A Peoria, IL native, Harry H. Frazee purchased the Red Sox and Fenway Park from Joseph J. Lannin on November 1, 1916. Like Lannin, Frazee was a former bellhop; the New York-based Frazee made his fortune as a real estate manager and as a stock broker before becoming a Broadway producer, director and theatrical agent.
The First World War dealt Frazee, and all of baseball, a severe blow, causing extensive turnover in player personnel and the truncation of the 1918 season. However, Frazee and his business manager Ed Barrow did a masterful job of orchestrating a team that won the World Series in 1918 by defeating the Chicago Cubs four games to two. The victory was the last World Championship for the club before their triumph in 2004 and the last matchup between the two storied franchises before meeting in May 2011.
Despite winning the 1918 World Series, Frazee is most remembered for making a string of trades with the New York Yankees toward the end of his tenure, including the much-discussed trade of Babe Ruth for $100,000 and a $300,000 mortgage on Fenway Park. In 1920, Barrow joined the Yankees as their business manager and furthered a number of additional trades with his former club. While Barrow began building a dynasty in New York, the fortunes of the Red Sox soured quickly and Boston suffered through mediocre seasons from 1920-1922. Frazee was also entangled as part of a minority group of club owners who had a series of battles with American League founder and president Ban Johnson. Looking to sell the Red Sox, Frazee remained the owner until August 1923, when a group led by J.A. Robert Quinn purchased the club from him.