When my love for baseball started around the age of 12, I initially thought that playing “The Star Spangled Banner” was boring and unnecessary. The minute and a half long piece felt like an eternity to me as I waited for the game to start. As I grew older and more mature, however, I recognized its importance to the game. The Star Spangled Banner is not only a form of bonding that helps the crowd feel more unified and less unruly, but recently, I found out that its origins are a part of Red Sox history.
Historians trace the playing of The Star Spangled Banner at a baseball game during the Civil War era. A band supposedly played the tune at the opening of the Capitolene Grounds in New York before a game in 1862. But what gave the song its prominence was when it was played at the first game of the 1918 World Series between the Boston Red Sox and Chicago Cubs during World War I. As a band started playing the song during the seventh inning stretch, Fred Thomas, the Red Sox third baseman who was on leave from active duty in the military, stood and saluted the flag. Other Red Sox players followed his example by placing their hands over their hearts. Red Sox fans did the same. While it would be years before The Star Spangled Banner became more popular in baseball, many historians agree that Fred Thomas’ patriotic gesture paved the way towards the song becoming a staple of baseball.
Respect for Red Sox History and Star Spangled Banner Go Hand in Hand
Some fans might believe the playing of The Star Spangled Banner is an outdated practice that should no longer continue. Personally, I can’t make anyone take his or her hat off and observe the flag. After all, we’re Americans and have a right express ourselves. But it is important to recognize that the Red Sox and the famous song go hand in hand. If Fred Thomas hadn’t saluted the flag at the opening game of the 1918 World Series, then The Star Spangled Banner may not be an important part of baseball games as it is today. Its performance is not just a tradition; it’s a link to the past. It’s a glimpse back to a time that saw 18 million people, including 117,000 Americans, die in World War I. So when you take your hat off before The Star Spangled Banner is played, you’re not just recognizing sacrifice, you’re showing respect for the Red Sox and The United States of America.