'Curse Of The Bambino' Haunts Red Sox Fans

JANUARY 2004
- But George Conway Has Seen Sox Win World Series - This was supposed to be the year. Most New Englanders, never having
seen their beloved Red Sox win a World Series, thought 2003 was their
year.

They did come close. With an
opportunity to break the "Curse of the Bambino" in October, they were
again denied when a controversial eighth inning decision by Manager
Grady Little in Game Seven of the American League Playoffs resulted in
a loss to the Yankees and cost Little his job.

But
at least one Association member has seen the Red Sox win a World Series
and believes "The Curse of the Bambino" is news media ballyhoo.

"I
was at Fenway in September 1918 when Carl Mays went nine innings to
beat the Cubs 2-1 in game 6 of the Series to give the Sox their fourth
win and the Championship," said member George Conway. And since George
is now age 101, with a very clear memory, there is no doubt that he was
there.

"Mays and Ruth each won two
series games. Ruth also played the outfield that year and I believe he
led the league in homers with about a dozen."

"It
wasn't a big deal in 1918... it was nothing new. I'd also seen a game
in the 1916 series when the Sox beat the Dodgers. They'd also won the
series in 1915 when they beat the Phillies, but I didn't get to see any
of those games.

"Ruth was sold to
the Yankees after 1919 and of course everyone knows the rest. I did see
them (Sox) lose to the Cardinals in '46 and the Reds in '67 but there
was none of that Curse baloney. Real baseball people laugh at such
nonsense, but I guess it adds to the hype.

Left School to Work at Age 15

Born
in 1902, George spent his early childhood in Roxbury and Dorchester,
"moving several times." His mother and father were both dead by the
time he was 14 and he had to drop out of school to go to work at 15.

"My
first job was at Remington Typewriter for seven dollars a week. I had
many jobs... a plumber's helper, a roofer and a tin knocker," he
recalled. "I also worked nights in a bowling alley setting pins for
three cents a string. One night some tough guys came in and walked out
with our bowling balls in a bag. We couldn't call the police... it was
the police strike of 1918."

He was a
regular at Fenway Park when he wasn't working. "My brother Dan was an
usher and used to let me in through the players' entrance. I remember
Duffy's Cliff. This was a steep incline in left field in front of the
wall named after Boston outfielder Duffy Lewis. Visiting outfielders
often fell down running back for a fly ball."

After
marrying, he found steady work at the Fore River Shipyard and went on
to manage two laundries in Roslindale. This led to a job at the old
Charlestown State Prison supervising the prison laundry, and
subsequently the same at Walpole State Prison. Prior to retiring, he
was in charge of industries sales for the Department of Correction.

A
staunch union advocate, Conway was at one time treasurer of the AFSCME
Union and a legislative agent for the Correction Officers Union. He was
instrumental in lobbying the Heart Law for prison workers, which was
signed by Governor Herter, a Republican.

Senior Olympics Winner

Beginning
at age 80, he became interested in the Senior Olympics and trained
religiously for a number of events, including the javelin and shot put
as well as track competition. He went on to win numerous first place
medals, both at the state and national level. He still holds the world
record for the 10K race walk in the 90-94 age bracket. Although he no
longer competes (who would he compete with?), George still works out at
the South Shore Y in Quincy when he's not playing poker at the Quincy
Community Life Center.

George and
his wife Loretta, who passed away in 1982, raised 8 children - 4 boys
and four girls - accounting for 23 grandchildren, 15 great
grandchildren and 2 great, great grandchildren. Sons Ron and Paul, both
retired Boston Police Officers, are also Association members. George
now lives with his daughter Donna in Milton.

Back to baseball. George, any advice for the millions of Red Sox fans who go into a blue funk each October?

"That's
easy. Baseball is a great game and should be enjoyed for what it is.
Winning a World Series is nice but not the end all. The Red Sox have a
solid club that's fun to watch, and if people just relax, they'll
probably win a World Series or two before you know it. Of course,
that's easy for me to say. After all, I've seen them win a World Series
or two."

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