When Joseph Lannin fatally fell to his death from a New York City hotel room in 1928, Joseph Lannin left behind more than a millionaire's mystery. He left behind one of the great rags-to-riches tales in Canadian history, having gone from teenage Quebec orphan to self-made success to Boston Red Sox owner, securing in the process a timeless link to baseball's biggest-ever star.Or so the obit writers must have thought, as they penned Lannin's epitaph.

But somehow almost unbelievably the owner who discovered Babe Ruth, steered the Bosox to two championships and likely sparked the Curse of the Bambino is forgotten in Boston and beyond. "Because it was so long ago, I found (his) story had been pushed to the margins and largely forgotten," Lannin's great-grandson, Christopher Tunstall, once said.

Orphaned in his teens he headed for Boston in search of a better life. He damn well found it.Working as a hotel bellhop, Lannin listened to tips from wealthy guests and parlayed his meagre wages into great wealth through wise investments. By 1914, he had the millionaire's favourite plaything a pro sports team.

Under his ownership, the Red Sox won two World Series titles (1915, 1916) making him the most successful owner in the franchise's history. He also signed Babe Ruth to his first pro contract. A scout found young Ruth at a Baltimore orphanage and contacted his owner. So Lannin himself a grown-up orphan, don't forget signed and developed baseball's all-time great.

Lannin sold the team to Harry Frazee in 1916. Interestingly, it's believed Lannin later played a role in Ruth's departure from Boston and the creation of an enduring Red Sox punishment, the Curse of the Bambino. Though popular lore suggests Frazee sold Ruth to the New York Yankees to bankroll his money-losing Broadway musical No, No, Nanette, it's much more likely the move was made to pay off his debt to Lannin.