They started out as licensed Fenway Park vendors. LeMoine — a voluble guy who knew everyone in the hardcore scene — was the first to figure out you could make good money selling Cracker Jack and baseball-helmet-bowl ice cream inside the park.
"I'm selling ice cream," Wilson says of one fall day. "It's September, it's cold. No one's fuckin' buying ice cream. So I'm sitting there, eating my own ice cream. And it comes across the JumboTron: 'Yankees clinch the division.' And none of the fans were leaving. And they start chanting. 'Yankees suck! Yankees suck!' I remember thinking, 'Fuck this ice cream.'" ...
"Everyone said we were crazy," Manza recalls. "'You're gonna be eating those shirts!' We started with two grand and we must have made it back the first night. The next week we bought twice as many shirts. Then the next week, twice as many shirts. That was the curve. Exponential." ...
The most lucrative piece of territory was the bridge that goes over the Massachusetts Turnpike, perpendicular to Fenway and the main drag of bars and clubs on Lansdowne Street. When the Suckers suddenly appeared, the random patchwork of one-off bootleggers that had enjoyed free reign tried to hang tough. "They were saying, 'Get the fuck off the bridge, this is our bridge,'" Wilson recounts. "And I said, 'Fuck you. I got eight guys. You get the fuck off the bridge.'" ...
In 2004, when the Sox beat the St. Louis Cardinals to win their first World Series in 86 years, the Suckers were there. They piled into a decrepit Mercedes-Benz Sprinter they'd purchased. For all of the nefarious activity it hosted, they called it the Sticky Van.
"We took seven of us and an 8-ball [of cocaine] and we drove straight through the night," LeMoine says.
They finagled their way into St. Louis's Busch Stadium for Game 4, and even made it onto the field. In the official Disney World commercial, as the camera pans to the Sox dogpile on the pitcher's mound, you can see LeMoine sprinting left to right across your screen. He's wearing a backward Sox hat and jacket open over a Johnny Damon shirt the Suckers were hawking that season. Right on cue, a pudgy security guard appears, busting his ass while chasing LeMoine down.
The spoils from the victory parade were preposterous. It took them hours to count the money.
September 3, 2015
A History Of The "Yankees Suck" T-Shirt
Amos Barshad, at Grantland, offers the "twisted, true story of the drug-addled, beer-guzzling hardcore punks who made the most popular T-shirts in Boston history":
by allan at 8:33 AM