- History of the Boston Red Sox
In 1900, the minor Western League, led by
Ban Johnson, declared its equality with the National League, then the only major league in baseball. Johnson changed the name of the league to the American League. Competing in the streets, the upstart placed franchises in two of the largest and most important National Leaguecities, Philadelphia and Boston. Playing their home games at Huntington Avenue Grounds, one of these two franchises often called the Boston Americansfinished second and third before capturing their first pennant in 1903 and repeating the next year. Those teams were led by managerand star third baseman Jimmy Collinsand by pitcher Cy Young, whose 1901 to 1904 seasons rank among the best four-year runs ever. In addition, the Americans received significant contributions from outfielders Chick Stahl, Buck Freemanand Patsy Dougherty. In 1903, the Americans participated in the first modern World Series, beating the favored Pittsburgh Pirates, winners of the NL pennant by six and a half games, winning the best-of-nine series five games to three. The Americans, aided by the modified chants of "Tessie" by the Royal Rooters fan cluband by its stronger pitching staff, managed to overcome the odds, winning the first modern World Series.
The 1904 club was almost as good as the previous team, but due to the surprise emergence of the New York Highlanders, the Americans found themselves in a tight pennant race through the last games of the season. A predecessor to what would become a storied rivalry, this race featured such controversial moves as the trade of
Patsy Doughertyto the Highlanders for Bob Unglaub. However, perhaps the climax of the season occurred on the last, dramatic doubleheader at the Highlanders’ home stadium, Hilltop Park. In order to win the pennant, the Highlanders needed to win both games. With Jack Chesbro, the Highlanders' 41-game winner, on the mound, the Highlanders seemed to have a good chance of winning the first game. However, with the score tied 2-2 with a man on third in the top of the ninth, a spitball got away from Chesbro and Lou Crigerscored the go-ahead run on one of the most famous wild pitches in history. Unfortunately, the NL champion New York Giants declined to play any postseason series, fearing it would give their New York rivals credibility (they had expected the Highlanders to win), but a sharp public reaction led the two leagues immediately to make the World Seriesa permanent championship, starting in 1905.These successful times soon ended, however, as the Americans lost 100 games in the 1906 season. But several new star players helped the newly renamed Red Sox improve almost immediately.
Team renamed: Red Sox
By 1909, the legendary
center fielder Tris Speakerhad become a fixture in the Boston outfield, and the Red Sox worked their way to third place. However, the Red Sox would not win the pennant again until their 105-win 1912 season, finishing with a club record .691 winning percentage. Anchored by an outfield considered to be among the finest in the game — Tris Speaker, Harry Hooperand Duffy Lewis— and superstar pitcher Smoky Joe Wood, the Red Sox beat the New York Giants 4-3-1 in the classic 1912 World Seriesbest known for Snodgrass’s Muff. From 1913 to 1916 the Red Sox were owned by Joseph Lannin, who signed Babe Ruth, soon the best-known and one of the best players ever. Another 101 wins in 1915 propelled the Red Sox to the 1915 World Series, where they beat the Philadelphia Philliesfour games to one. The 1916 team repeated the pennant, though Tris Speaker, a fixture for six years, was traded to the Cleveland Indiansin the off-season. His departure was more than compensated for, however, by the emergence of star pitcher Babe Ruth. Once again, the Red Sox won the 1916 World Series, this time defeating the Brooklyn Robins. By 1918, the team found itself at the top of the heap again, led by Babe Ruthto the 1918 World Serieschampionship over the Chicago Cubs.
ale of Babe Ruth
After three seasons in Boston,
Harry Frazeesold Babe Ruthto the rival New York Yankeeson January 2, 1920. Ruth had just broken the single-season home run record, hitting 29 in 1919. [ [http://www.baseball-reference.com/leaders/HR_leagues.shtml Year-by-Year League Leaders & Records for Home Runs - Baseball-Reference.com ] ] Legend has it that Frazee did so in order to finance the Broadway play " No, No, Nanette", starring "a friend," but the play did not open on Broadwayuntil 1925.
During that period, the Red Sox, White Sox and Yankees had a détente; they were called "Insurrectos" because their actions antagonized league president Johnson. Although Frazee owned the Boston Red Sox franchise, he did not own Fenway Park (it was owned by the Fenway Park Trust), making his ownership a precarious one; Johnson could move another team into the ballpark. His club was in debt, but Frazee felt the need to purchase its playing site (which he did in 1920). Further, providing the Yankees with a
box officeattraction would help that mediocre club, which had sided with him against Johnson and "the Loyal Five" clubs. [ [http://espn.go.com/mlb/s/2002/0718/1407265.html ESPN.com: MLB - When the Yankees nearly moved to Boston ] ] Finally, Ruth was considered a serious disciplinary problem, a reputation to be replicated in New York. Frazee moved to stabilize finances and cut distractions. It was a straight sale, no players in return.
After New York achieved great success and Boston did not win for a few decades, the sale of Babe Ruth came to be viewed as the beginning of the
Yankees-Red Sox rivalry, described as the "Greatest Rivalry on Earth" by some journalists.cite news |last=Stout |first=Glenn |title=A 'Curse' born of hate
October 3, 2004|accessdate=2007-02-07 ] [ [http://www.nydailynews.com/sports/baseball/story/295724p-253142c.html New York Baseball Teams - NY Daily News ] ] [ [http://www.baseballlibrary.com/baseballlibrary/submit/Frommer_Harvey6.stm Yankees vs. Red Sox: Baseball's Greatest Rivalry | BaseballLibrary.com ] ] [ [http://www.findarticles.com/p/articles/mi_m0FCI/is_7_63/ai_n6108313 Yankees vs. Red Sox: greatest rivalry in sports | Baseball Digest | Find Articles at BNET.com ] ] Plus, years later, many thought the sale was the cause of the " Curse of the Bambino."
After the sale of Ruth to the Yankees, Frazee continued to sell many of his star players. In the winter of 1920,
Wally Schang, future star pitcher Waite Hoyt, Harry Harper, and Mike McNally were traded to the Yankees for Del Pratt, Muddy Ruel, John Costello, Hank Thormahlen, Sammy Vick and cash. [ [http://www.baseballlibrary.com/baseballlibrary/ballplayers/S/Schang_Wally.stm Wally Schang | BaseballLibrary.com ] ] The following winter, iron man shortstop Everett Scott, and pitchers Bullet Joe Bushand Sad Sam Joneswere traded to the Yankees for Roger Peckinpaugh(who would be immediately shipped to the Washington Senators), Jack Quinn, Rip Collins, Bill Piercy and $50,000. [ [http://www.baseballlibrary.com/baseballlibrary/ballplayers/S/Scott_Everett.stm Everett Scott | BaseballLibrary.com ] ] One particularly controversial deal was that of Joe Duganand Elmer Smith, who were traded to the Yankees on July 23, 1922, for Elmer Miller, Chick Fewster, Johnny Mitchell, and future superstar Lefty O'Doul, who was at the time a mediocre pitching prospect. The trade of Dugan helped the Yankees edge the St. Louis Browns in a tight pennant race, and the resulting uproar helped create a June 15trading deadline that went into effect the next year. [ [http://www.baseballlibrary.com/baseballlibrary/ballplayers/S/Smith_Elmer309.stm Elmer Smith | BaseballLibrary.com ] ] Perhaps an even more outrageous deal was the trade of Herb Pennock, occurring in early 1923. Pennock was traded by the Red Sox to the Yankees for Camp Skinner, Norm McMillan, George Murrayand $50,000. [ [http://www.baseball-reference.com/p/pennohe01.shtml#TRANS Herb Pennock Statistics - Baseball-Reference.com ] ]
A couple of notable trades involving Frazee and the Yankees occurred before the Babe Ruth sale. On
December 18, 1918, outstanding outfielder Duffy Lewis(mentioned above), pitcher Dutch Leonard, and pitcher Ernie Shorewere traded to the Yankees for pitcher Ray Caldwell, Slim Love, Roxy Walters, Frank Gilhooleyand $15,000. [ [http://www.baseballlibrary.com/baseballlibrary/ballplayers/L/Lewis_Duffy.stm Duffy Lewis | BaseballLibrary.com ] ] As all three players were well-regarded in Boston — Lewis had been a key player on the 1910s championship teams, Shore had famously relieved Babe Ruthand retired 27 straight, and Leonard had only four years before set a modern record for earned run average— this trade was regarded as not such a good one in Boston, Then, on July 13, 1919, submarine-style pitching star Carl Mayswas traded to the Yankees for Bob McGraw, Allan Russell and $40,000. [ [http://www.baseballlibrary.com/baseballlibrary/ballplayers/M/Mays_Carl.stm Carl Mays | BaseballLibrary.com ] ] Mays would go on to have several good years for the Yankees.
Following these trades, the Red Sox finished in the second division with poor records in the 1920s and 1930s. Over an eight-year period from 1925 to 1932, the Red Sox averaged over 100 losses in a season. One of the few bright spots on these teams was
Earl Webb, who set the all-time mark for most doubles in a season in 1931 with 67. The Red Sox’ fortunes began to change in 1933, however, when Tom Yawkeybought the Red Sox. Yawkey would acquire Lefty Grove, one of the greatest pitchers of all-time, Joe Cronin, an outstanding shortstop and manager, Jimmie Foxx, the slugging first baseman, and Wes Ferrell, an outstanding pitcher. These moves paid off, as the Red Sox were once again competitive in the late thirties.
In 1939, the Red Sox purchased the contract of
outfielder Ted Williamsfrom the (minor league) San Diego Padres of the Pacific Coast League, ushering in an era of the team sometimes called the "Ted Sox." Williams is generally considered one of the greatest hitters of all time, because he consistently hit for both high power and high average. Stories of his ability to hold a bat in his hand and correctly estimate its weight down to the ounce have floated around baseball circles for decades. His book " The Science of Hitting" is widely read by students of baseball. He is also the last player to hit over .400 for a full season, hitting .406 in 1941. Williams feuded with sports writers his whole career, calling them "The Knights of the Keyboard," and his relationship with the fans was often rocky as he was seen spitting towards the stands on more than one occasion.
With Williams, the Red Sox reached the
1946 World Series, but lost to the St. Louis Cardinalsin seven games, in part because of the use of the "Williams Shift," in which the shortstop would move to the right side of the infield to make it harder for the left-handed-hitting Williams to hit to that side of the field. Some have claimed that Williams was too proud to hit to the other side of the field, not wanting to let the Cardinals take away his game. Williams did not fare well in the series, gathering only five singles in 25 at-bats, for a .200 average. However, his performance may have been affected by an elbow injury he had received a few days before when he was hit by a pitch in an exhibition game. Williams would never play in a World Series again. Williams served two stints in the United States Marine Corpsas a pilot and saw active dutyin both World War IIand the Korean War, and missed at least five full seasons of baseball. One can only wonder what his stats would have been had he played the whole time.
The loss to the Cardinals in game 7 of
1946 World Seriesis not without controversy as the Cardinals' Enos Slaughterscored the go ahead run all the way from first base on a base hit to left field. The throw from Leon Culbersonwas cut off by shortstop Johnny Peskywho relayed the ball to the plate just a hair too late. Some say Pesky hesitated or "held the ball" before he turned to throw the ball, but this has been disputed.
The right-field bullpens in Fenway Park were built in part for Williams'
left-handedswing, and are sometimes called "Williamsburg." Before this addition to right field, it was over convert|400|ft|m in that area of the ballpark.
The Red Sox featured several other players during the 1940s, including SS
Johnny Pesky(for whom the right field foul pole in Fenway — " Pesky's Pole" — is affectionately named by fans, and in 2006 the Red Sox officially named it such), 2B Bobby Doerr, and CF Dom DiMaggio(brother of Joe DiMaggio).
The Red Sox narrowly lost the AL pennant in 1948 and 1949. In 1948, they finished in a tie with Cleveland, and their loss to Cleveland in a one-game playoff ended hopes of an all-Boston World Series. Curiously, manager Joseph McCarthy chose journeyman
Denny Galehouseto start the playoff game when the young lefty phenom Mel Parnellwas available to pitch. In 1949, the Sox were one game ahead of the New York Yankees, with the only two games left for both teams being against each other, and they lost both of those games.
The 1950s were viewed as a time of tribulation for the Red Sox. After Williams returned from the
Korean Warin 1953, many of the best players from the late 1940s had retired or been traded. The stark contrast in the team led critics to call the Red Sox' daily lineup "Ted Williams and the Seven Dwarfs." Also, unlike many other teams, owner Tom Yawkey refused to sign players of Africandescent, even passing up chances at future Hall-of-Famers Jackie Robinsonand Willie Mays, both of whom tried out for Boston and were highly praised by team scouts. Jackie Robinson was even worked out by the team at Fenway Park, however it appeared that owner Tom Yawkeydid not want an African American player on his team at that time. Ted Williams hit .388 at the age of 38 in 1957, but there was little else for Boston fans to root for. Williams retired at the end of the 1960 season, famously hitting a home run in his final at-bat as memorialized in the John Updikestory "Hub fans bid Kid adieu" The Sox finally became the last Major League team to field an African Americanplayer when they promoted infielder Pumpsie Greenfrom their AAA farm team in 1959.
The 1960s also started poorly for the Red Sox, though 1961 saw the debut of Carl "Yaz" Yastrzemski, (uniform #8) who developed into one of the better hitters of a pitching-rich decade.
Red Sox fans refer to 1967 as the year of the "Impossible Dream." The slogan refers to the hit song from the popular musical play "
Man of La Mancha." The 1967 season is remembered as one of the great pennant races in baseball history because four teams were in the AL pennant race until almost the last game. The team had finished the 1966 season in ninth place, but they found new life with Yastrzemski as the team went to the 1967 World Series. Yastrzemski won the American League Triple Crown (the most recent player to accomplish such a feat) and put forth what is considered one of the best seasons in baseball history. But the Red Sox lost the series — again to the St. Louis Cardinals, in seven games. Legendary pitcher Bob Gibsonstymied the Sox winning three games.
Also during the 1960s, a local Bostonian named
Tony Conigliaroslugged 24 home runs as an 18-year-old rookie in 1964. "Tony C" became the youngest player in Major League Baseball to hit his 100th home run, a record that stands today. However, he was struck just above the left cheek boneby a fastball thrown by Jack Hamiltonin August 1967. Conigliaro sat out the entire next season with headaches and blurred vision and although he did have a productive season in 1970, he was never the same.
Soon after the Impossible Dream, the team began to wear a red hat with a navy blue B and a navy blue brim — sporting them for four seasons from 1975 to 1978 — in contrast to the traditional navy hat with a red B.
Although the Red Sox played competitive baseball for much of the late 1960s and early 1970s, they never finished higher than second place in their division. The closest they came to a divisional title was 1972, when they lost by a half-game to the
Detroit Tigers. The start of the season was delayed by a players' strike, and the Red Sox further lost a game to a rainout that was never replayed, which caused the Red Sox to lose the division by a half-game. On October 2 1972, they also lost the second to last game of the year to the Tigers, 3-1, when Luis Apariciofell rounding third after Yastremski hit a triple in the third inning, Aparicio tried to scamper back to third but this created an out as Yastremski was already on third.
The Red Sox won the AL pennant in 1975, with Yastrzemski surrounded by other players such as rookie outfielders
Jim Riceand Fred Lynnthe "Gold Dust Twins," veteran outfielder Dwight Evans"Dewey," catcher Carlton Fisk"Pudge," and pitchers Luis Tiant"Louie" and eccentric junkballer Bill Lee "The Spaceman." With many different personalities in the clubhouse, the 1975 Red Sox were as colorful as they were talented. Fred Lynn won both the American League Rookie of the Yearaward and the Most Valuable Playeraward, a feat which had never been accomplished at that time and was not duplicated until Ichiro Suzukidid it in 2001. [ [http://www.baseball-reference.com/awards/roy_rol.shtml Rookie of the Year Awards & Rolaids Relief Award Winners - Baseball-Reference.com ] ] [ [http://www.baseball-reference.com/awards/mvp_cya.shtml Most Valuable Player MVP Awards & Cy Young Awards Winners - Baseball-Reference.com ] ] [. In the playoffs, the Red Sox swept the Oakland A's.
1975 World Series, they faced the Cincinnati Reds, also known as The Big Red Machine, a team considered a baseball dynasty during the 1970s. Luis Tiant won games 1 and 4 of the World Series but after five games, the Red Sox trailed the series 3 games to 2. Game 6 played at Fenway Parkis thought to be one of the greatest, if not the greatest, game in postseason history. The Sox were down 6-3 in the bottom of the eighth when pinch hitter Bernie Carbohit a three run homer into the center field bleachers off Reds fireman Rawly Eastwickto tie the game. In the top of the eleventh inning, right fielder Dwight Evansmade a spectacular catch of a Joe Morganline drive and doubled Ken Griffey Sr.at 1st base to preserve the tie. The Red Sox ultimately prevailed in the bottom of the twelfth inning when Carlton Fiskhit a deep fly ball which sliced towards the left field foul pole above the Green Monster. As the ball sailed into the night, Fisk waved his arms frantically towards fair territory, seemingly pleading with the ball not to go foul. The ball hit probably six inches to the fair side of the foul pole and bedlam ensued at Fenway as Fisk rounded the bases to win the game 7-6. Footage of the Fisk home run is shown again and again on ESPN classic.
The Red Sox lost game 7, 4-3 even though they had an early 3-0 lead.
Starting pitcherBill Lee threw a slow looping curve which he called a "Leephus pitch" or "space ball" to Reds first baseman Tony Perez who hit the ball over the Green Monsterand across the street. The Reds scored the winning run in the 9th inning. Carlton Fisk said famously about the 1975 World Series, "We won that thing 3 games to 4."
1978 American League playoff
In 1978, the Red Sox and the Yankees were involved in a tight pennant race. The Yankees were 14½
games behindthe Red Sox in July, and on September 10, after completing a 4-game sweep of the Red Sox (known as "The Boston Massacre"), the Yankees tied for the divisional lead.
For the final three weeks of the season, the teams fought closely and the lead changed hands several times. By the final day of the season, the Yankees' magic number to win the division was one — which meant either a win over Cleveland or a Boston loss to Toronto would clinch the division for the Yankees. However, New York lost 9-2 and Boston won 5-0, forcing a one-game playoff to be held at Fenway Park on Monday,
Bucky Dent's three-run home run in the 7th inning off Mike Torrezjust over the Green Monster— which gave the Yankees their first lead — is the most remembered moment from the game, it was Reggie Jackson's solo home run in the 8th that proved the difference in the Yankees' 5-4 win, which ended with Yastrzemski popping out to Graig Nettleswith Rick Burlesonrepresenting the tying run at third.
1986 World Series and Game Six
After the 1978 playoff game, the Red Sox did not reach the postseason for the next seven years.
Carl Yastrzemskiretired after the 1983 season, during which the Red Sox finished sixth in the seven-team AL East, posting their worst record since 1966.
However, in 1986, it appeared that the team's fortunes were about to change. The team's offense had remained strong with
Jim Rice, Dwight Evans, Don Baylor, and future Hall of Famer Wade Boggs. Roger Clemensled the pitching staff, going 24-4 with a 2.48 ERA to win both the American LeagueCy Young and Most Valuable Player awards. Clemens became the first starting pitcher to win both awards since Vida Bluein 1971. A starting pitcher has not won the MVP award in either league since. [ [http://www.baseball-reference.com/awards/mvp_cya.shtml Most Valuable Player MVP Awards & Cy Young Awards Winners - Baseball-Reference.com ] ]
The Red Sox won the AL East for the first time in 11 seasons, prompting a playoff series against the California Angels in the AL Championship Series. The teams split the first two games in Boston, but the Angels won the next two games at their home stadium, taking a 3-1 lead in the series. With the Angels poised to win the series, the Red Sox trailed 5-2 heading into the ninth inning of Game 5. A two-run homer by Baylor cut the lead to one. With two outs and a runner on, and one strike away from elimination,
Dave Hendersonhomered off Donnie Mooreto put Boston up 6-5. Although the Angels tied the game in the bottom of the ninth, the Red Sox won in the 11th on a Henderson sacrifice flyoff Moore. The Red Sox then found themselves with six- and seven-run wins at Fenway Parkin Games 6 and 7 to win the American League title.
1986 World Seriesthe Red Sox played the New York Mets. Boston won the first two games in Shea Stadiumbut lost the next two at Fenway, knotting the series at 2 games apiece. After Bruce Hurstrecorded his second victory of the series in Game 5, the Red Sox returned to Shea Stadium looking to garner their first championship in 68 years. However, Game 6 would go down as one of the most devastating losses in club history. After pitching seven strong innings, Clemens was lifted from the game with a 3-2 lead. Years later, Manager John McNamarasaid Clemens was suffering from a blister and asked to be taken out of the game, a claim Clemens denied. [ [http://proxy.espn.go.com/espn/page2/story?id=1206543 ESPN.com: Page 2 : Is Clemens the Antichrist? ] ] The Mets then scored a run off reliever Calvin Schiraldito tie the score 3-3. The game went to extra innings, where the Red Sox took a 5-3 lead in the top of the 10th on a solo home run by Henderson, a double by Boggs and an RBI single by second baseman Marty Barrett. After recording two outs in the bottom of the 10th, the Red Sox were one strike away from breaking their championship drought. The champagne was on ice in the Red Sox clubhouse, a graphic appeared on the NBC telecast hailing Barrett as the World Series MVP, and a message even appeared briefly on the Shea Stadiumscoreboard congratulating the Red Sox as world champions. After so many years of abject frustration, Red Sox fans around the world could taste victory. However, after three straight singles off Schiraldi and a wild pitchby Bob Stanley, the Mets tied the game at 5. It looked as though the Red Sox would record the third out leaving the score tied when Mookie Wilsonhit a slow ground ball to first; the ball rolled through Bill Buckner's legs, allowing Ray Knightto score the winning run from second. While Buckner was singled out as responsible for the loss, many observers — as well as both Wilson and Buckner — have noted that even if Buckner had fielded the ball cleanly, Wilson possibly would still have been safe, leaving the game-winning run at third with two out. Many observers questioned why Buckner was in the game at that point considering he had bad knees and that Dave Stapletonhad come in as a late-inning defensive replacement in prior series games. It appeared as though McNamara was trying to reward Buckner for his long and illustrious career by leaving him in the game. After falling behind 3-0, the Mets then won Game 7, concluding the devastating collapse and feeding the myth that the Red Sox were "cursed."
The Red Sox returned to the postseason in 1988. With the club in fourth place midway through the 1988 season at the All-Star break, manager John McNamara was fired and replaced by Joe Morgan on July 15. Immediately the club won 12 games in a row, and 19 of 20 overall, to surge to the AL East title in what would be referred to as "Morgan Magic". But the magic was short-lived, as the team was swept by the
Oakland Athleticsin the ALCS. Ironically, the MVP of that Series was former Red Sox pitcher and Baseball Hall of Fame player Dennis Eckersley, who saved all four wins for Oakland. Two years later, in 1990, the Red Sox would again win the division and face the Athletics in the ALCS. However, the outcome was the same, with the A's sweeping the ALCS in four straight.
Tom Yawkey died in 1976, and his wife Jean Yawkey took control of the team until her death in 1992. Their initials are shown in two stripes on the Left field wall in
Morse code. [ [http://boston.redsox.mlb.com/NASApp/mlb/bos/ballpark/facts.jsp The Official Site of The Boston Red Sox: Ballpark: Fenway Facts ] ] [ After Jean Yawkey's death, control of the team passed to the Yawkey Trust, led by John Harrington. The trust sold the team in 2002, concluding 70 years of Yawkey ownership.
In 1994, General Manager
Lou Gormanwas replaced by Dan Duquette, a Massachusetts native who had worked for the Montreal Expos. Duquette revived the team's farm system, which during his tenure produced players such as Nomar Garciaparra, Carl Pavano, and David Eckstein. [ [http://www.baseball-reference.com/e/eckstda01.shtml David Eckstein Statistics - Baseball-Reference.com ] ] [ Duquette also spent money on free agents, notably an eight-year, $160 million deal for Manny Ramírezafter the 2000 season.
Many fans were upset when
Roger Clemensand Mo Vaughnleft the team as free agents. After Clemens had turned 30 and then had four seasons, 1993-96, which were by his standards mediocre at best, Duquette said the pitcher was entering "the twilightof his career." [ [http://insider.espn.go.com/mlb/columns/story?columnist=crasnick_jerry&id=2124180&CMP=OTC-DT9705204233&action=login&appRedirect=http%3a%2f%2finsider.espn.go.com%2fmlb%2fcolumns%2fstory%3fcolumnist%3dcrasnick_jerry%26id%3d2124180%26CMP%3dOTC-DT9705204233 Clemens putting Cooperstown on hold] ] [ Clemens went on to pitch well for another ten years and win four more Cy Youngawards. In 1999, Duquette called Fenway Park "economically obsolete" and, along with Red Sox ownership, led a push for a new stadium. Despite support from the Massachusetts Legislature and other politicians, issues with buying out neighboring property and steadfast opposition within Boston's city council eventually doomed the project.Fact|date=August 2007
On the field, the Red Sox had some success during this period, but were unable to return to the World Series. In 1995, they won the newly-realigned
American League East, finishing seven games ahead of the Yankees. However, they were swept in three games in a series against the Cleveland Indians. Their postseason losing streak reached 13 straight games, dating back to the 1986 World Series.
The 1996 season certainly had its individual highlights. Roger Clemens tied his major league record by fanning 20
Detroit Tigerson September 18in what would prove to be one of his final appearances in a Red Sox uniform. Mo Vaughn had another All-Star season (.326 batting average, 44 home runs, 143 runs batted in) and newcomer Heathcliff Slocumbsaved 31 games. Unfortunately, the Red Sox lost 19 of their first 25 games and finished third with an 85-77 record. They led the league in unearned runs. Even so, home attendance increased over 1995, to 2.3 million fans. Out of contention in 1997, the team traded closer Slocum to Seattle for catching prospect Jason Varitekand right-handed pitcher Derek Lowe.
In 1998, the Red Sox dealt
pitchers Tony Armas, Jr.and Carl Pavanoto the Montreal Exposin exchange for pitcher Pedro Martínez. Martínez became the anchor of the team's pitching staff and turned in several outstanding seasons. In 1998, the team won the American League Wild Card, but again lost the American League Division Seriesto the Indians.
A year later, the
1999 Red Soxwere finally able to overturn their fortunes against the Indians. Cleveland took a 2-0 series lead, but Boston won the next three games behind strong pitching by Derek Lowe, Pedro Martínez and his brother Ramón Martínez. Game 4's 23-7 win by the Red Sox was the highest-scoring playoff game in major league history. Game 5 began with the Indians taking a 5-2 lead after two innings, but Pedro Martínez, nursing a shoulder injury, came on in the fourth inning and pitched six innings without allowing a hit while the team's offense rallied for a 12-8 win behind two home runs and seven RBIs from outfielder Troy O'Leary. After the ALDS victory, the Red Sox lost the American League Championship Seriesto the Yankees, four games to one. The one bright spot was a lopsided win for the Sox in the much-hyped Martinez-Clemens game, although many Red Sox fans remember the series as one in which the umpires made several suspicious calls in the Yankees' favor. In 2000, the Red Sox failed to take advantage of Nomar Garciaparra's career year and Pedro Martínez's historic season (18-6, 1.74 ERA, and his third Cy Young Award). Despite a few other standouts, they stumbled to an 85-77 clip. In 2001, though the Red Sox got an outstanding performance from new acquisition Manny Ramírezand a good year from Trot Nixon, Garciaparra played only a meager 21 games, and Martinez pitched just 116 innings. To top it off, the Red Sox fired manager Jimy Williamsand replaced him with pitching coach Joe Kerrigan, under whom they went 17-26.
2002: Henry comes to Boston
In 2002, the Red Sox were sold by Yawkey trustee and president Harrington to a consortium headed by principal owner John Henry. New England Sports Ventures: Henry, Lucchino, Werner, Couric, Otten, George Mitchell, Cammarata, Eskandarian, New York Times/Boston Globe, Voter.com, Weld, Rasky, Colin Powell, Cokie Roberts, Byron Dafoe, Jo Jo White. The group underbid the next highest bidder, James Dolan, in a complex deal arranged by Mitchell and Bud Selig.
Tom Wernerserved as executive chairman, Larry Lucchinoserved as president and CEO, serving as vice chairman was Les Otten. Within twenty-four hours, Dan Duquette was fired as GM of the club on February 28, with former Angels GM Mike Porttaking the interim helm for the 2002 season. A week later manager Joe Kerrigan was fired and replaced by Grady Little.
While nearly all offseason moves were made under Dan Duquette, such as signing outfielder
Johnny Damonaway from the Oakland A's, the new ownership made additions after their purchase of the team, including trading for outfielder Cliff Floydand relief pitcher Alan Embree. Nomar Garciaparra, Manny Ramírez, and Floyd (in limited time) all hit well, while Pedro Martínezput up his usual outstanding numbers. Derek Lowe, newly converted into a starter, won 20 games -- becoming the first player to save 20 games and win 20 games in back-to-back seasons. The Red Sox won 93 games but they finished 10 1/2 games behind the Yankees for the division and 6 behind the Angels for the wild card. In the off season, Port was replaced by Yale graduate Theo Epsteinafter Oakland's Billy Beaneturned down the position. At the age of 28, Epstein became the youngest general manager in the history of the Major Leagues up to that point. He was raised in Brookline.
The "Idiots" of 2004 arose out of the "Cowboy Up" team of 2003, a nickname derived from first baseman
Kevin Millar's challenge to his teammates to show more determination. [http://www.boston.com/sports/baseball/redsox/articles/2003/09/24/rallying_cry_spurs_sox_to_finish_ride/ Boston Globe, September 24th, 2003, "Rallying Cry Spurs Sox To Finish Ride" By Joseph P. Kahn] ] In addition to Millar, the team's offense was so deep that eventual 2003 batting champion Bill Muellerwas 7th in the lineup behind sluggers Manny Ramírezand the newly acquired David Ortiz.
Ortiz started the season as a platoon player with Mueller,
Shea Hillenbrand, and Jeremy Giambi, collectively playing first and third base. However, Hillenbrand became upset with his lack of playing time. GM Theo Epstein, noting that Mueller was hitting very well in his limited role, traded Hillenbrand to the Arizona Diamondbacksfor pitcher Byung-Hyun Kim. Receiving much more playing time following the trade, Ortiz settled down and contributed significantly in the second half of the season. Epstein's decision ended up greatly benefiting the team, as the Red Sox broke many batting records [http://www.redsoxdiehard.com/stats/record.html More Red Sox Records - RedSoxDiehard.com] ] and won the AL Wild Card on September 25with a victory over the Baltimore Oriolesat Fenway.
2003 American League Division Series, the Red Sox rallied from a 0-2 series deficit against the Oakland Athleticsto win the best-of-five series. Derek Lowe, who had become a starter after several years as a relief pitcher, returned to his former role to save Game 5, a 4-3 victory, by striking out the A's Terrence Longwith the tying run on third base. The team then faced the New York Yankeesin the 2003 American League Championship Series. In the deciding seventh game, Boston led 5-2 in the eighth inning, but Pedro Martínez, who was still pitching into the 8th inning, allowed three runs to tie the game, including a two-run bloop double by Jorge Posada. The Red Sox could not score off Mariano Riveraover the last three innings and eventually lost the game 6-5 when Yankee third baseman Aaron Boonehit a solo home run off Red Sox pitcher Tim Wakefield.
Some placed the blame for the loss on manager
Grady Little[http://www.boston.com/sports/baseball/redsox/articles/2003/10/23/little_unsure_he_wants_job/ Boston Globe, Little unsure he wants job, by Gordon Edes, 10/23/2003] ] for failing to remove Martínez in the 8th inning after some observers believe he began to show signs of tiring. Others credited Little with the team's successful season and dramatic come-from-behind victory in the ALDS. Nevertheless, Boston's management decided a change was in order. Little's contract expired after the season, and the organization decided not to exercise his option. He was replaced by former Philadelphia Philliesmanager Terry Francona.
During the 2003-04 offseason, the Red Sox acquired another ace pitcher,
Curt Schilling, and a closer, Keith Foulke. Expectations once again ran high that 2004 would be the year that the Red Sox ended their championship drought. The regular season started well in April, but through mid-season the team struggled due to injuries, inconsistency and defensive woes.
Management shook up the team at the MLB trading deadline on
July 31, when they traded the team's popular yet often injured shortstop, Nomar Garciaparra, to the Chicago Cubs, receiving Orlando Cabreraof the Montreal Exposand Doug Mientkiewiczof the Minnesota Twinsin return. In a separate transaction, the Red Sox also traded minor leaguer Henri Stanley to the Los Angeles Dodgersfor center fielder Dave Roberts. Many Sox fans initially blasted the trade as bringing the team inadequate compensation for Garciaparra. However, the club would turn things around soon after, winning twenty-two out of twenty-five games and qualifying for the playoffs as the AL Wild Card. Players and fans affectionately referred to the players as "The Idiots," a term coined by Johnny Damonand Kevin Millarduring the playoff push to describe the team's eclectic roster and devil-may-care attitude toward their supposed curse.
Boston began the postseason by sweeping the AL West champion Anaheim Angels in the ALDS. However, Curt Schilling suffered a torn ankle
tendonin Game 1 when he was hit by a line drive. The injury was exacerbated when Schilling fielded a ball rolling down the first base line. In the third game of the series, what looked to be a blowout turned out to be a nail-biter, as Vladimir Guerrerohit a grand slam off Mike Timlin in the 7th inning to tie the game. However, David Ortizhit a walk-off two-run homer in the 10th inning to win the game. The Sox advanced to a rematch in the 2004 American League Championship Seriesagainst the New York Yankees.
The series started very poorly for the Red Sox. Schilling, pitching with an injured ankle, was routed for six runs in three innings. Yankees starter
Mike Mussinahad six perfect innings, and despite Boston's best efforts to come back, they ended up losing 10-7. In Game 2, with his Yankees leading 1-0 for most of the game, John Olerudhit a two-run home run to put New York up for good. Following this, the Red Sox were down three games to none after a crushing 19-8 loss in Game 3 at home. In that game, the two clubs set the record for most runs scored in a League Championship Series game. At that point in the history of baseball, no team had come back to win from a 3-0 series deficit. In Game 4, the Red Sox found themselves facing elimination, trailing 4-3 in the ninth with Yankees closer Mariano Riveraon the mound. After Rivera issued a walk to Kevin Millar, Dave Roberts came on to pinch run and promptly stole second base. He then scored on an RBI single by Bill Muellerwhich sent the game to extra innings. The Red Sox went on to win the game on a two-run home run by David Ortiz in the 12th inning. In Game 5, the Red Sox were again down late (by the score of 4-2) as a result of Derek Jeter's bases-clearing triple. But the Sox struck back in the eighth, as Ortiz hit a homer over the Green Monster to bring the Sox within a run. Then Jason Varitekhit a sacrifice fly to bring home Dave Roberts, scoring the tying run. The game would go for 14 innings, featuring many squandered opportunities on both sides. In the bottom of the 14th, Ortiz would again seal the win with an RBI single that brought home Damon. The 14-inning game set the record for the longest American League Championship Series game ever played.
With the series returning to
Yankee Stadiumfor Game 6, the comeback continued with Schilling pitching on a bad ankle. The three sutures in Schilling's ankle bled throughout the game, making his sock appear bloody red. Schilling struck out four, walked none, and only allowed one run over seven innings to lead the team to victory. Mark Bellhornalso helped in the effort as he hit a three-run home run in the fourth inning. In the bottom of the ninth, the Yankees staged a rally and brought former Red Sox player Tony Clarkto the plate as the potential winning run. Keith Foulke, pitching for the third day in a row, struck out Clark to end the game and force the deciding Game 7. In this game, the Red Sox completed their historic comeback owing to the strength of Derek Lowe's one-hit, one-run pitching and Damon's two home runs (including a grand slam in the second inning). The New York Yankees were defeated 10-3. Ortiz, who had the game winning RBIs in Games 4 and 5, was named ALCS Most Valuable Player. The Red Sox joined the 1942 Toronto Maple Leafsand 1975 New York Islandersas the only professional sportsteams in history to win a best-of-seven games series after being down three games to none.
The Red Sox faced the
St. Louis Cardinalsin the 2004 World Series. The Cardinals had posted the best record in MLB in 2004, and had previously defeated the Red Sox in the 1946 and 1967 World Series. The Sox began the series with an 11-9 win, marked by Mark Bellhorn's game-winning home run off of Pesky's Pole. It was the highest scoring World Series opening game ever (breaking the previous record set in 1932). The Red Sox would go on to win Game 2 in Boston thanks to another great performance by the bloody-socked Curt Schilling. In Game 3, Pedro Martínez (in his first World Series performance) shut out the Cardinals for seven innings and led Boston to a 4-1 victory. In Game 4, the Red Sox did not allow a single run, and the game ended as Edgar Renteríahit the ball back to closer Keith Foulke. After Foulke lobbed the ball to first baseman Doug Mientkiewicz, the Sox had won their first World Championship in 86 years. Boston held the Cardinals' offense to only three runs in the final three games and never trailed in the series. Manny Ramírezwas named World Series MVP. To add a final, surreal touch to Boston's championship season, on the night of Game 4 a total lunar eclipsecolored the moon red over Busch Stadium. The Red Sox won the title about eleven minutes before totality ended.
The Red Sox held a "rolling rally" for the team on Saturday,
October 30 2004. A crowd of more than three million people filled the streets of Boston to celebrate as the team rode on the city's famous Duck Boats. The Red Sox earned many accolades from the sports media and throughout the nation for their incredible season. In December, Sports Illustratednamed the Boston Red Sox the 2004 Sportsmen of the Year.
After winning its first World Series in 86 years, Red Sox management was left with the challenge of dealing with a number of high-profile free agents.
Pedro Martínez, Derek Lowe, and Orlando Cabrerawere replaced with David Wells, Matt Clement, and Edgar Rentería, respectively. The club re-signed its catcher, Jason Varitek, and named him team captain. On April 11, the Red Sox opened their home season with a ring ceremony and the unveiling of their 2004 World Series Championship banner. Their opponent that day was the New York Yankees - the team the Red Sox had won four straight games against in 2004 to win the ALCS.
Curt Schillingand Keith Foulke, key players in the previous year's playoff drive, spent large parts of the season on the disabled list. More of the team's struggles stemmed from the declining performances of some of its key role players: first baseman Kevin Millar(only 9 home runs), second baseman Mark Bellhorn(struck out once every 2.6 AB), and setup man Alan Embree(7.65 ERA). Without Foulke and Embree anchoring the pen, Theo Epstein took a chance on a number of journeymen who failed to bring stability. For much of the season Boston held first place in the AL East but down the stretch the team struggled, squandering its lead over the Yankees and allowing the Cleveland Indiansto close the gap in the Wild Card race. The division crown would be decided on the last weekend of the season, with the Yankees coming to Fenway Park with a one-game lead in the standings. The Red Sox won two of the three games to finish the season with the same record as the Yankees, 95-67. However, a playoff was not needed. The Indians had a record of 93-69, thus qualifying both the Yankees and Red Sox for the playoffs. Since the Yankees had won the season series, 10-9, they won the division, whereas the Red Sox settled for the Wild Card. In the 2005 playoffs, the Red Sox faced the AL Central champion Chicago White Soxbut were swept in three games.
October 31 2005, general manager Theo Epsteinresigned on the last day of his contract, reportedly turning down a three-year, $4.5 million contract extension. On Thanksgiving evening, the Red Sox officially announced the acquisition of pitcher Josh Beckettfrom the Florida Marlins. Boston also added third baseman Mike Lowelland relief pitcher Guillermo Motain the deal, while sending minor league prospects Hanley Ramírez, Aníbal Sánchez, Jesús Delgado, and Harvey García to the Marlins. On December 7, the Sox traded backup catcher Doug Mirabellito the San Diego Padresfor second baseman Mark Loretta(the team would later reacquire Mirabelli in May 2006). On December 8, the Sox gave up on Edgar Rentería, trading him and cash to the Atlanta Bravesfor third base prospect Andy Marte. On December 20, Johnny Damondeclined arbitration and a few days later signed a four-year, $52 million deal with the New York Yankees. With Mike Lowell now on board, the Sox let Bill Muellergo via free agency to the Dodgers. Meanwhile, Kevin Millarwas not offered arbitration and signed with the Baltimore Orioles.
after playing only the first five games of the 2006 season. Crisp would miss over 50 games during the season and did not live up to expectations.
Mike Lowellrediscovered his offense after a difficult season in Florida, and together with shortstop Álex González, second baseman Mark Loretta, and new first baseman Kevin Youkilis, the Red Sox had one of the best-fielding infields in Major League Baseball. On June 30, Boston set a major league record of 17 straight errorless games. This streak helped the Red Sox commit the fewest errors in the American League in 2006. During this span, they also recorded 12 consecutive victories, all in interleague play. The winning streak was the third longest in club history, behind only the 15 wins posted by the 1946 club and 13 victories in 1948. The Red Sox were well represented in the 2006 All-Star Game. David Ortiz and Mark Loretta started for the American League squad. Manny Ramírez, though elected to a starting role, did not appear due to a knee injury.
One of the brightest spots of the 2006 season was the emergence of new closer
Jonathan Papelbon. The 25-year old rookie fireballerwas given the chance to save the April 5 game against the Texas Rangers. Two months later, he had saved 20 games in a row. On September 1, Papelbon left the game after experiencing shoulder pain. He would eventually be shut down for the rest of the season. Papelbon ended up setting a Red Sox rookie record with 35 saves while recording a minuscule 0.92 ERA and earning an All-Star appearance. Also, David Ortiz provided a late-season highlight when he broke Jimmie Foxx's single season Red Sox home run by hitting 54 homers.
Down the stretch, the Sox wilted under the pressure of mounting injuries and poor performances. Boston would compile a 9-21 record in the month of August, with two six-game losing streaks included during that stretch. Despite Curt Schilling's resurgence in the starting rotation (15-7, 3.97 ERA), Josh Beckett had an inconsistent season, winning 16 games but allowing 36 homers and posting a 5.01 ERA. Injuries to Tim Wakefield, rookie
Jon Lester(diagnosed with lymphoma), and Matt Clement left the rotation with major holes to fill. Injuries to Jason Varitek, Trot Nixon, Wily Mo Pena, and Manny Ramírez severely hurt the offense. On September 21 2006, The Red Sox finished 2006 with an 86-76 record and third place in the AL East, their lowest placing in nine seasons.
2007: World Series Champions
Theo Epstein's first major step toward restocking the team for 2007 was to pursue one of the most anticipated acquisitions in recent history. On November 14, Major League Baseball announced that the Red Sox had won the bid for the rights to negotiate a contract with Japanese superstar pitcher Daisuke Matsuzaka. Boston placed a bid of $51.1 million, and had 30 days to complete a deal. On December 13, just before the deadline, Matsuzaka signed a 6-year, $52 million contract.
In the hopes of solidifying the starting rotation, the team announced that closer
Jonathan Papelbonwould become a starter in 2007. With Papelbon becoming a starter and Keith Foulke leaving the team, the Red Sox began building up their bullpen in search of a new closer. J.C. Romero, Brendan Donnelly, Joel Piñeiro, and Japanese lefty Hideki Okajimaall joined the Boston bullpen. However, no clear closer candidate emerged during Spring Training. Eventually, Papelbon wanted to return to the closer role, and Sox officials believed Papelbon had rehabilitated himself so well in the offseason that his health of this shoulder was no longer a concern. The Red Sox had a star closer once again. [ [http://www.boston.com/sports/baseball/redsox/articles/2007/03/23/papelbon_takes_closing_argument Boston Red Sox - Papelbon takes closing argument - The Boston Globe ] ]
Shortstop Álex González was allowed to leave via free agency for the
Cincinnati Reds. The Sox replaced him with Julio Lugo. Mark Lorettaalso was allowed to leave which opened up a spot for youngster Dustin Pedroia. Fan favorite Trot Nixonfiled for free agency and agreed on a deal with the Cleveland Indians. With an opening in right field, the Sox pursued J.D. Drew, who had recently opted out of the remainder of his contract with the Los Angeles Dodgersto become a free agent. On January 25 2007, the Red Sox and Drew agreed to a 5-year, $70 million contract. Another fan favorite, outfielder Gabe Kapler, announced his retirement at age 31 to fulfill his lifelong dream of becoming a manager. The Red Sox named him manager of their Class A affiliate, the Greenville Drive.
The Red Sox started quickly, moving into first place in the AL East by mid-April and never relinquishing their division lead. While Ortiz and Ramirez provided their usual offense, it was the hitting of Mike Lowell, Kevin Youkilis, and Dustin Pedroia that surprisingly anchored the club through the first few months. While Drew, Lugo, and Coco Crisp struggled to provide offense, Lowell and Youkilis more than made up for it with averages well above .300 and impressive home run and RBI totals. Pedroia started badly, hitting below .200 in April. Manager Terry Francona stuck with him and his patience paid off as Pedroia hit over .400 in May and finished the first half over .300. On the mound, Josh Beckett emerged as the ace of the staff, starting the year 9-0 and finishing 12-2 at the break. His success was needed as Schilling, Matsuzaka, Wakefield, and Tavarez provided consistent and occasionally good starts, but all struggled at times. The Boston bullpen, on the other hand, was there to pick up the starters often, anchored once again by Papelbon, a more experienced Manny Delcarmen, and Okajima. While Papelbon served as the stopper, the rise of Okajima as a legitimate setup man and occasional closer was a boon for the Sox, giving them more options late in the game. Okajima posted an ERA of 0.88 through the first half and was voted into the All-Star Game by the fans as the final selection. By the All-Star break, Boston had the best record in baseball and held their largest lead in the
American League East, 10 games over intra-division rivals the Toronto Blue Jaysand New York Yankees.
In the second half, more stars emerged for the Sox as they continued to lead the AL East division. Beckett continued to shine, reaching 20 wins for the first time in his career. At one point, veteran Tim Wakefield found himself atop the American League in wins, posting decisions in his first 26 starts, and finishing with a 17-12 record. However, as Wakefield, Matsuzaka, and Okajima became tired down the stretch, minor league call-up
Clay Buchholzprovided a spark on September 1 by pitching a no-hitter in his second career start. Another call-up, outfielder Jacoby Ellsbury, was thrust into the starting lineup while Manny Ramírez rested through most of September. Ellsbury played brilliantly during the month, hitting .361 with 3 HR, 17 RBI, and 8 stolen bases. Mike Lowell continued to carry the club, hitting cleanup in September and leading the team in RBI for the season, setting a team record for a third baseman with 120 runs driven in. And eventual 2007 Rookie of the Year Dustin Pedroia finished his outstanding first full season with 165 hits and a .317 average. The Red Sox became the first team to clinch a playoff spot for the 2007 season on September 22with a come-from-behind defeat of the Tampa Bay Devil Rays. [ [http://sports.espn.go.com/mlb/recap?gameId=270922130 ESPN - Homers from Varitek, Lugo punch Boston's playoff ticket - MLB ] ] Boston captured their first AL East title since 1995 after a win on September 28 against the Minnesota Twinsand a loss by the New York Yankeesagainst the Baltimore Orioles.
In the playoffs, the Red Sox swept the
Los Angeles Angels of Anaheimin the ALDS. Facing the Cleveland Indiansin the ALCS, Josh Beckett won Game 1 but the Sox stumbled, losing the next three games. Facing a 3-1 deficit and a must-win situation, Beckett pitched eight innings while surrendering only one run and striking out 11 in a masterful Game 5 win. The Sox captured their twelfth American League pennant by outscoring the Indians 30-5 over the final three games, winning the final two games at Fenway Park.
2007 World Series, the Red Sox faced the Colorado Rockies. Beckett once again set the tone, pitching seven strong innings as the offense provided more than enough in a 13-1 victory. In Game 2, Schilling, Okajima, and Papelbon held the Rockies to one run again in a 2-1 game. Moving to Colorado, the Sox offense made the difference again in a 10-5 win. Finally, in Game 4, Jon Lester took Tim Wakefield's spot in the rotation and gave the Sox an impressive start, pitching 5 2/3 shutout innings. The Rockies threatened, but thanks to World Series MVPMike Lowell and aided by a pinch-hit home run by outfielder Bobby Kielty, Papelbon registered another save as the Red Sox swept the Rockies in four games. The Red Sox captured their second title in four years.
The end of February sparked a controversy between Hank Steinbrenner and Red Sox Nation. Steinbrenner said in a quote, "Red Sox Nation? What a bunch of bullshit that is...That was a creation of the Red Sox and ESPN, which is filled with Red Sox fans...Go anywhere in America and you won't see Red Sox hats and jackets, you'll see Yankee hats and jackets. This is a Yankee country. We're going to put the Yankees back on top and restore the universe to order.- Steinbrenner in March 2008." Due to that Red Sox owner John Henry has recently inducted Hank Steinbrenner into Red Sox Nation, and he shall receive perks such as a shirts, pins, Green Monster seats, and an autographed hat by David Ortiz. The feud is thought by Sox fans to be started due to the arrogance of the New York fans and of Steinbrenner in the Super Bowl winning New York Giants defeating the New England Patriots.
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