Orphaned at age 14, Joseph J. Lannin migrated from Quebec City to Boston in search of work in the 1880s. The ambitious youngster landed a job as a bellhop at the Adams Hotel in Beantown, where he learned about real estate and the commodities market by listening to wealthy patrons. A true rags-to-riches story, Lannin successfully invested his savings and eventually built an empire of hotels, apartment buildings and golf courses.

Though a skilled lacrosse player himself, Lannin became a devoted baseball fan and with his fortune, was able to buy the Boston Red Sox in 1914. That same year, he also purchased the rights to a promising young lefthander named Babe Ruth from the International League’s Baltimore Orioles. Under Lannin’s reign, the Bambino was assigned to the Red Sox farm club in Providence for a short period, where on a road trip, Ruth would belt his first professional home run at Hanlan’s Point in Toronto.

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