Fred Lovett Lake had a love for the sport of baseball that transcended merely playing the game. His career not only allowed him to play in both the minor and major leagues, but he coached, managed, and scouted at both levels as well. Fred was born the year before Canada’s Confederation, in the Township of Cornwallis, Nova Scotia. 1866 saw the birth of a boy who would live his life for the game of baseball. During the years around Confederation, the Maritime provinces went through a difficult economic downturn. This might explain why the Lake family crossed the almost non-existent border into the “Boston States” to find employment.
Fred’s father passed away when his son was a teenager, leaving Fred to depend on his mother and two older siblings to support the family. Without having to work, Fred was able to attend school and enjoyed learning how to play baseball. Fred’s baseball career began in 1887 at the age of 20. He played with the Salem (Mass.) Baseball Club, then with a few other minor league teams before heading back to his Canadian roots to play with Moncton in the New Brunswick Provincial League in 1890. He was fired to captain and manage and had an outstanding performance.
In 1891, the Major Leagues came calling. Frank Selee of the Boston Beaneaters convinced Fred to join him for the season. With an 87-51 record, the Beaneaters won the National League pennant. After a successful first season in the majors, and making Nova Scotia proud, Fred went back to play for some minor league teams; Milwaukee in 1892 and Wilkes-Barre in 1893. Then in 1894, the majors beckoned again, and Fred joined the Louisville Colonels. Fred played 16 games, batting .286. His on-base average was an astounding .473 with three extra-base hits, two doubles, and a home run. Despite Fred’s individual efforts, the Colonels finished the season with a 36-94 record.
In 1895, Fred returned again to Canada to play with Toronto. The next year, he joined Kansas City. In 1987, Fred went back to the Boston Beaneaters, helping them to another great season, a 93-39 record, and another National League pennant. In 1899, Fred was credited for bringing semi-pro baseball back to Lowell (Mass). That year, the Lowell team won the New England League championship. Fred remained in the New England area until 1906. In 1907, Fred’s scouting career took off He was credited with discovering many Boston Red Sox stars; including Tris Speaker, Smokey Joe Wood, Harry Hooper, and Bill Carrigan.
The middle of the 1908 season brought a very dramatic change to Fred’s baseball career. The Red Sox were having a terrible season, so owner John L. Taylor decided to replace manager James “Deacon” McGuire with Lake. In the 30 games left that season, Fred led the Sox to a 22-17 record. The following season, Fred helped the team to an 88-63 win-loss record. Fred set his hopes high for the 1910 season, with many fans looking for the pennant. However, when he approached John Taylor requesting a raise, the owner refused. In November 1909, Fred was replaced as Red Sox manager by Patsy Donovan.
Fred wasn’t without work for long, however. He became manager of the hapless Boston Doves in 1910. The Doves’ previous season was appalling at 45-108. With no players to add to his team, Fred had to settle with the team as it was. Although their season was far from wondrous, the Doves won eight more time than the previous season. Fred is the only person to have managed both the Boston Red Sox and the Boston Doves. From 1912 to the mid-1920s, Fred was back in the minors, managing teams all over the New England area. He is known for growing and developing minor league baseball in the region. In September 1924, Fred was fired as coach of the Harvard University Seconds, for the 1925 season. Harvard was thrilled to add such a valuable coach to its staff, stating they had never had a more experienced baseball coach.
Fred’s career took him all over the map, affording him the nickname “The Baseball Tourist.” It all came to an end when he passed away from heart troubles in November 1931. He left behind his loving wife, Lydia; four daughters Amy, Edith, Helen, and Evelyn; and his only son, Fred Jr.
• Baseball career began 1887 at the age of 20
• Began playing with the Salem (Mass.) Baseball Club
• Began playing with Moncton in 1890
• 1891 Joined the Majors with the Boston Beaneaters
• Played Minor League with Milwaukee in 1892
• Returned to Majors in 1984, Louisville Colonels
• Had an astounding on-base average of .473
• National League Pennant with Boston in 1897
• 1907 his scouting career took off
• Credited for discovering many Boston Red Sox Stars
• Manager of Boston Red Sox middle of 1908 Season
• Became Manager Boston Doves 1910
• Coach Harvard Uni Seconds 1925 Season
• Nickname “The Baseball Tourist”
• Passed away November 1931
• Born: Township of Cornwallis, Nova Scotia