In Christopher Tunstall’s mind, Boston Red Sox fans never had to worry about the Curse of the Bambino.
No, according to the 49-year-old, Asheville, N.C., native, it wasn’t Babe Ruth that was responsible for the Beantowners’ 86-year championship drought that extended from 1918 to 2004, but rather his underappreciated, great-grandfather Joseph John (J.J.) Lannin.
Though his name remains foreign to most Red Sox faithful, Lannin, a Canadian who hailed from Lac-Beauport, Que., had an ownership stake in the team from 1913 to 1916 and is the only Sox proprietor to oversee back-to-back World Champion clubs.
Lannin also had the baseball savvy to purchase Ruth from the International League’s Baltimore Orioles and bring him to Boston in 1914, before subsequent owner Harry Frazee infamously sold the slugger to the Yankees prior to the 1920 campaign.
“I’ve always thought of it as the curse of J.J.,” said Tunstall at his great-grandfather’s induction into the Canadian Baseball Hall of Fame in June 2004.