Boston Red Sox - Greatest Sports Franchises

The city of Boston has solidified its place in the sports history books by becoming the first professional sports city to win all four major championships in one decade. This was helped in part by its Major League Baseball franchise, the Red Sox, who won the World Series in both 2004 and 2007. This was after the longest drought in baseball history, and what was referred to as the Curse of the Bambino. And with players like Babe Ruth, Ted Williams, Yaz Yastrzemski and Roger Clemens, Boston has had no shortage of stars. In this video, continues our series on the Greatest Sports Franchises of All Time with a look at the Boston Red Sox.

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The History of the Boston Red Sox

This team emerged victorious from one of the longest droughts in baseball history. We’ll be continuing our series of the most successful sports franchises with a look at the Boston Red Sox.

Early Days

Originating in 1901 as one of eight charter franchises in the American League, the Boston Americans changed their name to the Red Sox for the 1908 season.

First World Series and Move to Fenway

In 1903, the Boston Red Sox participated in the first modern World Series only two years into their existence. They beat the favored Pittsburgh Pirates, and repeated that victory in 1912. That year the club also moved to the legendary Fenway Park, and that venue eventually broke the record for most consecutive sell-out home games in 2008.

Babe Ruth

Following the 1915 season, the emergence of star pitcher Babe Ruth led to more titles for the club in 1915, 1916 and 1918.

Yankees Rivalry

Then, on December 26th, 1919, Boston sold Babe Ruth to the rival New York Yankees. The alleged reason for this trade was to finance a Broadway play. In any case, that deal sparked even fiercer competition between the Red Sox and the Yankees. However, the Yankees experienced tremendous success while Boston floundered through the 1920s and ‘30s.

Ted Sox Era

In 1939, the Red Sox purchased the contract of outfielder Ted Williams from the minor league San Diego Padres of the Pacific Coast League, and this kicked off the “Ted Sox” era. He became one of the best hitters of all time, and this was highlighted in 1941 when Williams’ batting average was a staggering .406. In fact, he was the last player to hit over .400 for a full season. That wasn’t the only impact Williams’ had: the right-field bullpens at Fenway are now nicknamed Williamsburg as they were practically built with his left-handed swing in mind.

Yaz Yastrzemski

The team then struggled until the early 1960s. 1961 saw the debut of Carl “Yaz” Yastrzemski who replaced Williams in left field. Despite the lack of a title, the Red Sox storylines captured the nation’s imagination: the “Impossible Dream” season saw four teams fight for the AL pennant until the season’s final game. The Red Sox made it to the World Series, and Yastrzemski won the American League Triple Crown by hitting .326 with 44 home runs and 121 RBIs. However, Boston lost the series to the St. Louis Cardinals in seven games.

Another World Series Loss

In 1975 the Red Sox returned to the World Series against the Cincinnati Reds. An unforgettable moment from this series came when Carlton Fisk pleaded with the ball not to go foul. Even though the ball remained in fair play and won that game for the Sox, the team eventually succumbed to the Big Red Machine.

The 1980s

Yastrzemski retired following the 1983 season, and the Red Sox seemed doomed to mediocrity. But in 1986, the club was led by Jim Rice, Dwight Evans, Don Baylor and Wade Boggs on offense. Roger Clemens was on the mound, and he went 24–4 with a 2.48 ERA to win both the American League Cy Young and Most Valuable Player awards.

Loss to the Mets

The Sox then took on a powerful New York Mets team that had won 108 games in the regular season. That series’ memorable play was the Mets’ Mookie Wilson hitting a slow ground ball that trickled through Bill Buckner’s legs at first base, and allowed the Mets to score the winning run to take Game 6. The Mets then won Game 7 and took the series.

Curse of the Bambino

By now, the Curse of the Bambino was widely believed to be preventing the Red Sox from ever winning another title.

Breaking the Curse of the Bambino

When owner Tom Yawkey died in 1976, his wife Jean took control until her death in 1992. Then in 2002, the franchise was sold to New England Sports Ventures, a consortium headed by John Henry. Henry then pulled off the impossible: he helped Boston win the World Series in 2004. The club fought back after being down three games to none against the New York Yankees, and finally ended their 86-year drought and the “Curse of the Bambino.”

Boston's Sporting Success

The New England Patriots had won Super Bowl in February of that year, and this made Boston the first city since Pittsburgh in 1979 to hold both the Super Bowl and World Series championships in the same year. The BoSox then won again in 2007. Coupled with the NBA’s Celtics winning their 17th championship in 2008 and the NHL’s Bruins winning the Stanley Cup in 2011, Boston became the first professional sports city to win all four major championships in one decade, with a whopping seven titles in 10 years.

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