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This Day in Boston History

August 28th, 1967

Boston Signs First Baseball Free Agent
Ken "Hawk" Harrelson The Red Sox were desperate to replace an injured outfielder in their "impossible dream" team. Ken Harrelson was a power hitting outfielder in California, who was just fired for calling his team's owner a "menace to baseball". The Sox contracted him as a free agent, with a $75,000 signing bonus to fill the spot.

What they got was a league leading power hitter, who exuded 1960's California's youth culture. He kept long blonde hair, wore shoes without socks, Nehru jackets and was charismatic and popular with fans. The Fenway faithful picketed when he was traded to Cleveland after his first full year in Boston. Harrelson would later pursue a brief career in professional golf and return to Boston as a sportscaster for WSBK television.


England's Prime Minister never expected this tea tax to cause an outcry, let alone revolution. In 1767, England reduced its property taxes at home. To balance the national budget they needed to find a mechanism for the American colonies to pay for the expense of stationing officials in them. The officials would generate their own revenue by collecting taxes on all imported goods, and once paid affixing stamps on them. This Stamp Tax generated more in the way of protests and smuggling than added revenue.

Religion. Politics. Rebellion. Boston’s pedigree was forged back in England in the midst of religious dissension, where Puritans and Pilgrims sought religious reform, and Cavaliers and Roundheads vied for political power. The question isn't where did Boston get its name – but how.

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