Top of page

Exhibition Baseball Americana

Will R. Anderson. “Tessie, You Are the Only, Only, Only.” Sheet music. New York: M. Witmark & Sons, 1902. Music Division, Library of Congress (038.00.00)
Dropkick Murphys. Tessie, the Official Anthem of the Boston Red Sox. Compact disc. Hellcat Records, 2004. Courtesy of Betsy Nahum-Miller (039.00.00)

The Red Sox and “Tessie”

As hardcore Boston fans, the Royal Rooters adapted the popular Broadway tune “Tessie” (1902) to great effect at the 1903 World Series. Targeting the Pittsburgh Pirates’ Honus Wagner, the line “Tessie, you make me feel so badly” became “Honus, why do you hit so badly.” Pirates infielder Tommy Leach complained that “you could hardly play ball they would sing ‘Tessie’ so damn loud.” In 2004 the Dropkick Murphys revised the lyrics in tribute to the Rooters, and Boston won the series that year—for the first time in eighty-six years.