Michael T. "Nuf Ced" McGreevey Collection

Boston Public Library

Donated by this owner of a Columbus Avenue saloon, the collection consists of photographs of professional baseball in Boston and personal scrapbooks from the 1890's to 1912. Originally displayed at McGreevey's tavern, Third Base, the photographs form the largest collection of its kind. It consists of early Boston baseball photographs dating from 1875 to 1916 and many of the most important ballplayers of the 19th and early 20th century are represented, including Cy Young, Ty Cobb, Mike "King" Kelly, Kid Nichols and many others. Also included are panoramic photos of the ballparks of the era including the Huntington Avenue Grounds in Boston and the Polo Grounds in New York. The centerpiece of the collection is a series of photographs related to the first World Series in 1903 between Boston and Pittsburgh. Featured are photographs of the fans of the Boston team, the "Royal Rooters" and their leader Michael T. "Nuf Ced" McGreevey.

Michael T. McGreevey, saloon owner and baseball fan, lived the classic American success story. Born the son of an Irish immigrant day-laborer, McGreevey opened his first bar in 1894. His establishment soon became the headquarters of the Boston Royal Rooters, the rabid and riotous fans of Boston's professional teams, the Boston Nationals, also known as the Braves, and the Boston Americans, later to be known as the Red Sox. We don't know when McGreevey hung the first photos on the walls of his saloon, creating one of the first sports bars in Boston, but by 1916, he had hundreds of baseball photos festooning his establishment.

But with the passage of the 18th Amendment prohibiting the sale of alcohol and inaugurating the Prohibition Era, McGreevey was out of business. Always entrepreneurial, McGreevey looked to lease his bar and found a willing tenant in the Boston Public Library. The City of Boston signed a lease for $91.66 a month and in 1923 the Roxbury Crossing branch was opened. In the same year, McGreevey formally gave his collection of baseball photographs to the Boston Public Library. As a result of McGreevey's generosity, the Boston Public Library now owns one of the most important collections of early baseball images in the United States.