Boston Red Sox

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Boston Red Sox
Baseball current event.svg 2019 Boston Red Sox season
Established in 1901
Based in Boston since 1901
RedSoxPrimary HangingSocks.svg Boston Red Sox cap logo.svg
Team logoCap insignia
Major league affiliations

Current uniform
Retired numbers
  • Boston Red Sox (1908–present)
  • Boston Americans (19011907)
Other nicknames
  • The Sox, The BoSox, The Olde Towne Team
Major league titles
World Series titles (9)
AL Pennants (14)
East Division titles (10)
Wild card berths (7)
Front office
Owner(s) Fenway Sports Group (John Henry (Principal Owner), Tom Werner (Chairman), Sam Kennedy (President and CEO))
Manager Alex Cora
General Managervacant
President of Baseball OperationsActing: Brian O'Halloran, Eddie Romero, Zack Scott [3]

The Boston Red Sox are an American professional baseball team based in Boston, Massachusetts. The Red Sox compete in Major League Baseball (MLB) as a member club of the American League (AL) East division. The Red Sox have won nine World Series championships, tied for the third-most of any MLB team, and they have played in 13. Their most recent appearance and win was in 2018. In addition, they won the 1904 American League pennant, but were not able to defend their 1903 World Series championship when the New York Giants refused to participate in the 1904 World Series. Founded in 1901 as one of the American League's eight charter franchises, the Red Sox' home ballpark has been Fenway Park since 1912. The "Red Sox" name was chosen by the team owner, John I. Taylor, circa 1908, following the lead of previous teams that had been known as the "Boston Red Stockings", including the forerunner of the Atlanta Braves.

Baseball team sport

Baseball is a bat-and-ball game played between two opposing teams who take turns batting and fielding. The game proceeds when a player on the fielding team, called the pitcher, throws a ball which a player on the batting team tries to hit with a bat. The objective of the offensive team is to hit the ball into the field of play, allowing its own players to run the bases—having its runners advance counter-clockwise around four bases to score what are called "runs". The objective of the defensive team is to prevent batters from becoming runners, and to prevent runners' advance around the bases. A run is scored when a runner legally advances around the bases in order and touches home plate. The team that scores the most runs by the end of the game is the winner.

Boston State capital of Massachusetts, U.S.

Boston is the capital and most populous city of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts in the United States, as well as the 21st most populous city in the United States. The city proper covers 48 square miles (124 km2) with an estimated population of 694,583 in 2018, making it also the most populous city in New England. Boston is the seat of Suffolk County as well, although the county government was disbanded on July 1, 1999. The city is the economic and cultural anchor of a substantially larger metropolitan area known as Greater Boston, a metropolitan statistical area (MSA) home to a census-estimated 4.8 million people in 2016 and ranking as the tenth-largest such area in the country. As a combined statistical area (CSA), this wider commuting region is home to some 8.2 million people, making it the sixth most populous in the United States.

Major League Baseball Professional baseball league

Major League Baseball (MLB) is a professional baseball organization and the oldest of the major professional sports leagues in the United States and Canada. A total of 30 teams play in the National League (NL) and American League (AL), with 15 teams in each league. The NL and AL were formed as separate legal entities in 1876 and 1901, respectively. After cooperating but remaining legally separate entities beginning in 1903, the leagues merged into a single organization led by the Commissioner of Baseball in 2000. The organization also oversees Minor League Baseball, which comprises 256 teams affiliated with the major league clubs. With the World Baseball Softball Confederation, MLB manages the international World Baseball Classic tournament.


Boston was a dominant team in the new league, defeating the Pittsburgh Pirates in the first World Series in 1903 and winning four more championships by 1918. However, they then went into one of the longest championship droughts in baseball history, dubbed the "Curse of the Bambino" after its alleged inception due to the Red Sox' sale of Babe Ruth to the rival New York Yankees two years after their world championship in 1918, an 86-year wait before the team's sixth World Championship in 2004. The team's history during that period was punctuated with some of the most memorable moments in World Series history, including Enos Slaughter's "mad dash" in 1946, the "Impossible Dream" of 1967, Carlton Fisk's home run in 1975, and Bill Buckner's error in 1986. Following their victory in the 2018 World Series, they became the first team to win four World Series trophies in the 21st century, with championships in 2004, 2007, 2013 and 2018. Red Sox history has also been marked by the team's intense rivalry with the Yankees, arguably the fiercest and most historic in North American professional sports. [4] [5] [6]

Pittsburgh Pirates Baseball team and Major League Baseball franchise in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, United States

The Pittsburgh Pirates are an American professional baseball team based in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. The Pirates compete in Major League Baseball (MLB) as a member club of the National League (NL) Central division. The Pirates play their home games at PNC Park; the team previously played at Forbes Field and Three Rivers Stadium, the latter of which was named after its location near the confluence of the Allegheny, Monongahela, and Ohio Rivers. Founded on October 15, 1881 as Allegheny, the franchise has won five World Series championships. The Pirates are also often referred to as the "Bucs" or the "Buccos".

The World Series is the annual championship series of Major League Baseball (MLB) in North America, contested since 1903 between the American League (AL) champion team and the National League (NL) champion team. The winner of the World Series championship is determined through a best-of-seven playoff, and the winning team is awarded the Commissioner's Trophy. As the series is played during the fall season in North America, it is sometimes referred to as the Fall Classic.

1903 World Series baseball championship series, officially the 1st rendition of Major League Baseballs annual finale

The 1903 World Series was the first modern World Series to be played in Major League Baseball. It matched the American League (AL) champion Boston Americans against the National League (NL) champion Pittsburgh Pirates in a best-of-nine series, with Boston prevailing five games to three, winning the last four.

The Boston Red Sox are owned by Fenway Sports Group, which also owns Liverpool F.C. of the Premier League in England. The Red Sox are consistently one of the top MLB teams in average road attendance, while the small capacity of Fenway Park prevents them from leading in overall attendance. [7] From May 15, 2003 to April 10, 2013, the Red Sox sold out every home game—a total of 820 games (794 regular season) for a major professional sports record. [8] [9] Both Neil Diamond's "Sweet Caroline", and The Standells's "Dirty Water" have become anthems for the Red Sox. [10] [11]

Fenway Sports Group, LLC (FSG), is an American sports company. It is the parent company of Major League Baseball's Boston Red Sox and Liverpool Football Club, a Premier League soccer (football) team.

Liverpool F.C. Association football club in England

Liverpool Football Club is a professional football club in Liverpool, England, that competes in the Premier League, the top tier of English football. The club has won six European Cups, more than any other English club, three UEFA Cups and four UEFA Super Cups, also English records, eighteen League titles, seven FA Cups, a record eight League Cups and fifteen FA Community Shields.

Premier League Association football league in England

The Premier League is the top level of the English football league system. Contested by 20 clubs, it operates on a system of promotion and relegation with the English Football League (EFL).


The name Red Sox, chosen by owner John I. Taylor after the 1907 season, refers to the red hose in the team uniform beginning in 1908. Sox had been previously adopted for the Chicago White Sox by newspapers needing a headline-friendly form of Stockings, as "Stockings Win!" in large type did not fit in a column. The team name "Red Sox" had previously been used as early as 1888 by a 'colored' team from Norfolk, Virginia. [12] The Spanish language media sometimes refers to the team as Medias Rojas, a translation of "red socks". The official Spanish site uses the variant "Los Red Sox".[ citation needed ]

John I. Taylor American baseball team owner

John Irving Taylor owned the Boston Red Sox from 1904 until 1911. He was the son of General Charles H. Taylor, publisher of the Boston Globe. He purchased the team from Henry Killilea on April 19, 1904, with his father Charles serving as a minority owner. In September 1911, the Taylors sold half of the stock in the team to Jimmy McAleer and Robert B. McRoy with McAleer taking over as team president. On December 21, 1913, Joseph Lannin, Frank P. Cooper, and John R. Turner purchased McAleer and McRoy's half of the team with Lannin becoming team president. On May 15, 1914, Lannin bought out all of his partners and became sole owner of the Red Sox.

Chicago White Sox Baseball team and Major League Baseball franchise in Chicago, Illinois, United States

The Chicago White Sox are an American professional baseball team based in Chicago, Illinois. The White Sox compete in Major League Baseball (MLB) as a member club of the American League (AL) Central division. The White Sox are owned by Jerry Reinsdorf, and play their home games at Guaranteed Rate Field, located on the city's South Side. They are one of two major league clubs in Chicago; the other is the Chicago Cubs, who are a member of the National League (NL) Central division.

Spanish language Romance language

Spanish or Castilian, is a Romance language that originated in the Iberian Peninsula and today has over 450 million native speakers in Spain and in the Americas. It is a global language and the world's second-most spoken native language, after Mandarin Chinese.

The Red Stockings nickname was first used by a baseball team by the Cincinnati Red Stockings, who were members of the pioneering National Association of Base Ball Players. Managed by Harry Wright, Cincinnati adopted a uniform with white knickers and red stockings and earned the famous nickname, a year or two before hiring the first fully professional team in 1869. When the club folded after the 1870 season, Wright was hired by Boston businessman Ivers Whitney Adams [13] to organize a new team in Boston, and he did, bringing three teammates and the "Red Stockings" nickname along. (Most nicknames were then unofficial — neither club names nor registered trademarks — so the migration was informal.) The Boston Red Stockings won four championships in the five seasons of the new National Association, the first professional league.

The National Association of Base Ball Players (NABBP) was the first organization governing American baseball. The first convention of sixteen New York City area clubs in 1857 practically terminated the Knickerbocker era, when that club privately deliberated on the rules of the game. The last convention, with hundreds of members represented only via state associations, provoked the establishment of separate professional and amateur associations in 1871. The succeeding National Association of Professional Base Ball Players is considered the first professional sports league; through 1875 it governed professional baseball and practically set playing rules for all. Because the amateur successor never attracted many members and it convened only a few times, the NABBP is sometimes called "the amateur Association" in contrast to its professional successor.

Harry Wright English-born American baseball player, manager, and developer

William Henry "Harry" Wright was an English-born American professional baseball player, manager, and developer. He assembled, managed, and played center field for baseball's first fully professional team, the 1869 Cincinnati Red Stockings. It was there where he is credited with introducing innovations such as backing up infield plays from the outfield and shifting defensive alignments based on hitters' tendencies. For his contributions as a manager and developer of the game, he was inducted into the Baseball Hall of Fame in 1952 by the Veterans Committee. Wright was also the first to make baseball into a business by paying his players up to seven times the pay of the average working man.

Ivers Whitney Adams Baseball executive, businessperson

Ivers Whitney Adams was an American baseball executive and businessperson, and founder of the first professional baseball team in Boston, the Boston Red Stockings.

When a new Cincinnati club was formed as a charter member of the National League in 1876, the "Red Stockings" nickname was commonly reserved for them once again, and the Boston team was referred to as the "Red Caps". Other names were sometimes used before Boston officially adopted the nickname "Braves" in 1912; the club eventually left Boston for Milwaukee and is now playing in Atlanta, Georgia.

National League Baseball league, part of Major League Baseball

The National League of Professional Baseball Clubs, known simply as the National League (NL), is the older of two leagues constituting Major League Baseball (MLB) in the United States and Canada, and the world's oldest current professional team sports league. Founded on February 2, 1876, to replace the National Association of Professional Base Ball Players (NAPBBP) of 1871–1875, the NL is sometimes called the Senior Circuit, in contrast to MLB's other league, the American League, which was founded 25 years later and is called the "Junior Circuit."

Atlanta Capital of Georgia, United States

Atlanta is the capital and most populous city in the U.S. state of Georgia. With an estimated 2018 population of 498,044, it is also the 37th most-populous city in the United States. The city serves as the cultural and economic center of the Atlanta metropolitan area, home to 5 million people and the ninth largest metropolitan in the nation. Atlanta is the seat of Fulton County, the most populous county in Georgia. Portions of the city extend eastward into neighboring DeKalb County.

The Red Sox logo worn on uniforms in 1908, announcing the team's first official nickname BostonRedSox1908logo.svg
The Red Sox logo worn on uniforms in 1908, announcing the team's first official nickname

In 1901, the upstart American League established a competing club in Boston. (Originally, a team was supposed to be started in Buffalo, but league ownership at the last minute removed that city from their plans in favor of the expansion Boston franchise.) For seven seasons, the AL team wore dark blue stockings and had no official nickname. They were simply "Boston", "Bostonians" or "the Bostons"; or the "Americans" or "Boston Americans" as in "American Leaguers", Boston being a two-team city. Their 1901–1907 jerseys, both home, and road, just read "Boston", except for 1902 when they sported large letters "B" and "A" denoting "Boston" and "American." Newspaper writers of the time used other nicknames for the club, including "Somersets" (for owner Charles Somers), "Plymouth Rocks", "Beaneaters", the "Collinsites" (for manager Jimmy Collins)", and "Pilgrims."

For years many sources have listed "Pilgrims" as the early Boston AL team's official nickname, but researcher Bill Nowlin has demonstrated that the name was barely used, if at all, during the team's early years. [14] The origin of the nickname appears to be a poem entitled "The Pilgrims At Home" written by Edwin Fitzwilliam that was sung at the 1907 home opener ("Rory O'More" melody). [15] This nickname was commonly used during that season, perhaps because the team had a new manager and several rookie players. John I. Taylor had said in December 1907 that the Pilgrims "sounded too much like homeless wanderers."

The National League club in Boston, though seldom called the "Red Stockings" anymore, still wore red trim. In 1907, the National League club adopted an all-white uniform, and the American League team saw an opportunity. On December 18, 1907, Taylor announced that the club had officially adopted red as its new team color. The 1908 uniforms featured a large icon of a red stocking angling across the shirt front. For 1908, the National League club returned to wearing red trim, but the American League team finally had an official nickname, and remained the "Red Sox" for good.

The name is often shortened to "Bosox" or "BoSox", a combination of "Boston" and "Sox" (similar to the "ChiSox" in Chicago or the minor league "PawSox" of Pawtucket). Sportswriters sometimes refer to the Red Sox as the Crimson Hose [16] and the Olde Towne Team. Recently, media have begun to call them the "Sawx" casually, reflecting how the word is pronounced with a New England accent. However, most fans simply refer to the team as the "Sox" when the context is understood to mean Red Sox. [17]

The formal name of the entity which owns the team is "Boston Red Sox Baseball Club Limited Partnership". [18] The name shown on a door near the main entrance, "Boston American League Baseball Company", [19] is historical, predating the formation of the limited partnership on May 26, 1978. The entrance also figures in Robert B. Parker's Spenser-and-baseball novel Mortal Stakes .


1901–1919: The Golden Era

The 1901 Boston Americans team photograph Boston Americans team picture.jpg
The 1901 Boston Americans team photograph

In 1901, 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, leading teams in his league to be christened with the unofficial nickname "Americans". This was especially true in the case of the new Boston franchise, which did not adopt an official nickname until 1908.

The Americans logo, 1901-07 Boston Americans logo.png
The Americans logo, 1901–07

The upstart league placed franchises in Baltimore, Maryland and Buffalo. After looking at his new league, Ban Johnson decided that he needed a team in Boston to compete with the National League team there, and so cancelled the Buffalo club's franchise, offering one to a new club in Boston. The Boston franchise was purchased in 1903 by Milwaukee publisher, George Brumder who sold the team one year later. [20] Playing their home games at Huntington Avenue Grounds, the Boston franchise finished second and third before capturing their first pennant in 1903 and repeating the next year. Those teams were led by manager and star third baseman Jimmy Collins, outfielders Chick Stahl, Buck Freeman, and Patsy Dougherty, and pitcher Cy Young, who in 1901 won the pitching Triple Crown with 33 wins (41.8% of the team's 79 wins), 1.62 ERA and 158 strikeouts. [21] His 1901 to 1904 seasons rank among the best four-year runs ever.

In 1903, Boston participated in the first modern World Series, going up against the Pittsburgh Pirates. The Pirates were heavily favored as they had won the NL pennant by 61/2 games. Aided by the modified chants of "Tessie" by the Royal Rooters fan club and by its stronger pitching staff, the Americans managed to overcome the odds, and win the best-of-nine series five games to three.

Iconic photo of the Huntington Avenue Grounds before the first modern World Series game WorldSeries1903-640.jpg
Iconic photo of the Huntington Avenue Grounds before the first modern World Series game

The 1904 club was almost as good as the previous team, but due to the surprise emergence of the New York Highlanders, the Boston club found itself in a tight pennant race through the last games of the season. A predecessor to what became a storied rivalry, this race featured such controversial moves as the trade of Patsy Dougherty to the Highlanders for Bob Unglaub. 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, and the score tied 2–2 with a man on third in the top of the ninth, a spitball got away from Chesbro and Lou Criger scored the go-ahead run on one of the most famous wild pitches in history.

The Huntington Avenue Grounds during a game. Note building from which the famous 1903 "bird's-eye" photo was taken. Huntington Avenue Grounds.jpg
The Huntington Avenue Grounds during a game. Note building from which the famous 1903 "bird's-eye" photo was taken.

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 Series a permanent championship, starting in 1905. These successful times soon ended, however, as Boston lost 100 games in 1906. However, several new star players helped the newly renamed Red Sox improve almost immediately.

A season pass for the 1906 season. Boston Americans season pass, 1906.jpg
A season pass for the 1906 season.

By 1909, center fielder Tris Speaker had become a fixture in the Boston outfield, and the team worked their way to third place. However, the Red Sox did not win the pennant again until their 105-win 1912 season. Their .691 winning percentage in 1912 still stands as the best in team history, and their 105 wins stood as the club record for 106-years, until the 2018 club won 108. Anchored by an outfield considered to be among the finest in the game—Tris Speaker, Harry Hooper and Duffy Lewis—and superstar pitcher Smoky Joe Wood, the Red Sox beat the New York Giants 4–3–1 in the classic 1912 World Series best 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 Phillies four games to one. Following the 1915 season, Tris Speaker was traded to the Cleveland Indians. His departure was more than compensated for, however, by the emergence of star pitcher Babe Ruth. The Red Sox went on to win the 1916 World Series, this time defeating the Brooklyn Robins. In 1918, Babe Ruth led his team to another World Series championship, this time over the Chicago Cubs.

Sale of Babe Ruth and Aftermath (1920–38)

Babe Ruth in 1915 1915 Babe Ruth.jpeg
Babe Ruth in 1915

Harry Frazee bought the Red Sox from Joseph Lannin in 1916 for about $500,000. A couple of notable trades involving Harry Frazee and the Yankees occurred before the Babe Ruth sale. On December 18, 1918, outstanding outfielder Duffy Lewis, pitcher Dutch Leonard (who had posted a modern record 0.96 ERA in 1914 [22] ), and pitcher Ernie Shore were traded to the Yankees for pitcher Ray Caldwell, Slim Love, Roxy Walters, Frank Gilhooley and $15,000. [23] 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 Ruth and retired 27 straight, and Leonard only four years before had set a modern record for earned run average—this trade was regarded as a poor one in Boston. Then, on July 13, 1919, submarine-style pitching star Carl Mays was traded to the Yankees for Bob McGraw, Allan Russell and $40,000. [24] Mays had several good years for the Yankees, but had been a discipline problem for the Red Sox.

On December 26, 1919, [25] Frazee sold Babe Ruth, who had played the previous six seasons for the Red Sox, to the rival New York Yankees (Ruth had just broken the single-season home run record, hitting 29 in 1919. [26] ) Legend has it that Frazee did so in order to finance the Broadway play No, No, Nanette . That play did not actually open on Broadway until 1925, but as Leigh Montville discovered during research for his book, The Big Bam: The Life and Times of Babe Ruth, [27] No, No, Nanette had originated as a non-musical stage play called My Lady Friends, which opened on Broadway in December 1919. My Lady Friends had, indeed, been financed by the Ruth sale to the Yankees.

During that period, the Red Sox, Yankees and Chicago White Sox had a détente; they were called "Insurrectos" because their actions antagonized league president Ban 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 office attraction would help that mediocre club, which had sided with him against Johnson and "the Loyal Five" clubs. [28] Finally, Ruth was considered a serious disciplinary problem, a reputation he amply confirmed while playing for the Yankees. Frazee moved Ruth to stabilize Red Sox finances and cut distractions. It was a straight sale, no players in return.

New York achieved great success after acquiring Ruth and several other very good players. The sale of Babe Ruth came to be viewed as the beginning of the Yankees–Red Sox rivalry, considered the "Greatest Rivalry on Earth" by American sports journalists. [4]

The Boston Red Sox logo (1931-1932) ALE-BOS-Logo-Old07.png
The Boston Red Sox logo (1931–1932)

After deciding to get out of baseball, Frazee began selling many of his star players. In the winter of 1920, Wally Schang, 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. [29] The following winter, iron man shortstop Everett Scott, and pitchers Bullet Joe Bush and Sad Sam Jones were traded to the Yankees for Roger Peckinpaugh (who was immediately shipped to the Washington Senators), Jack Quinn, Rip Collins, Bill Piercy and $50,000. [30] On July 23, 1922, Joe Dugan and Elmer Smith were traded to the Yankees for Elmer Miller, Chick Fewster, Johnny Mitchell, and Lefty O'Doul, who was at the time a mediocre pitching prospect. Acquiring Dugan helped the Yankees edge the St. Louis Browns in a tight pennant race, and the resulting uproar helped create a June 15 trading deadline that went into effect the next year. [31] 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 Murray and $50,000. [32]

The loss of so much talent sent the Red Sox into free fall, even with the money Frazee earned from the trades. During the 1920s and early 1930s, they were fixtures in the second division, never finishing closer than 20 games out of first. The losses only mounted when Frazee sold the team to Bob Quinn in 1923. During an eight-year period from 1925 to 1932, the Red Sox averaged over 100 losses per season, bottoming out in 1932 with a record of 43-111, still the worst record in franchise history. 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 BoSox' fortunes began to change in 1933 when Tom Yawkey bought the team. Yawkey acquired pitcher Wes Ferrell and one of the greatest pitchers of all-time, Lefty Grove, making his team competitive once again in the late thirties. He also acquired Joe Cronin, an outstanding shortstop and manager and slugging first baseman Jimmie Foxx whose 50 home runs in 1938 stood as a club record for 68 years. Foxx also drove in a club record 175 runs. [33]

1939–1960: The Ted Williams Era

Ted Williams Ted Williams 1954 Bowman.jpg
Ted Williams

In 1939, the Red Sox purchased the contract of outfielder Ted Williams from the minor league San Diego Padres of the Pacific Coast League, ushering in an era of the team sometimes called the "Ted Sox." Williams consistently hit for both high power and high average, and is generally considered one of the greatest hitters of all time. The right-field bullpens in Fenway were built in part for Williams' left-handed swing, and are sometimes called "Williamsburg." Before this addition, it was over 400 feet (120 m) to right field. He served two stints in the United States Marine Corps as a pilot and saw active duty in both World War II and the Korean War, missing at least five full seasons of baseball. His book The Science of Hitting is widely read by students of baseball. He is currently the last player to hit over .400 for a full season, batting .406 in 1941. [34] 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 Cardinals in seven games in part because of the use of the "Williams Shift", a defensive tactic in which the shortstop moves 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 he was too proud to hit to the other side of the field, not wanting to let the Cardinals take away his game. His performance may have also been affected by a pitch he took in the elbow in an exhibition game a few days earlier. Either way, in his only World Series, Williams gathered just five singles in 25 at-bats for a .200 average.

The Cardinals won the 1946 Series when Enos Slaughter scored the go-ahead run all the way from first base on a base hit to left field. The throw from Leon Culberson was cut off by shortstop Johnny Pesky, who 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.

Along with Williams and Pesky, the Red Sox featured several other star players during the 1940s, including second baseman Bobby Doerr and center fielder Dom DiMaggio (the younger brother of Joe DiMaggio).

The Red Sox narrowly lost the AL pennant in 1948 and 1949. In 1948, Boston 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 Galehouse to start the playoff game when the young lefty phenom Mel Parnell was available to pitch. In 1949, the Red 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.

Logo used by the Boston Red Sox in the 1950s ALE-BOS-Logo-Old09.png
Logo used by the Boston Red Sox in the 1950s

The 1950s were viewed as a time of tribulation for the Red Sox. After Williams returned from the Korean War in 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." Jackie Robinson was even worked out by the team at Fenway Park, however, owner Tom Yawkey did not want an African American player on his team. Willie Mays also tried out for Boston and was highly praised by team scouts. In 1955, Frank Malzone debuted at third base and 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 Updike story "Hub fans bid Kid adieu." The Red Sox finally became the last Major League team to field an African American player when they promoted infielder Pumpsie Green from their AAA farm team in 1959.

1960s: Yaz and the Impossible Dream

The 1960s also started poorly for the Red Sox, though 1961 saw the debut of Carl "Yaz" Yastrzemski, Williams' replacement in left field, who developed into one of the better hitters of a pitching-rich decade.

Red Sox fans know 1967 as the season of the "Impossible Dream." The slogan refers to the hit song from the popular musical play "Man of La Mancha". 1967 saw one of the great pennant races in baseball history with four teams in the AL pennant race until almost the last game. The BoSox had finished the 1966 season in ninth place, but they found new life with Yastrzemski as the team won the pennant to reach the 1967 World Series. Yastrzemski won the American League Triple Crown (the most recent player to accomplish such a feat until Miguel Cabrera did so in 2012), hitting .326 with 44 home runs and 121 runs batted in. He was named the league's Most Valuable Player, just one vote shy of a unanimous selection as a Minnesota sportswriter placed Twins center fielder César Tovar first on his ballot. [35] But the Red Sox lost the series to the St. Louis Cardinals in seven games. Cardinals pitcher Bob Gibson stymied the Red Sox, winning three games.

The bullpen car used by the Red Sox Red Sox Bullpen Cart (7224550882).jpg
The bullpen car used by the Red Sox

An 18-year-old Bostonian rookie named Tony Conigliaro slugged 24 home runs in 1964. "Tony C" became the youngest player in Major League Baseball to hit his 100th home run, a record that stands today. He was struck just above the left cheek bone by a fastball thrown by Jack Hamilton of the California Angels on Friday, August 18, 1967 and sat out the entire next season with headaches and blurred vision. Although he did have a productive season in 1970, he was never the same.

1970s: The Red Hat Era

Although the Red Sox were competitive 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 had lost one more game to the strike than the Tigers had. Games lost to the strike were not made up. The Red Sox went to Detroit with a half-game lead for the final series of the season, but lost the first two of those three and were eliminated from the pennant race.


The Red Sox won the AL pennant in 1975. The 1975 Red Sox were as colorful as they were talented, with Yastrzemski and rookie outfielders Jim Rice and Fred Lynn, veteran outfielder Dwight Evans, catcher Carlton Fisk, and pitchers Luis Tiant and eccentric junkballer Bill "The Spaceman" Lee. Fred Lynn won both the American League Rookie of the Year award and the Most Valuable Player award, a feat which had never previously been accomplished, and was not duplicated until Ichiro Suzuki did it in 2001. [36] [37] In the 1975 American League Championship Series, the Red Sox swept the Oakland A's.

Carlton Fisk, best known for his "waving fair" home run in Game 6 of the 1975 World Series Carlton Fisk 1976.jpg
Carlton Fisk, best known for his "waving fair" home run in Game 6 of the 1975 World Series

In the 1975 World Series, they faced the heavily favored Cincinnati Reds, also known as The Big Red Machine. 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 at Fenway Park is considered among the greatest games in postseason history. Down 6–3 in the bottom of the eighth inning, Red Sox pinch hitter Bernie Carbo hit a three-run homer into the center field bleachers off Reds fireman Rawly Eastwick to tie the game. In the top of the eleventh inning, right fielder Dwight Evans made a spectacular catch of a Joe Morgan line drive and doubled off Ken Griffey at first base to preserve the tie. In the bottom of the twelfth inning, Carlton Fisk hit 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 complied, and bedlam ensued at Fenway as Fisk rounded the bases to win the game for the Red Sox 7–6.

The Red Sox lost game 7, 4–3 even though they had an early 3–0 lead. Starting pitcher Bill Lee threw a slow looping curve which he called a "Leephus pitch" or "space ball" to Reds first baseman Tony Pérez who hit the ball over the Green Monster and 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 pennant race

In 1978, the Red Sox and the Yankees were involved in a tight pennant race. The Yankees were 14 12 games behind the 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.

On September 16 the Yankees held a 3 12 game lead over the Red Sox, but the Sox won 11 of their next 13 games and by the final day of the season, the Yankees' magic number to win the division was one—with a win over Cleveland or a Boston loss to the Toronto Blue Jays clinching the division. However, New York lost 9–2 and Boston won 5–0, forcing a one-game playoff to be held at Fenway Park on Monday, October 2.

The most remembered moment from the game was Bucky Dent's 7th inning three-run home run in off Mike Torrez just over the Green Monster, giving the Yankees their first lead. [38] The dejected Boston manager, Don Zimmer, gave Mr. Dent a new middle name which lives on in Boston sports lore to this day, uttering three words as the ball sailed over the left-field wall: "Bucky F**king Dent!" Reggie Jackson provided a solo home run in the 8th that proved to be the difference in the Yankees' 5–4 win, which ended with Yastrzemski popping out to Graig Nettles in foul territory with Rick Burleson representing the tying run at third. Although Dent became a Red Sox demon, the Red Sox got retribution in 1990 when the Yankees fired Dent as their manager during a series at Fenway Park. [39]

1986 World Series and Game Six

Carl Yastrzemski retired 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 offense had remained strong with Jim Rice, Dwight Evans, Don Baylor and Wade Boggs. Roger Clemens led the pitching staff, going 24–4 with a 2.48 ERA, and had a 20-strikeout game [40] to win both the American League Cy Young and Most Valuable Player awards. Clemens became the first starting pitcher to win both awards since Vida Blue in 1971. [37] Despite spending a month and a half on the disabled list in the middle of the season, left-hander Bruce Hurst went 13-8, striking out 167 and pitching four shutout games. Boston sportswriters that season compared Clemens and Hurst to Don Drysdale and Sandy Koufax from the 1960s Los Angeles Dodgers.

The Red Sox won the AL East for the first time in 11 seasons, and faced the California Angels in the ALCS. The teams split the first two games in Boston, but the Angels won the next two home games, 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 Henderson homered off Donnie Moore to 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 fly off Moore. The Red Sox then found themselves with six- and seven-run wins at Fenway Park in Games 6 and 7 to win the American League title.

The Red Sox faced a heavily favored New York Mets team that had won 108 games in the regular season in the 1986 World Series. Boston won the first two games in Shea Stadium but lost the next two at Fenway, knotting the series at 2 games apiece. After Bruce Hurst recorded 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 became 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 McNamara said Clemens was suffering from a blister and asked to be taken out of the game, a claim Clemens denied. [41] The Mets then scored a run off reliever and former Met Calvin Schiraldi to 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, a graphic appeared on the NBC telecast hailing Barrett as the Player of the Game and Bruce Hurst as Most Valuable Player of the World Series. A message even appeared briefly on the Shea Stadium scoreboard congratulating the Red Sox as world champions. After so many years of abject frustration, Red Sox fans around the world could taste victory. With the count at two balls and one strike, Mets catcher Gary Carter hit a single. It was followed by singles by Kevin Mitchell and Ray Knight. With Mookie Wilson batting, a wild pitch by Bob Stanley tied the game at 5. Wilson then hit a slow ground ball to first; the ball rolled through Bill Buckner's legs, allowing Knight to 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, the speedy Wilson probably would have still 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 Stapleton had 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." [42]

This World Series loss had a strange twist: Red Sox General Manager Lou Gorman was vice-president, player personnel, of the Mets from 1980 to 1983. [43] Working under Mets' GM Frank Cashen, with whom Gorman served with the Orioles, he helped lay the foundation for the Mets' championship. [43]

1988–1991: Morgan Magic

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 Walpole resident and longtime minor-league manager Joe Morgan on July 15. The club immediately won 12 games in a row, and 19 of 20 overall, to surge to the AL East title in what was called Morgan Magic. But the magic was short-lived, as the team was swept by the Oakland Athletics in the ALCS. The Most Valuable Player 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 again won 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.

In 1990, Yankees fans started to chant "1918!" to taunt the Red Sox. [44] The demeaning chant echoed at Yankee Stadium each time the Red Sox were there. [45] Also, Fenway Park became the scene of Bucky Dent's worst moment as a manager, although it was where he had his greatest triumph. [39] In June, when the Red Sox swept the Yankees during a four-game series at Fenway Park, the Yankees fired Dent as their manager. Red Sox fans felt retribution to Dent being fired on their field, but the Yankees used him as a scapegoat. [39] However, Dan Shaughnessy of The Boston Globe severely criticized Yankees Owner George Steinbrenner for firing Dent—his 18th managerial change in as many years since becoming owner—in Boston and said he should "have waited until the Yankees got to Baltimore" to fire Dent. [46] He said that "if Dent had been fired in Seattle or Milwaukee, this would have been just another event in an endless line of George's jettisons. But it happened in Boston and the nightly news had its hook." [46] "The firing was only special because ... it's the first time a Yankee manager—who was also a Red Sox demon—was purged on the ancient Indian burial grounds of the Back Bay." [46]

1992–2001: Mixed Results

The Red Sox hosting a home game against the Atlanta Braves in July 2001 Green Monster 2001.jpg
The Red Sox hosting a home game against the Atlanta Braves in July 2001

Tom Yawkey died in 1976, and his wife Jean R. 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. [47] Upon Jean'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 Gorman was 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. [48] Duquette also spent money on free agents, notably an 8-year, $160 million deal for Manny Ramírez after the 2000 season.

The Red Sox won the newly realigned American League East in 1995, finishing seven games ahead of the Yankees. However, they were swept in three games in the ALDS by the Cleveland Indians. Their postseason losing streak reached 13 straight games, dating back to the 1986 World Series.

Roger Clemens tied his major league record by fanning 20 Detroit Tigers on September 18, 1996 in one of his final appearances in a Red Sox uniform. 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 twilight of his career". [49] Clemens went on to pitch well for another ten years and win four more Cy Young Awards.

Out of contention in 1997, the team traded closer Heathcliff Slocumb to Seattle for catching prospect Jason Varitek and right-handed pitcher Derek Lowe. Prior to the start of the 1998 season, the Red Sox dealt pitchers Tony Armas, Jr. and Carl Pavano to the Montreal Expos 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 Series to the Indians.

In 1999, Duquette called Fenway Park "economically obsolete" and, along with Red Sox ownership, led a push for a new stadium.

On the field, the 1999 Red Sox were 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 runs batted in from outfielder Troy O'Leary. After the ALDS victory, the Red Sox lost the American League Championship Series to the Yankees, four games to one. The one bright spot was a lopsided win for the Red Sox in the much-hyped Martinez-Clemens game.

2002–present: John Henry era


In 2002, the Red Sox were sold by Yawkey trustee and president Harrington to New England Sports Ventures, a consortium headed by principal owner John Henry. Tom Werner served as executive chairman, Larry Lucchino served as president and CEO, and serving as vice chairman was Les Otten. Dan Duquette was fired as GM of the club on February 28, with former Angels GM Mike Port taking the helm for the 2002 season. A week later, manager Joe Kerrigan was fired and was replaced by Grady Little.

While nearly all offseason moves were made under Duquette, such as signing outfielder Johnny Damon away from the Oakland Athletics, the new ownership made additions such as outfielder Cliff Floyd and relief pitcher Alan Embree. Nomar Garciaparra, Manny Ramírez, and Floyd all hit well, while Pedro Martínez put 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.

After failing to reach the playoffs, Port was replaced by Yale University graduate Theo Epstein. Epstein, raised in Brookline, Massachusetts, and just 28 at the time of his hiring, became the youngest general manager in MLB history.

The Red Sox celebrate their clinching of the 2003 AL Wild Card with a victory over the Baltimore Orioles 2003-09-25 - Fenway Park 11.jpg
The Red Sox celebrate their clinching of the 2003 AL Wild Card with a victory over the Baltimore Orioles

The 2003 team was known as the "Cowboy Up" team, a nickname derived from first baseman Kevin Millar's challenge to his teammates to show more determination. [50] In the 2003 American League Division Series, the Red Sox rallied from a 0–2 series deficit against the Athletics to win the best-of-five series. Derek Lowe returned to his former relief pitching role to save Game 5, a 4–3 victory. The team then faced the Yankees in the 2003 American League Championship Series. In Game 7, Boston led 5–2 in the eighth inning, but Pedro Martínez allowed three runs to tie the game. The Red Sox could not score off Mariano Rivera over the last three innings and eventually lost the game 6–5 when Yankee third baseman Aaron Boone hit a solo home run off of Tim Wakefield. Some placed the blame for the loss on manager Grady Little [51] for failing to remove starting pitcher 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.[ citation needed ] Nevertheless, Boston's management did not renew Little's contract, and hired former Philadelphia Phillies manager Terry Francona.

"The Idiots": 2004 World Series Championship

During the 2003–04 offseason, the Red Sox acquired another ace pitcher, Curt Schilling, and a closer, Keith Foulke. Due to some midseason struggles with injuries, management shook up the team at the July 31 trading deadline as part of a four-team trade. The Red Sox traded the team's popular, yet oft-injured, shortstop Nomar Garciaparra and outfielder Matt Murton to the Chicago Cubs, and received first baseman Doug Mientkiewicz from the Minnesota Twins, and shortstop Orlando Cabrera from the Montreal Expos. In a separate transaction, the Red Sox acquired center fielder Dave Roberts from the Los Angeles Dodgers. Following the trades, the club won 22 out of 25 games and qualified for the playoffs as the AL Wild Card. Players and fans affectionately referred to the players as "the Idiots", a term coined by Damon and Millar during 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. In the third game of the series, David Ortiz hit a walk-off two-run homer in the 10th inning to win the game and the series to advance to a rematch of the previous year's ALCS in the ALCS against the Yankees. The ALCS started very poorly for the Red Sox, as they lost the first three games (including a crushing 19-8 home loss in game 3). In Game 4, the Red Sox found themselves facing elimination, trailing 4–3 in the ninth with Mariano Rivera in to close for the Yankees. After Rivera issued a walk to Millar, Roberts came on to pinch run and promptly stole second base. He then scored on an RBI single by Bill Mueller, sending the game into extra innings. The Red Sox went on to win the game 6-4 on a two-run home run by Ortiz in the 12th inning. The odds were still very much against the Sox in the series, but Ortiz also made the walk-off hit in the 14th inning of Game 5. The comeback continued with a victory from an injured Schilling in Game 6. Three sutures being used to stabilize the tendon in Schilling's right ankle bled throughout the game, famously making his sock appear bloody red. With it, Boston became the first team in MLB history to force a series deciding Game 7 after trailing 3-0 in games. The Red Sox completed their historic comeback in Game 7 with a 10–3 victory over the Yankees. Ortiz began the scoring with a two-run homer. Along with his game-winning runs batted in during games 4 and 5, he was named ALCS Most Valuable Player. The Red Sox joined the 1942 Toronto Maple Leafs and 1975 New York Islanders as the only North American professional sports teams in history at the time to win a best-of-seven games series after being down 3–0. (The 2010 Philadelphia Flyers and the 2014 Los Angeles Kings would later accomplish the feat).

The Red Sox swept the St. Louis Cardinals in the 2004 World Series. The Red Sox never trailed throughout the series; Mark Bellhorn hit a game-winning home run off Pesky's Pole in game 1, and Schilling pitched another bloodied-sock victory in game 2, followed by similarly masterful pitching performances by Martinez and Derek Lowe. It was the Red Sox' first championship in 86 years. Manny Ramírez was named World Series MVP. To add a final, surreal touch to Boston's championship season, on the night of Game 4 a total lunar eclipse colored the moon red over Busch Stadium. The Red Sox earned many accolades from the sports media and throughout the nation for their season, such as in December, when Sports Illustrated named the Boston Red Sox the 2004 Sportsmen of the Year.

2007: World Series Championship

Pitchers (left-right) Josh Beckett, Jon Lester, Eric Gagne, pitching coach John Farrell and Curt Schilling, prior to a Red Sox game at Seattle in August 2007 Redsoxpitchers.jpg
Pitchers (left–right) Josh Beckett, Jon Lester, Éric Gagné, pitching coach John Farrell and Curt Schilling, prior to a Red Sox game at Seattle in August 2007
2007 season final standing Red Sox 2007.jpg
2007 season final standing

The 2005 AL East was 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, as the loser of such a playoff would still make the playoffs as a wild card team. As the Yankees had won the season series, they were awarded the division title, and the Red Sox competed in the playoffs as the wild card team. Boston failed to defend their championship, and was swept in three games by the eventual 2005 World Series champion Chicago White Sox in the first round of the playoffs. In 2006 David Ortiz broke Jimmie Foxx's single season Red Sox home run record by hitting 54 homers. However, Boston failed to make the playoffs after compiling a 9–21 record in the month of August due to several injuries in club's roster.

Theo Epstein's first step toward restocking the team for 2007 was to pursue one of the most anticipated acquisitions in baseball history. On November 14, MLB announced that Boston had won the bid for the rights to negotiate a contract with Japanese Nippon Professional Baseball superstar pitcher Daisuke Matsuzaka. Boston placed a bid of $51.1 million to negotiate with Matsuzaka and completed a 6-year, $52 million contract after they were announced as the winning bid.

The Red Sox moved into first place in the AL East by mid-April and never relinquished their division lead. Initially, rookie second baseman Dustin Pedroia under-performed, hitting below .200 in April. Manager Terry Francona refused to bench him and his patience paid off as Pedroia eventually won the AL Rookie of the Year Award for his performance that season, which included 165 hits and a .317 batting average. On the mound, Josh Beckett emerged as the ace of the staff with his first 20-win season, as fellow starting pitchers Schilling, Matsuzaka, Wakefield and Julián Tavárez all struggled at times. Relief pitcher Hideki Okajima, another recent arrival from the NPB, posted an ERA of 0.88 through the first half and was selected for the All-Star Game. Okajima finished the season with a 2.22 ERA and 5 saves, emerging as one of baseball's top relievers. Minor league call-up Clay Buchholz provided a spark on September 1 by pitching a no-hitter in his second career start. The Red Sox captured their first AL East title since 1995.

Victorious Red Sox players being honored at the White House by President George W. Bush Boston Red Sox George W. Bush.jpg
Victorious Red Sox players being honored at the White House by President George W. Bush

The Red Sox swept the Angels in the ALDS. Facing the Cleveland Indians in the ALCS, the Red Sox fell in games 2, 3, and 4 before Beckett picked up his second victory of the series in game 5, starting a comeback. The Red Sox captured their twelfth American League pennant by outscoring the Indians 30–5 over the final three games. The Red Sox faced the Colorado Rockies in the 2007 World Series, and swept the Rockies in four games. In Game 4, Wakefield gave up his spot in the rotation to a recovered Jon Lester, who gave the Red Sox an impressive start, pitching 52/3 shutout innings. Key home runs late in the game by third baseman Mike Lowell and pinch-hitter Bobby Kielty secured the Red Sox' second title in four years, as Lowell was named Most Valuable Player in the World Series.

2008–2012: Injuries and Collapses

The Red Sox began their season by participating in the third opening day game in MLB history to be played in Japan, where they defeated the Oakland A's in the Tokyo Dome. On May 19, Jon Lester threw the 18th no-hitter in team history, defeating the Kansas City Royals 7–0. Down the stretch, outfielder Manny Ramirez became embroiled in controversy surrounding public incidents with fellow players and other team employees, as well as criticism of ownership and not playing, which some claimed was due to laziness and nonexistent injuries. The front office decided to move the disgrunted outfielder at the July 31 trade deadline, shipping him to the Dodgers in a three-way deal with the Pittsburgh Pirates that landed them Jason Bay to replace him in left field. [52] With Ramirez gone, and Bay providing a new spark in the lineup, the Red Sox improved vastly and made the playoffs as the AL Wild Card. The Red Sox defeated the Angels in the 2008 ALDS three games to one. The Red Sox then took on their AL East rivals the Tampa Bay Rays in the ALCS. Down three games to one in the 5th game of the ALCS, Boston mounted a comeback from trailing 7-0 in the 7th inning to win 8-7. [53] [54] They tied the series at 3 games apiece with a game 6 victory before losing game 7, 3–1, thus becoming the eighth team in a row since 2000 to fail to repeat as world champions.

The Red Sox returned to postseason play in 2009, but were swept in the ALDS by the Los Angeles Angels. In 2010 they placed third in the division and failed to make the playoffs. In 2011 the Red Sox collapsed, becoming the first team in MLB history to blow a 9-game lead in the division heading into September, as they went 7-20 in the final month and failed again to make the playoffs. In December 2011, Bobby Valentine was hired as a new manager. The 2012 season marked the centennial of Fenway Park, and on April 20, past and present Red Sox players and coaches assembled to celebrate the park's anniversary. However, the collapse that they endured in September 2011 carried over into the season. The Red Sox struggled throughout the season due to injuries, inconsistent play, and off-field news. They finished 69–93 for their first losing season since 1997, and their worst season since 1965.

The Massachusetts State House displaying a banner in honor of the Red Sox's 2013 World Series appearance Massachusetts State House Red Sox Banner.JPG
The Massachusetts State House displaying a banner in honor of the Red Sox's 2013 World Series appearance

Boston Strong: 2013 World Series Champions

Boston, which finished last in the American League East with a 69–93 record in 2012–26 games behind the Yankees, became the 11th team in major league history to go from worst in the division to first the next season when it clinched the A.L. East division title on September 20, 2013. [55] Many credit the team's turnaround with the hiring of manager John Farrell, the former Red Sox pitching coach under Terry Francona from 2007 to 2010. As a former member of the staff, he had the respect of influential players such as Lester, Pedroia, and Ortiz. [56] But there were other moves made in the offseason by general manager Ben Cherington who targeted "character" players to fill the team's needs. These acquisitions included veteran catcher David Ross, Jonny Gomes, Mike Napoli, and Shane Victorino. While some questioned these players as "re-treads", it was clear that Cherington was trying to move past 2011–2012 by bringing in "clubhouse players". Essential to the turnaround, however, was the pitching staff. With ace veteran John Lackey coming off Tommy John surgery and both Jon Lester and Clay Buchholz returning to their prior form, this allowed the team to rely less on their bullpen. Everything seemed in danger of collapsing, however, when both closers, Joel Hanrahan and Andrew Bailey, went down early with season-ending injuries. Farrell gave the closing job to Koji Uehara on June 21 who delivered with a 1.09 ERA and an MLB record 0.565 WHIP. [57] On September 11, the 37-year-old right-hander set a new Red Sox record when he retired 33 straight batters. [58] Other reasons include the trade deadline acquisition of pitcher Jake Peavy when the Red Sox were in second place in the AL East, the depth of the bench with players such as Mike Carp and rookies Jackie Bradley, Jr. and Xander Bogaerts, and the re-emergence of players such as Will Middlebrooks and Daniel Nava. [59] On September 28, 2013, the team secured home field advantage throughout the American League playoffs when their closest competition, the Oakland Athletics, lost. [60] The next day, the team finished the season going 97–65, the best record in the American League and tied with the St. Louis Cardinals for the best record in baseball. [61] They proceeded to defeat the St. Louis Cardinals in the 2013 World Series, four games to two. [62] The Red Sox became the first team since the 1991 Minnesota Twins to win the World Series a year after finishing in last place, and the second overall. The 2012 Red Sox' .426 winning percentage was the lowest for a team in a season prior to a World Series championship.

Patch worn by the Boston Red Sox in memory of Boston Marathon bombing victims B Strong badge.png
Patch worn by the Boston Red Sox in memory of Boston Marathon bombing victims

Throughout the season, the Red Sox players and organization formed a close association with the city of Boston and its people in relation to the Boston Marathon bombings that occurred on April 15, 2013. On April 20, the day after the alleged bombers were captured, David Ortiz gave a pre-game speech following a ceremony honoring the victims and the local law enforcement, in which he stated, "This is our fucking city! And nobody is going to dictate our freedom! Stay strong!" For the entirety of the season, the team wore an additional arm patch that exhibited the Red Sox "B" logo and the word "Strong" within a blue circle. The team also hung up in the dugout a custom jersey that read "Boston Strong" with the number 617, representing the city of Boston's area code. On many occasions during the season, victims of the attack and law enforcement involved were given the honor of throwing the ceremonial first pitch. Following their victory in the 2013 World Series, the first one clinched at home in Fenway Park since 1918, Red Sox players Jonny Gomes and Jarrod Saltalamacchia performed a ceremony during the team's traditional duck boat victory parade, in which they placed the World Series trophy and the custom 617 jersey on the Boston Marathon finish line on Boylston Street, followed by a moment of silence and a singing of God Bless America. This ceremony helped the city "reclaim" its spirit that was lost after the bombing. [63] Overall, the Red Sox team and organization played a role in the healing process after the tragedy, owing to the team's unifying effect on the city. [64] [65] [66] [67]


Following the 2013 championship, the team finished last in the AL East during 2014 with a record of 71–91, and again in 2015 with a record of 78–84. On September 20, 2015, David Ortiz hit his 500th career home run off Matt Moore in Tropicana Field becoming the 27th player in MLB history to achieve that prestigious milestone; in November 2015, Ortiz announced that the 2016 season was to be his last. [68]

The Red Sox had a record of 93–69 and won their division in 2016, with six American League All-Stars, the AL Cy Young Award winner in Rick Porcello, and the runner-up for the AL Most Valuable Player Award, Mookie Betts. Rookie Andrew Benintendi established himself in the Red Sox' outfield, and Steven Wright emerged as one of the year's biggest surprises. The Red Sox grabbed the lead in the AL East early and held on to it throughout the year, which included many teams honoring Ortiz throughout the season. Despite the success, the team lost five of their last six games of the regular season and were swept in the ALDS by the eventual American League Champion Cleveland Indians. [69] The Red Sox once again finished with a record of 93–69 in 2017, and repeated as division champions. The team went 5–5 in their last ten regular season games and were eliminated by the Houston Astros in the ALDS in four games. [70] The Red Sox subsequently fired their manager, John Farrell, and hired Alex Cora, signing him to a three-year deal. [71]

"Damage Done": 2018 World Series Championship

World Series MVP Steve Pearce Steven Pearce 2018-08-28.jpeg
World Series MVP Steve Pearce

The Red Sox finished with a 108–54 (.667) record, winning the American League East division title for the third consecutive season, eight games ahead of the second-place New York Yankees, [72] and were the first team to clinch a berth in the 2018 postseason. [73] The Red Sox surpassed the 100-win mark for the first time since 1946, broke the franchise record of 105 wins that had been set in 1912, and won the most games of any MLB team since the 2001 Seattle Mariners won 116. [74] The 2018 Red Sox were highlighted by All-Stars Mookie Betts, J. D. Martinez, Chris Sale, and Craig Kimbrel. Betts led baseball in batting average and slugging percentage, while Martinez led in runs batted in. Sale tossed only 158 innings due to a shoulder injury late in the year, but was otherwise superb, posting a 2.11 earned run average to go along with 237 strikeouts. Kimbrel saved 42 games and struck out 96 batters.

The Red Sox entered the postseason as the top seed in the American League, and defeated the Yankees in four games in the Division Series. [75] Next, they defeated the defending champion Houston Astros in five games in the League Championship Series. [76] Boston then defeated the Los Angeles Dodgers in five games in the World Series, for the team's fourth championship in 15 years and ninth in franchise history. The team's motto during the season, "do damage", [77] became "damage done" upon their victory. [78]


For major MLB awards, voted by the Baseball Writers' Association of America (BBWAA), Red Sox players have won the MVP Award 12 times, most recently by Mookie Betts in 2018; the Cy Young Award seven times, most recently by Rick Porcello in 2016; Rookie of the Year six times, most recently by Dustin Pedroia in 2007; and Manager of the Year twice, most recently by Jimy Williams in 1999.


Boston Red Sox roster
Active rosterInactive rosterCoaches/Other

Starting rotation






Designated hitters





60-day injured list

37 active, 3 inactive

Injury icon 2.svg 7- or 10-day injured list
Dagger-14-plain.png Suspended list
# Personal leave
Roster and coaches updated September 23, 2019
Transactions Depth chart

All MLB rosters


Spring training

A spring training game at JetBlue Park JetBlue Park at Fenway South 2.JPG
A spring training game at JetBlue Park

The franchise's first spring training was held in Charlottesville, Virginia, in 1901, when the team was known as the Boston Americans. Since 1993, the city of Fort Myers, Florida, has hosted Boston's spring training, first at City of Palms Park, and since 2012 at jetBlue Park at Fenway South.

JetBlue Park

In October 2008, the Lee County, Florida, Board of Commissioners approved an agreement with the Red Sox to build a new spring training facility for the team. In November 2008, the Red Sox signed an agreement with Lee County intended to keep their spring training home in the Fort Myers area for 30 more years. [79] In April 2009, the Red Sox announced that the new stadium would be located on a 126-acre lot north of Southwest Florida International Airport. [80] In March 2011, the team and JetBlue Airlines officials announced that the new field would be named JetBlue Park at Fenway South. [81]

JetBlue Park opened in March 2012. [82] Many characteristics of the stadium have been taken from Fenway Park, including a 37-foot (11 m) Green Monster wall in left field. Included in the wall is a restored version of the manual scoreboard that was housed at Fenway for almost 30 years, beginning in the 1970s. [83] The field dimensions are identical to those at Fenway. [83]

Truck Day

The unofficial beginning of the spring training season for the Red Sox is Truck Day, the day a tractor-trailer filled with equipment leaves Fenway Park bound for the team's spring training facility in Florida. [84] [85] 2019's Truck Day was on February 4. [86]

Rivalry with the Yankees

The Yankees–Red Sox rivalry is one of the oldest, most famous and fiercest rivalries in professional sports. [4] [5] [6] For over 100 years, the Red Sox and New York Yankees have been rivals. [87]

The rivalry is often a heated subject of conversation in the Northeastern United States. [88] Since the inception of the wild card team and an added Division Series, every playoffs has featured one or both of the American League East rivals and they both have squared off in the American League Championship Series three times, with the Yankees winning twice in 1999 and 2003 and the Sox winning in 2004. [89] [90] The two teams faced off most recently in the 2018 American League Division Series where the Red Sox won in 4 games. In addition, the teams have twice met in the last regular-season series of a season to decide the league title, in 1904 (when the Red Sox won) and 1949 (when the Yankees won). [89]

The teams also finished tied for first in 1978, when the Yankees won a high-profile one-game playoff for the division title. [91] The 1978 division race is memorable for the Red Sox having held a 14-game lead over the Yankees more than halfway through the season. [92] In 2003, The Red Sox lost in game 7 of the AL Championship series on Aaron Boone's walk off home run. [93] Similarly, the 2004 AL Championship Series is notable for the Yankees leading 3 games to 0 and ultimately losing a best of seven series. [94] The Red Sox comeback was the only time in baseball history that a team has come back from a 03 deficit to win a series. [95]

The rivalry is often termed "the best" [96] and "greatest rivalry in all of sports." [97] Games between the two teams often generate a great deal of interest and get extensive media coverage, including being broadcast on national television. [98] [99]

Radio and television

The flagship radio station of the Red Sox is WEEI-FM/93.7. Joe Castiglione has broadcast Red Sox games since 1983 (initially assisting Ken Coleman) and has been the lead play-by-play announcer since 1993. Tim Neverett worked with him from 2016 through 2018, but in 2019, WEEI opted for a more conversational format with a variety of commentators (see the above link) alongside Castiglione. Former Red Sox player Lou Merloni has provided color commentary since 2013. Castiglione's predecessors include Curt Gowdy and Ned Martin. He has also worked with play-by-play veterans Bob Starr and Jerry Trupiano. Many stations throughout New England and beyond carry the broadcasts.

All Red Sox telecasts not shown nationally on Fox or ESPN are seen on New England Sports Network (NESN), with Dave O'Brien calling play-by-play and Jerry Remy, former Red Sox second baseman, as color analyst. During Remy's recovery from cancer, former Red Sox players Dennis Eckersley and Dave Roberts have alternated doing color commentary. NESN became exclusive in 2006; before then, games were shown on such local stations as the original WHDH-TV, WNAC-TV (now the current WHDH), WBZ-TV, WSBK-TV, WLVI, WABU, and WFXT.


Dropkick Murphys frontman Ken Casey performing at Fenway Park DropkickMurphys Dig fenway57 (6131864634).jpg
Dropkick Murphys frontman Ken Casey performing at Fenway Park

The integration of music into the culture of the Red Sox dates back to the Americans era, which saw the first use of the popular 1902 showtune Tessie as a rallying cry by fans. [100] The tune saw a resurgence in popularity when a new version by Boston area band The Dropkick Murphys was featured in the 2005 film Fever Pitch , which tells the story of an obsessive Red Sox fan. [101] The song is frequently played after home wins and inspired the name of Red Sox mascot Wally the Green Monster's "sister" Tessie. [102] Their song "I'm Shipping Up to Boston" was used to signify the entrance of Boston's closing pitcher.

Another song associated with the team and its fanbase is Neil Diamond's 1969 single "Sweet Caroline". The song was first introduced to Fenway Park in 1997. By 2002, its play had been established as a nightly occurrence. It continues to be played at every home game during the 8th inning, sung along to by those in attendance. [103] In 2007, Diamond revealed that the song was written for Caroline Kennedy, American diplomat and daughter of Boston icon President John F. Kennedy. Caroline Kennedy's great-grandfather, John F. Fitzgerald, threw Fenway Park's first ever ceremonial opening pitch on April 20, 1912. [100] When Diamond was named a Kennedy Center Honors recipient in 2011, Red Sox executive assistant Claire Durant arranged for 80 Red Sox fans to travel to Washington for the ceremony, which culminated in them singing the song behind Smokey Robinson onstage. [104]

Retired numbers

RedSox 9.png

May 29, 1984
Red sox retired 4.png

Mgr, GM
May 29, 1984
RedSox 1.png

May 21, 1988
RedSox 8.png

LF, 1B, DH
Retired August 6, 1989
RedSox 27.png

Retired September 4, 2000
RedSox 6.png

SS, 3B
Mgr, Coach
Retired September 23, 2008
RedSox 14.png

July 28, 2009
RedSox 45.png

July 28, 2015
RedSox 26.png

May 26, 2016
RedSox 34.png

DH, 1B
June 23, 2017
RedSox 42.png

April 15, 1997

Previously, the Red Sox published three official requirements for a player to have his number retired on their website and in their annual media guides. The requirements were as follows:

  1. Election to the National Baseball Hall of Fame
  2. At least 10 years played with the Red Sox
  3. Finished his career with the club. [105] [106]

These requirements were reconsidered after the election of Carlton Fisk to the Hall of Fame in 2000; who met the first two requirements but played the second half of his career with the White Sox. As a means of meeting the criteria, then-GM Dan Duquette hired Fisk for one day as a special assistant, which allowed Fisk to technically finish his career with the Red Sox. [107]

In 2008, the Red Sox made an "exception" by retiring #6 for Johnny Pesky. Pesky neither spent ten years as a player nor was elected to the Baseball Hall of Fame; however, Red Sox ownership cited "... his versatility of his contributions—on the field, off the field, [and] in the dugout ...", including as a manager, scout, and special instructor and decided that the honor had been well-earned. [108] Pesky spent 57 years with the Red Sox organization; as a minor league player (1940-1941), major league player (1942, 1946–1952), minor league manager (1961–1962, 1990), major league manager (1963–1964, 1980), broadcaster (1969–1974), major league coach (1975–1984), and as a special instructor and assistant general manager (1985–2012).

In 2015, the Red Sox chose to forgo the official criteria and retire Pedro Martínez's #45. Martínez only spent 7 of his 18 seasons in Boston. In justifying the number's retirement, Red Sox principal owner John Henry stated, "To be elected into the Baseball Hall of Fame upon his first year of eligibility speaks volumes regarding Pedro's outstanding career, and is a testament to the respect and admiration so many in baseball have for him." [109] After announcing Martínez's number retirement, the official criteria no longer appeared on the team website [110] nor future media guides. [111] [112]

In 2017, less than eight months after he played the final game of his illustrious career, David Ortiz had his #34 retired by the Red Sox. Ortiz will not be eligible for election to the Hall of Fame until 2022. At the time of his retirement, Ortiz was the only Red Sox player to have won three World Series championships since the issuance of jersey numbers starting in 1931. [113] Dustin Pedroia has since become the second such Red Sox player (2007, 2013, and 2018).

The number 42 was officially retired by Major League Baseball in 1997, but Mo Vaughn was one of a handful of players to continue wearing #42 through a grandfather clause. He last wore it for the team in 1998. In commemoration of Jackie Robinson Day, MLB invited players to wear the number 42 for games played on April 15, Coco Crisp (CF), David Ortiz (DH), and DeMarlo Hale (Coach) did that in 2007 and again in 2008. Starting in 2009, MLB had all uniformed players for all teams wear #42 for Jackie Robinson Day.

While not officially retired, the Red Sox have not issued several numbers since the departure of prominent figures who wore them, [114] specifically: [115]

There has also been debate in Boston media circles and among fans about the potential retiring of Tony Conigliaro's number 25. [116] [117] Nonetheless, since Conigliaro's last full season in Boston, 1970, the number has continued to be issued to individuals, including players Orlando Cepeda, Steve Renko, Mark Clear, Ed Romero, Don Baylor, Larry Parrish, Jack Clark, Jeff Russell, Troy O'Leary, Jeremy Giambi, Ellis Burks, Adam Hyzdu, Mike Lowell, Jackie Bradley Jr., Kyle Kendrick, Rajai Davis and Steve Pearce; coach Dwight Evans, and manager Bobby Valentine.

Until the late 1990s, the numbers originally hung on the right-field facade in the order in which they were retired: 9–4–1–8. It was pointed out that the numbers, when read as a date (9/4/18), marked the eve of the first game of the 1918 World Series, the last championship series that the Red Sox won before 2004. After the facade was repainted, the numbers were rearranged in numerical order. In 2012, the numbers were rearranged again in chronological order of retirement (9, 4, 1, 8, 27, 6, 14) followed by Robinson's 42. As additional numbers are retired (e.g.: Martinez's 45, Boggs's 26, Ortiz's 34), Robinson's 42 is moved to the right so it remains the right-most number hanging.

Baseball Hall of Famers

Boston Red Sox Hall of Famers
Affiliation according to the National Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum

Luis Aparicio
Wade Boggs
Lou Boudreau
Jesse Burkett
Orlando Cepeda
Jack Chesbro
Jimmy Collins
Joe Cronin

Andre Dawson
Bobby Doerr
Dennis Eckersley
Rick Ferrell *
Carlton Fisk *
Jimmie Foxx *
Lefty Grove *

Rickey Henderson
Harry Hooper
Waite Hoyt
Ferguson Jenkins
George Kell
Heinie Manush
Juan Marichal

Pedro Martínez *
Herb Pennock *
Tony Pérez
Jim Rice
Red Ruffing
Babe Ruth
Tom Seaver

Al Simmons
Lee Smith
John Smoltz
Tris Speaker
Dick Williams
Ted Williams
Carl Yastrzemski
Cy Young

  • Players and managers listed in bold are depicted on their Hall of Fame plaques wearing a Red Sox cap insignia.
  • * Wears Red Sox cap on Hall of Fame plaque, but spent more time on other teams

Ford C. Frick Award recipients

Boston Red Sox Ford C. Frick Award recipients
Affiliation according to the National Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum

Curt Gowdy

Bob Murphy

  • Names in bold received the award based primarily on their work as broadcasters for the Red Sox.

Minor league affiliations

Triple-A Pawtucket Red Sox International League Pawtucket, Rhode Island
Double-A Portland Sea Dogs Eastern League Portland, Maine
Class A-Advanced Salem Red Sox Carolina League Salem, Virginia
Class A Greenville Drive South Atlantic League Greenville, South Carolina
Class A-Short Season Lowell Spinners New York–Penn League Lowell, Massachusetts
Rookie GCL Red Sox Gulf Coast League Fort Myers, Florida
DSL Red Sox Dominican Summer League Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic

Other notable seasons and team records

See also


  1. The team's colors are officially red and navy, according to the team's mascot (Wally the Green Monster)'s official website. [1]

Related Research Articles

David Ortiz Dominican-American baseball player

David Américo Ortiz Arias, nicknamed "Big Papi", is a Dominican-American former Major League Baseball (MLB) designated hitter (DH) and first baseman who played 20 seasons, primarily with the Boston Red Sox. He also played for the Minnesota Twins. During his 14 seasons with the Red Sox, he was a ten-time All-Star, a three-time World Series champion, and a seven-time Silver Slugger winner. Ortiz also holds the Red Sox single-season record for home runs with 54, which he set during the 2006 season.

2004 American League Championship Series

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Yankees–Red Sox rivalry Major League Baseball rivalry

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The 1948 Boston Red Sox season was the 48th season in the franchise's Major League Baseball history. The Red Sox finished second in the American League (AL) with a record of 96 wins and 59 losses, including the loss of a one-game playoff to the Cleveland Indians after both teams had finished the regular schedule with identical 96–58 records. The first Red Sox season to be broadcast on television, broadcasts were then alternated between WBZ-TV and WNAC-TV but with the same broadcast team regardless of broadcasting station.

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Preceded by
None (First)
Philadelphia Athletics
Boston Braves
Chicago White Sox
Florida Marlins
St. Louis Cardinals
San Francisco Giants
Houston Astros
World Series championships
1915 & 1916
Succeeded by
New York Giants
Philadelphia Athletics
Chicago White Sox
Cincinnati Reds
Chicago White Sox
Philadelphia Phillies
San Francisco Giants