The Boston Red Sox are a Major League Baseball team located in Boston, Massachusetts. They are in the American League East Division. They are the defending World Series champions.
Founded: 1893, as the Toledo, Ohio franchise in the minor Western League. Moved to Boston when that league became the American League in 1900.
Team Name: The name Red Sox, chosen by owner John I. Taylor in 1907, is based on an obsolete form of socks, as in the red footwear worn by the team. Previously to that, the team did not have an official nickname and were simply "the Bostons" or "the Boston Baseball club"; some newspaper writers referred to them as the Boston Americans or Somersets, but these were unofficial names. The team was never known as the Boston Pilgrims.
Current ownership: John Henry and Tom Werner, who paid $660 million and assumed $40 million in debt, in February 2002. The purchase includes Fenway Park and 82 percent of New England Sports Network. The purchase price set a record for a major league baseball franchise.
Current payroll: About $121 million, about $80 million shy of the New York Yankees. Last year, in 2004, $131 million, $51 million shy of the New York Yankees, making them the second-highest paid team in MLB.
Home ballpark: Fenway Park
Mascot: Wally the Green Monster, named after the physical Green Monster
- Uniform colors: Navy blue, Red, and White
- Logo design: Two hanging red socks with white heels and toes, over a white baseball surrounded by the words Boston and Red Sox. The word Boston is in navy blue outlined in red, the words Red Sox are in red outlined in navy blue, and the entire logo is surrounded by a thick red circle.
Theme Song: None officially, but several unofficial theme songs exist:
played in the middle of the eighth inning at Fenway Park: Neil Diamond's "Sweet Caroline", performed with raucous audience participation.
played after each victory at Fenway Park: "Dirty Water" by The Standells.
played after Dirty Water and for rallies: The Dropkick Murphys' rewrite of Tessie. The original Tessie, a Broadway tune, was adopted by the Boston fans during the 1903 World Series and sung regularly until 1916. The rewrite is not accepted widely by the older fans due to its punk rock stylings.
Championships and Pennants: see below
Early 20th century
The Boston Red Sox won the first World Series in 1903 against the favored National League team, the Pittsburgh Pirates. In the following decade, the club won four World Series in a six-year span despite changing ownership several times. The 1912 and 1915 clubs featured an outfield considered to be among the finest in the game: Tris Speaker, Harry Hooper and Duffy Lewis.
The Red Sox were owned by Joseph Lannin from 1913 to 1916 and he signed Babe Ruth, commonly seen as the best player in baseball history. In 1919, the team's new owner, Harry Frazee, sold Ruth to the New York Yankees. Legend has it that he did so in order to finance a Broadway play No, No Nanette starring 'a friend', but in actual fact the play did not open on Broadway until 1925. Rather, Frazee sold Ruth because he was a serious problem (and continued to be one in New York) and because it was not then apparent that he would become the player he did. The contract was a straight sale; the Red Sox got no players in return. Frazee also unloaded a number of other Hall of Fame quality players to the Yankees for other reasons. Carl Mays quit the team in mid-game and refused to return; his trade was essentially a salvage operation. Other Frazee era players went to New York as part of Frazee's financial strategy after he decided to leave baseball, having been driven out by Ban Johnson, including Sad Sam Jones and Waite Hoyt. These players (some of them Hall of Fame members) formed the nucleus of the first championship Yankee teams of the 1920s.
In 1933, a wealthy, shy young man named Tom Yawkey bought the Red Sox and began pumping money into the team.
In 1939, the Red Sox purchased the contract of outfielder Ted Williams, then playing in the Pacific Coast League, ushering in an era of the team sometimes called the "Ted Sox". Williams was perhaps the most obsessive hitter in baseball history, and is generally considered the greatest hitter of all time, being able to hit for both power and average. Stories of his being able to hold a bat in his hand and correctly estimate its weight down to the ounce have floated around baseball circles for decades. Science of Hitting, his book on the subject, is considered by some as a bible of hitting theory and science. He is also the last player to hit over .400 for a full season, in 1941.
With Williams, the Red Sox went to the World Series in 1946, but lost to the St. Louis Cardinals, in part because of the use of the "Williams Shift", in which the shortstop would move to the right side of the infield to make it harder for the left-handed-hitting Williams to hit to that side of the field. Some have claimed that Williams was too proud to hit to the other side of the field, not wanting to let the Cardinals take away his game. He did not hit well in the Series, gathering only five singles in 25 at-bats, for a .200 average. However, this was also likely influenced by an elbow injury he had received a few days before when he was hit by a pitch in an exhibition game.
The Red Sox featured several other very good players during the 1940s, including 2B Johnny Pesky (for whom the right field foul pole in Fenway - "Pesky's Pole" - is named), 3B Bobby Doerr, and OF Dom DiMaggio (brother of Joe). Despite this, they lost the pennant by one game in each of 1948 and 1949, and Williams never played in another World Series.
The 1950s were a bleak time for the Red Sox. Unlike other teams, they refused to sign black players, even passing up a chance at future Hall-of-Famer Jackie Robinson. 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.
The Sox finally became the last Major League team to sign an African American player when they signed modest infielder Pumpsie Green in 1959.
Supposedly the right-field bullpens in Fenway Park were built in part for Williams' left-handed swing, and these are sometimes called "Williamsburg".
The 1960s also started poorly for the Red Sox, though 1961 saw the debut of Carl Yastrzemski ("Yaz"), who would become one of the best hitters of the pitching-rich decade.
Red Sox fans remember 1967 as the year of the "Impossible Dream." The team had finished the 1966 season in ninth place, but they found new life with Yaz leading the team to the World Series. Yaz won the American League Triple Crown and put on one of the greatest displays of hitting down the stretch in baseball history. But the Red Sox lost the series - again to the St. Louis Cardinals. The 1967 season is remembered as one of the great pennant races in baseball history since four teams were in the race until almost the last game.
The Sox won the AL pennant in 1975, with Yaz surrounded by other stars such as rookie outfielders Jim Rice and Fred Lynn (who won both the AL Rookie of the Year and MVP awards), veteran outfielder Dwight Evans, catcher Carlton Fisk, and pitchers Luis Tiant and the eccentric junkballer Bill Lee.
Game 6 of the 1975 World Series, against the Cincinnati Reds' so-called "Big Red Machine," is regarded by some as the greatest game in baseball postseason history, an extra-inning drama featuring dramatic home runs by Bernie Carbo and Fisk (the latter a game-winner, the famous 'body English' homerun). Despite the series-tying win, the Red Sox lost Game 7, and this time it would be Yaz who never again played in a World Series.
The Red Sox may have lost to the National League champions in the World Series, but their true rivals were the New York Yankees, who after the Babe Ruth trade in 1919 would go on to win 26 World Series championships. The race for the pennant often came to a close competition between the Red Sox and the Yankees. The Red Sox-Yankees rivalry came to a head in the 1978 season, when the two clubs finished the regular season in a tie for the American League East division title. A winner-take-all playoff game was held at Fenway Park. The Yankees drove a stake through the hearts of Red Sox fans when Bucky Dent drove a game-winning home run over the Green Monster.
After the Yawkeys
Tom Yawkey had passed away in 1976, and his wife Jean took control of the team, until her death in 1992, ending over 60 years of Yawkey ownership. A trust controlled by John Harrington took control of the team.
Longtime Sox general manager Lou Gorman was replaced in 1994 by Dan Duquette , who had previously run the Montreal Expos. Duquette's reign began with promises to revive the flagging Sox farm system, but ended with several huge contracts to major stars and a great deal of public acrimony. The fans and local media often turned on the players; general managers humiliated the manager; managers and players sniped at each other.
In the strike-shortened 1995 season, the Sox won the newly-realigned American League East , finishing 7 games ahead of the rival Yankees. Once again, they were swept, this time 3-0 by the Cleveland Indians, running their postseason losing streak to 13 games, dating back to the 1986 World Series.
In 1998 the Red Sox traded for Expos star pitcher Pedro Martínez, and signed him to a long-term contract. Martinez would have several spectacular seasons for the Red Sox. In 1998 they won the wild card, but again lost the American League Division Series to the Indians, this time 3-1, despite winning Game 1 11-3 behind Martinez.
In 1999 they got revenge on the Indians. Cleveland took a 2-0 series lead, but the Red Sox won Game 3 9-3 behind the pitching of Ramón Martínez , Pedro's brother, and Derek Lowe. Game 4 was a blowout 23-7 win for the Red Sox and the highest scoring playoff game in history. Game 5 was a tense affair, with the Indians taking a 5-2 lead after two innings, but Pedro Martínez came on in the fourth inning and pitched six innings of no-hit ball while the offense rallied for a 12-8 win, behind two home runs from Troy O'Leary. The Red Sox then met the hated New York Yankees and lost 4 games to 1. The sole win was a cathartic 13-1 demolition of former Red Sox Roger Clemens in Fenway Park.
The Duquette era ended in 2002, when president and Yawkey trustee John Harrington sold the Red Sox to a consortium comprising John Henry, Tom Werner, and Les Otten, with Larry Lucchino as president and CEO. Duquette was fired, and replaced for the 2002 season by Mike Port. After almost hiring Oakland's Billy Beane during the 2002 off-season, the Red Sox promoted Yale graduate Theo Epstein to general manager. At 28, he became the youngest GM in the history of the Major Leagues.
June 27, 2003, the Red Sox established a new Major League Baseball record by scoring 10 runs against the Florida Marlins before the Marlins could get an out in the first inning.
The 2003 postseason delivered another blow to Red Sox fans. The Sox rallied from a 2-0 deficit against the Oakland Athletics to win the best-of-5 American League Division Series. They then faced the Yankees in the 2003 American League Championship Series. In the deciding Game 7, Boston had a 5-2 lead over the Yankees in the 8th inning, but Pedro Martínez allowed three runs to tie the game, and the Red Sox lost the game 6-5 in 11 innings, on a home run by Yankee third baseman Aaron Boone. Many Red Sox fans blamed the loss on their manager, Grady Little, for not removing Martínez after seven strong innings, when he began to show signs of tiring. Most Red Sox fans saw this as the culmination of two years of questionable decisionmaking by Little, and it was the "straw that broke the camel's back" which led to him not being brought back the following offseason. He was replaced by Terry Francona, a man who finally brought Boston a championship for the first time in 86 years.
2004: A "Curse" Reversed
During the offseason, the Red Sox acquired another ace pitcher in Curt Schilling and almost landed shortstop Alex Rodriguez, but the deal fell through, and Rodriguez went to the Yankees instead. Nevertheless, the Red Sox were picked by many to win the American League East in 2004. In seven meetings with New York in April, the Sox lost just one, and opened up a 4-game lead early in the season. Through midseason, the team struggled mightily, and fell more than 10 games behind New York. Management shook up the team at the MLB trading deadline on July 31 by trading shortstop Nomar Garciaparra to the Chicago Cubs in exchange for Orlando Cabrera of the Montreal Expos and Doug Mientkiewicz of the Minnesota Twins in a four-team deal. Also acquired, though less publicized, was speedy outfielder Dave Roberts of the LA Dodgers for minor league prospects. After splitting six games with the Yankees in September, the Red Sox remained in contention, but finished three games back in the AL East, again qualifying as the AL Wild Card.
The playoffs started with a bang as the Red Sox swept the AL West champion Anaheim Angels, winning Game 3 by a score of 8-6 on David Ortiz's 10th inning walk-off home run over the Green Monster. The Red Sox thus advanced to a rematch in the 2004 American League Championship Series against their bitter rivals: the New York Yankees.
In Game 1, the Red Sox didn't have a hit until the seventh, and lost 10-7. Worse, Schilling left early in the game due to an ankle injury suffered in the Anaheim series. Pedro started Game 2 and pitched effectively, but the team lost 3-1 because of an unexpected pitching gem by Jon Lieber. In Game 3, the Red Sox were demolished 19-8, a game which set the record for most runs scored by both teams in a League Championship Series, to fall behind 3-0 in the series. In Game 4 of the playoff, down 4-3 in the ninth with Yankees closer Mariano Rivera on the mound, the Sox rallied thanks to a stolen base by Roberts, an RBI single by Bill Mueller and Ortiz's 2-run walk-off home run in the 12th inning to win the game 6-4. Again trailing the next night, the Sox again rallied, and in the 14th inning, Ortiz's RBI single won the game 5-4. Game 5 set a record for longest postseason game in terms of time (5 hours and 49 minutes) and for longest ALCS game (14 innings). The Red Sox rally continued through Game 6, in which Schilling returned to pitch seven innings on an ankle held that had three sutures wrapped in a bloody, literally red sock, and into Game 7, when Johnny Damon (who affectionately referred to the team as "The Idiots" to describe its eclectic roster) hit a grand slam in the second inning and added another home run later. The Sox rolled 10-3 to win the series 4-3.
They became the first team in baseball history (and the third in North American professional sports history, after the 1942 Toronto Maple Leafs and the 1975 New York Islanders of the NHL) to rally from a 3-0 deficit to win a best-of-7 series. Neither of those teams had trailed in game four of their series, this is generally regarded as the greatest comeback in North American sports history. David Ortiz was named MVP. Unfortunately the end of Game 7 did not go without rioting in the streets of Boston.
The Red Sox moved on to the 2004 World Series against the St. Louis Cardinals, a team that had posted the best record in the major leagues winning 105 games on the season -- and the team that had defeated the Red Sox in the 1946 and 1967 World Series. Game 1 set a new record for the highest scoring World Series opening game (breaking the previous record set in 1932). Towards the end of the game, Manny Ramirez committed two errors, allowing St. Louis to tie the game. However, he was saved by second baseman Mark Bellhorn, who hit the eventual game-winning two-run homer. The Sox defeated the Cardinals twice in Boston and twice in St. Louis to sweep the World Series, making this their first Series win since 1918. The final out of the game was made on Cardinals shortstop Edgar Rentería at 11:40 pm, in the midst of a lunar eclipse. Joe Castiglione, a longtime radio broadcaster for the Red Sox, narrated, "Foulke to the set, the 1-0 pitch, here it is, swing and a ground ball stabbed by Foulke, he has it, he underhands to first, and the Boston Red Sox are the World Champions! For the first time in 86 years, the Red Sox have won baseball's World Championship! Can you believe it?"
The Red Sox held a parade – or as Boston mayor Thomas Menino put it, a "rolling rally" – on Saturday, October 30, 2004. A crowd of more than 3 million members of "Red Sox Nation" filled the streets of Boston to cheer as the team rode Duck Tours.
The Red Sox were chosen by Sports Illustrated as that magazine's Sportsmen of the Year. They are the first professional sports team to be chosen, and the only other teams to be chosen were the 1999 U.S. Women's soccer team and the 1980 'Miracle on Ice' U.S. Olympic hockey team.
Championships and pennants
Division Championships won (5): 1975, 1986, 1988, 1990, 1995
Wild Card titles won (4): 1998, 1999, 2003, 2004
Division Series won (3): 1999, 2003, 2004
American League pennants won (11): 1903, 1904, 1912, 1915, 1916, 1918, 1946, 1967, 1975, 1986, 2004
World Series championships won (6): 1903, 1912, 1915, 1916, 1918, 2004
Players of note
Current 25-man roster (updated April 14, 2005)
- 22 Ron Jackson (hitting)
- 17 Dave Wallace (pitching)
- 35 Lynn Jones (first base)
- 41 Dale Sveum (third base)
- 2 Brad Mills (bench)
- 37 Bill Haselman (bullpen pitching)
- To be announced (bullpen catching)
Not to be forgotten
* At 92, he is the oldest living former Red Sox player.
All-time team career leaders
All-time team season records
Batting: Ted Williams, .406, 1941
Home runs: Jimmie Foxx, 50, 1938
RBI: Jimmie Foxx, 175, 1938
Stolen bases: Tommy Harper, 54, 1973
Wins: Smokey Joe Wood, 34, 1912
Opponent Strikeouts: Pedro Martínez, 313, 1999
- ERA: Dutch Leonard , 0.96, 1914
Saves: Tom Gordon, 46, 1998
- For other leaderboards and awards winners see:
Stout, Glenn and Johnson, Richard A. Red Sox Century. New York: Houghton Mifflin Company. ISBN 0-395-88417-9.