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Red Sox Win World Series

Red Sox Win World Series

After an 86-year stretch since their last championship, the Boston Red Sox win the World Series on October 27, 2004, defeating the St. The historic moment is captured in news coverage of game four.


1903 World Series Boston Americans over Pittsburgh Pirates (5-3)

Copyright © 2000-2021 Sports Reference LLC. All rights reserved.

Much of the play-by-play, game results, and transaction information both shown and used to create certain data sets was obtained free of charge from and is copyrighted by RetroSheet.

Win Expectancy, Run Expectancy, and Leverage Index calculations provided by Tom Tango of InsideTheBook.com, and co-author of The Book: Playing the Percentages in Baseball.

Total Zone Rating and initial framework for Wins above Replacement calculations provided by Sean Smith.

Full-year historical Major League statistics provided by Pete Palmer and Gary Gillette of Hidden Game Sports.

Some defensive statistics Copyright © Baseball Info Solutions, 2010-2021.

Some high school data is courtesy David McWater.

Many historical player head shots courtesy of David Davis. Many thanks to him. All images are property the copyright holder and are displayed here for informational purposes only.


1990 World Series Cincinnati Reds over Oakland Athletics (4-0)

Copyright © 2000-2021 Sports Reference LLC. All rights reserved.

Much of the play-by-play, game results, and transaction information both shown and used to create certain data sets was obtained free of charge from and is copyrighted by RetroSheet.

Win Expectancy, Run Expectancy, and Leverage Index calculations provided by Tom Tango of InsideTheBook.com, and co-author of The Book: Playing the Percentages in Baseball.

Total Zone Rating and initial framework for Wins above Replacement calculations provided by Sean Smith.

Full-year historical Major League statistics provided by Pete Palmer and Gary Gillette of Hidden Game Sports.

Some defensive statistics Copyright © Baseball Info Solutions, 2010-2021.

Some high school data is courtesy David McWater.

Many historical player head shots courtesy of David Davis. Many thanks to him. All images are property the copyright holder and are displayed here for informational purposes only.


Contents

Boston Red Sox Edit

The Red Sox had lost in the previous season's ALCS against the New York Yankees. The loss was mainly blamed on the decision by then-manager Grady Little to keep starting pitcher Pedro Martínez in the game in the 8th inning of Game 7, that resulted the win (and the 2003 American League championship in general) to rival New York via a walk-off home run, then Little was fired two weeks later. [4]

During the off-season, the Red Sox hired Terry Francona as their new manager. [5] They also signed Keith Foulke as their closer [6] and traded for Curt Schilling as a starting pitcher. [7] The Red Sox played two particularly notable games against the Yankees during the regular season. A game on July 1, in which they came back from a 3-run deficit to force extra innings, is best remembered for an incident in the 12th inning, when Yankees shortstop Derek Jeter made a catch on the run before hurling himself head-first into the stands. The Yankees won the game in the next inning to take an 8-game lead in the American League East. [8] In the 3rd inning of a game on July 24, Red Sox pitcher Bronson Arroyo hit Yankees batter Alex Rodriguez with one of his pitches. As Rodriguez walked towards first base, he began shouting profanities at Arroyo. Red Sox catcher Jason Varitek positioned himself between the two players. After a brief argument, Varitek pushed his glove into Rodriguez' face, causing a bench-clearing brawl. [9] The Red Sox eventually won the game thanks to a home run by Bill Mueller in the 9th inning. [10] On July 31, the Red Sox traded shortstop Nomar Garciaparra to the Chicago Cubs after he had spent eight years with the team. They acquired shortstop Orlando Cabrera and first baseman Doug Mientkiewicz in this trade. [11] They won the wild card to earn a place in the post-season for the second year in a row. [12]

In the divisional round of the playoffs, the Red Sox faced the Anaheim Angels in a best-of-five series. They won Game 1 largely thanks to a 7-run 4th inning, and went on to sweep the series. In the 7th inning of Game 3, with the Red Sox leading by 4, Vladimir Guerrero tied the game for the Angels with a grand slam. However, David Ortiz won the series with a game winning home run in the 10th. [13] In the American League Championship Series, the Red Sox lost the first three games against the New York Yankees, including a 19-8 drubbing in Game 3, and were trailing 4-3 in Game 4 when they began the 9th inning. Kevin Millar was walked by Yankees closer Mariano Rivera. [14] Dave Roberts then came into the game to pinch run for Millar and stole second base. Mueller then singled to enable him to tie the game. Another game winning home run by Ortiz won the game 6-4 for the Red Sox in the 12th inning. [15] Ortiz' single in the 14th inning of Game 5 scored the winning run for the Red Sox, in what was, then, the longest post-season game in baseball history. [16] Despite having a dislocated ankle tendon, Schilling started Game 6 for the Red Sox. [17] He pitched for seven innings, and allowed just one run, during which time his sock became soaked in blood. [17] In the eighth inning, Yankees third baseman Rodriguez slapped a ball out of pitcher Arroyo's hand, allowing the Yankees to score a run. However, after a discussion the umpires called Rodriguez out for interference and canceled the run. Fans then threw debris onto the field in protest and the game was stopped for ten minutes. [18] [19] The Red Sox won the game 4-2 and became the first baseball team to ever force a Game 7 after having been down 3 games to none. [18] A 10–3 win in Game 7 brought the Red Sox to the World Series for the first time in 18 years. [20]

St. Louis Cardinals Edit

Having failed to make the playoffs the season before, and with their division rivals (the Chicago Cubs and Houston Astros) expected to be strong, the Cardinals were generally expected to finish 3rd in the National League Central. [21] [22] However, strong offensive seasons from Albert Pujols, Scott Rolen, and Jim Edmonds—during which they each hit more than 30 home runs and 100 runs batted in (RBI)—helped them to lead the league in runs scored. [23] They also allowed the fewest runs of any team in the league. [24] Four of their starters recorded at least 15 wins and closer Jason Isringhausen recorded a league-best 47 saves. [23] [25] They added outfielder Larry Walker in August and finished the regular season with the best win–loss record in the league. [26]

The Cardinals faced the Los Angeles Dodgers in the divisional round of the playoffs. Five home runs in Game 1 and no runs allowed by the bullpen in Game 2 helped the Cardinals to win the first two games. [27] A complete game by Dodgers pitcher José Lima enabled the Dodgers to force a Game 4, during which a home run by Pujols won the series for the Cardinals. [28] In the National League Championship Series, the Cardinals faced the Astros and won the first two games in St. Louis. However, the Astros tied the series in the next two games in Houston, before a combined one-hitter by Astros pitchers Brandon Backe and Brad Lidge gave them the series lead. [29] An RBI single by Jeff Bagwell in the 9th inning of Game 6 tied the game and forced extra innings. In the 12th, Edmonds won the game for the Cardinals with a walk-off home run. [30] Trailing in the sixth inning of Game 7, a game-tying RBI double by Albert Pujols followed by a Scott Rolen two-run home run and then an RBI single by Larry Walker in the 8th inning helped the Cardinals to a 5–2 win and their first World Series berth in 17 years. [31]

By reaching the World Series with the Cardinals, Tony La Russa became the sixth manager to win pennants in both leagues. [32] This was after La Russa had managed the Oakland Athletics to three straight pennants between 1988 and 1990 and winning the 1989 World Series. [32] He would attempt to join Sparky Anderson as the only men to have managed teams to World Series championships in both leagues. [33] He wore #10 in tribute to Anderson (who wore 10 while manager of the Cincinnati Reds) and to indicate he was trying to win the team's 10th championship. [34] [35]

The series was heavily discussed and analyzed by the American media prior to it beginning. The Star-News of Wilmington, North Carolina, compared the Red Sox and Cardinals position by position and concluded that the Cardinals were stronger in eight positions, the Red Sox in four and both teams even in one. They predicted that the Cardinals would win the series in seven games. [36] Andrew Haskett of E-Sports.com gave high praise to the two teams' starting pitchers but also said that the Cardinals "took a serious blow" when Chris Carpenter was forced out of the series due to an injury to his arm. He also pointed out the ability of both teams to hit home runs, especially in the case of the Red Sox's David Ortiz and the Cardinals' Albert Pujols, Scott Rolen and Jim Edmonds. While he praised the Red Sox defense, he called the Cardinals "one of the best defensive teams to ever walk onto a baseball field". Ultimately he concluded that the series would be close and that the Red Sox would win it. [37]

John Donovan of Sports Illustrated praised both teams for how unexpected their reaching the World Series was, saying that they were "not supposed to be here". He also called the series a "blast from the past" because both teams were very old franchises and had twice previously met in the World Series. [38] In a breakdown of how the two teams matched up, he concluded that the edge was with the Red Sox in pitching and the Cardinals in defense and batting. Ultimately he concluded that Schilling and Martinez would be the "key to [the] Series" and that the Red Sox would win in six games. [39] Jim Molony of MLB.com, said he expected the series to play out very differently from the last time the two teams met in the World Series in 1967. This was because both team offenses had been some of the best in the league during the season, while pitching had been very dominant in 1967. [40]

Dan Shaughnessy of The Boston Globe said that "Bally's in Las Vegas set the Red Sox as 8–5 favorites to win the Series" and that there was "some sentiment in St. Louis that the NL champions have been disrespected". but also that Red Sox General Manager Theo Epstein "Did not want to dis[respect] the Cardinals". [41] Shaughnessy also quoted Schilling as having said: "There's a lot of good players in that [visitors] clubhouse over there. This isn't the time for us to be thinking about history. If we get three wins and 26 outs into the fourth win, I'm pretty sure it will hit us." [41] Before the series began, Shaughnessy wrote a piece saying that although the Red Sox had beaten the Yankees, the series needed to be won, as it was the only way the Curse of the Bambino, which he had publicized based on the book of the same title in 1990, [42] would end, [43] [44] and demeaning chants of "1918!" would no longer echo at Yankee Stadium. [45] During the series, he wrote a piece about how much people in New England were thinking about loved ones who had spent their entire lives rooting for the Red Sox, hoping that one day, they would see their Red Sox win a World Series. [46] [47]

Both teams had lost in their previous World Series appearances in seven games. The Red Sox lost to the New York Mets in 1986, while the Cardinals lost in 1987 to the Minnesota Twins. The Cardinals and Red Sox had not won the World Series since 1982 and 1918 respectively. When the two teams had previously played each other in the 1946 and 1967 World Series, the Cardinals won both series in seven games. [48] [49] Having won the All-Star Game, the AL had been awarded home-field advantage, which meant the Red Sox had the advantage at Fenway Park in four of the seven games in the series. [50]

Boston won the series, 4–0.

Game Date Score Location Time Attendance
1 October 23 St. Louis Cardinals – 9, Boston Red Sox – 11 Fenway Park 4:00 35,035 [51]
2 October 24 St. Louis Cardinals – 2, Boston Red Sox – 6 Fenway Park 3:20 35,001 [52]
3 October 26 Boston Red Sox – 4, St. Louis Cardinals – 1 Busch Stadium (II) 2:58 52,015 [53]
4 October 27 Boston Red Sox – 3, St. Louis Cardinals – 0 Busch Stadium (II) 3:14 52,037 [54]

Game 1 Edit

Saturday, October 23, 2004 8:05 pm (EDT) at Fenway Park in Boston, Massachusetts
Team 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 R H E
St. Louis 0 1 1 3 0 2 0 2 0 9 11 1
Boston 4 0 3 0 0 0 2 2 X 11 13 4
WP: Keith Foulke (1–0) LP: Julián Tavárez (0–1)
Home runs:
STL: Larry Walker (1)
BOS: David Ortiz (1), Mark Bellhorn (1)
Attendance: 35,035
Boxscore

Local band Dropkick Murphys performed "Tessie", and a moment of silence was observed to remember local student Victoria Snelgrove, who had been accidentally killed by police two days earlier as Sox fans had celebrated winning the American League pennant. [55] [56] Steven Tyler, the lead singer of Aerosmith, another local band, performed "The Star-Spangled Banner" and Red Sox legend Carl Yastrzemski threw the ceremonial first pitch. [56]

Joe Buck of Fox Sports, calling the fifth home run of the postseason by David Ortiz in Game 1. [57]

Tim Wakefield made his first start of the 2004 postseason for the Red Sox, becoming the first knuckleball pitcher to make a World Series start since 1948, while Woody Williams, who had won his previous two starts in the post-season, was the Cardinals' starting pitcher. [58] In the bottom of the first inning, Williams gave up a lead-off double to Johnny Damon, and then hit Orlando Cabrera in the shoulder with one of his pitches. After Manny Ramírez flied out, Ortiz hit a three-run home run in his first-ever World Series at bat. Kevin Millar then scored by virtue of a single by Bill Mueller to put the Red Sox up 4–0. [58] [59]

The Cardinals scored one run in both the second and third innings on a sacrifice fly by Mike Matheny to score Jim Edmonds and a home run to right field by Walker, respectively. However, in the bottom of the third, the Red Sox scored three runs after seven consecutive batters reached base, giving them a five-run lead. Dan Haren came in from the Cardinals' bullpen to replace Williams during the inning. [60]

In the top of the fourth inning, Bronson Arroyo was brought in to replace Wakefield after he had walked four batters. Those walks, combined with a throwing error by Millar and a passed ball by Doug Mirabelli, allowed the Cardinals to reduce the lead to two runs. In the sixth inning, So Taguchi reached first on an infield hit and was allowed to advance to second when Arroyo threw the ball into the stands. Doubles by Édgar Rentería and Walker tied the game at seven. In the bottom of the seventh inning, Ramírez singled with two men on base, and a poor throw by Edmonds allowed Mark Bellhorn to score. Ortiz then hit a line drive that appeared to skip off the lip of the infield and hit Cardinals' second baseman Tony Womack with "considerable force". [61] Womack immediately grabbed his clavicle as a second Red Sox run scored. He was attended to once play had ended and replaced by Marlon Anderson. A precautionary X-ray revealed that there was no damage. [60] [61]

In the top of the eighth inning, with one out and two men on base, Red Sox closer Keith Foulke came in to pitch. Rentería singled towards Ramírez in left field, who unintentionally kicked the ball away, allowing Jason Marquis to score. Walker also hit the ball towards Ramírez in the next at bat. Ramírez slid in an attempt to try to catch the ball, but tripped and deflected the ball for his second error in two plays, and the fourth Red Sox error in the game. Roger Cedeño scored on the play to tie the game at nine. [60] [62] In the bottom of the eighth inning, however, Jason Varitek reached on an error, and Bellhorn then hit a home run off the right field foul pole, also known as Pesky's Pole, for his third home run in as many games to give the Red Sox a two-run lead. [56] [63] In the ninth inning, Foulke struck out Cedeño to win the game for the Red Sox 11–9. [58] [60]

With a total of 20 runs, it was the highest scoring opening game of a World Series ever. [64] With four RBI, Ortiz also tied a franchise record for RBI in a World Series game. [56] [65] Walker, making his World Series debut in Game 1, collected four hits in five at bats with a home run and two doubles. [66] His four-hit outing tied a Cardinals World Series record, becoming the seventh overall and first to do so since Lou Brock in 1967, also against Boston. [67]

Game 2 Edit

Sunday, October 24, 2004 8:10 pm (EDT) at Fenway Park in Boston, Massachusetts
Team 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 R H E
St. Louis 0 0 0 1 0 0 0 1 0 2 5 0
Boston 2 0 0 2 0 2 0 0 X 6 8 4
WP: Curt Schilling (1–0) LP: Matt Morris (0–1)
Attendance: 35,001
Boxscore

Boston native James Taylor performed "The Star-Spangled Banner" before Game 2 and singer Donna Summer, also a Boston native, performed "God Bless America" during the seventh-inning stretch. The ceremonial first pitch was thrown by the surviving three members of the famous Red Sox quartet that had faced the Cardinals in 1946: Bobby Doerr, Dom DiMaggio and Johnny Pesky (Ted Williams had died two years earlier). [68]

Despite having a torn tendon in his right ankle, similar to Game 6 of the ALCS against the Yankees, Schilling started Game 2 for the Red Sox. [64] Schilling had four stitches in the ankle the day before, causing him "considerable discomfort". [69] He was not sure on the morning of Game 2 if he would be able to play, but after one of the stitches was removed, he was treated with antibiotics and was able to pitch. [69] Morris started for the Cardinals on three days' rest (one day fewer than is orthodox rest for a starting pitcher). [70]

In the first inning, Albert Pujols doubled with two out, and Scott Rolen hit a line drive towards Mueller, who caught it to end the inning. [69] Morris walked Ramírez and Ortiz in the bottom of the inning. Varitek then tripled to center field to give the Red Sox a 2–0 lead. [71]

In the fourth inning, Pujols doubled again and was able to score on an error by Mueller. The Red Sox also scored in the bottom of the inning when Bellhorn doubled to center with two runners on base, to give them a three-run lead. Cal Eldred came in to relieve Morris in the fifth inning, after he had walked the leadoff hitter, having already given up four runs in the previous four innings. Mueller committed his World Series record-tying third error of the game, in the sixth inning [72] however, the Cardinals failed to capitalize. In the bottom of the inning, Trot Nixon led off with a single to center, and two more singles by Johnny Damon and Orlando Cabrera enabled two more runs to score to make it 6–1. [71]

After six innings of allowing no earned runs – which gave him a total of 13 innings against the Yankees and Cardinals with only one earned run allowed on a torn ankle tendon – Schilling made way for Alan Embree, who pitched a scoreless seventh. Mike Timlin replaced Embree in the eighth, in which a sacrifice fly by Scott Rolen reduced the Red Sox lead to four. Keith Foulke then came in to strike out Jim Edmonds to end the inning and also pitched the ninth to end the game. For the second game in a row, the Red Sox won despite committing four fielding errors. [71]

With the win, Schilling became only the fifth pitcher to ever win a World Series game with a team from both leagues, having previously done it with National League teams, the Philadelphia Phillies in 1993, and the Arizona Diamondbacks in 2001. [69] He later donated the bloody sock he wore during the game to the Baseball Hall of Fame museum. [64] [73] Much of the blame for the Cardinals' losses in the first two games was directed at the fact that Rolen, Edmonds and Reggie Sanders, three of the Cardinals' best batters, had combined for one hit in 22 at-bats. [74] [75] [76]

Game 3 Edit

Tuesday, October 26, 2004 7:30 pm (CDT) at Busch Memorial Stadium in St. Louis, Missouri
Team 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 R H E
Boston 1 0 0 1 2 0 0 0 0 4 9 0
St. Louis 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 1 1 4 0
WP: Pedro Martínez (1–0) LP: Jeff Suppan (0–1)
Home runs:
BOS: Manny Ramírez (1)
STL: Larry Walker (2)
Attendance: 52,015
Boxscore

Seattle Mariners designated hitter Edgar Martínez was presented with the 2004 Roberto Clemente Award, having announced his retirement one month before. [77] The ceremonial first pitch was thrown by arguably the Cardinals' best-ever position player, Stan Musial, and caught by arguably their best-ever pitcher, Bob Gibson. "The Star-Spangled Banner" and "God Bless America" were sung by country music singer Martina McBride and singer–songwriter Amy Grant respectively. During the game, a sign for the fast-food restaurant Taco Bell that measured 12 by 12 feet (3.7 m × 3.7 m) and read "Free Taco Here", was hung approximately 420 feet (130 m) from home plate, over the left-center field bullpen. Taco Bell promised that, if the sign was hit by a home run ball, they would give a free "Crunchy Beef Taco" to everyone in the United States. [78] [79]

Once again, the Red Sox took the lead in the first inning when Ramírez hit a home run off former Red Sox pitcher Jeff Suppan. Pedro Martínez was the starting pitcher for the Red Sox, and in the bottom of the first inning, he allowed the Cardinals to load the bases with one out. Edmonds then hit a fly ball towards Ramírez in left field, who caught it on the run and threw to catcher Jason Varitek at home plate. Varitek tagged out Walker, who was attempting to score from third, ending the inning. [80]

In the bottom of the third inning, the Cardinals had two runners on base with no one out. Walker hit a ground ball towards first base, and Cardinals third base coach José Oquendo signalled to Suppan on third to run to home plate. However, halfway towards home, Suppan "suddenly stopped". [80] Édgar Rentería, who had been running from second base towards third, was forced to return to second when he saw Suppan had stopped. After stepping on first base, David Ortiz began moving toward Suppan, who had turned back toward third, Ortiz threw to third baseman Mueller, who tagged Suppan out. After the next batter, Albert Pujols, grounded to Mueller, the inning ended. [80]

Trot Nixon extended the Red Sox lead to two in the top of the fourth, hitting a single to right field that scored Mueller, who had started the rally with a two-out double to left-center. Johnny Damon then led off the Red Sox's fifth inning with a double to right. Singles by Orlando Cabrera and Ramírez, to right and left respectively, scored Damon to make it 3–0. With two out, Mueller singled along the first base line, enabling Cabrera to score the Red Sox's fourth run. Suppan was replaced by Al Reyes, which meant none of the Cardinals three starting pitchers had finished five innings during the series. [80]

Mike Timlin relieved Martinez in the bottom of the eighth inning. He finished with six strikeouts, three hits allowed and retired the last 14 batters he faced. The Cardinals avoided a shutout when Walker hit a home run to center field off Foulke in the ninth inning, but Foulke retired the other three batters he faced in the inning to secure the win for the Red Sox 4–1. [80] [81]

On the same day the Red Sox won Game 3, The Boston Globe's Dan Shaughnessy wrote that, as this win brought the Red Sox on the verge of winning a World Series, he wondered how many people in New England were thinking about loved ones who had spent their entire lives rooting for the Red Sox and hoping that one day, they would see the Red Sox win a World Series. [46] [47]

Game 4 Edit

Wednesday, October 27, 2004 7:25 pm (CDT) at Busch Memorial Stadium in St. Louis, Missouri
Team 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 R H E
Boston 1 0 2 0 0 0 0 0 0 3 9 0
St. Louis 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 4 0
WP: Derek Lowe (1–0) LP: Jason Marquis (0–1) Sv: Keith Foulke (1)
Home runs:
BOS: Johnny Damon (1)
STL: None
Attendance: 52,037
Boxscore

Country music singer Gretchen Wilson, a life-long Cardinals fan, performed "The Star-Spangled Banner". [82] Barry Bonds and Manny Ramírez received the Hank Aaron Award for the National and American Leagues, respectively. [83] Former Cardinals players Lou Brock and Red Schoendienst threw out ceremonial first pitches along with Rashima Manning, from the Herbert Hoover Boys & Girls Clubs of America. [82] A lunar eclipse was visible during the game – the first lunar eclipse to take place during a World Series game. [84] [85] The game was also played on the 18th anniversary of Game 7 of the 1986 World Series, which the Red Sox had lost at Shea Stadium to the New York Mets, despite taking a 3–0 lead into the sixth inning.

Damon hit a home run to right field in the first at-bat of the game on a 2-1 count to give the Red Sox the lead in the first inning for the fourth straight game [84] it proved to be the game-winning run. Ramírez singled in the third inning to give him a hit in 17 consecutive postseason games. [85] Doubles to right by David Ortiz and to center by Trot Nixon, who narrowly missed a grand slam after swinging on a 3-0 count, scored two more runs for the Red Sox to give them a three-run lead. [84] [86] Cardinals starter Jason Marquis went six innings and allowed just the three runs. Marquis was the only Cardinal pitcher who went past five innings.

Joe Buck, calling the final play of Game 4. [46]

Joe Castiglione calling the final play of Game 4 for WEEI in Boston. [87]

In the top of the eighth, Mueller led off with a single to right and Nixon followed with his third double of the game. Jason Isringhausen came in to pitch for the Cardinals with the bases loaded and nobody out, and was able the finish the inning without allowing a run to score. [86] Kevin Millar pinch hit for the Red Sox starting pitcher Derek Lowe during this inning. It was the third straight game in which the Red Sox starting pitcher had not allowed an earned run. [86]

Red Sox closer Foulke came in to pitch the bottom of the ninth. Pujols led off the inning by hitting a single through Foulke's legs and into center field. After Foulke induced Rolen into a fly out and struck out Edmonds, Pujols took second base, but no stolen base due to fielder's indifference. [46] Édgar Rentería then hit a ground ball that bounced back to Foulke on the mound. Foulke threw it underhand to Doug Mientkiewicz at first base to end the game, and the Red Sox drought. [88]

The series win was the Red Sox's first title in 86 years. They were also the fourth team to win a World Series without trailing in any of the games in the series, [64] and the seventh to win it having previously been three outs away from elimination. With the win, pitcher Lowe became the first pitcher to ever win three series-clinching games in a single postseason having also won Game 3 of the ALDS against the Angels and Game 7 of the ALCS against the Yankees. [89] Although the series was won in St. Louis, 3,000 Red Sox fans were present at the game, and many stayed after the final out to celebrate with the team, including going on the field when the team came back out of their dugout with the World Series trophy. [88] [90] Ramírez, who was named the Most Valuable Player (MVP) of the series, said afterwards "I don't believe in curses, I believe you make your own destination. [sic]" [84] Kevin Millar said that it was important to finish off the Cardinals in four and not let it go to a fifth game given the team's history. [46]

The Cardinals offense struggled to find spark in the final three games. Pujols, Rolen, and Edmonds, the normally fearsome 3-4-5 hitters for the Cardinals, were six-for-45 with one RBI. The club batted .190 with a .562 OPS overall. Walker was one of very few exceptions, batting .357 with a 1.366 OPS. His two home runs accounted for the only two home runs hit by the entire Cardinals team. [91] In the 2004 postseason, Walker scored 21 percent (14 of 68) of Cardinal runs. [67]

Team 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 R H E
Boston Red Sox 8 0 5 3 2 2 2 2 0 24 39 8
St. Louis Cardinals 0 1 1 4 0 2 0 3 1 12 24 1
Total attendance: 174,088 Average attendance: 43,522
Winning player's share: $223,619.79 Losing player's share: $163,378.53 [92]

The series was broadcast by Fox, and the announcers were Joe Buck and Tim McCarver. Jeanne Zelasko covered the pre-game build up to all four games and the presentation of the World Series trophy. [46] [57] An average of 23.1 million people watched Game 1. This was the highest television ratings for the opening game of a World Series in five years and had the highest average number of viewers since 1996. It was also the highest rated broadcast on any network in the past ten months. [93] The ratings for the first two games were also the highest average since 1996, [94] and the average for the first three games was the highest since 1999. [95] Game 3 had the highest average number of viewers with 24.4 million, since 1996 when 28.7 million watched the Atlanta Braves and New York Yankees. It was also the Fox network's highest rating for a Game 3 of a World Series ever. [96] Game 4 posted an 18.2 national rating giving the series an overall average of 15.8. This was the highest average in five years, and the average number of viewers of 25.4 million was the highest since 1995. [97]

In terms of local radio, Joe Castiglione and Jerry Trupiano called the series for WEEI in Boston while Mike Shannon and Wayne Hagin announced for KMOX in St. Louis.

Game Rating Share Audience (in millions)
1 [98] 13.7 25 23.17
2 [98] 15.9 24 25.46
3 [99] 15.7 24 24.42
4 [99] 18.2 28 28.84
Average 15.8 25.25 25.47

With the win coming eight months after the New England Patriots victory in Super Bowl XXXVIII, the event made Boston the first city to have a Super Bowl and World Series winner in the same year since Pittsburgh in 1979. [2] A number of players from both teams won awards for their performances during the season. Manny Ramírez won the Hank Aaron Award and, along with Albert Pujols, a Silver Slugger Award, while Gold Glove awards were won by Mike Matheny, Scott Rolen and Jim Edmonds. [100] The American sports magazine Sports Illustrated honored the Red Sox with their Sportsman of the Year award a month later, making them the first professional team to ever win the award. For pitcher Curt Schilling, it was the second time he had won the award, having shared it with then-Arizona Diamondbacks teammate Randy Johnson in 2001. [101]

This World Series win by the Red Sox continued a history of Boston teams beating St. Louis teams to win championships. [102] Previously, in Super Bowl XXXVI, the New England Patriots had upset the St. Louis Rams' "Greatest Show on Turf" to win their first Super Bowl and herald a dynasty led by Tom Brady and Bill Belichick, the Boston Bruins had swept the St. Louis Blues in the 1970 Stanley Cup Finals (with Game 4 being remembered for Bobby Orr's Cup-winning overtime goal that sent him flying), and the Boston Celtics – when Bill Russell was still just a rookie – had beaten the St. Louis Hawks to win their first NBA championship in 1957. [102] With championship showdowns between teams from Boston and St. Louis seen in Major League Baseball, the NFL, NBA and NHL, it is the only showdown between teams from two specific locations, that has been seen in each of these four leagues. [102] [103] St. Louis would finally end Boston's dominance against them when the St. Louis Blues defeated the Boston Bruins in the 2019 Stanley Cup Finals.

Red Sox Edit

The Red Sox's win in the World Series ended the "Curse of the Bambino", which supposedly had afflicted the team ever since the Red Sox sold Babe Ruth to the New York Yankees in 1919. [104] [105] Pitcher Derek Lowe and other players said that the team would no longer hear "1918!" at Yankee Stadium ever again. [45] [106] [107] Kevin Millar said to all Red Sox fans: "We wanted to do it so bad for the city of Boston. To win a World Series with this on our chests, it hasn't been done since 1918. So rip up those '1918!' posters right now." [46] [103] [107] Members of previous Red Sox teams who had fallen short immediately acclaimed the 2004 team, including Pesky – who had been the shortstop responsible for a fatal checking error that had allowed the Cardinals' Enos Slaughter to complete his "Mad Dash" to score the winning run in Game 7 at the old Sportsman's Park in 1946. Pesky watched the game from the visiting clubhouse and was immediately embraced by Millar, Wakefield, Schilling and others as a living representative of those previous teams as he joined the celebrations.

It also added to the recent success of Boston-area teams, following the Patriots wins in Super Bowls XXXVI and XXXVIII. With the Patriots having won Super Bowl XXXVIII the previous February, the Red Sox winning the World Series marked the first time since 1979 that the same city had a Super Bowl and World Series winner in the same year – the last city to accomplish the feat had been Pittsburgh, when the Steelers and Pirates had won Super Bowl XIII and the World Series respectively. [2] The city would go on to record a decade of sports success from 2001 to 2011 with seven championships in the four major North American sports leagues (MLB, the NFL, the NBA and the NHL), including one in each league after the Patriots won two more Super Bowls, the Celtics won the 2008 NBA championship and the Bruins won the Stanley Cup in 2011. Following the Bruins winning the 2011 Stanley Cup Finals, Boston Globe columnist Dan Shaughnessy ranked all seven championships and chose the Red Sox' 2004 World Series win as the greatest Boston sports championship during the ten-year span. [108]

Red Sox Manager Terry Francona became the third manager in four years to win a World Series in his first year as manager, following Bob Brenly of the 2001 Arizona Diamondbacks and Jack McKeon of the 2003 Florida Marlins. [64]

Massachusetts US Senator, Boston resident and future Secretary of State John Kerry, who had been named Democratic presidential nominee in Boston that summer, wore a Red Sox cap the day after the series ended. [109] He also said that the Red Sox had "[come] back against all odds and showed America what heart is". [109] His Republican opponent, incumbent President George W. Bush, [110] made a phone call from the White House to congratulate the team's owner John W. Henry, president Larry Lucchino and manager Terry Francona. [109] The team also visited Bush at the White House the following March, where he gave a speech honoring their presence, in which he asked "what took [them] so long?" [111] A future Presidential candidate, Mitt Romney, at the time Massachusetts Governor, ceremonially helped remove the Reverse Curve road sign on Storrow Drive that had been famously spray-painted to read "Reverse the Curse" as a further marking of the end of the Curse. [112]

The day after the Red Sox win, the Boston Globe more than doubled its daily press run, from 500,000 to 1.2 million copies, with the headline, "YES. " right across the front page. [85] [113]

The Red Sox held their World Series victory parade on the following Saturday, October 30. The team was transported around on 17 duck boats equipped with loudspeakers so the players could talk to the spectators. Due to large interest in the parade, it was lengthened by officials the day before to include the Charles River, so that fans could watch from the Boston and Cambridge river banks. The parade did not however, include a staged rally. The parade began at 10 a.m. local time at Fenway Park, turned east onto Boylston Street, then west onto Tremont Street and Storrow Drive before entering the river. One of the lanes on Massachusetts Avenue had to be closed to accommodate members of the media filming the parade as it passed under the Harvard Bridge. [114] Ramírez was handed a sign by one of the spectators part of the way through the parade, which read, "Jeter is playing golf today. This is better!" [115] He held on to this sign for the rest of the parade, in a similar way to what Tug McGraw said after the Philadelphia Phillies won the 1980 World Series. [115] [116] [117] Over three million people were estimated to have attended the parade, making it the largest gathering ever in the city of Boston. [118]

The Red Sox were presented with their World Series rings on April 11, 2005, at a ceremony before the team's first home game of the 2005 season. Former Red Sox players Bobby Doerr, Dom DiMaggio, Johnny Pesky, and Carl Yastrzemski were all present, as were the Boston Symphony Orchestra and the Boston Pops Orchestra. During the ceremony, five red pennants were first unfurled at the top of the Green Monster, showing the years of each of the Red Sox' previous World Series wins. A much larger banner was unfurled that covered the entire wall and read "2004 World Series Champions". James Taylor, himself a Boston native and a Red Sox fan, performed "America the Beautiful", and 19 members of the United States Army and Marine Corps who had fought in the Iraq War walked onto the field. Moments of silence were held to honor the deaths of Pope John Paul II, who had died nine days earlier, and former Red Sox relief pitcher, Dick Radatz. The rings were handed out by the team's owner, John W. Henry. Former Red Sox players Lowe and Dave Roberts, who had joined the Los Angeles Dodgers and San Diego Padres respectively during the off-season, were also present to collect their rings. [119] The ceremony, which lasted around an hour, ended with stars from other Boston sports teams, including the Celtics' Bill Russell, the Bruins' Bobby Orr and the Patriots' Tedy Bruschi and Richard Seymour, throwing ceremonial first pitches. [120] The presence of Bruschi and Seymour made evident the recent success of Boston-area teams. [2] The day after the Red Sox won the Series, Shaughnessy and the rest of the news media said of the Red Sox home opener: "The team in the third-base dugout? The New York Yankees, Sweet." [85] In a sign of respect, the Red Sox rivals came to the top step of the visitors dugout and gave the Red Sox a standing ovation. [121] The Fenway Park crowd burst into cheers when Yankees pitcher Mariano Rivera was introduced, breaking from the tradition of fans booing opposing players, due to him having blown save opportunities in Games 4 and 5 of the 2004 ALCS. Rivera was a good sport about it and laughed while waving his arms in mock appreciation of the fans. [122]

Bill Simmons' entry in his Game 4 running diary at 8:42 PM Pacific Time, 1 minute after the final out [123]

The following August, Simon & Schuster published Faithful, a book which collected e-mails about the Red Sox between American writers and Red Sox fans Stephen King and Stewart O'Nan during the 2004 season. [124] In March 2005, Houghton Mifflin Company published Reversing the Curse, a book by Shaughnessy, author of the bestselling The Curse of the Bambino, chronicling the 2004 Red Sox season. ESPN's Bill Simmons published Now I Can Die In Peace, a collection of his columns with updated annotations and notes, including columns for each of the last four games of the ALCS and each World Series game – with Game 4 being a running diary. [125] The Farrelly Brothers altered the ending of their 2005 film Fever Pitch – which includes appearances by Damon, Nixon and Varitek – to coincide with the actual end of the series. They and their crew, plus stars Drew Barrymore and Jimmy Fallon, flew to St. Louis and Barrymore and Fallon attended Game 4 in character, complete with the two of them running onto the field at Busch Stadium and kissing once the final out was made. [126] [127]

On May 28, 2014, the team reunited at Fenway Park as the Red Sox celebrated the 10-year anniversary of the historic championship as they hosted the Atlanta Braves. Ramirez threw out the first pitch to Varitek but was cut off by Damon in a reversal of Ramirez once cutting off Damon's throw from center field during a game. [128]

Cardinals Edit

On the Cardinals' side, the media expressed disappointment at the team's failure to win a game in the Series after recording the team's best regular season in over 60 years. [104] [129] Many reporters believed that the Cardinals had not played up to their usual standard, and much of the blame was directed at Rolen, Edmonds and Reggie Sanders, three of the Cardinals' best hitters, who had combined for one hit in 39 at bats in the series. [104] [130] [131]

It also marked the last time that Busch Memorial Stadium would host a World Series. [132] The Cardinals moved to the new Busch Stadium in their championship season of 2006, [132] which was their first since 1982.

2005 season and beyond Edit

Both the Red Sox and Cardinals made the playoffs the following season. The Red Sox lost to the eventual champions the Chicago White Sox, in the American League Division Series. The Cardinals, in a repeat meeting of the previous season's National League Championship Series, lost to the Houston Astros. [133] However, the city of Boston would see more success when the New England Patriots won Super Bowl XXXIX, three months after the Red Sox won the World Series, giving the greater Boston area its third championship in 12 months, making it the first time since 1980 that any city had two Super Bowl winners and a World Series winner in a period of the same length. [2]

Both teams also won one of the next three World Series in successive years the Cardinals, as noted above, in 2006, beating the Detroit Tigers in five games, becoming the first team since the New York Yankees in 1923, to win a World Series championship in their first season in a new stadium (which the Yankees themselves would also do in 2009). [132] Tony La Russa would achieve the distinction that he could not achieve in 2004 of managing World Series winners in both leagues. [34] [35] He would continue to wear number 10 to pay tribute to Sparky Anderson afterwards. [35]

The Red Sox won the World Series the following year, sweeping the Colorado Rockies in four games. [49] Tom Werner, chairman of the Red Sox, and team president Larry Lucchino said that the 2004 championship was "for the parents and grandparents who had suffered through the Curse of the Bambino", while 2007 was "for children, grandchildren, and for Red Sox Nation". [134]

Both teams would meet again in the 2013 World Series, with the Red Sox winning the championship in six games. It was the first time Boston clinched the World Series at its home field, Fenway Park, since 1918. [135] Boston would win an additional title in 2018 when they defeated the Los Angeles Dodgers 4 games to 1.

Twelve years after this World Series, the Chicago Cubs would end their own championship drought at 108 years, defeating the Cleveland Indians in seven games. In doing this, Theo Epstein is now credited with helping to end two of the most famous curses in all of professional sports. [136] Coincidentally, the losing manager in that year's World Series was Terry Francona, who had managed the Red Sox to both the 2004 and 2007 championships. [137]


Contents

Because an AL team had won the last four World Series (the A's had represented the AL in three out of those four), the A's were heavily favored. That the Braves had been in last place in July before coming back to win the pennant contributed to the perception that the AL was simply superior to the NL. The A's roster boasted 5 future hall-of-famers [5] and many agreed they were the better team on paper. A story told about Connie Mack during the 1914 season reflects this attitude among the A's that the Braves would be pushovers. That year, Mack gave star pitcher Chief Bender the week off and told him to scout the Braves personally. Instead, Bender took a vacation. When asked to defend his actions, he replied: "Why should I check out a bunch of bush league hitters?"

Game Date Score Location Time Attendance
1 October 9 Boston Braves – 7, Philadelphia Athletics – 1 Shibe Park 1:58 20,562 [6]
2 October 10 Boston Braves – 1, Philadelphia Athletics – 0 Shibe Park 1:56 20,562 [7]
3 October 12 Philadelphia Athletics – 4, Boston Braves – 5 (12 innings) Fenway Park 3:06 35,520 [8]
4 October 13 Philadelphia Athletics – 1, Boston Braves – 3 Fenway Park 1:49 34,365 [9]

Game 1 Edit

Friday, October 9, 1914 2:00 pm (ET) at Shibe Park in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
Team 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 R H E
Boston 0 2 0 0 1 3 0 1 0 7 11 2
Philadelphia 0 1 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 1 5 0
WP: Dick Rudolph (1–0) LP: Chief Bender (0–1)

26-game winner Dick Rudolph scattered five hits while striking out eight as the Braves won the opener in convincing fashion against the Athletics ace, Chief Bender. Catcher Hank Gowdy had a single, double and triple as well as a walk in leading Boston's offensive attack. He was also on the back end of a double steal in the eighth inning, with Butch Schmidt's steal of home the Braves' final run.

According to Tom Meany's 1950 book "Baseball's Greatest Teams", with one chapter on each of the then 16 major league teams' one most outstanding season in the author's opinion, the chapter on the Boston Braves was naturally on their one world championship year, 1914. Meany recalled that manager Stallings and the Braves showed utter contempt for Connie Mack's heavily favored A's by spurning the Shibe Park visiting clubhouse for the one in the National League Phillies' deserted home park, Baker Bowl (the NL site of the next World Series, which again featured Boston defeating Philadelphia, but this time Red Sox 4, Phillies 1). Meany may also have been the source for the sensational sidelight that Stallings' motive for this may have been the rumor that the A's may have sabotaged the Shibe Park visiting clubhouse (with war clouds gathering in Europe as World War I was just beginning).

Game 2 Edit

Saturday, October 10, 1914 2:00 pm (ET) at Shibe Park in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
Team 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 R H E
Boston 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 1 1 7 1
Philadelphia 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 2 1
WP: Bill James (1–0) LP: Eddie Plank (0–1)

Bill James, Boston's other 26-game winner, hooked up against Philadelphia's Eddie Plank in a classic pitcher's duel. James allowed only three base runners in the first eight innings, picking off two of them in holding Philadelphia scoreless. Plank matched him until the ninth, when Amos Strunk lost Charlie Deal's fly ball in the sun for a double. Deal then stole third, and scored on a two-out single by Les Mann. James walked two batters in the ninth, but got Eddie Murphy to ground into a game-ending double play to give Boston a 2–0 advantage in the series coming back home to Fenway.

Game 3 Edit

Monday, October 12, 1914 2:00 pm (ET) at Fenway Park in Boston, Massachusetts
Team 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 R H E
Philadelphia 1 0 0 1 0 0 0 0 0 2 0 0 4 8 2
Boston 0 1 0 1 0 0 0 0 0 2 0 1 5 9 1
WP: Bill James (2–0) LP: Bullet Joe Bush (0–1)
Home runs:
PHA: None
BOS: Hank Gowdy (1)

Lefty Tyler of the Braves went up against Bullet Joe Bush in a 12-inning thriller. Frank "Home Run" Baker's two-out single in the tenth plated two runs to give the Athletics a 4–2 lead and a seeming victory to get them back in the series. But Hank Gowdy led off the bottom of the tenth with a home run, and the Braves then tied the game on Joe Connolly's sacrifice fly later in the inning. Game 2 winner Bill James, coming on in relief for Boston in the 11th, earned the win after Gowdy led off the bottom of the 12th with a double and pinch-runner Les Mann scored when Bush threw wildly to third on Herbie Moran's bunt, giving the Braves a commanding 3–0 series lead.

Game 4 Edit

Tuesday, October 13, 1914 2:00 pm (ET) at Fenway Park in Boston, Massachusetts
Team 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 R H E
Philadelphia 0 0 0 0 1 0 0 0 0 1 7 0
Boston 0 0 0 1 2 0 0 0 X 3 6 0
WP: Dick Rudolph (2–0) LP: Bob Shawkey (0–1)

Johnny Evers' two-out, two-run single in the bottom of the fifth broke a 1–1 tie and the collective backs of the heavily favored Athletics as the "Miracle Braves" completed their improbable sweep. Game 1 winner Dick Rudolph allowed only one base-runner after Evers' tie-breaking hit and struck out seven in notching his second win of the series. The powerful A's were held to a .172 team batting average and no home runs in the series.


These are the longest WS title droughts

Each season begins with optimism across the 30 MLB fanbases, and each one ends with some level of disappointment for 29 of them.

Only one team can win the World Series every year, but some fan bases have been waiting a long time to see their team raise the Commissioner’s Trophy. The Dodgers had been on of those teams entering 2020, but they became the latest team to end a lengthy drought by knocking off the Rays -- a team that instead saw its own drought extended.

Sixteen of the 30 teams have gone at least the past 23 seasons -- since MLB's most recent expansion in 1998 -- without winning the World Series.

Here is a look at the longest active championship droughts, including all of those that go back to at least 1998.

Indians: 72 years (1949-2020)
Cleveland has had its chances during this time, but it lost World Series in 1954, ‘95, ‘97 and 2016 -- four of the club’s 12 postseason appearances since beating the Boston Braves in the 1948 Fall Classic. The Tribe is 0-4 in potential championship clinchers over its past two trips to the Series, having squandered a 3-1 advantage to the Cubs in 2016.

Rangers/Senators: 60 years (1961-2020)
The franchise didn’t make the postseason in its first 35 seasons (the first 11 in Washington) after arriving as an expansion team in 1961. The Rangers have since experienced their fair share of October agony, including back-to-back World Series losses in 2010-11 -- the latter featuring multiple instances in which Texas was one strike away from beating St. Louis and hoisting the trophy.

Brewers/Pilots: 52 years (1969-2020)
After one season in Seattle, the franchise moved to Milwaukee in 1970. It’s made just one Fall Classic, in ྎ, when the Brew Crew was unable to finish off a 3-2 lead against the Cardinals. Milwaukee since has made two National League Championship Series appearances.

Padres: 52 years (1969-2020)
An expansion team in 1969, San Diego has yet to bring home a title. There were World Series chances in ྐ and ‘98, but the Padres won just one game in those years against the Tigers and Yankees, respectively.

Mariners: 44 years (1977-2020)
With the Nationals making it to the Fall Classic in 2019, that left the Mariners as the only franchise without an appearance in baseball’s championship event. Seattle made it as far as the American League Championship Series in 1995, 2000 and ‘01, when it won 116 regular-season games in its most recent trip to the playoffs.

Pirates: 41 years (1980-2020)
Only six franchises have won more championships than Pittsburgh (five), but it’s been a rough road for the franchise since Barry Bonds’ departure following a heartbreaking loss in Game 7 of the 1992 NLCS. The Bucs’ only three postseason appearances since then (2013-15) all fell short of the NLCS.

Orioles: 37 years (1984-2020)
Baltimore’s most recent trip to the World Series was its victory over the Phillies in 1983, when Cal Ripken Jr. was a 23-year-old who was only a year and a half into his consecutive-games streak. Since then, the O’s have fallen in the ALCS in 1996, ‘97 and 2014.

Tigers: 36 years (1985-2020)
Detroit’s last trip to the World Series came in 2012, when the Tigers were swept at the hands of the Giants. They’ve made it twice total since last winning in 1984. They also won the pennant in 2006, when they lost in five games to the 83-win Cardinals. In that span since the 1984 title, they’ve also found themselves on the precipice of the World Series three additional times -- losing the ALCS in 2013, 2011 and 1987.

Mets: 34 years (1987-2020)
It took a series of miracles for the Mets to come back in Game 6 of the 1986 World Series before eventually prevailing in Game 7. But the magic hasn’t been sufficient enough in the years since, though the Mets did enjoy plenty of memorable moments during their NL pennant runs in 2000 and ‘15. The franchise’s most recent Hall of Famer, Mike Piazza, was 18 years old when the Mets won it all in ‘86.

Athletics: 31 years (1990-2020)
The A’s have enjoyed as many dynastic runs as any team outside the Yankees over the breadth of Major League history, but the last three decades have been a dry period in Oakland. General manager Billy Beane’s innovative roster strategies have kept the A’s competitive on small-market budgets, particularly during the club’s “Moneyball” period in the early 2000s, but the franchise has reached just two ALCS since last winning the World Series in 1989. The A’s most recent ALCS appearance resulted in a sweep by the Tigers in ‘06.

Reds: 30 years (1991-2020)
The 1970s were dominated by the Big Red Machine, but aside from Cincinnati’s most recent title in 1990, it’s been a different story since in the Queen City. The Braves swept the Reds in the ‘95 NLCS, and the franchise has not advanced past the LDS since then.

Twins: 29 years (1992-2020)
The days of Jack Morris, Kirby Puckett and the "Homer Hanky" are growing further and further into the rearview mirror for the Twins. But the team has had its stars -- including Joe Mauer, Justin Morneau and Johan Santana -- who led Minnesota to six AL Central titles from 2002-10 before the club suffered early postseason exits. The Twins haven’t advanced past the LDS round since ‘02.

Rockies: 28 years (1993-2020)
Colorado had all the momentum in 2007, when "Rocktober" swept Denver and the team won eight straight postseason games and the NL pennant after prevailing over the Padres in a Game 163. But the Red Sox swept the Rockies that year in the franchise’s closest title attempt. Colorado has yet to capture an NL West division title.

Blue Jays: 27 years (1994-2020)
The road to the World Series title ran through Toronto at the beginning of the 1990s, but dynastic days north of the border subsided at the turn of the millennium. The Blue Jays fell in back-to-back ALCS in 2015-16, representing their closest recent attempts.

Braves: 25 years (1996-2020)
Atlanta won the most games of any team in the 1990s, but fell to the Yankees twice in the World Series in ‘96 and ‘99. The Braves carried their 14-year NL East division champion streak into the mid-2000s, but repeatedly came up short in the postseason. Atlanta’s current core of young stars could give the franchise more chances in the years to come.

Rays: 23 years (1998-2020)
Tampa Bay debuted as the Devil Rays and began with some lean times, averaging 97 losses over its first 10 seasons. But the tide turned with a name change and new colors in 2008, when the franchise enjoyed a 31-win turnaround and claimed its first pennant before losing to the Phillies in five games in the World Series. They pushed the Dodgers one game further in ཐ, but still came up short in six games.

And here are the 10 longest World Series title droughts in MLB history that are no longer active (going back to the inaugural World Series in 1903):

Cubs: 107 years (1909-2015)
White Sox: 87 years (1918-2004)
Red Sox: 85 years (1919-2003)
Phillies: 77 years (1903-79)
Orioles/Browns: 63 years (1903-65)
Twins/Senators: 62 years (1925-86)
Astros: 55 years (1962-2016)
Giants: 55 years (1955-2009)
Dodgers: 52 years (1903-54)
Nationals/Expos: 50 years (1969-2018)


Ghosts of October Past: Revisiting Indians' last World Series appearances

The Indians are headed back to the World Series for the sixth time in their 116-year history. It&aposs been 19 years since their last pennant, a drought that&aposs notable but was just the majors&apos 12th-longest coming into the season—shorter than those of all three other teams in the two League Championship Series. Cleveland&aposs 68-year championship drought, on the other hand, is the sport&aposs second-longest active one behind the Cubs&apos 108-year dry spell and the fourth-longest in MLB history, behind those of the White Sox (87 years), Red Sox (85 years) and Phillies (77 years).

What follow here is a look back at the team&aposs five previous trips to the Fall Classic, where tragedy begat triumph and juggernauts ran aground.

1920: Beat Brooklyn Robins (Dodgers), 5𠄲

Known initially as the Blues (1901), Bronchos (&apos02) and Naps (&apos03�)—the last after future Hall of Fame second baseman Napoleon Lajoie, one of the Dead Ball Era&aposs elite hitters—the Cleveland franchise became the Indians in &apos15. Coined by local sportswriters, the name referenced both the 1914 NL champion Boston Braves and Native American outfielder Louis Sockalexis, who had briefly starred for the bygone Cleveland Spiders before alcoholism took its toll he died of tuberculosis in &apos13. Prior to the name change, the team finished as high as second in the eight-team AL just once and lost 102 games in 1914 but broke into the first division in &apos17. After back-to-back second-place finishes in 1918 and &apos19, Cleveland won a tight pennant race in &apos20 at 98�, outdistancing the White Sox by two games and the Yankees by three. Centerfielder/manager Tris Speaker hit .388/.483/.562 to lead the league&aposs most potent offense, and Jim Bagby (31�, 2.89 ERA) and spitballer Stan Coveleski (24�, 2.49 ERA)—like Speaker, a future Hall of Famer—led the pitching staff.

That race had been won under grim circumstances. On Aug. 17, 1920, star shortstop Ray Chapman died of head injuries sustained via a beaning by Carl Mays the day before. The stricken Indians, with 21-year-old callup Joe Sewell at shortstop, nonetheless won 25 of their final 34 games, overcoming a 3 1/2-game deficit behind the defending AL champion White Sox, who were in the midst of being exposed for their World Series-throwing scandal from the year before. Headlines from the grand jury investigation overshadowed those of the 1920 Series.

The series, the second of three in a row played as a best-of-nine, opened at Ebbets Field, where the Indians won the opener, 3𠄱, behind Coveleski&aposs five-hitter and a pair of RBI doubles by catcher Steve O&aposNeill off Brooklyn starter Rube Marquard, another future Hall of Famer. The Dodgers took Game 2, 3𠄰, behind Hall of Fame spitballer Burleigh Grimes&aposs seven-hit shutout and pulled ahead in the series via a 2𠄱 victory in Game 3, with Sherry Smith spinning a three-hitter. Indians starter Ray Caldwell was chased in the first inning after allowing two runs and recording one out a Sewell error, one of six in the series, didn&apost help.

When the series shifted to Cleveland&aposs Dunn Field, the Indians won, 5𠄱, chasing Brooklyn starter Leon Cadore via a pair of first-inning runs as Coveleski threw another complete game, this time a five-hitter. Game 5, the series&apos most famous, was an 8𠄱 win for Cleveland featuring Elmer Smith&aposs grand slam (a series first, done before Grimes retired a single batter), a home run by Bagby (the first by a pitcher in series play) and an unassisted triple play by Indians second baseman Bill Wambsganss (the only one to date). In Game 6, Cleveland won a 1𠄰 squeaker, as Duster Mails spun a three-hit shutout George Burns doubled home Speaker in the eighth inning against a tiring Smith. In the battle of spitballers, Coveleski bested Grimes with a five-hit shutout, sealing the championship and becoming the first pitcher in 10 years to win three World Series games.

1948: Beat Boston Braves, 4𠄲

In 1946, Bill Veeck Jr., the son of a former Cubs president and the planter of Wrigley Field&aposs famous ivy, bought the Indians, who had spent the previous quarter-century meandering around .500, finishing second only in &apos26 and &apos40. The next year, in the wake of Jackie Robinson breaking the color barrier, Veeck integrated the AL by signing second baseman Larry Doby, who shifted to centerfield the following year under the tutelage of Speaker because the Indians had Joe Gordon, a future Hall of Famer, at the keystone.

The 1948 squad was laden with Hall of Famers, with Bob Feller and Bob Lemon in the rotation, 42-year-old rookie Satchel Paige in the bullpen and Gordon, shortstop/manager Lou Boudreau and Doby up the middle. The Indians spent much of the first half in first place but faded with a 14� July and were 4 1/2 back as of Sept. 6. They won 19 of their final 24 games to finish the regular season 96�, tied with the Red Sox, whom they beat, 8𠄳, in a one-game playoff at Fenway Park behind Boudreau&aposs two homers.

The World Series opened in Boston, where Johnny Sain&aposs four-hit shutout bested Feller&aposs two-hit, three-walk performance the game&aposs lone run was scored in the eighth via a pair of walks, a sacrifice bunt and a single. Behind Lemon&aposs complete game, the Indians evened the series the next day with a 4𠄱 win as they chased Warren Spahn in the fifth inning. When the series shifted to Municipal Stadium in Cleveland, 20-game winner Gene Bearden spun a five-hit shutout, doubled and scored the first of the game&aposs two runs. In Game 5, witnessed by 81,897 fans (a record that stood until 1959), Boudreau&aposs RBI double and Doby&aposs solo homer backed Steve Gromek&aposs complete game. The famous photo of Gromek and Doby embracing was a milestone unto itself. "At a time when resistance to black players was still intense, it was a signal moment of brotherhood," wrote The New York Times&apos Richard Goldstein in Gromek&aposs obituary in 2002.

Game 5 was a slugfest won, 11𠄵, by Boston, with Bob Elliot homering twice off Feller and Spahn throwing 5 2/3 innings of scoreless relief. The Indians rebounded to wrap things up in Boston the next day via a 4𠄳 victory, with Gordon breaking a 1𠄱 tie with a sixth-inning solo homer off starter Bill Voiselle. Bearden relieved Lemon in the eighth with two on and a 4𠄱 lead he let in two runs, but Cleveland held on to win its second championship.

1954: Lost to Giants, 4𠄰

Veeck sold the team after the 1949 season in order to fund his divorce settlement, but the Indians remained contenders. After three straight second-place finishes behind the Yankees, they won 111 games—the most by any team from 1910 to &apos97—with a pitching staff featuring not only Lemon and Feller but also fellow future Hall of Famers Early Wynn and Hal Newhouser. Wynn and Lemon both won 23 games with nearly-identical ERAs of 2.73 and 2.72, respectively. Second baseman Bobby Avila won the AL batting title with a .341 average, and Doby led the league with 32 homers and 126 RBIs.

That squad would have gone down as one of the greatest in history, except that in the World Series against the 97-win Giants, Cleveland just went down𠅊nd hard. Game 1, played at the Polo Grounds, featured Willie Mays&aposs over-the-shoulder catch of Vic Wertz&aposs long fly ball, widely considered the greatest in World Series history. Dusty Rhodes&aposs three-run–pinch-hit–walk-off homer won it in the 10th, 5𠄲. Rhodes again came off the bench in Game 2 to deliver a game-tying pinch single off Wynn, then homered off him in his next at-bat to seal a 3𠄱 win. The Giants battered 19-game winner Mike Garcia for three runs in three innings in Game 3, with Mays driving in the first run and Rhodes (again) delivering a two-run pinch single. The Giants finished off the sweep by building up an early 7𠄰 lead against Lemon and Newhouser, highlighted by Mays&aposs third-inning RBI double and future Hall of Famer Monte Irvin&aposs two-run single.

1995: Lost to Braves, 4𠄲

The next four decades were largely grim ones for Indians fans. Among the lowlights: Herb Score&aposs injury the trade of Rocky Colavito the 10-Cent Beer Riot a 1987 Sports Illustratedcover jinx and the &apos89 lampooning of the franchise&aposs futility via the movie Major League. But the team&aposs fortunes took a positive turn when the Indians escaped cavernous Municipal Stadium and moved into Jacobs Field, named for owners Richard and David Jacobs, who had purchased the team in 1986. Led by manager Mike Hargrove and driven by a core of homegrown stars signed to club-friendly deals long before they reached free agency—the brainchild of general manager John Hart—the team embarked on its most competitive stretch in history. Though the 1995 spring lockout shortened the schedule to 144 games, the Indians went 100� behind a modern-day "Murderer&aposs Row" featuring Albert Belle (50 homers), Manny Ramirez (31 homers) Jim Thome and Paul Sorrento (25 apiece), Eddie Murray (21) and Carlos Baerga (15), plus speedster Kenny Lofton and slick-fielding shortstop Omar Vizquel.

After sweeping the Red Sox in the Division Series and beating the Mariners in a six-game ALCS, the Indians faced a Braves team featuring a trio of future Hall of Famers in Greg Maddux, Tom Glavine and John Smoltz. In the opener, Maddux held the Indians to two hits and two unearned runs as the Braves took advantage of three straight walks to start the seventh off of Orel Hershiser and reliever Paul Assenmacher, converting those into two runs in a 3𠄲 win that set the tone for the series five of the six games would be decided by one run. Despite Eddie Murray&aposs two-run homer off Glavine in the second inning, the Braves prevailed, 4𠄳, in Game 2, with Javy Lopez&aposs two-run–tie-breaking homer off Dennis Martinez in the sixth the big blast.

At Jacobs Field, the Indians chased Smoltz early and won Game 3, 7𠄶, on Murray&aposs 11th-inning RBI single off Alejandro Pena. But the Braves broke the series open with a three-run seventh inning against the combo of a tiring Ken Hill and Assenmacher in Game 4, as Luis Polonia hit an RBI double and David Justice added a two-run single en route to a 5𠄲 win and 3𠄱 series edge. The Indians stayed alive with a 5𠄴 win in Game 5 behind homers by Belle and Thome and Hershiser&aposs gritty eight-inning effort opposite Maddux, but they didn&apost score again. Glavine and Mark Wohlers combined on a one-hit shutout in Game 6, and Justice&aposs home run was all the offensive support the Braves needed to win their first championship since 1957.

1997: Lost to Marlins, 4𠄳

These Indians weren&apost nearly the powerhouse that their predecessors were. Their 86 wins made them the only team to finish above .500 in the AL Central, and much of the lineup had turned over in two years: Belle and Lofton departed Justice, Matt Williams and Brian Giles arrived and the rotation was serviceable but lacking in frontline talent. The Indians downed the Yankees in the Division Series, then beat the Orioles in a six-game ALCS before facing the upstart Marlins, a fourth-year expansion team.

The series opened at Pro Player Stadium, where behind back-to-back homers by Moises Alou and Charles Johnson, the Marlins piled up seven runs against Hershiser in their 7𠄴 Game 1 win. The Indians turned the tables with six runs against Florida ace Kevin Brown in Game 2, capped by a two-run shot by Sandy Alomar, Jr., who would collect a series-high 11 hits Chad Ogea, Mike Jackson and Jose Mesa held the Marlins to one run. Game 3 was a sloppy slugfest the score was tied, 7𠄷, going into the ninth when the Marlins erupted for seven runs via four hits, three errors and a wild pitch𠅎nough of a cushion to withstand the Indians&apos four runs in the bottom of the ninth.

The Indians pounced on Marlins starter Tony Saunders for six runs in two-plus innings in Game 4 en route to a 10𠄳 win and took a 4𠄲 lead into the sixth inning of Game 5 via Alomar&aposs three-run homer. But that inning, Hershiser served up a three-run shot to Alou, and the Indians were unable to take full advantage of the eight walks they drew off starter Livan Hernandez, losing, 8𠄷, despite rallying for three runs in the bottom of the ninth.

With their backs to the wall, the Indians forced the series to its maximum via a 4𠄱 win, as Ogea hit a two-run single off Brown in the second, then led off the fifth with a double and scored on Ramirez&aposs second sacrifice fly of the game. In Game 7, Hargrove called upon 21-year-old rookie Jaret Wright, who pitched 6 1/3 innings of two-hit ball and departed with a 2𠄱 lead thanks to Tony Fernandez&aposs two-un single off Al Leiter. That lead held until the ninth inning, but Mesa couldn&apost close the door, allowing singles by Alou and Johnson and a sacrifice fly by Craig Counsell to tie the score. The deadlock remained until the bottom of the 11th, when Fernandez&aposs error on Counsell&aposs one-out ground ball created a jam. Rookie shortstop Edgar Renteria singled off Charles Nagy, giving the Marlins the championship and sending the Indians to yet another defeat.


Postseason History: World Series

1903: After two years of discord between the long-established National League and the upstart American League, the two circuits settled their differences and agreed to a postseason series to crown an Interleague champion, a best-of-nine "World&aposs Championship Series."

1905: The NL champion Giants refused to play the 1904 AL champ Boston Pilgrims in a postseason series, but starting in 1905, the World Series was established as an annual tradition, with 1994 (players&apos strike) the only year since that the game wasn&apost played. Except for 1919-1921, when it was a best-of-nine, the World Series has been a best-of-seven series.

1921: The Yankees won the first of an MLB-record 27 World Series titles.

1949-53: The Yankees won a record five consecutive World Series.

1955: The World Series MVP Award was given for the first time, with Brooklyn&aposs Johnny Podres taking the honor.

1956: The Yankees&apos Don Larsen spun the only perfect game in World Series history.

1969: The Mets became the first expansion team to appear in -- and win -- the World Series.

1992: The World Series was played outside of the United States for the first time, with the Toronto Blue Jays defeating the Braves in six games.

2001: The World Series extended into November for the first time.

2003-16: The winner of the All-Star Game decided home-field advantage in the World Series.

2016: The Cubs ended the longest drought in World Series history, winning their first Fall Classic since 1908.

2020: In the wake of the global COVID-19 pandemic, the World Series is played at a neutral site (Globe Life Field in Arlington) for the first time.


BOSTON RED SOX HISTORY

On September 11, 1918, a happy flock of 15,238 fans filed out of Fenway Park, having seen their ace right hander Carl Mays shut down the Chicago Cubs on three hits for a World Series clinching 2-1 win. It was the Red Sox fourth world championship in seven years and their fifth overall.

Little did those fans realize the ups, and mostly downs, they and generations of Sox fans yet-to-be-born would endure before a sixth world championship banner would be raised at Fenway.

Boston baseball traces its roots to the 1870's. The enthusiasm and support Bostonians gave to their National League team convinced Ban Johnson that Boston would be a strong charter entry in his new American League.

He was right. The Boston Americans began play April 26, 1901 with a 10-6 loss to the Baltimore Orioles. Boston finished second that first season, third in 1902, and then won the first World Series in 1903, defeating Pittsburgh. These teams were anchored by legendary hurler Cy Young. Already in his late 30s, Young won 33, 32 and 28 games in 1901-03.

The Americans adopted the name Red Sox late in 1907 and hit their stride with world championships in 1912-15-16-18 led by a legendary outfield &mdash Tris Speaker, the peerless Hall of Fame center fielder, flanked by fellow Hall of Famer Harry Hooper in right and Duffy Lewis in left. The Sox also unveiled a skinny 19-year old left-handed pitcher in 1914 who went 2-1 in four games. His name was Babe Ruth, and over the next six seasons he won 89 games and posted an ERA of 2.19, making him one of the best southpaw pitchers in the league. He also began showing a prodigious talent to hit home runs and became a league phenomenon when he hit a then-unheard of 29 homers in 1919.

By the end of that year the finances of Red Sox owner Harry Frazee were spiraling downward and in trying to right his financial ship, Frazee sunk the Sox. In the most infamous transaction in baseball history, Frazee got out of debt by selling Ruth to the Yankees, giving birth to the "Curse of the Bambino," a long-lamented reason given by Sox fans for the misfortunes that always seemed to overtake their teams at crucial times and derail their efforts for a championship.

But Frazee didn't stop with Ruth. He gutted his franchise during the next few years by sending the Yankees Hall of Fame pitcher Herb Pennock, and solid players such as Joe Dugan, Everett Scott, George Pipgras, "Bullet" Joe Bush and Sam Jones without receiving adequate compensation. These transactions sparked a heated rivalry between the two franchises which continues unabated today.

Perhaps the most devastating loss for the Red Sox during this time was Ed Barrow, the era's most effective general manager. It was Barrow who brought all this talent to Boston, and when the Red Sox let the Yankees hire him away, they condemned themselves to two decades of second division mediocrity while Barrow built the Yankee dynasty.

Thomas Yawkey bought a dismal, down-and-out franchise in 1933, and immediately committed the money necessary to turn it around. He started by adding veteran stars such as Jimmy Foxx and Joe Cronin, and during the next decade he mixed in home grown talent such as Bobby Doerr, Johnny Pesky, Dom DiMaggio and a fresh-faced slugger from San Diego named Ted Williams. This lineup of sluggers became one of baseball's best teams in the 1940's.

In fact, the Red Sox have always turned out great hitting talent, beginning with Williams, considered by many the greatest natural hitter in history. In 1960, Williams passed the slugging baton to Carl Yastrzemski and a new generation of heavy hitters that included George Scott, Rico Petrocelli, Reggie Smith and Tony Conigliaro. They in turn gave way to Jim Rice, Fred Lynn, Carlton Fisk and Dwight Evans in the 1970's and '80's.

But this offensive firepower could not break the "Curse of the Bambino," and for eight decades the Red Sox fell victim to some of the most heartbreaking near-misses any team and its fans have endured. The Sox earned World Series berths in 1946, 1967, 1975 and 1986, losing each series in seven games.

Twice the Red Sox played American League tiebreakers, both times at Fenway Park. They lost them both. They tied Cleveland for the 1948 pennant, only to be clobbered 8-3 in the playoff game. They tied the Yankees for the 1978 Eastern Division title only to lose an excruciating 5-4 game at Fenway. The Sox also lost playoff series to the hated Yankees in 1999 and an especially tough one in 2003. They also lost the 1949 pennant when, with a one-game lead over the Yankees, they came to New York for the last two games of the season and lost them both.

The Sox are also one of the few American League teams to lose a regular season race by a &mdash game. A players strike at the start of the 1972 season wiped out the first weeks of the schedule and caused each team to play a different number of games. Detroit played one more game than Boston. The Tigers won the odd game and took the American League East title with a record of 86-70 to Boston's 85-70.

Finally, 101 years after the Boston Americans won the first World Series, 86 years after Carl Mays won the 1918 World Series, and 84 years after Harry Frazee's fire sale, the Red Sox reached the promised land in spectacular fashion.

Led by ace Curt Schilling and sluggers Manny Ramirez and David Ortiz, they won the franchise's eleventh pennant in 2004 by becoming the first baseball team to ever win a seven game postseason series after trailing 3-0. To make the victory sweeter, they did it against the rival Yankees. They then dispatched the Cardinals in four straight in the World Series to raise their sixth World Championship banner on the flagpole of Fenway and burying forever the Bambino's curse.

Continuing to contend throughout the decade, they returned to the Series again in 2007, vanquishing upstart Colorado in four straight.

"Why did Johnson bat for Willoughby? Where were you when you heard Denny Galehouse was pitching against the Indians? How could Slaughter have scored from first? Why was Buckner still in the game?" - Dan Shaughnessy in The Curse of the Bambino (1990)


The Book of Jobu

On its 30th anniversary, we look at how "Major League" predicted the future. Sam Miller »

83. 1997: Marlins over Indians in seven
Series leverage: 9th
Game leverage: 53rd

A fantastic series at the time, but the wrong team won. We sort of knew it then: The Marlins were a pop-up contender built on a free-agent spree the club's owner immediately repudiated, while Cleveland, with a citywide sports championship drought to end, was an underdog story that had transformed from the punchline of "Major League" into a truly homegrown powerhouse. But after the Marlins won, and then traded all of their good players in a shocking fire sale, they became an unscrubbable blemish on the history of baseball.

82. 1959: Dodgers over White Sox in six
Series leverage: 68th
Game leverage: 88th

The Dodgers drew 92,000 fans in each of their three home games. The awkward dimensions of the Los Angeles Coliseum helped start the tradition of fans bringing transistor radios with them, filling the stadium with the voice of Vin Scully.

81. 1906: White Sox over Cubs in six
Series leverage: 50th
Game leverage: 84th

The 1906 Cubs are one of two teams to win a record 116 games in a season, but as with the 2001 Mariners, the historic regular season preceded postseason defeat.

80. 1914: Braves over A's in four
Series leverage: 88th
Game leverage: 16th

The "Miracle Braves" were in last place in July but roared back, then swept the heavily favored Athletics. A's owner Connie Mack essentially threw a fit, sold off a bunch of his best players, and his team dropped to 43-109 in 1915.

79. 1918: Red Sox over Cubs in six
Series leverage: 38th
Game leverage: 22nd

It's quite likely the 1919 World Series wasn't the only one "thrown" by players trying to lose. Sean Deveney's book "The Original Curse" argues the 1918 Cubs might have preceded their crosstown rivals into corruption.

78. 1922: Giants over Yankees in five (one game tied)
Series leverage: 79th
Game leverage: 8th

Game 2 had, according to the New York Times' telling, "the most dramatic ending that any world's series game ever had," and it's frustrating even 100 years later: The umpire called it for darkness at 4:45 p.m. with the score tied in the 10th and, according to spectators, the sun out. The players were "thunderstruck," the crowd "bewildered." Thousands mobbed the commissioner and shouted charges of corruption, claiming baseball wanted another day's gate receipts. The league quelled anger by donating the ticket sales to a veterans charity.

77. 1948: Indians over Braves in six
Series leverage: 41st
Game leverage: 36th

It's nearly certain the 2017 World Series wasn't the only one marred by players stealing signs using illegal technology or personnel. If you had to pick another team to go nuts over, it might be the 1948 Cleveland club. According to Paul Dickson's "The Hidden Language of Baseball," Cleveland that year "employed a telescope that Bob Feller had used as a gunnery officer during World War II. The telescope was mounted on a tripod, placed in the Cleveland scoreboard, and operated alternately by Feller or Bob Lemon, who remembered that he could 'see the dirt under the catcher's fingernails.' They would call out the next pitch to a groundskeeper, who would then use another opening in the scoreboard to relay the signs to Cleveland hitters."

A bunch the Yankees won

Babe Ruth's legendary Murderers' Row Yankees of 1927 brought out the brooms against the Pirates. Bruce Bennett Studios/Getty Images

76. 1953: Yankees over Dodgers in six
Series leverage: 77th
Game leverage: 75th

Over a 10-year period, the Yankees and Dodgers faced off in the World Series six times. In good moments, that repetition added heft and history: a whole World Series of World Series! In lesser moments, though -- well, how often do you ever listen to the sixth-best album by any band? This, the fourth in the sequence, was the most forgettable of the six. It was Vin Scully's first one broadcasting, though.

75. 1927: Yankees over Pirates in four
Series leverage: 97th
Game leverage: 35th

If this series had been a best-of-99, the Yankees would have won in 50. The only surprise was the disappointing ending: Babe Ruth had a chance to end it with a walk-off, but a wild pitch opened first base and he was intentionally walked. Then Lou Gehrig had a chance to end it with a walk-off but struck out. Instead of a signature moment in one of these all-time great careers, the Yankees won on . another wild pitch.

74. 1949: Yankees over Dodgers in five
Series leverage: 66th
Game leverage: 44th

Tommy Henrich hit the first walk-off homer in a World Series game. You can watch it, and hear the call by Red Barber, and marvel at how much less excited they used to get. Barber barely raises his voice. Henrich merely smiles. "Look at him grin," Barber says, "big as a slice of watermelon." He shakes some hands.

73. 1999: Yankees over Braves in four
Series leverage: 108th
Game leverage: 101st

The 1998 Yankees won 16 more games than these Yankees, and the '98ers are justifiably the club most remembered from the modern dynasty years. But these Yankees' postseason run was the more impressive one: They went 11-1 across three playoff rounds, outscoring their opponents by a combined 70-19. Their sweep of Atlanta was in a different category than their 1998 sweep of San Diego: The Braves were, unlike the Padres, an all-time great team of their own, their 103 wins marking a third consecutive season over 100. In the year of all-century teams, all-century rankings, all-century memories, when the culture was looking back on the previous 100 years and reassessing what historians would keep from them, this sweep was a fitting end to the century: The Yankees won eight World Series by sweep in the 1900s. Only one other team won eight World Series at all.

72. 1978: Yankees over Dodgers in six
Series leverage: 55th
Game leverage: 67th

The 21-year-old rookie Bob Welch was told to protect a one-run lead in Game 2, which required facing Mr. October himself, Reggie Jackson, with two on and a one-run lead in the ninth. Jackson made Welch throw nine pitches before striking out. Three days later, in the 10th, Welch took the loss. Fickle game.

Short but memorable

Kirk Gibson's home run in 1984 isn't his best-remembered October blast . but it was pretty special. Rusty Kennedy/AP Photo

71. 2004: Red Sox over Cardinals in four
Series leverage: 107th
Game leverage: 90th

This is one of the most memorable Series of the past 50 years -- except that what you're really remembering is the ALCS between the Red Sox and the Yankees. The World Series itself was a dud, but it gets credit for what it was, and for Joe Buck's poignant description: "It has been 86 years. Generations have come and gone." That second sentence cuts.

70. 1984: Tigers over Padres in five
Series leverage: 91st
Game leverage: 85th

Like the rest of the Tigers' season -- a 35-5 start, wire to wire in first place, a sweep of the ALCS -- this wasn't close at all. But besides the pleasure of seeing a great team dominate, there was a sequence in Game 5 that is one of October's finest: Goose Gossage, ordered to intentionally walk Kirk Gibson, talked his manager out of it. Then Gibson homered to put the series away, arms raised as he circled the bases. Just delicious.


Watch the video: 2004 ALCS Game 7 Highlights. Boston Red Sox vs New York Yankees (December 2021).

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