School of Commerce 3|
|August 3||St. John's A. C. of Cambridge 6, Boston Tigers 5|
|August 13||Boston Printers 8, New York Printers 2|
A pair of non-athletic events highlighted Fenway Park's earliest months of 1917. On March 19, the Shepard Norwell Women's Military Company, a 125-member group that served as a first aid organization auxiliary to the hospital corps, held their first public drill and marched around the park with Springfield rifles. Later in the month, another Spanish-American War mass was held at the park (there had also been a service held in 1915). In the Fall, Boston College played a pair of football games at Fenway Park, and six high school football games also took place there.
|1917 Non-Baseball Events At Fenway Park|
|March 19||Shepard Norwell Women's Military Company First Public Drill|
|March 27||Spanish-American War Memorial Mass*|
|October 12||Boston College 20, Tufts 0 (Football)|
|October 26||High School of Commerce 26, Brockton High 7 (Football)|
|October 31||Boston English 34, Mechanic Arts 0 (Football)|
|November 8||Boston English 21, Boston College High 6 (Football)|
|November 10||Boston College 34, Holy Cross 6 (Football)|
|November 13||High School of Commerce, 37, Arlington High 0 (Football)|
|November 16||Boston Latin 34, Mechanic Arts 0 (Football)|
|November 29||Boston English 13, Boston Latin 6 (Football)|
*Started in the 1910s, a late May memorial service coinciding with the Memorial Day weekend was often held at Fenway Park through the mid-20th Century.