Before Sweet Caroline There Was Tessie
Long before the Red Sox nation began serenading the home team with "Sweet Caroline," it was the Red Sox Rooters, first known as the Royal Rooters, who incessantly sang out the Broadway number "Tessie" to stir the hearts of the local nine and distract their rivals.
Tessie and the Rooters made their presence felt during the inaugural 1903 World series when the Sox defeated Honus Wagner's Pittsburgh Pirates.
Pirate outfielder Tommy Leach remembered the song's maddening effect: "Tessie, you make me feel so badly / Why don't you turn around / Tessie, you know I love you madly / Babe, my heart weights about a pound . . . "
Only instead of singing 'Tessie, you know I love you madly,' they'd sing special lyrics to each of the Red Sox players: like 'Jimmy [Collins, third base], you know I love you madly.'
And for the Pirates they'd change it a little. Like when Honus Wagner came up to bat they'd sing: 'Honus, why do you hit so badly / Take a back seat and sit down / Honus, at bat you look so sadly / Hey, why don't you get out of town.' Sort of got on your nerve after a while. And before we knew what happened, we'd lost the World Series."
The Red Sox Rooters disbanded in 1918, the year the Sox won the World Series and ushered in an 86-year wold championship drought.