Level 1: 1985 - 1989
These years are summarized in the book Twelve Years in a Box (162 pages), which is available for $25. Individual issues are not generally for sale, although reprints can be had by special arrangment.
Level 2: 1990-1994
Back issues from these years are $10.00 each
Level 3: 1995-1999
Back issues from these years are $7.00 each
Level 4: 2000-present
Back issues are $5.00
The Journal was first made available to the general public in Spring Training 1987 (Vol. III, No.1). An advertisement was placed in Baseball Digest offering free sample copies. A subscription cost "$14 per year, which is the price of one lower-box-seat ticket at Fenway Park." The Journal was still typewritten, but now included photos taken by the staff, and developed in our own darkroom. There was no "cover" but Page 1 was typed on BHS letterhead. Nine issues were published each year: April, May, June July, August, September, October, Winter, Spring Training. All roster changes made by the club were covered, a practice that was to continue for many years. Contributors in 1987 were David Nevard, Norman Neu, Bob Howe, Skitch Winchester, and Karen Johnson of Washington State.
The issue for Winter '87-88 (Vol. III, No.9) was the first with a cover photo -- Mike Greenwell and Ellis Burks at the annual Baseball Writers Dinner. This was also the first issue which was partly produced on a word processor by Karen Johnson. Succeeding issues in 1988 were almost completely done on word processor. Photos were pasted on and xeroxed. Captions were done with Letraset rub-on lettering. Spring Training 1988 (Vol. IV, No.1) was the first to include on the spot reporting from Spring Training in Florida, thanks to Karen Johnson.
The issue for Winter '88-'89 (Vol IV, No.9) was the first to include some portions done on a PC desktop publishing program. The computer was an 8088 clone, the Leading Edge Model D. April 1989 (Vol. V, No.2) featured a drastic format change -- the Journal was done on legal-sized sheets folded over to make a booklet about the size of an LL Bean catalog. All the text layout was done with PC programs; Ventura Publisher soon became the program of choice, and produced some very sophisticated results. The two-column layout was modeled after that of The New Yorker magazine. I took some time to study books on layout and typesetting. Subscription price for the Journal was now $16.00.
On August 2, 1989 we first set foot on Fenway's sacred sod, thanks to pre-game press passes secured by David Nevard and Norman Neu. The precedent had been set for us by Karen Johnson, who had gotten passes to Spring Training games and Red Sox games on the road, from Sox PR director Dick Bresciani. Toward the end of the fifth season, a book was produced. Titled Five Years in a Box, it summarized the Journal from 1985 through 1989. It was typeset in Ventura Publisher and privately published. The original price was $12 for162 pages (no illustrations).
Spring Training 1990 (Vol. VI, No.1) was our first attempt to scan photographs. Results were crude due to technical limitations of that era. In July 1990 (Vol. VI, No 5) we switched to halftones, which produced very good-looking pictures. Modern scans have still not caught up to halftones. Also in 1990, our page layout program was switched to PageMaker, which we were to use for many years. Although not as sophisticated as Ventura, this Windows-based program was much easier to use and produced a very clean result. Bob Howe and David Nevard were learning the program at work. The issues of 1991 (Vol. VII) were perhaps the best-looking Journals ever produced. The format reverted to 8-1/2x11 with a standard of 22 or 24 pages, halftone photographs and PageMaker Layout. Instead of side staples, we bound the edges with plastic Velobind strips.
But as with the LL Bean-sized issue, this attractive format was expensive and time consuming -- "high maintenance". For 1992 (Vol. VIII) we had colored paper covers, a different color each month, and used side staples and scanned photographs. By now scanners were producing acceptable quality, and 600 dpi personal laser printers were available. Scanned photos had many advantages -- flexibility in layout, the ability to use pictures submitted on disk (and later via the web and email), and the ability to store the entire document in computer format. Computer image-editing software gave us the ability to work with "drugstore" snapshots in the computer, and we eventually gave up printing photos in the darkroom.
One of the limitations of PageMaker was that you had to produce a text page in a word processing program and then import it into PageMaker to do page layout. The Winter 1992-'93 issue (Vol. VIII No.9) was produced entirely in AmiPro word processor -- an innovation that didn't last. Eventually PageMaker came out with a version that allowed text editing within the program. The 1993 issues (Vol. IX) each carried on the back cover a story about a member of the 1918 champions, and a poem about him by Gene Carney. That spring we conducted a massive survey of past and present readers, in regards to various changes that were being proposed by MLB. April 1993 shows our first recorded use of the Internet, when Larry McCray's STATLG email list participated in the survey. Joe Kuras became our minor league correspondent in 1993.
Subscriptions, following Red Sox ticket prices, were now $18.00 per year. A frequent comtributor in the early 1990's was Daryn Reeds, an English former cricket player who wrote a column called "Across the Pond". Tim Sears contributed stories for several years before starting his own fanzine in Kansas City, and Tyler-Travis Bolden sent photos from Florida. Another early-90's feature was advertising. Our chief clients were The Sox Exchange (fantasy camp) and Baseball Underground (now Boston Baseball) and The Diamond Angle. Ads were done on an exchange basis, no money changed hands.
1994 started off with a bang. The Buffalo Heads, along with Phill Robertson and Frank X. Sullivan, started a radio show on WKOX Framingham. This was also the first year that we published a CompuServe email address on our masthead. Also, Paul White of USA Today Baseball Weekly invited baseball fanzine writers from around the country to a marvelous get-together in Arlington, Va. The meeting brought us all closer together and led to frequent collaboration and cross-pollination. Contributors like James Floto, Matt Wall, Gene Carney, and David Marasco began showing up on our pages Baseball seemed to have reached a peak, but the radio show died in May and baseball went on strike in August. We continued to publish during the Strike. Subscriptions reached $20, the level at which they would remain for many years.
The Strike ended on April 1, 1995. There was no real spring training (hence no spring training issue of ARSJ) and the season was reduced to 144 games. The scheduling of ARSJ was disrupted permanently. That year we published five issues -- Spring was identified as Vol. XI, No. 0, perhaps reflecting the empty feeling that baseball now brought. This was followed by Summer, Sept./Oct, Holiday, and Winter. A table of contents had been introduced in October 1994. In a cost-cutting measure we stopped using envelopes and began sending ARSJ naked through the mail, with just a colored dot to hold it together.
There were seven issues in 1996 (Vol XII) -- publishing was pretty much bi-monthly. That year marked the entrance of A Red Sox Journal onto the World Wide Web, thanks to web master Joe Kuras, whose Pawtucket Red Sox site morphed into the ARSJ site. Our email address changed from CompuServe to firstname.lastname@example.org. In 1997 (Vol XIII) we published five issues, and the same in 1998 (Vol. XIV)
We were angered in 1998 by the loss of our press credentials, thanks to a front office change which moved Dick Bresciani upstairs and made Kevin Shea PR chief. Therefore the Spring 1998 (Vol XIV No.1) issue was the last for quite some time to show a Red Sox player on the cover. Without press passes we could no longer produce good player photographs. This issue was also the last ever to carry Red Sox roster changes. With the coming of the World Wide Web and publications such as Baseball Weekly this information was much more widely available than it had been when we started in 1985.
The Summer 1998 issue (Vol. XIV No2) ) had a cover not related to the Red Sox -- not even to baseball. The cover lettering of Buffalo Head Society became much bigger than A Red Sox Journal. Inside was a message from Publisher Norman Neu: "...A need has arisen to express ourselves in all of baseball. We find confining ourselves to this one team stifling now... In response to the wishes of Society members, we are hereby curtailing the oft-mundane monthly updates of the Boston Red Sox. So here is the new and improved journal." Gone were standings, roster changes, and game stories, as we became committed more than ever to feature stories.
1999 had five issues (including a playoff special), and 2000 had four (no playoffs). Changes in 2000 included a switch to Microsoft Word -- chiefly because of its wide acceptance and its ability to translate easily into Web format. The layout reverted to one-column format, with a table of contents now on the cover. The typical issue still runs 22 or 24 pages, though at least once a year the count goes up into the 30's. Subscription price has remained at $20. As far as we know, A Red Sox Journal is the oldest continuously published baseball fanzine in the world. The two most popular and widely recognized stories we have published were "Wahooism in the USA" Holiday 1995, and "Who Was Piper Davis", Winter 2000-2001.
-DN April 2001