1901

1901 - The First Year of the Boston Red Sox

The team was known as the Boston Americans at first, to differentiate them from Boston’s venerable National League team.  But even just a few months before the Americans’ first game, it was uncertain there truly would be a team - and on top of that, they didn’t have a park in which to play. They didn’t become the Red Sox until December 1907.

The team’s first owner – at least on paper – was Charles Somers, but pretty much everyone knew who truly owned the team (and, for that matter, the American League.)  That was Ban Johnson. 

It all happened very quickly, almost unbelievably quickly. Just a few months before 1901 Opening Day there was no American League team designated for Boston. For that matter, the American League itself was more a draft plan than a true rival league. The speed with which league architect Ban Johnson built on the framework he had is breathtaking to recount. Somers was key. As Fred Schuld notes in his biography of Somers, the man was known as the “good angel of the American League”; for his financial backing of Johnson and his crucial support in launching at least four of the eight teams in the league: Cleveland, Chicago, Philadelphia, and Boston. The placement of a team in Boston to go up against the National League’s Boston Beaneaters came relatively late in the process of founding the new league. Initially, as Johnson’s vision began to take shape, there had been no plan to field a team in Boston. A franchise was planned for Buffalo but with only months to go before the season would open, Johnson decided to go head-to-head in Boston instead, and once he did, he acted fast.

Boston was the eighth and final city selected as home for a club in the new American League. And once they decided to take on the National League in Boston, they had to find a place where they could play. Only by finding an appropriate site for a baseball field would the American League truly decide to place a team in Boston. Had Johnson and his associates not found a good location, the league would have placed its eighth club in either Buffalo or Indianapolis.

As he relied on Somers to help, Ban Johnson also enlisted Connie Mack’s help in creating the American League - and Mack was initially involved in one way or another with not only his own Philadelphia Athletics, but also with the Boston team. In turn, Connie Mack looked to John S. Dooley and Hugh Duffy for assistance.

The story, as Dooley set it down, went thus: In the fall of 1900, Johnson came to Boston to see if it were feasible to situate a charter American League franchise in a city already known for its passionate interest in baseball. He set up shop in the Old South building on Washington Street and sought out veteran baseball man Hugh Duffy, holding a number of meetings with him. Dooley was an enthusiast of the game and active in business in Boston. He sat in on a few of the meetings. Lining up the players would be easier than finding a suitable location for the ballpark. Duffy had previously considered a position as a principal with a group which could have frustrated any A.L. effort – a proposed American Association team to be placed across the river from Boston in Cambridge in an attempt to fend off an American League incursion. SABR researcher Doug Pappas found that the National League’s Arthur Irwin had leased the Cambridge property in a pre-emptive move to try and keep out the upstart league, but the lease was structured such that it would expire if the property were sold. Duffy declined to join the effort to head off the A.L., arguing, “The grounds are too far out. They are in Cambridge and will not draw from Boston. Harvard students might patronize the club, but that is about all.”;¹

“I recall Peter Kelley, an old newspaper man, calling on me at my office,”; Dooley wrote in a brief account he typed up. Kelley was calling on behalf of Cleveland’s Charles Somers, designated as the first president of the Boston American League club. Kelley himself “had an option on the old bicycle track across the Charles River in Cambridge, on a lease calling for a yearly rental of $5,000.”;² Mack and Clark Griffith had recommended the Cambridge location, but neither Johnson nor Duffy found it attractive. Johnson didn’t want a Boston team playing anywhere but in Boston. He kept that sentiment to himself, sharing it only with the small circle of men trying to help situate the team.

A location deemed more suitable, however, was a site on Huntington Avenue controlled by the Boston Elevated Railway Company. Duffy showed the site to Peter Kelley and they both recommended it to Johnson. Dooley recalled Durand Associates as the actual owners of the land, but they had leased it to the railway, which had envisioned building a terminal there. The car barn was no longer the cards, but the railway was holding out for a $10,000 a year rental.

Dooley was at the time working for the firm of J. R. Prendergast, brokers in cotton goods and yarn with offices at 87 Milk Street. Prendergast’s brother Daniel was in charge of the real estate department of the Boston Elevated. Dooley learned that the terminal plan was off – it turned out there was an ordinance that prevented the construction of car barns on the land which, even though it had served as a dump, was still across the street from the opera house. He urged Duffy and Kelley to approach Dan Prendergast, offer $5,000 a year “and mention my name. Under no conditions, I said, were they to go higher than $5,000.”;
The offer was, Dooley said, “violently refused”; and Daniel Prendergast called Dooley to complain about the “measly rental”; the men had offered. “If you want my advice,”; Dooley says he told Prendergast, “I’d grab that $5,000 offer because they can get that wonderful site in Cambridge for that figure. You’d better grab them right now before they close with Cambridge.”;

Prendergast took the bit and a deal was struck. Dooley later told the Boston Post’s Gerry Hern, “I suppose I should be a little sorry for what I did to get the American League in here, but when I sit in Fenway Park these days, I figure maybe the good Lord will forgive me. It was in a good cause.”;


In 1956, Gerry Hern of the Boston Post wrote, “More than anyone, Jack Dooley is responsible for the American League obtaining the Huntington ave. grounds as their playing field.”;³ Had Dooley not helped out, there might never have been a Boston Red Sox. The February 2, 1901 issue of The Sporting News records the formal awarding of a Boston franchise to Somers. Three weeks later, the February 23 Sporting Life reported that Somers had said the American League would never have invaded Boston if the National League had acceded to its original request for recognition as a major league.

Boston it was, and just a little more than three months after the Boston franchise was announced, the Boston Americans were playing baseball at their first home: the Huntington Avenue Grounds.

Tim Murnane’s view of the forthcoming 1901 season
Veteran Boston sportswriter Tim Murnane wrote an article in the Boston Globe the day after Boston’s National League team had kicked off their home season with a win, but six days before the American League schedule had begun. He presented his views on baseball in Boston in 1901. His article ran under the headline “Play Ball!”; in the April 21, 1901 issue of the Globe.

PLAY BALL!

Season of 1901 Will be a Strenuous One

Hub Has Two Chances in 16 for Honors This Year

Many New Names on List of Its Players

Only Real Thing in Playing Will Make Good

New Huntington Av. Grounds Nearly Done

Thirty years ago this spring Boston saw her first professional ball team, and from that day to this Boston has never missed a season with a first-class ball team in the leading baseball organization of the country, and is the only city to claim this distinction. Chicago comes next, having missed but once, owing to the big fire. The great fire in Boston also nearly cut Boston out of a ball team in 1872.

Twelve times have the local men brought home the championship and they have given, undoubtedly, the greatest exhibition of the game of any club in the country, notwithstanding the fact that the grounds have been a slight handicap in several ways.

Such remarkable ball players as Geo. Wright, Andrew Leonard, Ross Barnes, James O’Rourke, John Morrill, Jim White, John Burdock, Ezra Sutton, Billy Nash, Dickey, Johnson, Joe Hornung, John Manning, Jim Whitney, Tommy Bond, Charlie Buffinton, Lew Brown, Curry Foley, and A. G. Spalding did their best work at their famous old grounds before the reconstructed league of 10 years ago flooded the country with new faces, but with no better ball players nor any half, as popular with the public.

Then came such players as Kelly, Clarkson, Duffy, McCarthy, Nichols, Lowe, Long, and an army of the best players the game could produce, until Boston has been given the privilege of cheering for the cream of the profession, until nothing but a winner will satisfy the followers of the sport in this vicinity.

Championships will often kill the game in some cities, as was the case in Providence, Detroit, Baltimore, and many other places. Boston, however, is not one of those cities, neither is Chicago nor New York, and yet there are no cities that insist so constantly as the three last-named that the team shall be a winner.

This season Boston will have two chances out of 16 for honors in baseball. The league club will start off with an experiment, and yet, with so many unknown players, surprises are no doubt in order. The new men are little known, with the exception of Kittridge and De Montreville, and the team, as a whole, looks light at the bat, a serious thing in the national league, where you must hit to make runs.

The triumvirs will not be content with a weak team, should the present aggregation fail to make good, but will keep on hustling for talent that can play baseball, and there are a number of good ones yet in the minor leagues.

The team this season will contain no less than seven college players, and is altogether the finest-looking club ever photographed in Boston uniforms. That doesn’t mean, however, that they can play ball as well as they dress, although the greater number are known as the real thing in baseball.

Manager Selee will have a rough road to hoe this season to build up the Boston team, and I doubt if this modest manager will ever again be as lucky in picking up clever young talent as in the past, when he made several successful deals without having seen the men work.

Selee has the knack of keeping the players good-natured, and this will count for much this year of roast from the fans, for it will be a year of bitter likes and dislikes in the three cities where two clubs are located.

The National league boys are now at it, and will not be seen here again until May 2, when they return for a two-months’ stay.

The American league will start the ball a-rolling the coming week, and there is much speculation as to what showing they will make in the east. Boston will be at Baltimore and Washington at Philadelphia. Both Baltimore and Philadelphia are fully ripe for the new order of things, and the boys on the press of those cities are whooping things up in good style – which counts for much at the go-off, or until the teams show weakness, when they gradually become lobsters, and loyalty for local favorites is at a discount.

Jimmy Collins is quite confident that his boys will do well. With a strong list of pitchers he would surely be in it, but there is the question.

The Boston fans have faith in Collins, who is one of the biggest favorites ever connected with the Boston club. His name is mentioned more often than all the other players who have done to the American from this city. I never knew what a favorite this player was until this spring, when even the best friends of the old league can say nothing but good for Jimmy Collins. Some doubt his ability to manage a successful ball team, but wish him the best of luck.

The Boston club has given up all hope of getting back any more of its players and has made no effort in that direction since it landed Vic Willis. Chick Stahl is the only man it would go after.

I am fully convinced that Stahl has made up his mind to keep away from the league; in fact he was the only player at Charlottesville to openly express himself against his old employers, and that he did in no uncertain way. Still I have heard ball players declare themselves in the most vigorous manner and the next day come to terms with the very men they had roasted. It will be interesting to watch the future work of the Boston league officials in this direction, for they are satisfied that every man they hold an option on belongs to them by every right.

The public, however, in this city as well as all over the country, is sick of this jumping, and once the season begins we will see but little of it.

The American league will not be seen here until May 8. By that time the new stand will be ready.

The bleachers are all up, and the finishing touches are going on with the grand stand. The field looks much larger than the South End grounds, and the spectators have a splendid view from every seat. I doubt if there will be more satisfactory ball grounds in this country after they have been completed than these grounds on Huntington ave.

The Americans will have a great opening, as the fans are anxious to see the new team.

The boys must now loosen those salary arms, and the fan will again have a chance to hand up that half and quarter to get inside the fence to see the stars of the profession, and a lot of newcomers.

T.H.M.

The Huntington Avenue Grounds

Ron Selter’s article in SABR’s book New Team, New Century: The 1901 Boston Americans goes into depth regarding the team’s first home ballpark. The park was constructed with astonishing celerity. As he notes, plans for the park were completed in February 1901 and groundbreaking was on March 7. The park itself was open for business for the first home game, on May 8. Not everything was ready on time; the Boston Herald mentioned that the dressing room for the players (what we now call the clubhouse) was not completed and the players had to change into their uniforms elsewhere.

They had a couple of other problems, too, on the actual opening day – May 8. Using a bit of the parlance of the day, the Herald explained, “The Boston players had no easy jump to reach the grounds. They let New York in the morning, did not reach Boston until 2 o’clock, and did not have time to partake of dinner, so they fought their first game on empty stomachs.”; One wouldn’t want a team playing on full stomachs, but apparently this train in 1901 didn’t have an adequate dining car. And the players didn’t even have their own bats, according to the Boston Post. Sports that they were, the Athletics allowed the Bostons to use their bats, too.

The team had come from Washington where they had played on May 7. The first ten games of the 1901 season were played on the road. They lost four of the first five games, but recovered and the Bostons completed their initial road trip with a 5-5 record, coming back to Boston even in wins and losses.

Something else the Americans faced in returning to Boston was the competition. The National League team, established in Boston since 1876, wasn’t going to arrange their schedule to accommodate the upstarts, the team which had lured away many of its popular players: manager/third baseman Jimmy Collins, outfielders Chick Stahl and Buck Freeman, and pitchers Cuppy and Lewis, credited with 21 of the Beaneaters’ 66 wins in 1900. The 1900 team had four players who hit over .300; Collins and Freeman were two of the four (and Stahl had hit .295.) The two top RBI men on the 1900 Beaneaters had been Collins (with 95 RBIs) and Stahl (with 82.)

The Nationals had opened their 1901 season at home, on April 19, with a definitive 7-0 shutout of the New York Giants. Attendance was reported at 6,501. Five-year veteran pitcher Ted Lewis sat on the Beaneaters bench – but he hadn’t yet decided for which team he would play. The team’s South End Grounds sported a new fence in left field.

After planting the flag with their home opener, the Boston Nationals went on the road for five games, alternating losses and wins and returning home with a 3-3 record to play games on May 3 and 4 against the Giants (again) and games on May 6 and 7 against the Brooklyns, the Superbas. They split those, too. Both teams thus had 5-5 records before they went head-to-head in Boston for the first time, on May 8. The Nationals had played five home games, drawing a total of 8,000 fans over the four games after Opening Day.

The Americans drew over 11,025 fans to their home opener. The Nationals drew almost precisely half that amount – 5,500. Details regarding attendance in the first eight games where the two teams squared off face-to-face are in the timeline. The scales tilted even more heavily in favor of the new team.

The two games on May 8 were quite different games. The one played by the Nationals at the South End Grounds was a dramatic 7-6 win for the home team which took 12 innings to fight out. Brooklyn scored two in the first, and Boston scored once. In the sixth, Brooklyn scored another, but Boston came back with two to tie it. Then Brooklyn scored yet again in the seventh, taking a one-run lead, only to have Boston score twice in the eighth and take the lead for the first time in the game. Brooklyn scored two in the top of the ninth and the advantage tilted back their way, but Boston scored one to tie it in the bottom of the ninth. And Boston won it in the bottom of the 12th on three consecutive singles.

The one played by the Americans at the Huntington Avenue Grounds was one-sided. Indeed, the Globe intoned, “The game was one of the poorest ever played in this city by the visiting team….The work of the Quakers was worth about 3 cents on the dollar.”; While Cy Young held the Athletics scoreless through the first six innings, his Boston Americans scored four times in the first, once in the second, once in the third, three times in the fourth, and twice more in the fifth. Poorly played by the Philadelphians, perhaps (they committed six errors, but Boston made four), but most home crowds take a certain pleasure in seeing their team rolling up a 12-0 lead. The final score was 12-4.

The season was off and running. The Americans won their second home game, too, then ran into a five-game losing streak. It was their longest losing streak of the season, but coming when it did was perhaps not the best timing. They won the final game of their first homestand, for a 3-5 record, and then set out on the road. It was a 6-6 road trip. Their second homestand began with five wins. There was a loss to Detroit, and then Boston won its next nine games. It was a 15-2 homestand. That’s the sort of thing that makes an impression. The team concluded their second stint in the city with a 29-18 record after Cy Young’s 4-2 win over Washington on June 25. They were just one game out of first place, behind Chicago. The Boston Nationals were in fifth place (24-22), though only four games behind the league-leading Pirates.

The 1901 timeline presented in New Team, New Century provides a look at the complete season through its conclusion and a look ahead to 1902.

¹Boston Herald, January 29, 1901.

²Dooley’s papers were made available to Bill Nowlin by his daughter Katherine Dooley in 2001.

³Boston Post, May 13, 1956.



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1902

Coming off a successful initial season, finishing just four games out of first place, the Boston Americans were back for more in 1902. While trying to more firmly establish the brand-new league, it wasn’t surprising that league architect Ban Johnson wanted to keep things competitive. With the Milwaukee Brewers finishing 35 ½ games out of first place, fans in that city weren’t that inspired. The franchise was shifted to St. Louis.

Spring training was in Augusta, Georgia. Other than some intrasquad games, the team played just five games against opponents:

4/9 @ Augusta GA: Boston 13, Augusta 2
4/15 @ Waterbury CT: Boston 18, Waterbury 7
4/16 @ Hartford CT: Boston 13, Hartford 2
4/17 @ Hartford CT: Boston 15, Hartford 3
4/18 @ Worcester MA: Boston 5, Worcester 3

Manager Collins said he was having a hard time finding opponents to play. He envisioned games against the University of Georgia and Atlanta, and had been in touch with the Spartanburg ballclub. He said he would play them if they would guarantee expenses, but preferred training in Augusta. The team from Hobart College passed through Georgia to play the U. Georgia team in Athens, and wanted to play Boston, but wanted to share the receipts from the game and Collins would not agree. Consequently, Hobart has yet to play a game against Boston.

Determined to go head-to-head against the Boston Nationals, who’d planned a doubleheader for their home opener on Patriot’s Day (April 19), the Americans scheduled a game then, too, against Baltimore—four days before the rest of the A.L. schedule.

The Nationals drew a large crowd reported by the Globe at 8,000, but the Americans drew double that—16,000, filled to overflowing more than an hour before the game, and “fully 8000 patrons were disappointed,” unable to get in. After beating Baltimore, 7-6, they took off the next three days and then began a 3-4 road trip.
There weren’t a lot of changes made for the 1902 season. They brought back their 33-game winner, Cy Young, and he won 32. He was charged with 11 losses. Bill Dinneen was a hard-luck 21-game winner, in that he also lost 21, despite a solid 2.93 ERA. The only other pitcher to win in double digits was 11-9 George Winter. Newcomer Tully Sparks, signed in August after being released by the Giants, was 7-9. The team’s 3.02 ERA was best in the league.

Among the position players, underperforming Tommy Dowd and Charlie Hemphill were gone from the outfield. Buck Freeman was moved from first base to the outfield (his 11 homers ranked second in the league and his 121 RBIs ranked first), and young Patsy Dougherty (age 25) was brought in, more or less sharing playing time with Piano Legs Hickman, who was sold to Cleveland after being in 28 games.

Jimmy Collins led a competitive team, which hovered in first or second place for most of the season; they were just one game out of first place as September began, but the Philadelphia Athletics finished with a 20-7 flourish in September and the Browns were 18-10, while Boston was just 15-13. They finished the season with a 77-60 record, in third place and 6 ½ games behind Connie Mack’s Athletics.

Baltimore finished last; it had been a stormy season for them, with Johnson suspending manager (and part-owner) John McGraw, then selling the team to a group of National League magnates who depopulated the team of its best players, and finally revoking the franchise and transferring in players from other A.L. ballclubs. It’s perhaps surprising they won 50 games.
The Boston Americans had drawn second-most in American League attendance in 1901, and drew well once more in 1902, increasing by 20%--from 289,448 to 348,567 and still ranking second. The baseball “cranks” flocked to the Huntington Avenue Grounds at the expense of the National League, where attendance plummeted from 146,502 to 116,960, just about one-third of the Americans’ draw—even though both teams finished in third place in their respective leagues. Ban Johnson and owners Henry J. Killilea (he had taken a controlling interest in the club in August 1901) and Charles Somers had to be pleased.

1903

The year resonates in Red Sox – and baseball – history as the year of the first World Series (or World’s Series, as it was called at the time.)

Team owner (and Milwaukee attorney Henry Killilea) represented the American League and helped broker the “peace agreement” between the two hostile circuits, which had them come to agreement on a common set of rules, and to stop raiding teams from the other league.

The Milwaukee attorney was never around Boston much, but the team played exceptionally well the last two years of his tenure, finishing in first place both in 1903 and 1904.
They were 91-47 in 1903, and far ahead of the rest of the pack. Philadelphia finished in second place, a full 14 ½ games behind Boston. Washington was even worse than Baltimore had been in 1902, ending up 47 ½ games back. As to Baltimore, there was no Baltimore. The franchise had shifted to New York, playing in Hilltop Park. They didn’t draw that well their first year, finishing seventh among the eight teams, but Ban Johnson had his eyes on New York for one of his A.L. clubs. The team – the Highlanders – finished in fourth place, but there had been a spirited battle for second place and New York was only 2 ½ games behind the second-place Athletics.

Spring training was based in Macon, and for the first time the team played a lot of games (with a record of 18-2, though playing against college boys wasn’t the stiffest of competition.)
3/19 @ Macon GA: Boston 5, Mercer University 2
3/20 @ Macon GA: Boston 13, Mercer 4
3/23 @ Macon: Boston 13, Mercer 2
3/24 @ Macon GA: Boston 20, Picked Team 6 (Cy Young and a young college player named Mundy pitched against Boston)
3/25 @ Macon GA: Boston 21, Mercer 6
3/26 @ Macon GA: Boston 8, Mercer 0
3/27 @ Macon GA: Boston 19, Mercer 6 (despite Cy Young pitching for Mercer, the team he’d been coaching all spring)
3/28 @ Macon GA: Boston 10, Picked Nine 1
3/31 @ Macon GA: Boston 14, Mercer 2
4/1 @ Macon GA: Boston 14, Mercer 1
4/4 @ Louisville KY: Boston 7, Louisville 1
4/5 @ Louisville KY: Boston 6, Louisville 0
4/6 @ Louisville KY: Louisville 8, Boston 6 (the first spring training loss ever for Boston after 20 consecutive wins, despite Cy Young and George Winter both pitching for Boston)
4/7 @ Louisville KY: Boston 4, Louisville 3
4/8 @ Lexington KY: Boston 25, State College 3
4/9 @ Lexington KY: Boston 17, State College 2
4/11 @ Evansville IN: Evansville 6, Boston 5
4/12 @ Evansville IN: Boston 9, Evansville 1
4/17 @ Columbus OH: Boston 2, Columbus 1
4/18 @ Buffalo NY: Boston 8, Buffalo 7

When the regular season began, Boston was a little slow to get started, and were still playing .500 ball (15-15) as late as May 26. They were in fifth place on that date. Then they won 11 in a row and catapulted themselves all the way to first place. They hardly ever looked back. For five days in June, they were in second place but from June 21 on they were in first place, and by a margin which was ever-increasing.

The team lacked the 30-game winner they’d had in Cy Young in the first two years of the franchise, but not by much: Young was 28-9 (with a 2.08 ERA), and they had two other 20-game winners in Bill Dinneen (21-13, 2.26) and Tom Hughes (20-7, 2.57). Hughes had been acquired from the Orioles during the confusion regarding that team in July 1902. The Bostons only had five pitchers all year – starters and relievers combined – save for Nick Altrock, who pitched in one game (June 30) and lost it. Cy Young led the league in wins for the third year in succession. There’s a reason they named the award after him, and this year was part of the reason.

For offense, Buck Freeman stood out once again – his 13 homers led the league and so did his 104 RBIs. (Second in both categories was Piano Legs Hickman, with Cleveland). Patsy Dougherty, a local favorite, led in batting average (.331) and in runs scored (107). He was third in the league in average and first in runs scored.

The World Series
The full story of the 1903 World Series is told in The Red Sox World Series Encyclopedia (by Bill Nowlin and Jim Prime). The introduction to the Series itself is told in the following four paragraphs, borrowed from that book.

Though the 1903 Series began on October 1, it was by no means foreordained. The first public mention of a possible series between the two league leaders hit the newspapers on September 1, 1903. As August ended, the Pittsburgh Pirates held a solid 8 ½ game lead in the NL and the Boston Americans were 9 ½ games ahead of second-place Cleveland. The Boston Globe reported that Americans owner Henry Killilea would be meeting with Pirates owner Barney Dreyfuss to discuss staging a series “between the winning teams of the two major leagues, and play for the championship of the United States.” It was not yet called the World Series.

For a number of reasons, including different business models between the two clubs for compensating players, the question of a postseason series was up in the air until just days beforehand. As late as its September 25 edition, the Chicago Tribune headlined “Big Games Will Not Be Played.”

Dreyfuss had signed the Pittsburgh ballplayers to contracts that ran through October 15, and therefore would cover any postseason play. All the Boston player contracts expired on September 30, two days after the season ended. Naturally, the Boston players wanted a couple of weeks’ extra pay but they also wanted a share in the proceeds. Killilea didn’t want to pay either, which predictably pushed the players to discuss other plans, including the possibility of barnstorming New England on their own. After all, they would no longer be legally bound to the Americans. In the end, and at nearly the last minute, a compromise was worked out on September 25. Despite their eventual loss in the series, the Pittsburgh players had a more generous owner and actually fared better financially than the champions.

It was on September 26 that the official announcement was made. The Globe headline read “World’s Series On Again.” The games to decide the championship of the United States had, during the course of September, become a more grandiose World’s Series. Such was the public interest in the games that the Boston players felt forced to compromise their stance on sharing the revenue, and the games were on.

Five days later, the Series was to begin. Tickets were set at $1.00 apiece, half that for bleachers seats or standing room.

The Series lasted eight games (it was a best-of-nine series). Boston lost the first one; some have suggested that gamblers may have had a hand in the loss. They shut out the Pirates in the second game. There was a bit of see-saw action, and some spirited games in Pittsburg attended by a few hundred of Boston’s Royal Rooters (see Pete Nash’s book on the Rooters for more), but in the end, the Pirates were short good pitching (they really only had one, Deacon Phillippe) and Big Bill Dinneen (3-1 in the Series) beat him 3-0 on October 13 at the Huntington Avenue Grounds. The first World Series, with the Boston Americans the champions.

1904

It was back to Macon again, this time as reigning world champions. The results of competition this spring:

3/12 @ Macon GA: Boston 9, Mercer 2
3/14 @ Macon GA: The Boston newspapers reported that the team played 15 innings, but did not make it clear who they played – Mercer or otherwise. It was also not clear if the game ended in a tie, or was resolved. The Macon News said it was a practice, not a true exhibition game, but reported that “after nine innings had been played, the score stood 10 to 6, and this time it was in Mercer’s favor.” Pitcher Maynard held Boston to just one hit, but was relieved near the end of the game because the Mercer coach did not want to overwork him.
3/18 @ Macon GA: Boston 17, Mercer 2
3/19 @ Macon GA: Boston 13, Mercer 0 [Macon Telegraph reports the score as 12-0]
3/23 @ Macon GA: Macon 7, Boston 3
3/28 @ Atlanta GA: Boston 15, Atlanta 5
3/29 @ Atlanta GA: Boston 4, Atlanta 2
3/30 @ Atlanta GA: Boston 13, Atlanta 0
3/31 @ Montgomery AL: Boston 2, Montgomery 1
4/1 @ Mobile AL: Boston 6, Mobile 1
4/2 @ Mobile AL: Boston 13, Mobile 0
4/7 @ New Orleans LA: Boston 1, New Orleans Pelicans 0
4/8 @ New Orleans LA: New Orleans 4, Boston 2
4/9 @ New Orleans LA: Boston 8, New Orleans 3
4/10 @ New Orleans LA: Boston 5, New Orleans 1
4/13 @ Buffalo NY: Boston 2, Buffalo 1

Boston’s National League rival had more been Baltimore than New York, but somehow Ban Johnson divined that a Boston/New York rivalry in baseball might count for something. He’d already ensured that there was a New York team in the American League in 1903; in 1904, he made some moves to ensure the New York team was more on a par with Boston.
There’s almost no other way to explain the June 17, 1904 “trade” of one of Boston’s most popular players to New York for Bob Unglaub. The infielder Unglaub appeared in all of nine games for Boston, batting .154 “It was one of the worst trades in team history,” write Glenn Stout and Richard Johnson. This trade “precipitated a decline on the field far worse than that which was later blamed on the sale of Babe Ruth sixteen years later.”

Why was the Boston club so hot to trade for Bob Unglaub? They were the reigning World Champions and they were willing to give up one of their more popular players - Dougherty, their left fielder, who'd led the league in both hits and runs the year before. He'd hit .342 and .331 in his two seasons with Boston but had fallen off to .272 after his first 195 at-bats. Perhaps they felt the pitchers had figured him out, or that he was ailing in some way. Maybe it was just another Ban Johnson-orchestrated trade designed to bring competitive balance to a new league, regardless of what the individual owners might feel. Stout and Johnson argue that New York was so upset about how the Hughes/Tannehill deal had worked out that this was meant to compensate.
Tom Hughes had been sent to New York in December 1903, for Jesse Tannehill. Yes, Hughes had won 20 games for Boston, once, but four of the five prior years Tannehill had been a 20-game winner for Pittsburg. He’d won 15 games for New York in the 1903 season. Hughes was less of a proven entity, and there were intimations that Jimmy Collins found him a little unpredictable in his off-field behavior.

Team ownership changed hands. Right after the game on Opening Day, April 18, it was announced that Killiliea had sold the team to John I. Taylor, son of the owner of the Boston Globe.
Boston had another very good year, winning four games than in 1903 (they finished 95-59). Though they lost their very first game – in New York – they reeled off seven wins in a row, putting them into first place. There they remained, game after game, until August 4 when they slipped to second. They even dipped as low as third on the 15th, and stayed there for four days. Then it was a seesaw battle with New York, trading places back and forth with the Highlanders throughout the rest of August and all of September. After the games of September 30, Boston and New York were tied for first, with Chicago just two games behind. They were tied three days in a row, and then Boston took a half-game lead. That’s where matters stood with five games of head-to-head play between Boston and New York to close the season.

Indeed, Boston and New York couldn’t have been more on a par with each other.

With Jack Chesbro pitching, New York won the first game of the five, at the Huntington Avenue Grounds, and now it was New York up by a half-game. For Chesbro, it was his 41st (!) win of the year. Boston took both games of the October 8 doubleheader and held a 1 ½ game lead with two games to play, an October 10 doubleheader in New York. Should Boston win either game, the pennant would be theirs.

There was to be no World Series in 1904 because New York Giants owner John T. Brush declared his time was the best in the world and more or less said it would be demeaning for them to play an American League team. The National League Giants finished 13 games ahead of the second-place Cubs.

But there was the A.L. pennant on the line.

It was Dinneen for Boston and Chesbro for New York, both working after just one day’ rest. In the bottom of the fifth, New York scored two runs. Boston tied the score in the top of the seventh. It was 2-2 heading into the ninth. Lou Criger reached on a slow roller to shortstop, took second on Dinneen’s sacrifice, and then took third on a fielder’s choice. He was on third base with two outs. And then Chesbro threw a wild pitch – a really wild pitch, that ran all the way to the press box behind home plate. Criger scored easily, taking a 3-2 lead. New York put two men on in the bottom of the ninth, but failed to score, Dinneen striking out Patsy Dougherty for the final out. The day’s second game was, of course, as much an anti-climax as there could be.
Winning the pennant on the final day of the year is always a delicious treat for the team that comes out on top. And Boston – since no one challenged them – could claim to remain reigning world champs.

Other than the climactic game that secured the flag for the Bostons as back-to-back pennant-winners, the standout game of the year had to have been the May 5 perfect game thrown by Cy Young against the Philadelphia Athletics. What more is there to say? He set down 27 batters in a row, without a man reaching base by any means – the definition of a perfect game.

Actually, there is more to say. As Cecilia Tan and Bill Nowlin wrote in The 50 Greatest Red Sox Games, “Most baseball fans have heard of Johnny Vander Meer, who threw no-hitters in consecutive games in June 1938. In all, Vander Meer threw 21 straight hitless innings, yet fell two innings short of Cy Young. Cy threw 24 innings in a row without letting opponents have a hit.
“Young didn't let up a hit in either of the last two innings of the game on April 25, then threw seven innings of hitless relief on April 30. Then he threw nine innings of perfect ball in the May 5 game. Six days after his perfect game, he faced Detroit. This time stingy Cy threw another shutout—but it took 15 innings. He didn't allow a hit for the first six frames. Take those six innings, add them to the eighteen he had already accumulated, and one gets 24 innings without a hit.”

In 1904, Young was 26-16 (with a 1.97 ERA), Bill Dinneen was 23-14 (2.20), and Jesse Tannehill was a 20-game winner again (21-11, 2.04). Tom Hughes, in New York, was 7-11 and had been traded to Washington in July where he was 3-12. Indeed, Hughes for Tannehill was not a deal that had worked out well for New York. Patsy Dougherty hadn’t worked out that well, either, but Clark Griffith’s New Yorkers had given Boston a run for their money.

It was all due to the pitching for Boston. Not only Boston player hit higher than Freddy Parent’s .291. Buck Freeman led in runs batted in, but with only 84. The team as a whole scored just 608 runs, but the pitched allowed only 466 and therein lay the difference.

1905

Boston no doubt hoped for a third consecutive pennant in 1905. But the team was too streaky, and they got off to a bad start with the worst kind of streak to start a season: they lost the first six games, five on the road and then one at home. By the end of April, the team was 3-10. Far from contending for another flag, they didn’t out of last place until May 26.

On Memorial Day, they climbed to fifth place and for most of the rest of the year, that’s where they remained, inching up as high as third place (for all of one day). Entering the last day of September, they were back in fifth but finished with a flourish, winning their last eight games, their longest winning streak of the season. They finished with a 78-74 record. The Athletics were first again; the Bostons were 16 games behind.

Offense was a problem, with the team average dropping to .234, but they’d been .247 the year before and won the pennant. A good part of the problem is shown in the runs differential; in 1904, they scored 142 more runs than they allowed but in 1905, the differential was only 14 runs. Cy Young had an unusual season. He had the third-best earned run average of his storied career (1.82), and the very best WHIP (0.867) of his 22 years in the big leagues, but couldn’t even manage a winning record (he was 18-19). His first three decisions were losses, by scores of 3-2, 3-1, and 2-1. Nine of his losses were one-run losses, and in those nine games, his team only scored a total of 14 runs.

Except for the 3-2 Ed Hughes, the only pitcher with more wins than losses was Jesse Tannehill (22-9, 2.48).

Jimmy Collins drove in more runs than anyone else on the team, but that was a paltry 65. His .276 average led the team. The home run leader was Hobe Ferris, with six.
It was, all in all, a discouraging year for an aging team (the average age was 31.7). And, report Stout and Johnson, “Collins knew better. He wanted to break up the veteran club while it still had some value and acquire younger talent, but he and John I. Taylor were no longer speaking.” The authors assert that Taylor, to spite Collins, refused to deal for talent and from January 1905 to June 1897, didn’t make a single genuine trade.

Why didn’t Taylor just fire Collins? He couldn’t. The hand of Ban Johnson still loomed large, and he wasn’t about to see Boston’s manager and steadiest and most popular player removed. Besides, Collins has a superb, guaranteed contract that no one was prepared to eat. Compared to was to come in 1906, things were very good in 1905.

There was postseason play in Boston in 1905, however – a city series with the National League team, the Boston Beaneaters. They’d finished at 51-103, but there was some money to be made in exhibition baseball. A best-of-seven series was scheduled, with all games played at the American League Huntington Avenue Grounds ballpark. The scores:

October 9: Boston NL 5, Boston AL 2
October 10: Boston AL 3, Boston NL 1
October 11: Boston AL 5, Boston NL 1
October 12: Boston AL 12, Boston NL 0
October 13: Boston AL 6, Boston NL 2
October 14: Boston AL 8, Boston NL 2
(second game) Boston AL 4, Boston NL 3

Though the Americans had already won the series after the fifth game, the two teams went ahead played games six and seven anyhow. They drew over 5,000 paying customers.

1906

Tim Murnane’s column in the May 14, 1906 Boston Globe bore the subhead “What is the Matter with Boston Americans?” Good question. And the very next day, someone pulled the fire alarm at the ballpark, perhaps hoping to ignite the team. It didn’t work.

One could well think there was something wrong. When Murnane wrote his column on the 13th, the team was riding a ten-game losing streak. They were in last place, ten games out of first.
And the losing streak wasn’t over. In fact, they were only at the halfway point. There were ten more losses to come. That’s right – a modest little 20-game losing streak. They fell a week short of losing every game in the month of May, starting on May 1 and not winning one until May 25.

It was such a long streak that, during its course, they lost to New York, Washington, Philadelphia, St. Louis, Cleveland, Detroit, and Chicago – every team in the league. Cy Young himself lost five games during the streak.

This wasn’t something they recovered from. They never got closer than 16 games of first place all season long, and the distance from the top just grew and grew. There was a four-game winning streak after that, but only one of those and that was the most they could muster.

The team finished 49-105, a 31.8% winning percentage. Though overall, there were even worse winning percentages in 1925 and 1926, their 22-54 home record in 1906 was the worst in team history.

It was a bad year in Boston. The Beaneaters finished 49-102.

Cy Young was a 21-game loser (13-21, with an ERA of 3.19, high for him). Tannehill had a winning record (13-11, and marginally better 3.16 ERA). The hardest-luck pitcher was poor Joe Harris, who was 2-21 (3.52). And yet one of the best-pitched games of the year was when Harris and Philadelphia’s Jack Coombs matched up for the first game of a doubleheader on September 1. The second game never got played, because the two teams were tied, 1-1, from the sixth inning on, through the 12th, the 18th, and up through the 23rd. Both pitchers were the distance – 24 innings – before the A’s finally got to Harris and won. Harris had thrown 20 consecutive scoreless innings, all in the same game. It’s a league record which will almost certainly never be matched.
The pitchers gave up 706 runs, but the offense only scored 463. Chick Stahl was the only batter to drive in more than 50 runs, and he drove in just one more than 50. His four homers were twice as many as anyone else on the team. They suffered 28 shutouts – almost one in every five games.

The team finished 45 ½ games out of first place, and with a new manager. Collins was fired, and Chick Stahl named manager. When they lost back-to-back-to-back games the first week of July (with the team committing nine errors in the July 7 game), Collins went AWOL after the game and couldn't be found for a week. Stahl became acting manager in Collins’ absence (14-26 in the 40 games he managed.)

Taylor decided on Stahl for skipper in 1907.

1907

Could there be a bigger disaster for a team that a 49-win season? Well, yes. Not to make light of it, but the team’s manager could commit suicide the next spring training, the man you hired to replace him could quit after only eight games, and you could run through four managers in all during the regular season itself. And that’s exactly what happened in 1907.

After Chick Stahl killed himself by drinking carbolic acid in his hotel room and leaving an enigmatic note behind, Cy Young filled in, reluctantly, as an interim manager and the team got off to a 3-3 start during the six games Cy skippered. Then George Huff was named, the athletic director at the University of Illinois. He’d never had any connection with Organized Baseball except to serve as a part-time scout for the Cubs. Stout and Johnson say that the team was “shocked. They didn’t think that Huff, who they disdainfully called ‘the Professor,’ was remotely qualified for the job.” Thirteen days later, sporting a 2-6 record, Huff took the train back to Illinois. Boston owner John I. Taylor generously kept him on the payroll as a scout.

First, the Stahl suicide. It came on March 28, 1907. The team had trained at Little Rock, then headed north. The pressure on Stahl from baseball, and an active personal life, may have been too great. He had apparently often mentioned that managing the team detracted from his ability to play on it. He had apparently resigned three days earlier, but been prevailed upon to stay in place until someone else could be found.

His personal life was a complicated one, too. Back on January 26, 1902, Lulu Ortman, a 21-year-old stenographer at a Fort Wayne, Indiana lumber company, was arrested as she was drawing a revolver to shoot Stahl. She said he had jilted her for another woman and that she was going to kill him. Researching the Stahl story, historian Glenn Stout believes the besieged Boston skipper was approached by a woman named Barnett who he had impregnated in Buffalo late in the 1906 season and who now demanded he marry her. But Stahl had just married Julia Harmon in November. The team was barnstorming preseason, and reached West Baden Springs, Indiana, when Stahl drank carbolic acid after breakfast after stepping into Jimmy Collins’ adjoining room. The poison killed him. His suicide note read: “Boys, I just couldn’t help it. You drove me to it.” Several teammates recalled him talking about suicide for much of spring training.

Ironically, Ms. Barnett had tried to kill herself in the New York Central rail depot at Buffalo during what the Washington Post termed a “dramatic scene in the waiting rooms…took carbolic acid, with the intention of committing suicide.” She was rushed to the hospital and survived. Stahl was said to brood over the scandal. When Stahl successfully committed suicide, he chose the same medium: carbolic acid.

There’s not enough information here to draw any conclusions, but a man who was an engineer on the Grand Rapids and Indiana Railroad chose to take his own life in the same fashion just two days after Stahl. David P. Murphy, said to be an “intimate friend” of Stahl’s, swallowed carbolic acid and died on March 30, leaving a note which read, “Bury me beside Chick.”

On November 15, 1908, Chick Stahl’s widow, Julia Stahl, was found dead in a South Boston doorway. Julia’s family was convinced that she was the victim of foul play. Her brother-in-law said he believed she had been “drugged, murdered, and then robbed of her jewels.”

The won/loss records of the four managers during the regular season runs: Cy Young (3-3), George Huff (2-6), Bob Unglaub (9-20), and Deacon McGuire (45-61). Unglaub was only 25 years old; the team’s average age that year was 29. Naming Unglaub on April 26 (as the third manager in the month) didn’t sit well with some of the veteran players, and in the first few days of June, owner Taylor traded off both Big Bill Dinneen and the man who had pulled the team together in the first place and then led it to two pennants in its first six seasons: Jimmy Collins himself. Finally, the veteran Jim “Deacon” McGuire was brought in – perhaps at the insistence of American League president Ban Johnson. But the season was a shambles.
Unglaub actually led in RBIs (with 62). Hobe Ferris again hit four homers, again twice what anyone else hit. The team batting average was .234. They scored 466 runs, and the pitching and defense allowed 558.

Cy Young became a 20-game winner again (21-15, 1.99). No one else had a winning record. Hapless Joe Harris, he of the 2-21 record in 1906 was – for some reason – brought back for another try. Harris was 0-7 before they gave up on him.

They actually finished seventh, 32 ½ games behind the Detroit Tigers, who’d won their first pennant. The only reason the Bostons didn’t finish last was the Washington Senators. They were 43 1/5 games behind, more than ten games behind Boston.

Taylor did do one thing late in the year. On December 18, he decided to adopt uniforms with red stockings and call his team “the Red Sox.”

1908

After two years of drama and poor play, the next four seasons were filled with middling mediocrity. They were the first four years playing as the “Red Sox” but they were generally dull. At least they had winning records in three of the four. The one without a winning record was 1908 – the team was 75-79. With eight teams in the league, fifth place was considered the top spot in the second division, and that’s where the Red Sox finished.

They became a first-division team from 1909 through 1918, but first they had to get through 1908. Deacon McGuire was manager as the season began.

The team benefitted from the best season of 41-year-old Cy Young’s career, if one counted ERA as the benchmark. The no-longer-young Young was 21-11, with a 1.26 ERA. Second in wins among the pitchers was another Cy – Cy Morgan (14-13). Eddie Cicotte won 11 and Fred Burchell was 10.

George Winter, who’d been with the team since its 1901 launch, was 4-14 before being put on waivers and taken by the Tigers. Two other charter members of the 1901 team departed, too – Freddy Parent had been dealt to the White Sox in October 1907 and Hobe Ferris had been traded to New York in November. Only Cy Young and his catcher Lou Criger (who was only able to play in 84 games) remained from that first team, and Criger was traded in December 1908. Two months later, in February 1909, Cy Young himself was traded to Cleveland.
Outfielder Doc Gessler, with several years of big-league experience, had spent 1907 in the minors with Columbus, but led the 1908 Red Sox in batting average (.308), RBIs (63), and home runs (3). Yes, 3. We were very definitely deep in the Deadball Era.

Manager McGuire lasted 115 games, seeing a 53-62 record on his watch. He was released by owner John I. Taylor in August, and signed with Cleveland in September. Fred Lake took over as Red Sox manager. The native Nova Scotian had a lengthy baseball pedigree and happened to be in New England, trying to revive the Atlantic Baseball League. His efforts fell short and he was available, hired by Taylor on August 28. Over their final 39 games, the Sox were 22-17. It was enough to lift the team one notch in the standings, from sixth place to fifth. It did provide some semblance of hope, looking forward.

So did the work of 18-year-old pitching phenom Joe Wood, who had debuted in late August and shown well. For that matter, 22-year-old Elmer Steele was looking good, too, with a 1.83 ERA in 16 appearances (13 of them starts). Recalled from Scranton, at one point in August, Steele threw 24 consecutive scoreless innings. He struck out 37 and walked 13. But some players make it in the long run, and some do not. Steele had a decent career, but never seemed to realize his potential. There was the sense expressed later on that perhaps he was, or became, too mercurial.

No one seemed to truly realize what they had in Tris Speaker; he’d played in seven late-season games in ’07 and 31 in ’08, batting .158 and .224. But he was on the brink of exploding into a Hall of Fame career.

All in all, the team cycled through 39 players, a new high. The team stole 158 bases, led by Amby McConnell’s 31 and Harry Lord’s 23. They were affectionately dubbed the “Speed Boys” in Boston, a high compliment. Things were looking up.

1909

The 1909 Red Sox were a considerably younger ballclub, with an average age of 25.9. Just disposing of 42-year-old Cy Young brought about a drop in the age. He’d been traded to Cleveland for Charlie Chech and Jack Ryan, neither of whom now have major awards named after them. The $12,500 Taylor pocketed wasn’t inconsiderable. Clearly, Cy Young had a certain shelf life, but he did win 19 games for Cleveland in 1909. The Red Sox didn’t have anyone who won more than 16. Chech won seven and Ryan won three.

There may have been other reasons than those that appear on the surface, of course. Ban Johnson was often in the background orchestrating matters, trying to build up the still-new league. Red Sox Century argues that that the trade may have cost the Red Sox a shot at the pennant. They finished third, 9 ½ games behind the Tigers. And manager Fred Lake and the 1909 Red Sox used 18 different starting pitchers over the course of the season.

Frank Arellanes was the pitcher who won 16, and the first Latino on the Red Sox. His family had come to America from Mexico and, though some of the newspapers made note of that in the awkward way of the day (“Senor Arellanes moocha caliente hombre”), his family had been in the United States for well over 100 years, probably longer than many of the sportswriters covering the team.

Second in wins was knuckleballer Eddie Cicotte, 14-5, 1.94). Smoky Joe Wood, still a teenager at 19, was third, with an 11-7, 2.18 record and a club-high 88 Ks.

Another young player starting to make good was Tris Speaker, 21, who batted for a .309 average and drove in 77 runs, more than anyone else on the team.

After spring training in Hot Springs, the team played fairly consistent ball throughout the season, in third place most of the time, dipping to fourth in late May and early July and bobbing up to second a couple of times, in particular when coming off an 11-game winning streak in early August. They finished with a record of 88-63.

Maybe they could have done better, but even without Cy Young, Lou Criger, and some of the other veterans, it was a team that captured the public’s interest, as evidenced by the fact that they drew 668,965 (more than 40% more fans than in 1908), a total not exceeded until 1940, even with opening a brand-new park in 1912 and winning four World Championships in the interim.

1910

Veteran manager Patsy Donovan took over as the team’s new skipper in 1910 and saw them through spring training at Hot Springs to an 81-72 fourth-place finish. The team played a little over .500 ball through June, enjoyed an exceptional 23-10 July, and a very good 17-12 August, but then faded to 8-17 in September and 1-6 in October. They were actually in second place most of thetime from July 18 to September 15, but losing 17 of their last 22 decisions did them in.

There was apparently some bad feelings on the team, both between the players and Taylor and among some of the players. On August 11, Taylor traded Harry Lord and an ailing Amby McConnell to the White Sox for Billy Purtell and Frank “Piano Mover” Smith. Neither acquisition was worth that much, though Lord had been playing subpar ball and McConnell playing not much at all.
The winningest pitcher on the club only had 15 wins – Eddie Cicotte, who was 15-11. Young (age 23) Ray Collins had a club-best 1.62 ERA, but just a 13-11 record. Smoky Joe Wood’s ERA was marginally higher, 1.69, but he was the hard-luck pitcher (12-13).

Tris Speaker hit for a .340 average, while first baseman Jake Stahl drove in 77 runs and homered ten times, leading the club in both categories.

Stout and Johnson felt that Taylor’s trade of Lord and McConnell “virtually completed his three-year dismantling of the club, during which time he’d traded, sold, or simple released” 14 regulars and 12 others. “In exchange,” they say, “the Sox didn’t receive and retain a single bonafide major leaguer of value.” As a result, they feel, the team just quit.

Whatever Taylor’s shortcomings as a wheeler and dealer, the ballclub was successful in scouting, signing, and player development. They had not only Joe Wood, and Ray Collins, but Bill Carrigan behind the plate and Larry Gardner at third. All began their big-league careers with Boston. And the Red Sox fielded quite an outfield, one of the best in major-league history, with all three “outer gardeners” also all “home-grown” and all three just 22 years old: Duffy Lewis in left, Speaker in center, and Harry Hooper in right.

The fourth-place finish had them 22 ½ games behind the Athletics.

1911

Spring training in 1911 was the most unusual one in all of U.S. history. Decades before there was an interstate highway system, and more than a quarter-century years before commercial airline travel attracted its first baseball team, the Boston Red Sox established their spring training base in Redondo Beach, California, and traveled all the way across the country by rail to get there, broke into two teams and played up and down the Wes Coast, then played teams as they traveled back east, in places such as Yuma, Reno, El Paso, Salt Lake, Pueblo, and even a scheduled game at Salida, Colorado. The team played 65 games in all, and the players were arguably so exhausted by the trip that they failed to perform up to expectations during the regular season.

Patsy Donovan was still manager. The team won 78 games and lost 75, barely above .500 and barely holding onto fourth place. The Athletics won the pennant again, and the Tigers finished second, but there was essentially a four-way battle for third place, with all four teams ending up with only 2 ½ games separating them. In fact, as September came to a close, the Red Sox were in sixth place – but then they won all six games they played in early October—their longest winning streak of the season—and just squeaked into fourth-place money.

“The Golden Outfield” all hit over .300 (Speaker .334, Hooper, .311, and Lewis .307). Duffy Lewis drove in 86 runs, to lead the team. Speaker hit eight homers and Lewis hit seven, finishing 1-2 on the club.

Smoky Joe Wood won 23 games, with an earned run average of 2.02, finishing 23-17, but no one else won more than 11 (Cicotte and Ray Collins). He also threw a no-hitter against St. Louis on July 29.

The average age of the team was under 25, at 24.8. And yet it was 29-year-old Buck O’Brien who came on strongest near the end, making his major-league debut on September 9 and working in six games, only giving up a total of two earned runs across all six – for an ERA of 0.38 (and a record of 5-1).

On September 14, John I. Taylor sold a half-interest in the team to Jimmy McAleer (recently manager of the Washington Senators) and to Ban Johnson’s secretary, Robert McRoy. Taylor was to remain as VP. The Red Sox agreed to build a new park (the lease on the Huntington Avenue Grounds was expiring) on land in the Fenway area of Boston’s Back Bay.

1912 The Red Sox opened the 1912 season with new ownership and a new ballpark. General Charles H. Taylor and his son John I. Taylor had sold controlling interest in the team in September 1911. With some of the money they received, they purchased land in the area of Boston known as the Fens, and started construction on a new facility for the Red Sox, which they named Fenway Park.

Opening Day was scheduled for April 18, 1912, but the first game played saw the Red Sox edge Harvard College, 2-0, an exhibition game played in snow flurries.

The first regular-season game almost seemed an anti-climax. Not only had the game on the 18th been rained out, but both Patriot Day games on the 19th were as well – and the newspaper headlines were all about the sinking of the steamship Titanic on April 15.

On April 20, 1912, the Red Sox finally took the field and some 27,000 on hand saw the Sox prevail in 11 innings, a 7-6 win over the New York Highlanders, later renamed the Yankees, on a hit by future Hall of Famer Tris Speaker. Second baseman Steve Yerkes was 5-for-6 on the day, and scored the winning run. Boston Mayor John “Honey Fitz” Fitzgerald, the namesake and grandfather of President John F. Kennedy, threw out the ceremonial first pitch. Fitzgerald was also a passionate Red Sox fan and prominent member of the ardent fan club, the Royal Rooters.

The most prominent feature of Fenway Park – then and 100 years later – was the exceptionally tall left-field wall, so imposing that it was felt no one would ever hit one over the wall. During the team’s fifth home game, on April 26, Boston backup first baseman Hugh Bradley hit one out - the first Fenway homer. The park was formally dedicated on May 17.

One of McAleer’s first moves had been to entice back first baseman Jake Stahl, making him the manager (and giving him a small ownership share). Stahl led the team to a 105-47 season, the best winning percentage in team history. The Red Sox scored 799 runs, while only allowing 544, the largest difference in franchise history. The team the Sox dominated was New York (19-2), with Boston winning every single game played in New York. The Highlanders finished 55 games behind Boston, the largest gap ever between the two teams.

One of the more impressive days came on May 30, when 50 baserunners crossed Fenway Park’s home plate, as the Red Sox beat Washington, 21-8 and 12-11. There were 59 hits in all, and an appalling 17 errors.

The 1912 Red Sox pitching staff was led by 22-year-old Smoky Joe Wood. The young right-hander had a year for the ages, with a 34-5 record, including 35 complete games. Wood’s ERA was a masterful 1.91, and he struck out 258 opponents. His matchup on September 6, 1912 against Walter Johnson was considered the game of the year. Fenway was packed; fans lined the outfield for that game, which lived up to its billing, with Wood winning, 1-0. Wood won a record-tying 16 consecutive games, but the pressure on him was intense and some expressed the feeling that he wouldn’t have been effective in the postseason had he not list the September 20 game, his first loss in 78 days. The Washington Post wrote that he “would probably have been a wreck” by World Series time, if he’d kept winning.

For four years, the Chalmers motor car company presented an award for the most valuable player of the season. In 1912, the American League winner was Tris Speaker (.383, 90 RBIs, and a league-leading 10 home runs and 53 doubles.) He had three lengthy hitting streaks, one running 30 games, one that was 21 games, and a third that ran 20 games. No other major league has ever had three streaks of 20 or more games in one season. Speaker was also a spectacular center fielder.

By June 17, the Red Sox secured a hold on first place which they never gave up. At the close of play on September 14, Boston held a lead of 16 ½ games over the second-place team, the largest lead the Red Sox have ever held (a mark they tied in September 1946).

Wood was joined by two other 20-game winners, Buck O’Brien and Hugh Bedient. Charley Hall and Ray Collins won 15 and 13 respectfully. Wood, O’Brien, Bedient, Hall, and Collins won 102 of the team's 105 victories, and none but these five pitched against the New York Giants in the 1912 World Series.

Boston hadn’t been in the Series since 1903, and there was great anticipation. While the team was on a road trip in early September, some 8,000 seats were added to handle the expected crowds. The team returned home on September 23, and an estimated 220,000 fans lined the route from South Station to the Boston Common, where Mayor Fitzgerald presented each player with a key to the city.


The 1912 World Series began at the Polo Grounds against the New York Giants. Three hundred of the Royal Rooters took the train to Gotham for Game One to support the American League Champions.  The Boston contingent included a 30-piece brass band and most of the group wore bright red sweaters with matching hatbands and carried pennants proclaiming, “Red Sox World’s Champs.” Fitzgerald led the group in the singing of “Tessie,” a song that the Rooters used in Boston’s first World Series played against Pittsburgh in 1903. Boston won, 4-3.

The first World Series game at Fenway Park was Game Two of the Series; the Wednesday October 9 game ended in a 6-6 tie, called after 11 innings due to darkness. Up three games to two (not counting the tie), the Royal Rooters marched into Fenway Park on the 15th, hoping to witness the clinching victory at home. Led by their band, they marched to Fenway – only to find that their accustomed seats had been sold to others.

The game was held while police restrained the Rooters, who were stirred into a near riot and so upset that they led a boycott of the final, Series-deciding Game Eight the next day.

Capping what is considered by many to be the greatest World Series ever played, the crucial game of the Series was also held at Fenway - but was witnessed by only 17, 000 fans, due to the Rooters’ boycott. The pitching was superb, pitting the Giants’ already legendary Christy Mathewson (whose 23-12 record in 1912 represented his 10th consecutive 20-win season, averaging more than 27 wins a year) against 22-year-old rookie Hugh Bedient (20-9, 2.92 ERA). Both pitchers were superb, and it was 1-0 Giants when the Red Sox came to bat in the bottom of the seventh. Jake Stahl singled and Heinie Wagner walked, but there were two outs and Bedient was due up. Pinch-hitter extraordinaire Olaf Henriksen stepped in for Bedient – and doubled in Stahl.

Smoky Joe Wood took over for Bedient and shut the Giants down in the eighth and ninth. Murray’s double and Merkle’s single put one across for New York in the top of the 10th. Matty induced pinch0hitter Clyde Engle to lift a routine fly ball to center field for the first out of the bottom of the 10th – but Fred Snodgrass dropped the ball, and Engle wound up on second base instead of back in the dugout. The play went down in baseball lore as the “$30,000 muff," as that amount was the difference between the collective winners’ and losers' shares. Harry Hooper promptly smacked a ball to Snodgrass, who made a truly great catch – but Engle tagged up and took third. Steve Yerkes walked. Tris Speaker seemed to make the second out, but his easy pop fly fell between Merkle and Meyers. Given new life, Speaker singled, tying the score. Yerkes took third. Mathewson intentionally walked Duffy Lewis to put a force at every base, but Larry Gardner hit a long sacrifice fly to deep right field and gave the Red Sox the World Series win and each player a $4,024.68 share. The Giants had out-hit the Red Sox .270 to .220, and outscored the Red Sox by six runs. Their pitching was much better overall - an earned run average of 1.59 to Boston’s 2.92), but timing is everything. The Red Sox came out on top. And thousands upon thousands of delirious Red Sox fans lined the route from Fenway Park to Faneuil Hall, where Mayor Fitzgerald welcomed the World Champions.

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1913 Late in 1912, Sox president McAleer proclaimed that he was so pleased with his World Championship ballclub that there wasn’t any need to tinker with the team - he didn’t plan to make any trades or sign any new players.

Some of the extra seating set up for the World Series was removed – specifically the seating placed on Duffy’s Cliff and some seats in front of the grandstand – but there were as many as 8,000 seats still available for 25 cents apiece.

The Royal Rooters still remembered the snub when their seats were sold off before Game Seven of the 1912 World Series, and when the Sox selected June 25 for the official raising of the World Championship banner, only 6,500 fans turned out.  Stout and Johnson write that “Mayor Fitzgerald and most of the Rooters were conspicuously absent.”

By the end of June, the Red Sox were already in fifth place, 13 games behind the Philadelphia Athletics.  The team had started 2-6, and flirted with .500 much of the season. The dispirited and desultory play may have aggravated some tensions on the team. In particular, President McAleer was down on his man Jake Stahl. On July 14, he fired Stahl (39-41 at the time) and asked catcher Bill Carrigan to take over as manager. Four days later, Smoky Joe Wood slipped and fell while fielding a fourth-inning ground ball; he suffered a broken thumb. His season was over, 11-5, and he was never the pitcher he had been.

Ray Collins from Colchester, VT, led the pitching staff with a 19-8 record. Collins matched up with Washington’s Walter Johnson three times during the season and each game ended 1-0. Collins prevailed in two out of the three outings against the “Big Train.” The only time Ray lost to Walter was on July 3, when Boston had 15 hits in 15 innings but lost 1-0 to the Senators at Fenway Park. Boston’s 15 hits tied the major-league record, which still stands, for the number of hits by a team without scoring a run.
 
There was blame to go around, and in August a number of Boston newspapers decried the prevalent practice whereby newspaper columns were printed under bylines of various ballplayers. The occasional column called out one’s teammates and sometimes fanned the flames of tensions which might otherwise have been worked through. The practice was “largely responsible for the wrecking of a team of world’s champions so shortly after its triumph.” [Washington Post, August 17]

The team won more than they lost in 1913 and ended up with a record of 79-71 for the year, finishing 15 1/2 games behind the eventual World Champion Philadelphia Athletics.

As a small consolation, the Red Sox finished 22 1/2 games ahead of their American League rival from New York, who officially changed their name from Highlanders to Yankees in 1913.

 Tris Speaker continued to hit well with a .363 batting average and he led the team with a franchise record 22 triples for the season. Tris was the only Boston player to hit over .300, as the team plummeted to fourth place. He only drove in 71 runs; Duffy Lewis’s 90 led the team, which scored 631 runs in all – down more than 160 runs compared to 1912.

In November, there was another change in ownership. McAleer sold out his half of the team to Canadian-born Joseph Lannin, though the hands of American League architect were clearly on the transaction. Sportswriter Joe Cashman told author Peter Golenbock said that McAleer received a telegram one day which read, “You have just sold the Red Sox to Joseph Lannin. Ban Johnson.”

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1914 In his first full season on the job, Bill Carrigan helped lead the Red Sox to 91 wins in 1914, sloughing off the disappointing 1913 season to achieve a second-place finish, though 8 ½ games behind Connie Mack’s Philadelphia Athletics.

A third major league, the Federal League, launched in time for the 1914 season and drove up salaries. Red Sox owner Joseph Lannin (who bought out the remaining holdings of the Taylor family on May 14 and thus became sole owner) invested in player salaries and the Red Sox had the highest payroll in baseball. Both Ray Collins and Tris Speaker had been courted heavily by the Feds; Speaker became the most highly-paid player to that time.

The Red Sox drew well; no team in the league sold more seats that the Sox did at Fenway. The Red Sox offense wasn’t nearly as good as 1913, but their pitching was much better.  Hubert “Dutch” Leonard, 22, was 19-5 and his stingy earned run average of 0.96 remains the best season in the history of major-league baseball. Ray Collins was 20-13, but his ERA of 2.51 was higher than the team average of 2.36. Collins, age 27, was the oldest regular starter in the team. Rube Foster’s 1.70 ERA was second in the league. He was 14-8, and at one point threw 42 consecutive innings.

Right-hander Ernie Shore was 10-5. Smoky Joe Wood was still unable to pitch often, but put up a 10-3 record in his 18 appearances. Shore had joined the team on July 9, when Lannin bought three players from Jack Dunn’s International League Baltimore Orioles: Ben Egan, Shore, and a young pitcher named George Herman Ruth, who had just turned 19 a few months earlier. Ruth appeared in four games and was 2-1.

Like Collins, Speaker came through with a strong season, leading the team in several categories with his .338 average, 90 RBIs, 101 runs scored, 193 base hits, 46 doubles, and four home runs. The center fielder starred on defense, too, pulling off two of his patented unassisted double plays, on April 21 and August 8. The April 21 game was the first of back-to-back tie games at Fenway Park against Philadelphia. 

Shortstop Everett Scott debuted on Opening Day, April 14. The 21-year-old was perhaps one of the lightest-weight Sox ever. He told The Sporting News, “I weighed 125 pounds when I started as a regular with the Red Sox in 1914, and I never tipped the scales at more than 138 pounds in the 13 years I played in the majors.” Scott turned out to be the “iron man” of baseball, holding the record for most consecutive games played until Lou Gehrig took over first place.

Fenway Park featured in a couple of non-Sox situations. On August 17, former U. S. President Theodore Roosevelt gave a speech to 2,500 as part of his advance campaign for a return to the Presidency on the Progressive Party ticket. And on Labor Day, the Boston Braves drew 73,000 fans to Fenway for a morning/afternoon doubleheader. Two days later, the first no-hitter in Fenway Park history was thrown by George Davis of the Braves. It remains the only National League no-hitter at Fenway Park.

The Braves’ ballpark, the South End Grounds, was too small to hold the crowds the “Miracle Braves” were drawing. After the first month of the season, they were 3-16. As late as July 31, they were one game below .500. But then they went 50-14 over the remaining schedule, and wound up first in the National League in attendance – in part because the Sox’s Lannin had allowed them use of the larger Fenway Park, free of charge, beginning on August 3.

When it came time for the World Series, the Braves played their home games at Fenway Park, sweeping the Series from the Athletics. 

The Braves played at the home of the Red Sox until their new park, Braves Field, was completed in August of 1915.
 
With both Boston teams leading their respective teams in attendance, Boston truly was the hub of baseball in 1914.

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1915 The Red Sox won another pennant in 1915, with a 101-50 record, beating out Ty Cobb and the Detroit Tigers by 2 1/2 games; it was the fourth time that Boston had won the flag in the 15 years of the American League’s existence.

The 1915 team was led by great pitching. The Red Sox had the top four, and five of the top six, American League hurlers in winning percentage. Smoky Joe Wood led the way at .750 (15-5, with a 1.49 ERA) followed by Ernie Shore and Rube Foster, who both finished at .704 (19-8).  Babe Ruth was fourth in the league at .692 (18-8), and Dutch Leonard’s .682 (15-7) was good for sixth in the American League. Note that no pitcher lost more than eight games! The team’s combined earned run average was a stunning and exceptionally stingy 2.39 (this was the heart of the Deadball Era).

For the sixth straight year, Tris Speaker led the team in hitting (.322, with 69 RBIs) but fell outside the MVP voting for the first time since 1910. In only 92 at-bats, pitcher Babe Ruth was the team leader in home runs with four and Duffy Lewis (.291) drove in a team-high 76 runs for the pennant-winning Red Sox. The first home run of Ruth’s career came in New York, on May 6. His first at Fenway was a three-run homer hit off New York’s Ray Caldwell, on June 25.  Reflecting the dead ball, no one else on the Red Sox hit more than two home runs.

The Sox took first place in early July, sweeping three consecutive Fenway Park doubleheaders from Washington on July 5, 6, and 7 – shutting out the visiting Senators in three of the six games and holding them to six runs total. On August 7, the Fenway faithful saw Smoky Joe Wood threw the fifth one-hitter of his career, beating the Indians, 1-0. Three days later, Fenway saw its first triple play, a 7-3-2 gem initiated by St. Louis Browns left-fielder Burt Shotton (but Babe Ruth had a 2-for-4 day and won the game, 10-3.)

Boston was the heavy favorite going into the 1915 World Series, the second consecutive matchup between a team from Boston and a team from Philadelphia. The Boston Braves had beaten the Philadelphia Athletics in 1914 but this time it was the Phillies’ turn to face Boston’s A.L. entry. And, like the previous year, the Boston team played in the other Boston ballpark. The brand-new, larger capacity Braves Field hosted the Red Sox/Athletics games and Fenway Park lay idle.

Pitching was again the story. After dropping the first game, 2-1, to Phillies ace Grover Cleveland Alexander, the Sox took the Series in five games, and employed only three pitchers to do so: Rube Foster (2-0), Ernie Shore (1-1), and Dutch Leonard (1-0). The combined ERA was even better than in the regular season: 1.84. Babe Ruth didn’t pitch a bit in the Series, and only batted once, fruitlessly. The batting star was left-fielder Duffy Lewis, who hit at a .444 clip and drove in five of Boston’s 10 runs.

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1916 The 1916 Sox won 10 fewer games than in 1915, but their 91-63 record was strong enough to top the Chicago White Sox by two games (and the Tigers by four), securing their fifth pennant in their 16 years.

With the demise of the Federal League, player salaries were no longer being bid up and the Red Sox lost the services of Tris Speaker, who rejected the contract which set his salary at 1913 levels (about half what he’d been paid in 1914 and 1915). Lannin argued, in part, that his average had fallen each of the last couple of seasons – though he’d led the team every year, and it was a strong .322 in 1915.

Lannin’s Red Sox weren’t entirely out to gouge everyone, however – in the wake of their 1915 World Championship, they actually lowered ticket prices. When asked about lowering bleacher seat prices from 25 cents to 10 cents, Lannin told a St. Louis newspaper, “You can’t give grand opera for moving picture show prices.”

The Red Sox did introduce Ladies Day at Fenway Park, however, admitting women to grandstand seats for 50 cents instead of 75 cents, with Lannin promising “special turnstiles for the women” and a “special reception room where ladies can wait for friends or enjoy half an hour in the reading rooms.”

The Red Sox sold Speaker’s contract to the Indians – and he went on to hit .354 over the next 11 seasons for Cleveland. The Sox also lost Smokey Joe Wood, who could no longer throw a baseball effectively. In 1918, he resurfaced as a regular outfielder for the Indians, and hit .297 over six seasons. Clarence “Tillie” Walker was Speaker’s replacement in center field. He hit .266, but he did hold one distinction in 1916: on June 20 he hit the only home run of the entire season that any member of the Red Sox (Babe Ruth included) hit at Fenway Park. Walker’s homer off the Yankees went over the left-field wall, but it was the only homer hit at home by a Red Sox batter. It was that same day that Everett Scott began his consecutive game streak of 1,307 games.

It was a year with a number of unusual happenings; the preseason had featured Harvard College beating the reigning World Champions, 1-0, in an exhibition game at Fenway.

Another oddity was Babe Ruth being pulled from a game in the sixth inning, while he still had a no-hitter going!  He’d walked seven, and left with the bases loaded – but with Carl Mays to the rescue, the Sox won the May 20 game, beating the visiting Browns, 3-1.

The first no-hitter in Fenway Park history came a month later, on June 21, thrown by “little George Foster, the farmer boy from Oklahoma” as The New York Times described him. Foster was 5’ 7 ½” tall. President Lannin gave him a $100 bonus. On August 30, Fenway saw its second no-hitter, thanks to the work of Dutch Leonard.  Player/manager Bill Carrigan was the catcher for both no-hitters.

Babe Ruth developed into a star pitcher, 23-8 (with a league-leading 1.75 ERA), with a major-league single season record nine shutouts.  His 1-0 win over Washington’s Walter Johnson at Fenway Park on August 15 saw him pitch 13 innings to secure the win.  Ruth only hit three home runs, but that still tied him for the team lead. Leonard and Mays each won 18 games; Leonard won 16 and Foster won 14. The team ERA was 2.48.

The pennant race went down to the wire, only decided on October 1, the day after Dutch Leonard shut out the Yankees, 1-0, at Fenway Park, when Harry Hooper’s sacrifice fly in the bottom of the 10th delighted the hometown fans.

The Red Sox played their World Series home games at Braves Field once again, hosting the Brooklyn Robins. The first game saw Ernie Shore up 6-1 through eight, but almost lose it when Brooklyn scored four times (two runs unearned) in the top of the ninth. Carl Mays retired the final batter for a win. Babe Ruth got into his first World Series game, and it was a great one. Brooklyn center-fielder Hy Myers homered in the top of the first, but Everett Scott tripled in the bottom of the third and came in on Ruth’s grounder to second. Other than the home run, Ruth shut down the Robins for 14 innings, until a pinch hit by Del Gainer scored pinch-runner Mike McNally from second base to win the game. The 47,373 in attendance constitutes the largest crowd to ever see the Red Sox play a home game.

With a combined 1.65 ERA, and six of Boston’s 18 runs driven in by Larry Gardner despite his .176 batting average, Bill Carrigan and the Red Sox won the World Series in five games, the only time they’ve won back-to-back world championships. Gardner’s regular-season .308 average and his 62 RBIs both led the team.

Three days after the World Series, some of the Red Sox took part in an exhibition game in New Haven. Baseball’s National Commission voted to deny the whole team the traditional World Series emblems given to the champions.

Two weeks later, on November 1 (announced on December 4), Joseph Lannin sold the Red Sox to two theater men from New York, Harry Frazee and Hugh Ward. Manager Carrigan announced his retirement.

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1917 Coming off back-to-back titles, the Red Sox only won one fewer game (finishing 90-62), but finished in second place, a full nine games behind a resurgent Chicago White Sox.

The New York Tribune had reported in early January that the sale of the team to Harry Frazee had been contingent on Bill Carrigan’s return as skipper, but even Frazee’s visit to Carrigan in Maine just before the New York proved fruitless. On January 4, Frazee accepted the situation and Jack Barry was named manager. Barry was a veteran infielder who had come to Boston from the Athletics and already had appeared in six World Series. He was a playing manager, as Carrigan had been, and played second base, batting .214 – but sacrificing an extraordinary 54 times during the season to move other runners ahead.

The leader on offense was Duffy Lewis, leading the team with a .302 average (the team as a whole hit just .246), with 65 RBIs.  The first World War was underway, and ballplayers were told that those who enlisted in the military would have their positions held open for them. Frazee nonetheless took advantage of the situation to cut some salaries even below the deflated 1916 levels. Players from both teams frequently marched on the field before games in military drills.

The season got off to a strong start and the Red Sox were 12-4 and as late as July 31 the Red Sox were in first place, though battling with the White Sox throughout. Babe Ruth’s start was superb, winning his first seven games. Ruth and Carl Mays put up the best stats among the pitchers: Ruth was 24-13, with a 2.01 ERA, and Mays was even better (22-9, 1.74).

Harry Hooper led the team in home runs, with three.

In early June, Fenway announcer Red Armstrong gave way to the man who would serve at the ballpark for many years: Stonewall Jackson. On the 16th, a near-riot occurred due to a combination of rain and suspected involvement of gamblers who were displeased that Chicago was beating the Red Sox. Somehow, 500 spectators ended up on the field and wouldn’t leave and suspensions resulted, but the game was able to continue. One week after that came almost as perfect a game as one could want. Ruth started but was ejected after walking the first batter. Vociferously objecting to the call, he actually struck umpire Brick Owens with a punch to the ear. Ernie Shore came in to pitch. The baserunner was thrown out, and Shore retired every one of the 26 batters he faced. It was first deemed a perfect game, but more than 60 years later, Major League Baseball redefined it as a no-hitter.

In August, plainclothes policemen arrested five gamblers in Fenway’s right-field bleachers, their habitual locale, as part of a crackdown ordered by league president Ban Johnson.

Two days after the final game of the World Series (the White Sox beat the Giants, four games to two), give members of the Red Sox were called to duty by the United States Navy: Jack Barry, Duffy Lewis, Mike McNally, Ernie Shore, and Chick Shorten.

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1918 For the third time in four years, the Red Sox won the World Series – though this was one of the more unusual seasons in baseball history. Hanging over the season from beginning to its premature end was the threat that baseball would simply shut down as part of the war effort. Many of those players who hadn’t already been drafted signed up to work in industries deemed essential to the war effort. Indicative of an ongoing turnover, the Red Sox had nine different players at third base during the course of a season which only ran 126 games before ending early, on September 2.

Ed Barrow was hired as manager of the team and the season began with appeals to the crowd to buy Liberty Bonds. Babe Ruth drove in two runs on Opening Day and beat Philadelphia with a 7-1 four-hitter. The Sox started 6-0, and after 15 games were 12-3. The team was in first place almost all season long.

On May 6, in New York, Ruth played first base – the first time in which he’d started at any position other than on the mound. He started the scoring with a two-run homer. A first-inning Babe Ruth home run helped Dutch Leonard win a no-hitter on June 30.

On June 3, Dutch Leonard pitched the only no-hitter of the season (the second of his career), as Babe Ruth hit a home run in the top of the first in Detroit; only a walk in the first inning stood between Leonard and a perfect game. The Red Sox won, 5-0. But on June 20, Leonard’s classification in the military draft was changed and he quickly quit the team to take a job at the Fore River Shipyard in Quincy, Massachusetts. Eight days later, Ruth hit his 10th home run of the year, becoming the only pitcher to hit at least 10 homers and win at least 10 games as a pitcher in the same season.

Ruth went AWOL from the team, with word getting out that he’d signed to pitch for the Chester (Pennsylvania) Shipbuilding Company team. He came back three days later, but his erratic behavior was less than pleasing to both Barrow and Harry Frazee.

Carl Mays did double duty of August 30, pitching and winning both games of a doubleheader against the visiting Athletics, 12-0 and 4-1. He finished the season 21-13, with a 2.21 ERA. Sad Sam Jones had the best wins percentage, 16-5 (2.25), while Ruth finished 13-7 (2.22). Bullet Joe Bush had the best earned run average on the staff, at 2.11, but his record was 15-15. He nonetheless had the distinction of being involved in seven 1-0 games in one season (Bush won five of the seven).

Ruth’s 11 home runs led the entire American League – not bad for a pitcher, though Ruth appeared in 59 games as an outfielder. All of the rest of the Red Sox together accumulated just four home runs.

Because the regular season ended so early, the World Series got underway on September 5, with Ruth shutting out the Cubs, in Chicago, 1-0 in Game One. The Red Sox played their home games at Fenway Park again, and prior to Game Four – the first game in Boston – the “Star Spangled Banner” was played, beginning a tradition that had endured ever since.

Ruth held the Cubs scoreless through seven innings, running his streak of consecutive scoreless World Series innings to 29 2/3, a record that lasted until Whitey Ford surpassed it in 1961.

Cubs pitching could hardly have been better; they had a staff earned run average of 1.04! Boston’s was 1.70. There was relatively little scoring – the Red Sox only scored nine runs in the course of the six games it took them to take the World Series in six games. Those nine runs were enough to win the world championship, however – they’d now won five of the 15 Series played to that time. The next time they won a world championship was 86 years later, in 2004; the Cubs are still waiting to win another World Series.

For the second Series in a row, Boston’s players were penalized because some participated in post-Series play. At the end of the year, owners of all the teams rushed to renew contracts with their players. The war had ended on November 11, but the players had all been released from their contracts when the season ended early – and club owners realized they could have inadvertently made all the players free agents. As it happens, the situation was resolved without any major problems.

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1919 For the first time since 1908, the Red Sox were a sub-.500 ballclub. Just the year after winning the world championship, they plunged to 66-71, dropping all the way to sixth place and winding up 20 ½ games out of first place.

The two top pitchers were Herb Pennock (16-8, 2.71) and Allen Russell (10-4, 2.52). Sam Jones won 12 but lost 20. And Babe Ruth primarily played the outfield – though he did win nine games and lost five. Ruth hit 29 home runs, setting a new major-league record. He also became the first to hit a home run in every park in his league in a single season.

Ruth was a true star in the batter’s box, also leading the team with 114 RBIs, 103 runs scored, and a .322 batting average. But he was a difficult personality, and maybe not a true team player. He’d been difficult to sign in 1918, and was again in 1919 – though he agreed to a three-year deal in March.

The season started nicely, with back-to-back shutouts, but it didn’t take long for things to deteriorate. There were some highlights – Ruth hit four grand slams, the first one coming in St. Louis on May 20. On June 12, Pennock pitched to the minimum 27 batters in nine innings, winning 4-0 – though he’d walked one and given up three singles, all four were retired on the basepaths. Ruth won the game with a two-run double off the cigarette advertisement on Fenway’s left-field wall. On June 29, Carl Mays once again threw two complete games in one day.

After a July 1 loss to Philadelphia, the Sox were 24-32 and national columnist Hugh Fullerton wrote a column headlined “Boston’s Boys Have Given Up Hope for Year’s Championship”. He reported dissension on the ballclub. On July 13, Carl Mays bolted the team in mid-game, angry at the sloppy fieldwork behind him. Frazee traded him to the Yankees a couple of weeks later, triggering a lengthy controversy with league president Ban Johnson.

Then there was the police strike in Boston. A report that a gang of gunmen had traveled from New York planning to rob Fenway Park saw two companies of the state militia and 100 volunteer policemen line the streets outside the ballpark before the September 11 doubleheader (the Red Sox shut out St. Louis twice). Three days later, there was serious discussion of the Sox playing all remaining “home” games in Brooklyn’s Ebbets Field, until the police strike was resolved, though it never came to pass.

September 20 was Babe Ruth Day at Fenway, and he hit home run #27 in what turned out to be his last day in Boston as a player for the Red Sox. Ruth complained that Harry Frazee had made Ruth’s wife pay for her own ticket to the game. Ruth wound up with the total of 29 home runs; the rest of the Red Sox hit a total of four.

The White Sox won the pennant, but their legacy was soon tarnished as it became known that they had thrown the World Series – and were later dubbed the Black Sox. On the day after Christmas, Frazee sold Babe Ruth to the New York Yankees. And borrowed $350,000, putting up Fenway Park as collateral.

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1920 In the very first days of 1920, Red Sox fans learned that there was going to be one major absence from the roster: Babe Ruth had been sold to the New York Yankees. Owner Harry Frazee made the argument that Ruth was not a team player, and that the Red Sox would perform better as a team without his disruptive influence. Though many of the Boston newspapers saw logic in this idea, Ruth stunned the baseball world by hitting 54 home runs, batting .376 and driving in 137 runs.  The Yankees benefited greatly from the deal, scoring 260 more runs than they had the previous season. Boston fans meanwhile greatly missed Ruth, showering the slugger with applause every time he came to play at Fenway.
 
Though the team’s winning percentage was slightly lower than their 1919 mark, Boston finished the 1920 season in fifth place, a rung higher than their sixth-place result the year before. On the positive side of things, both the team batting average and team ERA improved. Without the Babe, though, attendance slipped. The team won its first five home games, but by year’s end Fenway drew an average of 1,135 fewer fans per game than the previous year. With a disappointing 72-81 record, Boston finished 25 ½ games behind first-half Cleveland. The 1920 Sox were also lacking in the power department, hitting 22 home runs as a team (while Ruth alone finished with his 54 homers for New York).
 
The Red Sox leader in home runs was Harry Hooper, who hit seven. Tim Hendryx – one of the only new players of note on the team - led the squad with 73 RBIs and a batting average of .328. Herb Pennock’s 16 wins led the club.
 
The 1920 season was the start of a disappointing decade for the Red Sox, beginning with the sale of Ruth. Part of the Ruth deal was a loan of $300,000 to Frazee, secured by a mortgage on Fenway Park. This infamous transaction foreshadowed the sale of many Red Sox players to the Yankees in the early years of the 1920s.

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1921  As the 1921 calendar year approached, Harry Frazee pulled off his fourth trade with the Yankees in 24 months: in December 1920, the Sox sent pitcher Waite Hoyt (a future Hall of Famer) and three others to New York for only one player who would excel, second baseman Del Pratt. A second player acquired in the deal, young catcher Muddy Ruel, also performed well. In addition, Frazee decided to let manager Ed Barrow go – to New York, where he became business manager (effectively, the GM). Over the 1920/21 offseason, Frazee hired longtime Boston baseball man Hugh Duffy as field manager. In early March 1921, popular 12-year veteran right fielder Harry Hooper was traded to the White Sox for Shano Collins and Nemo Leibold. Some members of the press began to pile on Frazee, and Boston Evening American sportswriter Nick Flately called for a fan boycott of Fenway.
 
Pratt’s .324 batting average led the team, as did his 102 RBIs and his five home runs. Judged by ERA, the two best pitchers were Sad Sam Jones and Bullet Joe Bush, who finished with 23-16 and 16-9 records, respectively. Hank Thormahlen, acquired from the Yankees, was 1-7 and Allen Russell, who’d come from New York in 1919, was 6-11.
 
The team continued to tread water, finishing fifth again but picking up a few more wins than the previous season to finish with a .487 winning percentage. The Yankees won the first pennant in their history, while the Sox finished 23 ½ games behind. Despite having a toothless offensive attack, the Boston pitching staff stabilized the club. Only Philadelphia had a lower team batting average, but the Red Sox finished fourth in team ERA. 
 
The Ruth-less Red Sox stopped drawing; attendance plunged to 279,273 on the season, the lowest in the league.

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1922 The Red Sox plunged to the cellar in 1922, finishing in eighth place with a 61-93 record. Hugh Duffy returned as manager and ran out a staff whose best pitcher (measured by earned run average) was 38-year-old Jack Quinn, who went 13-16. Rip Collins led the club in wins with 14 victories and was the only pitcher on the team with a winning record. Both Quinn and Collins had come from the Yankees in the trade for veterans Sam Jones, Everett Scott, and Joe Bush, who himself had a 26-7 season for the Yankees.  Another trade between the Sox and Yankees in late July, which was seen as giving New York a boost in the pennant race, prompted Commissioner Kenesaw Mountain Landis to institute a June 15 trading deadline.
 
Boston’s .263 batting average was the lowest in the league, as was the club’s on-base percentage and slugging percentage. The Sox team ERA wasn’t quite so bad - only sixth-worst – but the defense did the staff no favors, finishing with the lowest fielding percentage in the league. First baseman George Burns hit 12 homers, twice as many as anyone else on the team, while his .306 batting average placed him second only to outfielder Joe Harris. Burns, Harris, and reserve outfielder Elmer Smith had come to the team in a Christmas Eve (1921) trade with Cleveland, for Stuffy McInnis.
 
After their first 25 games, the Sox found themselves in third place, but by Memorial Day they were in eighth and rarely saw daylight again. They finished 33 games behind league-leading New York. Harry Frazee let it be known the ballclub was for sale – and then sold Rip Collins and Del Pratt to the Tigers for spare parts and cash.

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1923 In 1923, the Red Sox saw a change in manager and a change in ownership. Frank Chance took over as field manager, and on July 11, 1923 a group from the Midwest purchased the team for a little over $1 million from Harry Frazee. Bob Quinn became president, and The Sporting News, reflecting widespread antipathy to Harry Frazee both in baseball circles and amongst the Red Sox fans base, suggested in a subhead: “Hub May Make Date of Red Sox Sale New Holiday”. 
 
The Yankees had made it to the World Series each of the previous two years, but lost to the Giants both times – being swept in 1922. In 1923, they faced the Giants for the third year in a row, and this time won in six games, their first World Championship. There had been so many trades between Boston and New York that a sizable portion of the Yankees team was comprised of former Boston Red Sox, including Babe Ruth, Wally Schang, and Everett Scott, and four of the five World Series pitchers: Joe Bush, Waite Hoyt, Sam Jones, and Herb Pennock. The selling and trading hadn’t balanced out in Boston’s favor: at season’s start, there were 14 former Yankees on the Red Sox roster (pitchers Ferguson, Murray, O’Doul, Piercy, Quinn, and Russell, and position players Devormer, Fewster, McMillan, Miller, Mitchell, Ruel, Skinner, and Walters).  The Red Sox found themselves in last place in 1923 and five of the next six years.
 
The season began with Boston in New York for the grand opening of Yankee Stadium - with an announced attendance of 74,217.  Babe Ruth hit a three-run homer to beat Boston, 4-1. The Red Sox won 61 games, the same as in 1922. Almost one-third of those games were won by Howard Ehmke, 20-17, who threw a no-hitter on September 7, 1923 and a one-hitter four days later. Joe Harris and George Burns led the offense, with 20 homers and 158 RBIs between them. Burns earned himself a permanent place in the annals of baseball with his September 14 unassisted triple play.

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1924 Under new ownership, there was optimism, and over 25,000 fans turned out on Opening Day to see Ehmke take a three-hit 1-0 shutout of the Yankees through eight. In the top of the ninth, a single by Babe Ruth and two errors by the newly-acquired Bill Wambsganss spelled defeat. Under new manager Lee Fohl, the Red Sox looked strong early in the year and were in first place as late as June 13, before, in Burt Whitman’s words, the pitching staff became a “total wreck.” Leading pitcher was Ehmke again (19-17), but the staff ERA was 4.35. Newcomer Ike Boone, an outfielder, hit .337 with 13 homers and drove in 98 runs.
The team won 10 more games than the last couple of years, with a 71-83 record and – for almost the only year throughout the 1920s, they didn’t finish last – though they couldn’t have come any closer to last place: Boston was 25 games out of first place and Chicago was 25 1/2 .
Red Sox attendance nearly doubled over the final Frazee year - 448,556 compared to 229,688 in 1923. There was even a suggestion floated early in June that the team put a second deck on the Fenway Park grandstand, to accommodate all the fans. Nonetheless, when the season was over, the Red Sox still ranked last in putting fans in the seats.  Some of the feelings of Red Sox fans regarding the Yankees can be judged when an unusually large crowd turned out on September 28; the Red Sox lost the game to Washington, 4-2, and some 15,000 fans erupted into applause and cheering – the win clinched the pennant for the Senators, eliminating New York from contention.

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1925 Almost nothing went right for Boston in 1925. A 2-10 start in April set the tone for the season. Going 6-24 in July made a mess of the summer. Lee Fohl was back as manager but the Red Sox won only 47 games all year long, losing 105 – the fewest wins the team has ever had. They scored 639 runs on the season, but allowed 922 – more than six runs a game, as the staff ERA of 4.97 suggested. They committed 63 errors more than the year before. Perhaps there was some solace that the Yankees had fallen all the way to seventh place, but the Red Sox were so deep in the cellar that there were more than 20 games separating them from New York – Boston ended up 49 ½ games behind the repeat pennant winners in Washington. The team’s .266 average was the worst in the league. Their longest winning streak was three games long.  Attendance plunged by over 180,000.
 
Ike Boone had another good year, and so did new third baseman Doc Prothro (who couldn’t have been pleased to have been traded by the Senators in the offseason). First baseman Phil Todt’s 75 RBIs were the most any one man could muster; his 11 homers led the squad. This time the winningest pitcher was Ted Wingfield, 12-19. No one else won more than nine – Howard Ehmke and rookie Red Ruffing. That a future Hall of Famer like Ruffing could fare so poorly (9-18) reflected both his inexperience and the team around him. There wasn’t much hope to build a better team; Jack Quinn and his cohorts simply didn’t have the capital to compete.

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1926 Lee Fohl was back. So were the Red Sox and their losing ways. They finished with just 46 wins, one fewer than in 1925. There wasn’t even one starting pitcher on the team who could manage to win more than eight games – and Hal Wiltse was 8-15. Three other starters were tied with six wins apiece – a total of 26 wins for the top four hurlers on the staff. Ted Wingfield won 11, but pitched more than half his games in relief. On Opening Day alone, the Red Sox burned through nine pitchers, and lost to the Yankees, 12-11. It was – notably – the first Red Sox game broadcast on radio, with Gus Rooney at the WNAC microphone.
 
On May 7, 1926, there were three separate fires at Fenway Park, all put out by fast-acting fans using buckets of water. The next day, a grass fire spread to the third-base bleachers, which were almost completely destroyed. Ownership – in precarious financial straits - decided not to replace the seats, occasioning later speculation that the fire may have been set deliberately, to collect on insurance. Fenway was buffeted by 100 mph winds on July 18, 1926, demolishing the top three rows of grandstand seats.
 
The season was so bereft of hope that a Boston newspaper headline in July of 1926 read “Wait Till Next Year” – and the team only won 18 more games all season long, even losing 28 of the final 32. Had they not won the September 20, 1926 game, they would have closed out the year with 11 consecutive defeats. They were last in the league in the standings (the Yankees had rebounded all the way to the top, taking another pennant), last in batting average, last in slugging, last in stolen bases, last in ERA, and just missed being last in attendance (the Browns drew 1,169 fewer patrons.) On October 22, 1926, Lee Fohl resigned after losing 299 games in his three seasons as Red Sox skipper.

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1927 It was hard not to notice the success the Yankees were having, with their vaunted Murderers Row winning 110 games and seeing them finish a full 19 games ahead of second-place Philadelphia. A former Red Sox player named Ruth hit 60 home runs, drove in 164 runs, and scored 158 – thanks, in part, to a .486 on-base percentage. A guy named Gehrig – who the Red Sox reportedly could have had for Phil Todt at one point – drove in 175 runs. They scored 975 runs and allowed just 599. Former Red Sox pitchers Waite Hoyt and Herb Pennock combined to win 41 games.
 
The Red Sox were playing the first of three seasons under manager Bill Carrigan, who’d led the team in back-to-back World Series wins in 1915 and 1916. There’s a saying that a manager is only as good as his players. Carrigan’s team did win five more games than in 1926, but that only made 51 wins and the team finished dead last again, a full 59 games out of first place. Six home runs – Phil Todt’s team-leading total – was just one-tenth of Ruth’s production. The team as a whole hit 28.
 
Ira Flagstead drove in 69, leading the pack. Only three batters drove in more than 50.  Attendance was up for the second year in row, despite a 2-11 start, a 15-game losing streak (6/21 to the first game of the 7/4 doubleheader), and losing back-to-back doubleheaders to New York on June 21 and June 22. In the month of June, the team was 4-24. Boston’s best pitcher, Slim Harriss, was a 20-game loser, 14-21, but with one of the better ERAs at 4.18. Almost the only thing they succeeded at was winning extra-inning games (they were 7-6), and playing Cleveland (15-7).

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1928 When the team decided to go to Florida for the first time in spring training, headlines reading “Notes of Gladness” and “Heat and Happiness Radiate in Camp of Red Sox” stood out in The Sporting News. After three years in New Orleans, the Sox spent the spring in Bradenton. On April 14th, 1928 - the fourth contest of the season – Boston played the shortest game in team history: 50 minutes long, a game called as a 0-0 tie after five innings, “much to the disgust of the few hundred fans on hand.” (Boston Globe) The season was brightened a bit by something the Red Sox hadn’t achieved in a decade – with a win on May 21, they won seven games in a row for the first time since 1919. (It would be August 1937 before it happened again.)
 
There was a little bright light for ownership, for both the Red Sox and the Boston Braves, when voters agreed in a November 6th, 1928 statewide referendum to permit professional baseball on Sundays in the Commonwealth, by a landslide margin. There was, however, a proviso prohibiting games within 1,000 feet of a house of worship – Braves Field didn’t have one that close by, but Fenway Park did. For the foreseeable future, the Red Sox were to play Sunday games at Braves Field to take in the extra revenue that accrued from Sunday baseball.
 
In November, Sox president Bob Quinn admitted that enduring fan negativity at “the way the Frazee Red Sox built up the New York Yankees from the nowhere class to contendership and championships” caused him to shy away from some trades with the Yankees. The phrase came from Burt Whitman in The Sporting News. Quinn said he’d passed up at least one deal which would have netted him a pitcher who later became a star. The 1928 Red Sox had a 19-game winner, Big Ed Morris. Red Ruffing, though, was a 25-game loser (10-25).
 
Bill Regan (75) and Phil Todt (73) drove in the most runs. Ira Flagstead scored 84 runs and Buddy Myer added 78.  The team won 57 games, but still finished 43 ½ games out and in eighth place. And attendance jumped to just under 400,000.

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1929 It was the last year of the 1920s, and the last year Bill Carrigan managed the Red Sox – and the team finished last once again. The team won one more game than in 1928. Both the Braves and Red Sox were given formal approval to schedule Sunday games; both clubs agreed with the City of Boston not to charge more for games on Sunday. Because of its proximity to a church, however, Fenway Park could not host Sunday games in 1929. The American League gave the Red Sox approval to play Sunday games in Revere, and the city of Revere presented blueprints for a 41,000 seat stadium there, but Bob Quinn worked out a deal with Braves owner Emil Fuchs to play on Sundays at Braves Field. There was some talk of departing Fenway Park altogether, and becoming co-tenants at Braves Field. 
 
On April 14th, 1929, the Braves shut out the Red Sox 4-0 in an exhibition game, the first organized Sunday baseball game ever played in the city of Boston. The Red Sox featured six former St. Louis Browns on their opening day roster: pitcher Billy Bayne, catchers Alex Gaston and Johnny Heving, and position players Wally Gerber, Phil Todt, and Kenny Williams. On April 28th, 1929, the Red Sox played the first regular season, professional Sunday ballgame in Boston, a 7-3 loss to Philadelphia, which drew 23,000 fans. The game also featured two Bosox brothers: pitcher Milt Gaston and catcher Alex Gaston. Despite Sunday ball, the team drew a couple of thousand less than it had in 1928.
 
Righthander Ed Morris was 14-14, and Red Ruffing was once again a 20-game loser (9-22.) The aforementioned Milt Gaston was 12-19, and local boy Danny MacFayden was 10-18. Jack Russell’s 6-18 season rounded out the difficult season for the starting pitchers. Only Russ Scarritt drove in more than 70 runs (71), and no one scored more than 70 runs (Jack Rothrock scored exactly 70). Only Rothrock hit as high as .300 – and he hit exactly .300. His six homers led the team; the top four sluggers together only hit 16, and no one else hit more than two.

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1930
Eighth place again. Heinie Wagner took over as field manager, but the team won eight fewer games and finished 50 games behind the first-place Philadelphia Athletics. Both Milt Gaston and Jack Russell lost 20 games. One pitcher they were without was Red Ruffing. It didn’t seem like it would be that much of a loss – he’d lost 25 games in 1928 and another 22 in 1929 – so after he was 0-3 in early May he was traded to the Yankees for Decric Durst and $50,000. Ruffing was 15-5, later ran off four consecutive 20-win seasons, and won 234 games for the Yankees. He is remembered today with a plaque in Cooperstown.

Two new players led in batting average – Earl Webb, who’d come from the Cubs for Whispering Bill Barrett, and Tom Oliver, playing in his first season in the big leagues. Oliver led the league in at-bats with 646, but struck out only 25 times, tying a league record for the fewest strikeouts by a rookie. He batted .293 on the season and appeared in 514 games for the Red Sox from 1930 through 1933, with 1,931 at-bats but without ever hitting even one home run. Since the start of the 20th century, no ballplayer has as many at-bats without at least one four-bagger. Webb, on the other hand, hit 16 homers, the most any Red Sox player had hit since Babe Ruth hit 29 in 1919.

In the first year after the crash in the stock market, attendance jumped up more than 10%, some 50,000 more fans coming to see the Sox. For the Patriots Day doubleheader against the visiting Yankees, the Red Sox struck a deal to lease Braves Field, for the anticipated gate. The fans got to see a 4-3 win in 15 innings in the morning game, and a convincing 7-2 win in the afternoon affair. It was the high point of the season.

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1931 For the first time since 1924, the Red Sox didn’t finish in last place in the American League, instead finishing sixth out of eight teams. Under manager John “Shano” Collins, the team won 62 games while losing 90 and finished 45 games behind first-place Philadelphia, who won the pennant for the second year in a row. Patronage at the ballpark fell by nearly 100,000 fans, though perhaps the attendance was also a reflection of the full onset of the Great Depression.
 
Earl Webb was the big story of the year. Building on his work in 1930, the Red Sox right-fielder drove in a team-high 103 runs and led the club with a .333 batting average. He kept hitting doubles all year long, and in a doubleheader on September 17, his 64th double of the year tied the major-league single-season mark for two-base hits during the first game, and his 65th double in the second game set a new record. He hit two more two-baggers by the end of the season, establishing a record of 67 that still stands nearly 80 years later.
 
The only Red Sox pitcher with a winning record in 1931 was Danny MacFayden who went 16-12 with a 4.02 ERA.

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1932 In early April 1932, Red Sox manager Shano Collins said “the boys have lost their inferiority complex” and would play with more confidence. Perhaps the season was jinxed, though. At a fish-fry in Alabama that was meant to send him off to spring training, pitcher Big Ed Morris was stabbed and died two days later.  As late as June 3, the Red Sox had still not managed to win two games in a row and had a record of 7-35. When they swept a doubleheader on the June 4, the Los Angeles Times headlined the game story, “Red Sox Amaze Own Boosters”. It wasn’t until over a month later that they won two in a row again - on July 12 and 13.
 
On June 13, the Sox traded their 1931 star, Earl Webb, to the Tigers for Dale Alexander and Roy Johnson. Alexander was as much a surprise in 1932 as Webb had been in 1931. Alexander was only hitting .250 at the time of the trade but he caught fire and ended the season with a .367 batting average, beating out Jimmie Foxx for the league lead.
 
On June 18, Collins called it quits. The team was 11-44, a .200 winning percentage. He wired team owner Bob Quinn saying that he was simply too discouraged. Collins recommended second baseman Marty McManus, who had been described in the Chicago Tribune as “one of the few Red Sox players still popular with Boston fans”, to take his place. McManus took the job but seemed realistic in his ambitions, as reflected in a Washington Post headline: “McManus Sets Seventh Place as This Year’s Goal of Red Sox.” 

Though the team played better for McManus, there was just too much ground to make up. The Red Sox only won 43 games in 1932, the lowest total in franchise history, and lost 111. For the ninth time in 11 years the Red Sox finished in last place in the American League. This wasn’t a team that inspired and only 182,150 paying customers passed through the Fenway Park turnstiles in 1932, an average of 2,365 per game.  The Yankees finished the season in first place, 64 games ahead of the Red Sox.

Sportswriter Bill Ballou points out that of the 41 players who appeared during the 1932 season, a full 15 of them never appeared in another major-league game.
 
On more than one occasion J. G. Taylor Spink, editor of The Sporting News, suggested that the Yankees should return the favor that Frazee had done them and turn a couple of good players over to the Red Sox to create more balance. Yankees owner Jacob Ruppert replied, “There is no charity in baseball.”  (The Sporting News)

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1933 Red Sox owner Bob Quinn admitted what everyone had pretty much understood: “I haven’t got the money to continue.” In February 1933, Tom Yawkey, who had just turned 30, bought the team from Quinn for a reported $1,500,000 and began to make plans to build a winning ballclub. On April 2, 1933, the team came close to being wiped out in a deadly nighttime train wreck. Not one player was seriously injured but the train’s engineer and fireman were both killed.
 
On April 20, 1933, Yawkey formally took over ownership of the team and named Eddie Collins as general manager. The two of them began to rebuild the team but, despite making progress, they could not fix the team overnight and Boston finished seventh in the American League with a 63-86 record. The only pitcher to win more than nine games for the Red Sox was Gordon Rhodes, who had 12, and Roy Johnson’s 95 RBIs led the team.

 In May, the Red Sox sent the Yankees $100,000 to buy pitcher George Pipgras (a 24-game winner back in 1928, but only a 16-9 man in 1932) and infielder Billy Werber.  By December, only two members of the 1931 Red Sox were still with the club and on December 12, the two of them, Bob Kline and Rabbit Warstler, were sent to the Athletics (along with $125,000) to acquire Lefty Grove, Max Bishop, and Rube Walberg.

In June, the Red Sox won four games in a row against the visiting Yankees and, as story goes, Yankees owner Jacob Ruppert was so incensed he called the mortgage that he’d held on Fenway Park since 1920. Boston owner Tom Yawkey was by no means strapped for cash; he paid it in full the following day.

In 1933, the Red Sox also bought a ballclub, the Reading, Penn. team in the New York-Penn League. It was the first step in the building of a modern farm system.

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1934 The first full year of Yawkey ownership was full of change both on and off the field. Having undergone a major renovation over the offseason, Fenway itself became home to many new players and a new manager, Bucky Harris. Among just the pitchers, General Manager Eddie Collins had added Lefty Grove, Wes Ferrell, Rube Walberg, Fritz Ostermueller, and Herb Pennock, who returned to the Red Sox after 11 years with the Yankees. The new arms helped the team finish 76-76 and in fourth place, reaching .500 for the first time since 1918.

Unfortunately, Grove was diagnosed with a sore arm before the season began and though Connie Mack offered to take him back, the Red Sox elected to keep him. Grove was 8-8 in 1934, but bounced back to win 20 games in 1935. Ferrell led the team in victories in 1934, with a 14-5 record and 3.63 ERA, and he didn’t even pitch until May 30.
 
Roy Johnson and Billy Werber were the stars on offense. Johnson drove in 119 runs and batted .320. Werber’s average was one point higher and though his 11 home runs were four more than Johnson, he only drove in 67 runs. However, Werber’s 129 runs scored led the team and no other player scored as many as 100 for the Red Sox that season. The team scored 820 runs and allowed 775. It was the first time since 1919 that the team had scored more runs than they had allowed.
 
Yawkey was pleased with the results of his second season, but he wasn’t done yet.  Before October was over, he brought Washington’s player/manager, shortstop Joe Cronin, to the Red Sox, reportedly for $225,000 and shortstop Lyn Lary. By the end of 1934, Yawkey’s expenditure on the Red Sox, including renovations of Fenway Park, had already totaled around $3,000,000 and his investments were already paying off in enthusiasm among fans as attendance leapt from 268,715 in 1933 to 610,640 in 1934.

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1935 For a while, it looked as though Tom Yawkey was finished spending money. On February 8, he announced that his spending to acquire ballplayers was over: “I am through buying.”  As we have seen, he had acquired the services of Max Bishop, Joe Cronin, Rick Ferrell, Wes Ferrell, Lefty Grove, Fred Ostermueller, George Pipgras, Dick Porter, Carl Reynolds, Rube Walberg, Bill Werber, and a few others, too – Mel Almada, Babe Dahlgren, Ski Melillo, and Bing Miller.   After the season, he added future Hall of Famer Jimmie Foxx and worked deals to acquire Doc Cramer and Eric McNair early in 1936.

Lefty Grove reverted to form and won 20 games, 20-12 with a 2.70 ERA. Wes Ferrell was 25-14 with a 3.52 earned run average. He was also quite adept with the bat – batting .347 and hitting seven homers (his brother – and frequent batterymate – Rick Ferrell only hit three homers, though he hit .301, quite good for a catcher.) Wes was so good he was sometimes used to pinch hit. On July 21, he hit a pinch-hit home run to win the game. On July 22 – the very next day – he was pitching and he homered again, high over Fenway’s left-field wall, breaking a 0-0 tie, and earning himself a W. (The next time the Red Sox won back-to-back games via the home run was in May 2005.)
 
Joe Cronin himself was no slouch in the batter’s box; he hit .295 and his 95 RBIs were tops on the team.

Rather than just break even as in 1934, the 1935 Red Sox won more games than they lost: 78-75. Progress throughout the season was very consistent; the team was never more than two games below .500 nor more than eight games above. They finished in fourth place again, 16 games behind the Tigers, taking their second flag in a row. Some of the excitement of a new park and a new team waned a bit, and attendance was down 10% from 1934. On one day alone, September 22, however, some 47,627 packed into the park over the course of two games, including around 5,000 roped off on the field itself with another 10,000 reportedly turned away. The Yankees took both games. Far fewer saw the game-ending triple play on September 7 which began with a ricochet off Cleveland third baseman Odell Hale’s head.

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1936 The Philadelphia Athletics continued to offer the same sort of service to Boston that the early 1920s Red Sox seemed to offer the Yankees: a source of baseball talent. In December 1935, the Sox picked up one of the greatest sluggers of the era - Jimmie Foxx, who came with right-hander Johnny Marcum. Connie Mack pocketed $150,000 and a couple of lesser players. The Red Sox added Heinie Manush in December, too. The next month, January 1936, the Red Sox obtained outfielder Doc Cramer and infielder Eric McNair. At the end of 1936, Pinky Higgins made the move, Philly to Boston – the 10th member of the Athletics to come to the Red Sox since the end of the 1933 season. Philadelphia finished last, 51-100. This was the team that had won three straight pennants from 1929-1931.
 
The turnover was so complete that by July 2, it was noted that every regular on the team, including its manager and coaches, had come from another team. For the first time in the 20th century, not one was homegrown. Yawkey’s checkbook had made this possible. Eddie Collins began to get busier trolling for younger ballplayers whom the Red Sox could develop, in one very successful West Coast trip signing two prospects named Bob Doerr and Ted Williams.
 
One of the bigger changes at Fenway Park in 1936 was that beer was available once again. Even after the December 1933 ratification of the 21st Amendment, repealing Prohibition, it had taken a while for state and city licensing boards to get their acts together. But by 1936, a patron could once again buy a glass of beer at Boston’s ballparks.
 
Foxx was everything that was expected of him. He hit 41 home runs, a full dozen more than any player in franchise history. He drove in 143 runs. He hit for a .338 average and walked over 100 times, for an on-base percentage of .440 – which helped him score a team-leading 130 runs. Doc Cramer scored 99 runs. The team as a whole scored more runs than the year before, but not enough to make up for a decline in the pitching.
 
The team was 74-80 and finished sixth. The team ERA had climbed from 4.05 to 4.39. Wes Ferrell won 20, not 25. Grove won 17, not 20. No one else won more than 10. And Ferrell was a handful – at least twice he appeared to leave the team without permission. On August 21, Cronin said he’d suspended him for the rest of the season. Ferrell said he’d thought he’d been waved out of the game and that’s why he’d walked off the mound and left the park, adding, “My only criticism of Cronin is that he’s too lenient.” Cronin relented and reinstated him, but in June 1937 packed him off in a trade.

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1937 The Red Sox finished fifth (New York was first again) at 80-72. The team hit more homers, had a higher batting average, and scored more runs, but again the pitching let them down.  Grove won 17 again (17-9, with a 3.02 ERA). Jack Wilson, who’d also come over from Philadelphia, in 1935, was 16-10. Bobo Newsom and Johnny Marcum each won 13. The team ERA slipped a bit more, to 4.48.
 
Foxx drove in 127 runs, Cronin drove in 110, and third baseman Higgins drove in 107. Foxx hit 36 homers, doubling Cronin’s 18. The team batting average was .281. The aforementioned Bobo joined the team in mid-June, along with right-fielder Ben Chapman (who hit.307), in a trade from Washington. The Red Sox sent Mel Almada to the Senators, along with the two Ferrell brothers, Rick and Wes. Cronin then uttered the sentence that summed up how he felt about Wes: “I sure hated to lose Rick – good ball player, hard worker, easy to get along with.”
 
There were some personalities on this team. Catcher Moe Berg had his best year as a backup in Boston.  The “Pulverizing Pole” – Fabian Gaffke – played backup in the outfield.  The center fielder had the given name of Colonel Buster Mills. And future Hall of Famer Bobby Doerr played second base behind Boob McNair, getting into 55 games, getting his feet wet, hitting .224 - still a teenager. The team tired some in the second half (they’d been in second place as late as August 13), but showed potential, portending well for the season to come.

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1938 The brash kid from California, Ted Williams, thought he was going to make the ballclub, but he rubbed Joe Cronin a little bit the wrong way in spring training with his cocksure demeanor, and Joe shipped him to the Minneapolis Millers for a year of seasoning under Donie Bush.  On leaving big-league camp, Williams declared to the one of the outfielders who remained, “I’ll be back, and I’ll be making more money than the three of you put together.” Williams won the Triple Crown in the American Association, leading in homers, RBIs, and average. And maybe matured a little.
 
Jimmie Foxx practically won the Triple Crown in the American League. He ranked first in the league with 175 RBIs, led the league in batting average with .349, and in most years the 50 home runs he hit would easily have won the home run title. He came in second. Hank Greenberg his 58. Foxx held the franchise record for HRs for more than half a century, until David Ortiz hit 54 in 2006. He still holds the franchise mark for RBIs. He drove in so many runs that he knocked in over 100 in Fenway Park alone, 104 to be precise.  With 305 votes out of a possible 336, he was named MVP for the third time in a seven-year stretch.
 
Joe Vosmik banged out 201 hits on the year, to lead the league. Fellow outfielder Doc Cramer collected 198 hits to finish second. It’s the only time Red Sox batters have finished 1-2 in the hits department.  Doerr’s .289 was the lowest among the primary position players. The Red Sox hit .299 as a team. Cramer, Foxx, and Vosmik all scored over 100 runs. Higgins drove in 106.
 
If they’d only had a standout pitcher or two, they could have crept closer to the first-place New York Yankees. Jack Wilson and Jim Bagby both won 15 games. Grove was 14-4 and Ostermueller was 13-5.
As it was, despite placing second in the standings, the Red Sox ended the year 9 ½ games behind the leaders.

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1939 This was a real transition year. It was the end of one era and the start of another. It was the year The Kid – Ted Williams – broke in with the Red Sox. He broke in with a bang, and more than 70 years later still holds the major league rookie records for most runs batted in (145) and walks (107), the American League record for slugging percentage (.609), and holds Red Sox team records for extra-base hits (86) and runs scored (131). In his first game, April 20 at Yankee Stadium, Williams doubled off Red Ruffing for his first major-league hit; more remarkably, he played in a game populated by a large number of future Hall of Famers: Cronin, Dickey, DiMaggio, Doerr, Foxx, Gehrig, Gordon, Grove, Ruffing, and Williams. Lefty Gomez was suited up and watched from the bench. It was the only game in which Williams and Gehrig both played.

Ted Williams played right field as a rookie. He was seen as a bit of a character, often practicing his batting stand while positioned in the outfield, and he would playfully lift his cap up by the button on top, saluting the fans.

Perhaps typifying some of the transition that occurred in 1939, on May 9, the Sox became the first team to travel by air, chartering airplanes to fly from St. Louis to Chicago.

The team finished in second place again, 89-62, but second place put them 17 games behind the Yankees. The Red Sox had the highest team batting average in the A. L., but New York had – by a large margin – the best ERA in the league, 3.31 to Boston’s 4.56.

Williams had the most RBIs, but Cronin drove in 107 and Foxx drove in 105. Foxx’s .360 average led the team, and his 130 runs scored was just one behind Ted. Lefty Grove was 15-4. Jack Wilson, Fritz Ostermueller, and Joe Heving each won 11.

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1940 The Detroit Tigers won the pennant, one game ahead of the Indians, who were in turn one game ahead of the Yankees. The Red Sox finished fourth, eight games behind the leaders, with a record of 82-72, seven fewer wins than in 1939. They had four players who drove in 100 or more runs: Jimmie Foxx, Ted Williams, Joe Cronin, and Bobby Doerr. A new center fielder took his place in the outfield: Dominic DiMaggio.
 
Foxx led in home runs – with 36, though his batting average dipped below .300 (to .297). Joe Cronin hit 24 homers, Williams hit 23, Doerr hit 22, and Jim Tabor hit 21. 
 
Unsurprisingly, given this production, it was the pitching which let the team down. The Red Sox had two 12-game winners – Jack Wilson and Joe Heving. No one won any more than a dozen games. Jim Bagby won 10. Emerson Dickman won eight. It wasn’t that any of the pitchers were particularly bad; it’s more that almost no one on the staff excelled.  The team ERA was a rather high 4.89 – and when he threw a couple of innings in the August 24 game against the Tigers, Ted Williams proved to be better than average: he allowed just one run, for a 4.50 ERA. It was the only time Ted ever pitched in the big leagues.
 
Attendance at Fenway Park leapt by nearly 150,000 people to 716,234 – the first time in franchise history that the team had drawn more than 700,000 fans.

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1941 This was the year that guaranteed the name of Ted Williams would forever be remembered in New England.

The July 8 All-Star Game saw Ted Williams come to the plate in Detroit’s Briggs Stadium with the American League down by one run, 5-4, with two men on base but with two outs in the ninth inning. He clouted a dramatic game-winning home run, and galloped and leapt around the bases. He always said it was his greatest thrill in baseball.

In spring training, Ted had suffered a slight fracture of his ankle sliding into second base, but he played on it all year long – and if there was a slight hesitation in his swing as a result, it may have helped his hitting. He flirted with hitting .400 throughout the season, but entered the final day just beneath the mark - .3996. Some say it would have been rounded up to .400 and he should sit out to preserve the mark. Ted knew .3996 was not quite .400 and didn’t want to take that approach. In the September 28 doubleheader at Philadelphia, Williams went 6-for-8 and lifted his average all the way up to .406. His on-base percentage of .553 was the best single-season mark ever achieved until Barry Bonds surpassed it in 2003. But no one has ever hit as high as .400 since Williams did in 1941.

There was another milestone reached in 1941. Lefty Grove won his 300th game on August 16. He’d pitched so well at Fenway Park in 1940 and 1941, he won 21 consecutive home games. That streak was broken in his second home start, but he was 7-7 on the year and reached the coveted 300 mark.

Ted drove in 120 runs, Foxx 105, and Jim Tabor 101. Ted scored 135, and Dom DiMaggio scored 117. Dick Newsome won 19 games, Charlie Wagner (12-8) led the club with a 3.05 ERA, and Joe Dobson won a dozen games, too. The club ERA was 4.19, almost three-quarters of a run better than in 1940.
The Red Sox climbed back up to second place (84-70), but were nevertheless a distant 17 games behind the New York Yankees.

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1942 Just 10 weeks after Ted Williams completed his .406 season, Japanese warplanes attacked American naval forces at Pearl Harbor, Hawaii. The United States was immediately plunged into war, and there was pressure for able athletes to join the war effort as well. After some debate as to whether or not to cancel the season for the duration of the war, President F. D. Roosevelt issued a “green light” for baseball to continue. He saw continuing America’s national pastime as an important element in maintaining morale, in part to remind people of what they were fighting to preserve.

Ted Williams was routinely exempted from service as sole support of his mother, but many condemned him as lacking the courage to enlist. Throughout spring training, however, servicemen at exhibition ballgames loudly cheered Williams.  His point made, both Ted and rookie shortstop Johnny Pesky enlisted in a U.S. Naval flight training program, attending classes in Boston at night and playing for the Red Sox during the day.
 
Williams’ average dropped 50 points – but his .356 average was still high enough to lead the league. His 36 homers and 137 RBIs led the league, too – Ted won the Triple Crown. It was the first of two Triple Crowns which Ted won (1947 being the second)...but he wasn’t elected MVP. Joe Gordon of the pennant-winning Yankees won that award, despite not leading the league in anything but striking out and grounding into double plays. The media had already turned on Ted.
 
Johnny Pesky hit safely 205 times, leading the league. His .331 average was second in the league only to Ted. Johnny came in third in A.L. MVP voting.

Tex Hughson had a great season pitching (22-6, with a 2.59 earned run average). Charlie Wagner won 14, and Jon Dobson won 11. The Red Sox had, for the second year in a row, again cut the team ERA by three-quarters of a point, all the way down to 3.44. The team won 93 games, the most wins they’d had since they won the pennant in 1915. But they finished in second place – to the Yankees again, nine games behind.

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1943 With the Second World War underway, teams made a number of adjustments in line with the war effort. Rather than take the trains to the south, the Sox held spring training at Tufts College in Medford, Massachusetts. Much of their work was done indoors. 
 
After the 1942 season, the Red Sox lost a lot of their players to military service: Williams, Pesky, and Wagner among them. The departure of so many leading players was widespread throughout baseball, and opened opportunities for other ballplayers. Leading the 1943 Sox in batting average was 34-year-old outfielder Pete Fox, with .288. Jim Tabor’s 85 RBIs (with 13 homers) led everyone else by 10; Bobby Doerr was second, with 75 (16 homers). No one scored more runs than Doerr’s 78. 
 
One of the outstanding individual accomplishments of the season was the pinch-hitting of Joe Cronin. As player-manager, he sent himself in to pinch-hit 42 times, and hit safely 18 times (.429), with 25 RBIs. During the June 17 doubleheader, he pinch-hit a three-run homer in the first game and did so again in the second game. Just two days earlier, he’d hit another three-run homer.
 
Ted Williams played one game in Boston. It was an exhibition game at Braves Field on July 12. Managing Ted’s team was Babe Ruth, and one of Ted’s teammates was Joe DiMaggio. Ted’s home run helped the “Ruth All-Stars” beat the Braves, 9-8.
 
Despite the weakened offense throughout the league, Tex Hughson struggled to win games. He had a very good 2.64 ERA, but was 12-15. Oscar Judd was 11-6 (2.90). No other Red Sox pitcher won more than Dick Newsome’s eight. The team may have suffered more than most. After winning 93 games in 1942, the 1943 Sox only won 68 games and finished in seventh place, 29 games out of first.

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1944 1944 was the year the St. Louis Browns won the pennant. Surprising things happened when team rosters were all askew during the war years. The Red Sox were 77-77 and finished in fourth place, a slot in the standings they held every day throughout September. But as late as August 29, they’d been in second place and had made a legitimate run for the pennant. Even as late as September 2, they were just a game and a half out of first place.

Bobby Doerr and 38-year-old Bob Johnson vied for offensive honors on the team (Johnson drove in 106 to Doerr’s 81, and hit .324 to Doerr’s .325), but Doerr was inducted into the Army on September 3. He’d been exempt with a punctured eardrum. Once he was taken, the Sox effort fell apart. The baseball writers knew how important Doerr had been to the team; despite missing almost all of September and being in the U. S. Army at the time of the voting, he was selected the team’s most valuable player.
 
His fortunes rising as the team showed more success, Tex Hughson was 18-5 (2.26). Mike Ryba, age 41, was 12-7, and 34-year-old Joe Bowman won more games than he’d ever won before, 12-8.
 
On August 13, 27-year-old rookie Rex Cecil entered a major-league ballpark for the first time in his life. He’d flown cross-country from San Diego (this took quite some time in 1944) and came into Fenway Park just in time to get fitted for a uniform and shown the mound, coming into a 6-6 tie in the ninth inning - with the bases loaded. Cecil kept the Browns from scoring for four innings. In the bottom of the 13th, Doerr homered and won the game.
 
After the season, Fenway Park hosted another event. On November 4, a huge crowd of around 45,000 people jammed into Fenway for the final campaign rally of President Franklin D. Roosevelt’s fourth presidential campaign. It was the last major campaign event of his life.

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1945 In the up-and-down years of World War II, 1945 was a down year – back down to seventh place with a losing 71-83 record. The 4.29 team ERA of the Red Sox pitching staff was the worst in the league. There was really Boo Ferriss and no one else.
 
Left-hander Earl Johnson was otherwise occupied. In February, Sergeant Johnson was awarded the Bronze Star for heroic action in Europe and given a battlefield promotion to lieutenant.
 
Before the season began, there were efforts afoot to pressure the Red Sox into integrating the ballclub. No team had yet signed an African American ballplayer, but Boston City Councilor Isadore Muchnick announced he would file a motion to deny the Red Sox their annual license to play on Sundays unless they pledged not to discriminate. On April 16, Jackie Robinson and two other Negro League players were given a tryout at Fenway Park. The Red Sox never followed up.
 
Three days later, Joe Cronin broke his leg and his playing career came to its end. He remained as manager through 1947. Now, Boo Ferriss was a rookie, age 23. His first game was a 2-0 shutout in Philadelphia. His second game was a 5-0 shutout of the Yankees at Fenway Park. He threw 22 innings before giving up a run, and by June 1 was 6-0, only having allowed three runs in his first six starts – maybe the best start of any pitcher in the history of baseball. By season’s end, Ferriss was 21-10 (2.96), with five shutouts. It was a long step down to the pitcher with the second-most wins: Emmett O’Neill and he was 8-11 (5.15).
 
Worthy of note was the May 26 game at Fenway Park, where fans saw a most unusual play – an unassisted double play by center fielder Leon Culberson. Bob Johnson, 39, led the offense with 74 RBIs and with 12 homers. Not atypically, given the war, there were a number of players on the team who appeared in just the one season.
 
The All-Star Game bad been scheduled for Fenway Park in 1945, but was canceled because of travel restrictions. There was instead an “All-Star replacement game” at Fenway, "Boston's United War Fund Game". The Red Sox beat the Boston Braves, 8-1.

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1946 The Red Sox won the pennant for the first time since 1918, and took the World Series to the seventh game. It was the first time the team ever lost a World Series.

All the stars of the pre-war years were back: Williams, Pesky, Doerr, DiMaggio. Of course, the stars of every other team were back, too, but the Red Sox set a blistering pace, winning 21 of the first 24 games. There had been efforts to woo some of the Sox away. While the team was in Havana for a couple of exhibition games, Mexican League officials made extravagant offers to both Johnny Pesky and to Ted. Neither signed on. And this was mainly a homegrown team. In the early Yawkey years, most of the Sox had been acquired from other teams – the Athletics and the Browns, for instance. But the February 28 issue of The Sporting News pointed out that every player but three on the spring training roster of the Red Sox was one they had developed themselves, or acquired from a minor-league club. The three exceptions were Rudy York, Hal Wagner, and Pete Fox.

The 1946 team was so spectacular in the early going that eight Red Sox were named to the American League All-Star team, which was held at Fenway Park. Rudy York at first base, Doerr at second, and Pesky at short were ¾ of the infield. Williams and Dom DiMaggio were 2/3 of the outfield. Hal Wagner was catcher, and Boo Ferriss and Mickey Harris were named to the pitching corps. In the July 9 game, Ted Williams hit two homers and drove in five runs, as the AL beat the NL, 12-0. Crowds flocked to Fenway all year long, and attendance passed one million for the first time – way past it: 1,416,944.
 
Ferriss suffered no sophomore slump; he won 25 games (25-6, 3.25). Even stingier with the earned runs was Hughson, 20-11, 2.75. Mickey Harris was 17-9. Williams hit .342 and Pesky – again hitting more than 200 hits – was .337. Ted’s 38 homers helped him drive in 123. York drove in 119 and Doerr 116. Williams got on base almost exactly half the times he came up to bat - .497 – and scored 142 runs, leading the league. He both drove in and scored the run that clinched the pennant. On September 13, with Hughson on the mound, Williams came up in the first inning and faced the new “Williams shift” designed to frustrate his pull hitting to the right side of the field. He crossed it up with a hit down the left-field line and circled the bases for an inside-the-park home run (the only one he ever hit). Neither side scored a run, and Hughson had a three-hit, 1-0 shutout. After the season, Williams was named MVP.
 
On October 1, as Boston waited for the National League to have a playoff for the pennant, the Sox brought in a number of top A.L. players, including Joe DiMaggio, and staged an exhibition game to help keep up their playing skills. An errant pitch hit Ted on the right elbow, and hurt him badly. He suffered with it throughout the Series, which saw him hit just .200 – at one point earning a headline because he bunted to get on safely. 
 
Rudy York’s 10th-inning home won Game One in St. Louis. The Red Sox were 104-50 for the regular season, and most people felt that Boston was likely to beat St. Louis, but the Cardinals fought valiantly and the seventh game went into the bottom of the eighth inning tied, 3-3. Dom DiMaggio had hurt his leg on the basepaths after doubling in two to tie the score. Had the swift DiMaggio been in center field, Enos Slaughter never would have tried to score from first base on a looping ball to left-center�instead, it was a year that ended in disappointment for Red Sox fans.

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1947 Something new came to Fenway Park in 1947 – seven light towers were erected, allowing the first night games at the ballpark.
 
Ted Williams was the star once again, winning his second Triple Crown by leading the league in batting average (.343), home runs (32), and runs batted in (114). For the third season in a row, Johnny Pesky hit more than 200 hits.
 
The pitching staff which had been so superb in 1946 suffered a rash of arm and shoulder problems – Ferriss became mortal (12-11, 4.04) and Hughson had the same record, but with a 3.33 ERA. Earl Johnson, back from the battlefront shared the 12-11 record, with a 2.97 ERA. Joe Dobson was the best pitcher on the staff (18-8, 2.95) and Denny Galehouse had a good year, 11-7 (3.32).
 
The Sox drew well again, marginally better than in 1946, but the team finished third, 83-71. The Yankees were so strong that even second-place Detroit was 12 games behind. Boston was two games behind the Tigers.
 
After the season, the Sox executed a major trade with the Browns, acquiring pitcher Jack Kramer and infielder Vern Stephens. They sent St. Louis six players and $310,000 of Tom Yawkey’s money. Stephens led the American League in RBIs in both 1949 (tied with Ted Williams) and 1950.
 
One might think that winning the Triple Crown would earn you the MVP award, but (as in 1942) a Yankee beat out The Kid. This time it was Joe DiMaggio, by one vote. Joe had a good year, but Ted’s average was 28 points higher, he hit 12 more homers and drove in 17 more runs. DiMaggio led the league in nothing at all – though New York won the pennant and Joe was clearly the leader on that Yankees team. For the third time, The Sporting News named Williams as Major League Player of the Year.

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1948 The Red Sox finished the 1948 regular season in first place, but they were tied with the Cleveland Indians, necessitating the first playoff in American League history.
 
It was their first season under new manager Joe McCarthy, who had managed the Yankees for 16 years, winning pennants in eight of the 16 seasons. Now McCarthy had a great team to work with and he took it to the wire. Ted Williams chipped in with a .369 batting average and drove in 127 runs. Johnny Pesky was shifted from shortstop to third base, and struggled at the plate, dropping below .300 to the first time (down to .281), but he was tied with Ted for runs scored at 124 apiece, just below Dom DiMaggio’s club-leading 127. Vern Stephens had taken Pesky’s shortstop slot and contributed big on offense, out-homering Williams 29 to 25, and driving in 137 runs to lead the Red Sox.
 
This was southpaw Mel Parnell’s rookie year, and he came through with a 15-8 season (3.14). Joe Dobson was 16-10 (3.56), Jack Kramer, who’d come over with Vern Stephens in the November 1947 trade with the Browns, paid off nicely, too: 18-5, though with a higher 4.35 earned run average. Earl Johnson and Ellis Kinder each won 10. Denny Galehouse was an even 8-8.
 
The ballclub stood 96-58 at the end of the 154-game season. Unfortunately, so did the Indians, under the management of Lou Boudreau. A single-game playoff to determine the winner was set for Octoeb 4 at Fenway Park. Boudreau started a rookie, 19-game winner Gene Bearden (his ERA led the league), while McCarthy went with a hunch, handing the ball to the more veteran Galehouse instead of the well-rested Parnell, or perhaps Kinder. Galehouse had pitched well against the Indians once or twice earlier in the season, though perhaps McCarthy forgot the pounding the Tribe gave him at Fenway on August 25, when he lost a 9-0 game. A four-run top of the fourth drove Galehouse out and did the Red Sox in. Boudreau was 4-for-4 in the game, with two solo home runs. Bearden won his 20th game and the pennant, and this was the loss that dropped Galehouse to his 8-8 final mark.
 
Just as in Game Seven of the 1946 World Series, the Red Sox were eliminated at almost the last moment.

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1949 For the third time in the last four years, the 1949 season went right to the final day. Once more the Red Sox came up short. They were 96-56 after the close of play on September 30. The Yankees were 95-57. No one else was remotely close. The final two games were head-to-head between Boston and New York, in Yankee Stadium. All the Red Sox had to do was with either game, and the pennant was theirs. New York was ruing the loss of the 12-game lead they’d held on the Red Sox the Fourth of July.
 
They’d put together a great season. Mel Parnell won 25 games (25-7, with a 2.77 ERA), breaking the record held by Babe Ruth for most wins by a Red Sox left-handed pitcher. Ellis Kinder was 23-6. Vern Stephens continued to drive in runs, knocking in 159 to lead the league – though he shared the honor with Ted Williams, who also drove in 159. Simple math shows us it was 318 RBIs by just two players. Doerr drove in 109 more. The 43 home runs that Williams banged out led the league, and he would have had his third Triple Crown if he’d managed one more hit. He finished at .3427 but George Kell of the Tigers finished .3429. Ted did win his second Most Valuable Player award, though.
 
Williams also showed a consistency at the plate which no one has ever matched. From July 1 through September 27, he got on base in every ballgame he played – 84 games in a row reaching base safely. Ted played in every game, all year long, and there were only five games in which he didn’t reach base. In 1949, Dom DiMaggio hit safely in 34 consecutive games; his streak still stands as the longest hitting streak in franchise history.
 
It was almost like déjà-vu. After coming back from being down 4-0 to win the October 1 game, 5-4, the Red Sox entered the final game of the season needing a win to capture the flag. It was, again, a 155th game (there had been a 14-14 tie in Detroit on May 3). The Yankees held a slim 1-0 lead off Ellis Kinder through seven innings, but then scored four times in the eighth. The Red Sox didn’t give up, and scored three runs in the top of the ninth. They had the tying run at the plate, but they fell short once again. As Bill Nowlin wrote, it was the “third time in four years that the Sox were facing sudden death...and died.”  Joe McCarthy had managed the Red Sox for just two full seasons.  In both 1948 and 1949, the team lost the pennant on the final day.

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1950 After finishing one win short in 1948 and one win short in 1949, mustering what it took to gear up for the 1950 season could not have been easy. The 1950 Red Sox, however, had one of the most potent hitting lineups in the history of the game. For starters, the team batting average was .302. Utilityman Billy Goodman led the league in hitting with a .354 average, but only after Johnny Pesky (who hit .312 himself) unselfishly volunteered to ride the bench so that Goodman could collect enough at-bats to qualify. Walt Dropo hit .322 and drove in 144 runs (one fewer than the major-league record set in 1939 by Ted Williams), leading the league in RBIs (tied with teammate Vern Stephens). Dropo’s 34 home runs remains a Red Sox rookie record. Dropo was named AL Rookie of the Year.

Goodman played every position in both the infield and the outfield, a true utilityman, though his opening to play so often came out of misfortune for Ted Williams. Ted had been on his way to a monster year before the All-Star break; he already had 83 RBIs in the half-season and 25 home runs. As it was, he drove in 97 in just 89 games. But double the figures from the first half of the year, and Ted would have 50 homers and 166 RBIs. And the Red Sox probably would have had a pennant.

It was a break that did Ted in – a broken elbow suffered in the first inning of the 1950 All-Star Game when he crashed into the Comiskey Park wall. He knew it was sore, and hurt, but he didn’t know it was broken, so he played all the way through the eighth inning, making plays in left and singling in a go-ahead run in the fifth inning.

This Red Sox team scored the most runs of any year in franchise history: 1,027.  That was an average of 6.67 runs per game.  In just one month - June - they scored 245 runs! In just two games, they scored a record 49 runs, annihilating the St. Louis Browns 20-4 on June 7 and then 29-4 on June 8, the most runs ever scored in one game by a big-league team. Williams had two home runs and five RBIs. Dropo had two home runs and seven RBIs. And Bobby Doerr outdid them both with three home runs and eight RBIs.

But manager Joe McCarthy suffered a stretch where he lost 11 of 13 games (and was maybe struggling with some inner demons as well), he resigned on June 23. It was said that he was “physically exhausted” following a bout with influenza and pleurisy. Coach Steve O’Neill took over as manager. The team was in fourth place at the time, but worked its way back in contention – even with Williams away. The first day he was back fulltime was September 15, and he went 4-for-6 with a three-run homer on top of the right-field pavilion room at Sportsman’s Park in St. Louis.

Dom DiMaggio led the league in stolen bases. Only two regulars finished with an average below .300 and those were Doerr (with 120 RBIs) at .294 and Stephens at .295. It was the pitching that had come up a bit short, though not one pitcher had a losing record. Mel Parnell’s 18-10 led the club. Joe Dobson was 15-10. Kinder won 14 and Stobbs won 12

The Red Sox closed to within a game and a half on the AL lead. Three days later, they took second place, but by the end of the year they were in third place, 94-60, and a tantalizingly-close four games behind the Yankees.

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1951 The 1951 Red Sox opened up the season at Yankee Stadium, and lost the first two games of the year. The team then came home for the Fenway home opener and lost to Philadelphia 6-3 with Mel Parnell taking the defeat.

On May21, with Ted Williams getting 3 hits including a home run, Boston beat Dizzy Trout and Detroit 9-7. The team continued winning until Memorial Day when they played NY in a doubleheader at Fenway before 35,824. The first game went 15 innings with Ted Williams hitting a two run home run in the eighth to send it into extra frames, and Vern Stephens won it, 11-10 with a walk off home run. In the second game Boston won their 10th in a row, with Ted going 3-5 and beating Vic Raschi 9-4.

The last game before the All-Star break again Boston beat Raschi and NY, putting Boston second one game back of Chicago, and one game ahead of NY.

In a game on Friday the 13th right after the break, Boston went 19 innings with the White Sox. Boston scored two runs in the top of the 19th, only to have Chicago come back with three runs to win the game 5-4, ending Boston’s eight game winning streak, but still they were tied for first.

On July 28th Boston and Cleveland went 16 innings with Boston beating Bob Feller with a grand slam by Clyde Vollmer, 8-4.

Boston stayed close to the lead until September 17. On that day behind a 4-4 performance by Ted Williams Boston beat Chicago 12-5 and stood 2.5 games out of first with a record of 86-55.

From there, Boston lost 12 out of there last 13 games finishing up 11 games behind the Yankees again.

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1952 The 1952 season arrived for Boston  on January 8th the US Marines announced that they planned on bringing back Ted Williams to active service, even though he already spent three years in the service during WWII.

On April 30th Ted’s last game before flying jets in Korea, the Red Sox held a Ted Williams Day at Fenway. Ted was given a new Cadillac, and both teams held hands and sang Auld Land Syne in a pre-game ceremony. In the game Ted came up for his last at bat,  with the score tied at 3-3 in the seventh, and he hits a two run home run to win the game 5-3. Ted only played in 33 games, and ended up with a .400 average on the year.

In a move that saddened many of the Red Sox faithful, on June 3rd the Red Sox traded Johnny Pesky and Walt Dropo to Detroit for George Kell and Dizzy Trout.

The 1952 Red Sox were a great team at home with a record of 50-27. Unfortunately they were the complete opposite on the road. The road record for the year was 26-51, putting the team at 76-78 overall. Boston ended in sixth place 19 games behind the NY Yankees.

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1953 In February 1953 Ted Williams landed his jet on one wheel, while on fire on his way to 39 missions over Korea. Nobody thought he would be playing for the Red Sox in 1953. Ted was flying with john Glynn, and developed an inner ear infection, he was sent back to the states toward the end of the summer.

By the time Ted was able to play full time, there were only 32 games left in the season and Boston trailed the Yankees by 15 games.

The 1953 team did set one record that still stands today. On June 17th against the Tigers the Red sox won the game 17-1.

The next day June 18th, Boston scored 17 runs in the seventh inning. In one inning of play the Red Sox had 14 hits and Detroit didn’t make any errors, leaving the score 22-3 after seven. Gene Stephens had three hits in one inning.

With Ted gone most of the year, the team just wanted to stay close until he could return.
On May 20th against the Browns they went 14 innings before Del Wilber hit a walk off home run of Don Larson putting Boston only three games out of first.

But by June 4th when Bob Lemon beat Mel Parnell 8-1 the team was 10 games out of first.

In 1952 and 1953 the Red Sox lost to the rules of the armed forces, and we as a baseball nation missed out on two more years of the greatest hitter that ever lived.

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1954 On the first day of spring training in 1954 Ted Williams dove after a ball in the outfield and broke his collarbone and was out until mid May. In April he told the baseball world that 1954 would be his last year.

When he finally returned to the lineup he went 3-4 in a loss to the Tigers, Boston was already dead last 8.5 games out of first. Ted went on to another spectacular year batting .345 highest to win another batting title but a rule change prohibited him from getting it. By today’s standards with the 162 schedule Ted had 526 plate appearances which should make him as the league champion. Because he was walked 136 times on the year he did not qualify.

On June 23 the team pulled off a triple play in the first inning and then played 16 more before losing 8-7 in 17 innings.

One rookie that everyone watched was Harry Agganis of BU football fame. A member of the College Football HOF the Golden Greek turned down $25,000 from Paul Brown of the Cleveland Browns, for $35,000 from Tom Yawkey and the Red Sox. The local hero from Lynn, MA made his first Fenway start on Opening Day April 15, 1954. Harry started off by going 2-3 with a triple, and Boston won the game 6-1.

On August 21 Boston beat NY beat NY 10-9 with two runs in the 12th. The biggest problem in 1954 was the Indians had more victories than anyone in history with 111, at the end of the year Boston trailed by 42 games.

On September 26, Ted Williams said this would be his last game. In the bottom of the seventh he hit a home run. It was not his last at bat, as he batted in the eighth and popped up to short. Boston won 11-2 and we thought we were at the end of an era.

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1955 1955 had many changes for the Red Sox. The team had a new skipper. Pinky Higgins had taken over the team. The year started out without Ted Williams again, as he retired from the game last September. After Ted’s divorce came through in May he changed his mind and came back to baseball. Ted ended up missing 42 games. By the time he suited up Boston was already 12 games behind NY. Starting from Ted’s first game through the rest of the season Boston really played better than NY, but never could catch the Bronx Bombers

The day before Ted played his first game for Boston, Boston beat the Washington Senators 16-0. Rookie Norm Zauchin had 10 RBI and three home runs during the game. Tom Brewer pitched the shutout, his first win, after six losses to start the season.

On June 2nd Boston played at Chicago with Ted Williams hitting third and Harry Agganis fourth. Harry had two hits, including a double, that should have been a triple, but Harry was too tired to run to third. That night he became sick on the train, and the Red Sox had him flown back to Boston, to enter the hospital, and he never left. On June 27th, Harry sat up in his bed for the first time, and had a massive pulmonary embolism, and he died within minutes. Harry Agganis was 26 years old.

When Boston lost that last game Harry played, they were 14.5 games out of first. On August 9th in front of 61,678 at Yankee Stadium Willard Nixon beat Whitey Ford 4-1 and Boston was only 1.5 games out of first place.

On September 7, Boston was 80-56 only three games out of first, after Frank Sullivan defeated Jim Bunning and the Tigers 7-4.

Boston went in to their annual tailspin at this point losing 14 out of their last 18 games, ending up 12 games behind the Yankees again.

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1956 In 1956 the Red sox opened up the season in front of 32,563 at Fenway Park, with a complete game victory by Frank Sullivan over the Orioles 8-1. Boston was led by three hits each from Ted Williams and Jimmy Piersall.

Tom Brewer had his finest year with a record of 19-9, and Frank Sullivan chipped in with a 14-7 record. Ike Delock chipped in relief, with a 13-7 mark. The rest of the staff was nine games under .500.

Ted Williams qualified for the batting crown for the first time since 1951. He finished second in the league behind Triple Crown winner Mickey Mantle, who led at .353, with Ted at .345.

One of the highlights of the season was on July 14 when Mel Parnell threw a no hitter against the Chicago White Sox, in one hour and forty-two minutes at Fenway Park before 14,542.

Parnell threw the first no-hitter in Fenway since1926 when Ted Lyons of the white Sox beat Boston 6-0. The last Red Sox no-hitter was by Howard Ehmke in 1923.

Three days later on July17th Ted Williams hit his 400th home run in a 1-0 victory over Kansas City. When Ted crossed home plate he spat in the direction of the sportswriters.

On August 7th he spat again, and was fined $5,000. He made an error in the top of the 11th in a scoreless game with the Yankees. Then leading off the same inning he hit a walk off home run to win it. The fans went from booing Ted to cheering him, and his response was to spit toward them. The next day after hitting another home run, he put his hand over his mouth, to show he had learned his lesson.

The 1956 team won more than they lost, finishing at 84-70, but never made a run at the Yankees and finished in fourth place

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1957 The Red Sox of 1957 never really made a run on the Yankees like most of the other years. The closet they got to them was on May 28th, 5.5 games behind. They were trailing 5-4 in the last of the ninth when Ted Williams tied the game with a home run over the bullpen. NY then scored 3 in the tenth, and won 8-5, and Boston never got closer than 6.5 games the rest of the year.

In 1957 there really were only two things to watch. We could see Frank Malzone fielding ground balls or Ted Williams swinging a bat.

1957 was the first year baseball gave out Gold Glove awards, and they only had one team for all of baseball the first year. Frank Malzone won the Gold Glove for third basemen three years in a row, starting with 1957. (A guy named Robinson won it the next 16.)

Ted Williams and Mickey Mantle staged a year long battle for the batting crown. On August 30th Ted’s birthday he led Mantle .3768 to .3764.
On September 22 in NY, the Yankees refused to pitch to Ted. He only saw one strike in fifteen pitches. He hit a grand slam with that one pitch. He pulled away from Mantle and ended up at .388. Mantle batted .365 He was 38 years old, and if he could have legged out five infield hits, he would have hit .400 again.

Mantle was voted MVP even though Ted hit 38 home runs to Mick’s 34, and Ted’s OPS was 1.257 compared to Mantle’s 1.177

In 1957 the Red Sox didn’t win any pennant, but we witnessed one of the greatest offensive performances except for Babe Ruth. We certainly knew that we got to see the greatest hitter that ever lived, Ted Williams.

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1958 The 1958 Red Sox were not a very colorful team. In fact you could say part of their problem was they still refused to integrate their team, and by 1958 every other team in baseball had at least one player with a different skin color on it.

The Red Sox still had a winning team finishing at 79-75, but they were a different team at home than they were on the road. At home they had the best record in the league 49-28 but on the road they were 30-47.

On September 21, Ted Williams was swinging a bat and it slipped from his hands flying into the stands and hitting Joe Cronin’s cleaning lady in the head. He was seen crying in the dugout but then hit a double to drive in a run a 2-0 victory over Washington.

Williams was trying to will himself to another batting title, and his closest competitor was his teammate Pete Runnels. On the 153rd game of the year, Ted went 3-4 and was batting .327, and Runnels was 4-6 at .324.

On the last game of the year Runnels went 0-4 and ended at .322. In Ted’s last game he was 2-4, including a game winning home run, and a double, as Boston won the finale 6-4.

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1959 The 1959 season started out with Pinky Higgins still the manager but by the second half of the year he was replaced by former Cub and Giant Billy Jurges.

1959 began a stretch of sub .500 teams that lasted until Dick Williams in 1967.

Ted Williams started off the year with a stiff neck, and missed the first 25 games. When he finally stated hitting he had aliments that would not go away. 1959 was his only year he did not hit .300, and he didn’t come close hitting .254. He ended the year with 492 home runs, and he knew that Lou Gehrig hit 493, giving Ted thoughts that he might play one more year, just to see if he could hit number 500.

Opening Day at Fenway only drew 16,467 to see dick Gerent hit a home run, and Ike Delock beat the Senators 7-3.

On July 21 the Red Sox went on a 13 game road trip. It was at this time that they introduced Pumpsie Green to Red Sox baseball. The 1959 Boston Red Sox were the last team in baseball to integrate with an African American player. Pumpsie was a utility guy at best, and just wanted to play baseball. At the end of July Boston brought up their first black pitcher in Earl Wilson. Earl was wild early, but he gave promise that he could be a good foundation to build on.

It wasn’t until August 4th, that Pumpsie Green got to step to the plate in Fenway Park.

It took a few years before Boston could level the playing field, by waiting until 1959

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1960 The 1960 Red Sox went in to the season, without much hope.  The team did not have a chance to beat the mighty Yankees. The Red Sox ended up at 65-89, 32 games behind NY.

The pitching staff was led by 24 year old, Milton, MA native, Bill Monbouquette. Mombo was the starting pitcher in the first 1960 All-Star game, and led the 1960 Red Sox with 14 victories.

Pete Runnels led the AL in hitting with a .320 average. It was his first batting title, in 1958 he was nosed out on the last day of the season by Ted Williams

One of the highlights of 1960 included Frank Malzone Day. Frank was given a banner saying “Best Wishes to the nicest guy in baseball.”   Frank’s gifts included a 1960 Thunderbird and a hunting shotgun. Frank won his third Gold glove in 1959. His wizardry at third was one of the reasons to love the Red Sox.

Right from the start in 1960 we knew it was Ted’s last year. The biggest sports icon in Boston history was giving it one last stand to see if he still was the “best hitter in baseball” or if 1959 was the end of the line

The previous year, 1959 was Ted’s worst ever, because he was hurt most of the year. He wanted to prove he had one good year left. He told Tom Yawkey to cut his salary from $125,000 to $90,000 because of his poor year.

Ted started off with a 500 foot home run on Opening Day in Washington. He soon passed Lou Gehrig at 493.

On June 17th in Cleveland he hit a Wynn Hawkins pitch over Tito Francona’s head for his 500th home run of his career. He still needed at least 11 more to catch Mel Ott and finish third on the All-time home run list. Only Foxx at 534 and Ruth finished higher

Ted knew in his heart if he never had to fight in two wars he might have ended ahead of Babe Ruth’s 714

Ted only had 310 at bats in 1960, but he finished with style His OPS in his last year was 1.096. He hit 29 home runs or one in every 10.7 at bats.

On September 24 on Jimmy Fund day at Fenway, Cardinal Cushing stood on the field with Ted Williams as the honored him for his Jimmy Fund efforts.


Ted Williams was scheduled to end his career on the final weekend in NY. He told the Red Sox he would like to end his career in Boston and skip going to NY for the final three games.

On September 28th, a cold a damp Wednesday afternoon before 10,454 Teds Williams took his last swings at hitting a baseball. When he came up in the last of the eighth inning, he, and everyone knew this would be his last time at bat. Boston trailed, in a meaningless game 4-2 with right hander Jack Fisher on the mound for the Orioles. Ted had hit a drive. Ted hit a long fly ball in the fifth, but the heavy air knocked it down, and kept it in the park.

When he came up in the eighth, he was only trying to do one thing, end his career with a home run. He put a famous Williams swing into Fisher’s pitch and sent it into the Red Sox pen. Everyone stood and cheered, and hoped that Ted would tip his hat, but Ted could not do something he had not done in twenty years. Hew crossed home with his head down, and disappeared into the dugout. Manager Pinky Higgins sent him to left to start the ninth, and then had his caddy Carroll Hardy replace him before the inning started. One last time for Ted to tip his hat, but he would not, and jogged into the dugout for the last time

 One wonders if he struck out his last at bat against Jack Fisher, would he have gone to NY and had his last swing in Yankee Stadium?

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1961
For the Boston Red Sox 1961 was the dawn of a new era. Gone was the shadow that was Ted, and a new rookie would fill his shoes for the next 23 years. Carl Yastrzemski took over left, and the thought of replacing a legend, caused him anxiety at the start but soon Fenway would be his home for another Hall of Fame career

The team’s record improved to 76 and 86, as the league changed to a 162 game schedule. The Yankees won 109 games that year, putting them 33 games ahead of Boston.

Boston boasted the Rookie of the year, pitcher Don Schwall, who also made the All-Star team. The second All-star game was played in Fenway Park. (There were four years where baseball had two All-Star games, and Fenway’s had the second game on July 30, 1961.) Ted Williams had the honor of throwing out the first ball. The only other time that Fenway had been home to the All-Star game was in 1946. Ted Williams was the star of that game. He went 4-4 with two home runs, including the first home run ever hit off Rip Sewell and his ephus pitch.

Don Schwall was the only Red Sox to make the game played in Fenway Park. At the time, the rookie right hander was 11-2 on the year, and the brightest hope for Boston’s future.

The AL only used three pitchers in the 1-1 tie called by torrential rains after nine innings. Schwall pitched the middle three in his home park and gave up the only run to the NL.

The highlight of the year came on Father’s Day June 18th.

In the first game of a doubleheader with the new expansion team called the Washington Senators, the Senators scored five in the ninth, to take a 12-5 lead.

Boston had two outs and a runner on first, in the last of the ninth trailing 12-5, and proceeded to score eight runs to win the game. Jim Pagliaroni tied it with a grand slam, and Russ Nixon’s single won it.

In the nightcap Pagliaroni hit a home run in the 13th to win it 6-5.

Bill Monbouquette had a night to honor him at Fenway Park put together by his neighbors in Medford, MA.

Monbo set a Red Sox record with 17 strikeouts in a night game against Washington on May 12. He won the game 2-1 giving up five hits, and the only run was unearned in the ninth with two outs.

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1962 In 1962 the Red Sox finished he eighth place 19 games behind NY, with a record of 76-84.

Pete Runnels won his second AL batting title with an average of .326. Carl Yastrzemski was up to .296 with 19 home runs and 84 RBI.

The highlights of the year included two no-hitters. The first time the Red Sox did that since 1916.

On June 26 against the Angels at Fenway, Earl Wilson was matched against Bo Belinsky. Wilson hit a home run to give himself the lead, and he pitched a no-hitter to win 2-0. Yastrzemski made a leaping catch at the wall, and Malzone a spectacular catch in the eighth. In the ninth Eddie Bressaud made a great running of a soft liner up the middle. The game ended with Gary Geiger snaring a 400 foot smash by Lee Thomas to right center.

Wilson was heralded as the first American League African American to throw a no-hitter. Tom Yawkey gave him a $1,000 bonus. At the time Boston had only two black players on their roster. Pumpsie Green, the first man to integrate the Red Sox in 1959, and pitcher Earl Wilson.

On August 1 in Chicago against Early Wynn, Bill Monbouquette struck out seven while giving up one walk but no hits. Boston scored a run in the eighth, and Monbo had his no- no, 1-0.

Another highlight was the Golden Anniversary Day when Fenway honored the year of 1912 when Fenway opened, and won the World Series. Nine members of that team were on the field for the festivities

The biggest excitement for any player was rookie Dick Radatz being named “Fireman of the Year.” Radatz threw 125 innings in 62 games. He was named “The Monster” and he threw probably faster than any Red Sox pitcher in history.

On September 9th against the Yankees, Radatz came on in the seventh inning, gave up a run his first inning, then pitched eight shutout innings, until Boston scored a run in the 16th to win the game for him.

The most excitement cause by any player on the Red Sox in 1962 was by six foot eight inch pitcher Gene Conley. Conley played basketball for the Boston Celtics and baseball for the Red Sox. On July 30 he left a bus in traffic and three days later tried to board a plane to Israel. He was fined $2,000 by Boston and returned to pitching for the Red Sox.

In September the Red Sox signed a 17 year old kid just out of high school from Swampscott, MA. His name was Tony Conigliaro.

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1963
The 1963 Red Sox had a new manager, 43 year old Johnny Pesky took over the reigns, and hope sprung eternal that spring. Opening Night was in Anaheim, CA, and Red Sox faithful had to wait until 10:00 at night for the first pitch to be thrown. It was over by midnight as the Angels beat Mombo 4-1 at Dodger Stadium in exactly two hours.

The team was led by the first 20 game winner since Mel Parnell, a full decade ago, by Bill Monbouquette at 20-10.

Carl Yastrzemski won his first batting title with an average of .321. Newly acquired Dick Stuart led the league with 118 RBI, and Dick finished with 42 home runs.

Dick Radatz had one of the greatest years ever for any closer. He finished with a 15-6 record with 132 innings in 66 games and an ERA of 1.98 with 162 strikeouts. The Monster appeared in the All-Star game and had five strikeouts in two innings.

Pesky had the team playing inspired baseball, until June 26 in a game against the Indians. Boston was 10 games over .500, and only 2.5 games behind the Yankees, with a five game series in the Bronx next up.

Boston trailed 6-3 with two on, and two out in the last of the eighth inning. Dick Williams belted a long drive destined for the Red Sox bullpen. Right fielder Al Luplow took off in full pursuit after the ball. The ball soared over the three foot bullpen wall and Luplow soared after it in a full head first dive. There were only 6,725 fans in attendance, but they witnessed what has been described as the greatest catch ever made in baseball. Al Luplow dove headfirst over the wall and caught the ball inches from the bullpen mound.

The story is kept alive by this 1985 Sports Illustrated story,
“He Leaped A Wall To Catch The Ball, But Here's The Catch: Who Saw It?”
http://sportsillustrated.cnn.com/vault/article/magazine/MAG1120015/1/index.htm  but anyone that remembers listening to this game, it was a catch that you never forgot, even if you never saw it.

The Red Sox never recovered from that play, as they went to NY and lost the last four games of that series, and never were heard from again, regarding pennant in 1963, as they finished up seventh, at 76-85.

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1964 The 1964 season began with an 11 inning game in the Bronx, with Whitey Ford pitching the whole game, but Boston winning on a wild pitch by Ford. Dick Radatz pitch 3 1/3 innings in relief for the victory.

The next day was Opening Day at Fenway, and for many, the chance to see the local phenom. Not since Ted Williams in 1939 had a rookie sensation given some much promise to Red Sox faithful.

When Tony Conigliaro stepped to the plate for the first time at age 19, one could say this was the birth of a new nation. It only took one pitch for all who ever saw him to believe. The first pitch he saw from Joel Horlen went soaring over the monster in left onto Lansdowne Street.

Tony had 20 home runs by July 26, but he kept getting hit, and spent more than a month on the disabled list.

The 1964 pitching staff was led by Fireman of the year, Dick Radatz.

He finished 67 games on the year, and pitched 157 innings.

He set a record for relief pitchers by striking out 181 in one season.

Radatz pitched in his second consecutive All-Star Game, but it ended on a sour note as the Monster gave up a three run home run to Johnny Callison with two out in the bottom of the ninth to lose the game.

Bill Monbouquette won 13 games and Earl Wilson 11, but neither won more games than they lost, and once again Boston finished well behind the Yankees in eighth place at 72-90.

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1965
The 1965 Red Sox were led by another new manager, former Cub Billy Herman. Opening Day was in Washington, and Lyndon B. Johnson threw out the first ball. Bill Monbouquette hurled a complete game victory, 7-2 with Tony Conigliaro batting clean up, and going 3-4 with a home run.

Opening Day at Fenway was on April 17th, and Boston was led by four RBI by Frank Malzone and a home run by Carl Yastrzemski as they beat the Orioles before 18,018

On July 27 at Fenway Park Tony Conigliaro hit three home runs in a doubleheader, including a grand slam in the second game.

The next day he was hit on the wrist, and missed the next three weeks.

There wasn’t much to cheer about except to see if Tony Conigliaro would win the home run title, which he did with 32.

Carl Yastrzemski was the only regular to hit over .300, and Captain Carl ended at 312.

The pitching staff held promise with a 23 year old rookie, Jim Longborg, who ended up 9-17 in his first year.

Earl Wilson led the starters with 13 victories, but when a team loses 100 games there aren’t that many victories to go around.

The highlight of the year was on September 16, when Luis Tiant of Cleveland matched up with Dave Morehead, in front of 1,247 on a Thursday afternoon at Fenway Park.

Morehead walked Rocky Colavito to lead of the second, and that was the only base runner he allowed all game. Dave Morehead finished his no-hitter by fielding Vic Davalillo’s come-backer and tossing to first for the final out, beating Tiant 2-0

1965 was the eighth year in a row that they lost more than they won, and finished at 62-100, 40 games behind the Twins.

Things never looked so low for the Fenway Faithful as on September 29th. The paid attendance that day was 409. There aren’t many people that could say they were there when Tony Conigliaro hit a game winning home run as Earl Wilson beat the California Angels 2-1

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1966 1966 found the Red Sox in ninth place again. This time it was different because the one team that they finished ahead was the New York Yankees. It was only by one half game, but it was the first time since 1948 that Boston finished ahead of NY.

Opening Day went 13 innings against the eventual World Champion Baltimore Orioles. Boston lost on a balk by Jim Longborg in front of 12,386 at Fenway.

One of the highlights of the year came against the Yankees on June 4. Back in 1966 Boston had a Saturday midnight curfew. The game against NY was into the 16th inning, as the clock struck closer to midnight. At 11:53, Jim Gosger stepped up against Dooley Womack, and  hit a ball that landed in the pen, and Boston secured a 6-3 victory beating the clock and the Yankees with a seven minutes to spare.

Tony Conigliaro still only 21, led a youth parade. Tony C. hit 28 home runs, his average for his first three years.

Other newcomers included players like Joe Foy (23) at third, and George Scott (22) at first. For the first time in their history the Red Sox finally had some African American players that could really play baseball. The best of them just got a September call up, Reggie Smith

Scott hit one of the longest home runs ever, a 500 foot blast against Whitey Ford, on April 26, into the third deck in left field at Yankee Stadium. Big George ended with 27 dingers his rookie year.

With 23 year old Rico Petrocelli at shortstop, Boston’s future seemed bright.

Jim Longborg and Jose Santiago were the only pitchers to win double digits.

The losing continued for the eighth straight year under .500. This was one more reason that Billy Herman was fired, and Pete Runnels took over the last eight games of the year.

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1967 1967 started with a new man in charge. Dick Williams was named manager, and he left no doubt who was running the ship. “There will be no Captains on this team:” proclaimed the new leader, and then he said something that would not soon be forgotten.

“We will win more than we lose,” said manager Williams. For a team that at lost for eight straight years, it was quite a bold statement.

On Opening Day at Fenway before 8,324 fans, Jim Lonborg beat Chicago 4-3.

Things got hot in June when White Sox manager Eddie Stankey called Yaz an All-Star from the neck down.  A tense game with rookie Gary Waslewski making his first start went 0-0 into extra innings at Fenway on June 15th. In the 11th Chicago scored, and Boston was down to its last out. With Foy on first, Tony Conigliaro was down 0-2. He took three straight pitches, each close to a strike. Then he exploded and sent a drive high into the night. The Red Sox had won, and all of a sudden anything seemed possible. Maybe this was an impossible dream, but it sure did feel real at the time.

More than 10,000 fans greeted the team at Logan airport on July 23. The team had just won ten in row, and now our kids were in second. A twi-night doubleheader with the Twins in July, was the largest crowd of the year, as pennant fever swept the hub.

Then one night in August all Fenway went silent. Tony Conigliaro was struck in the eye by a fastball, and never would be the same again. Only one month before, Tony C became the youngest player in the American League to reach 100 home runs. The team would not quit and swept the Angels that weekend. On Sunday they trailed 8-0 and came back to win 9-8.

1967 was called the year of the “Great Race” with four teams in the hunt. It all came down to the last weekend of the year. 

Minnesota, Detroit, Boston, and Chicago, all within 2 games of each other. The White Sox fell first leaving three teams on the last day.

Boston need to beat the Twins and hope the Tigers lost to the Angels. The Twins were leading Longborg and Boston 2-0 going into the sixth. Gentleman Jim was the first batter and he bunted down the third base line. He beat it out for a hit, and Boston went on to score 5 runs in the frame. Yastrzemski threw out Allison at third in the eighth, and when Rico Petrocelli squeezed the last out on a pop up by Rich Rollins, there was “pandemonium on the field.” As announced by Ken Coleman.

Carl Yastrzemski was spectacular going seven for his last eight in the last two games. Yaz ended up with the triple crown and was MVP. Jim Longborg won the Cy Young, at 22-9. Dick Williams was manager of the year, and Dick O’Connell was executive of the year.

Boston won the pennant the last day by one game, and faced the St. Louis Cardinals in the World Series.

Jose Santiago was the first Puerto Rican to start a World Series game, but he lost to Bob Gibson 2-1. Longborg pitched in game two, and took a no-hitter into the eighth but won the game and tied the Series one up.

Boston lost the next two in St. Louis, and Longborg kept them from being eliminated in five by winning his second straight complete game.

Gary Waslewski was the surprise starter in game six, a kid from Berlin, CT staring in the Fall classic. Boston set a record with three home runs in one inning and won 8-4 setting up the seventh game.

“It will be Longborg, then Champagne,” claimed manager Williams, but pitching on two days rest, Lonborg could not match Bob Gibson.

St. Louis won the game 7-2, but from this time on it was a whole new nation expecting more wins than losses every year. To put this in perspective, the Red Sox had eight straight losing seasons before Williams made his bold statement. In the 44 years hence the team has only had six losing seasons.

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1968 1968 did not start out well thanks to a skiing accident by Jim Longborg that winter. Jim was not able to pitch until May 28, and he never pitched the same like he did the year before.

Tony Conigliaro was forced to sit out the whole season because his vision never came back like before.

Ken Harrelson took up the slack in right field, and hit 35 home runs. Carl Yastrzemski won his third batting title, as he was the only player in the American League to hit over .300, as he ended at .301. In this year of the pitcher, pitching became so dominant, that they lowered the mound at the end of the season.

On Opening Day at Fenway 32,849 came to see the pennant raised in center field. The Tigers won the game, with old friend Earl Wilson beating Boston 9-2 in a complete game.

On Patriot’s Day at Fenway, a new tradition was started in 1968. The Red Sox played their games in the morning, to try and finish before the marathon reached Kenmore Square. On this Friday morning, Boston beat Cleveland 9-2 behind a home run from Rico Petrocelli and three hits from Carl Yastrzemski. A complete game effort from Gary Waslewski secured the victory

The Red Sox ended up in fourth place with a record of 86-76. They were 22.5 games behind the Detroit Tigers, but finished ahead of the team in NY. It was the third straight time they finished ahead of the Yankees, and they had not none that since 1918.

The Red Sox picked up two new pitchers in separate trades, Ray Culp and Dick Ellsworth. In an odd twist of fate these pitchers were once trade for each other by the Cubs and Phillies. In 1968 they both led the Red Sox with 16 victories.

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1969 In 1969 Tony Conigliaro made his first comeback. He missed the entire season before, and nobody knew if he could ever hit a baseball again.

Opening Day was in Baltimore. The Orioles were a team that would win 109 games this year. The game went into extra innings and Tony Conigliaro hit a two run home run in the tenth to give Boston the lead. Frank Robinson matched that for Baltimore in the home half. In the 12th inning Conigliaro score a run that proved to be the game winner. It had been a year and a half since Tony had seen a live pitch, and many Red Sox faithful hoped he could see as well as before. He ended up with 20 home runs, and it looked like he might see well enough to improve the next year.

With Tony C back in right, the team felt it could trade Hawk Harrelson for more pitching. They traded Harrelson to Cleveland for Sonny Siebert in April.

The staff was led by Ray Culp at 17-8 and rookie Mike Nagy that went 12-2. Sonny Siebert was 14-10. Reliever Sparky Lyle ended up 8-3 on the year.

In one day night doubleheader in June the season resembled these games. In the first game the Yankees scored three runs in the top of the 11th. Boston came back with four runs to win it. In the second game Boston was one strike away from a sweep. Roy White, then hit a three run triple and Boston was beaten by NY.

On August 18th, two years to the day he was struck in the eye, Tony Conigliaro hit a three run home run in the last of the eighth to tie a game with the Twins 6-6. The team won the game in the tenth inning, and one only hoped that Tony C’s sight would be as good as before

The Red Sox ended up 87-75 in third place, still ahead of NY, in the new East Division. Dick Williams was fired the last week of the year. It was only two years before, that he was the Manager of the Year.

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1970 Eddie Kasko was the 38 year old rookie manager that took over the 1970 Red Sox. With a record of 87-75 The Sox finished third, well behind the World Champion Baltimore Orioles and second place Yankees. Boston was first in the league in attendance with 1,595,278. Since the Impossible Dream team of 1967 Fenway attendance has ranked first or second until they were third in 1979. In fact the 1979 team set a record for Fenway at 2,353,114, but finished behind NY and LA

Yaz hit 40 home runs and glory be, Tony C hit 36. Conigliaro led the team with 118 RBI. The Red Sox as a team led the league with 203 home runs.

Seven players hit at least 16 home runs on the team. Tony’s younger brother Billy Conigliaro hit 18. It was a fun team to watch, and the Fenway faithful supported them well.

The pitching staff was led by veterans Gary Peters, Ray Culp, and Sonny Siebert The trio accounted for 48 of the team’s 87 victories.

On Opening Day in NY Gary Peters beat Mel Stottlemyre with 3.2 innings of relief from Bill Lee, to win 4-3.

Opening Day in Boston was against the Yankees. Once again Tony Conigliaro hit a home run on an Opening Day, and Boston prevailed 8-3. It was the fourth time in his career that Tony hit a home run on an Opening Day. From 1964 through 1970 there were 10 Opening Days that Tony Conigliaro batted in.

In a game in Minnesota they had a 43 minute bomb scare, and then Tony Conigliaro hit the only bomb of the game, as Boston prevailed 1-0.

On June 22 Sports Illustrated ran the cover of Tony with the black eye. Every Red Sox fan was happy to see him playing again, and hitting home runs, like he did before getting hit.

The Red Sox had even created a section at Fenway called Conigliaro’s corner, where they closed off a triangle section in center field, to give Tony a better background to see with.

The saddest day for any Red Sox fan in 1970 was on October 11th, on that day Dick O’Connell announced that Tony Conigliaro had been traded to the Angels for a second baseman, Doug Griffin.

I am sure Dick O’Connell had many other letters, but at least he replied to mine.

Personally we don’t like to see ballplayers leave, but we do feel that we must do whatever we can to field a winning team.
Sincerely
R. H. O,Connell
October 23, 1970

I wrote to him, and told him, “Trading Tony Conigliaro was trading the heart and soul of the team.”

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1971 The 1971 Red Sox finished in third again at 85-77. Heading into June they led the division, and the highlight of the year way on May 28th, when 8-0 Sonny Siebert was matched up with 10-1 Vida Blue.

Friday night at Fenway was packed to the rafters with 35, 714 watching Rico Petrocelli hit two home runs and make Siebert 9-0 with a 4-3 victory over Oakland.

The following week Tony Conigliaro returned as a California Angel on June 4th, which turned out to be the last day of the year that the team was in first place. On June 6th Tony Conigliaro took his last swing in Fenway Park. Tony played in 25 more games and then retired, because of his diminishing eyesight

The team hit 161 home runs second in the league. They were led by Reggie Smith with 30 and Rico hit 28, followed by Scott with 24.

Yaz had a down year, as he heard more boos than cheers with only 15 home runs and batting .254.

The team had a bright future with homegrown talent all under 23. Carlton Fisk, Cecil Cooper, Ben Oglive, Rick Miller and Juan Beniquez.

A free agent was signed in May, which would soon be the hero of a Nation. Luis Tiant made the Red Sox roster, but started off in 1971 by going 1-7. Bill Lee was only 24 and Roger Moret 21.

The 1971 team had four starters with ten or more victories, giving hope that the next year’s team could compete for the division.

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1972 The 1972 season started off with two blockbuster trades. First Jim Longborg, George Scott, Billy Conigliaro, and Ken Brett, were sent to the Brewers for Tommy Harper, and Lew Krause.

Then in Spring Training Sparky Lyle was traded to the Yankees for Danny Cater.

Neither move made the Red Sox better, but both the Brewers and Yankees improved greatly.

The Red Sox did improve by having the “Comeback Player of the Year,” in Luis Tiant. Tiant was 15-6 on the season with an ERA of 1.91 the first time since 1917 that any Red Sox pitcher was under 2.00. Looie became the darling of the fans, with his Fu Manchu mustache, and unusual delivery, where he faced center field before throwing toward the plate.

The team also had Rookie of the Year, and Red Sox, MVP Carlton Fisk from Charlestown, NH, who became an instant fan favorite. Pudge won a Gold Glove his rookie year, and also made the AL All-Star team.

1972 was the year baseball had its first work stoppage. A two week strike made for an unbalanced schedule, which in reality cost the Red Sox at a chance to play in the post-season. Boston ended up playing 155 games and Detroit played 156, causing Boston to lose by one half game.

The season came down to the last three games of the year, with the Tigers in Detroit. Boston went in with a half game lead, but whichever team took two out of three, would win the division.

In the first game Boston was trailing 1-0 when Yastrzemski hit a shot that looked like a two run triple, but Luis Aparicio fell down rounding third, and Yastrzemski was tagged out with no place to go. From that moment on, everyone knew they were done. They lost that game 4-1 and the next night Luis Tiant got beat by a hit by Al Kaline, and Detroit won the division with one game to play.<

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1973 In 1973 the Red Sox won 89 games but finished a distant second to the Baltimore Orioles. The team was led by two pitchers Luis Tiant and Bill Lee.  Tiant was even better in 1973 than he was the year before. He won 20 games. The first Red Sox since Longborg in 1967, Luis had 23 complete games.

Opening Day was against the Yankees and Boston and NY really didn’t like each other, mainly because of the competition at catcher. Munson and Fisk were linked like Williams and DiMaggio. Boston against NY. Fisk hit his first career grand slam and also hit another as well, as Luis Tiant pitched a complete game with Boston beating the Yankees 15-5.

Of note from this game Ron Bloomberg became the first Designated Hitter in baseball when he walked in the first inning. Fenway Park had the earliest start of any American League game; hence the first DH was at Fenway Park

The Sox were led by Tommy Harper and his record setting 54 stolen bases. Fisk led the team with 26 home runs, and Reggie Smith was the only starter over .300, at .303.

What took place on August 1st on a Wednesday afternoon, between Fisk and Munson, made the cover of the 1974 Red Sox yearbook.

The score was tied 2-2 in the top of the ninth with one out. Munson was on third and Gene Michael the batter. The Yankees tried a suicide squeeze and Michael missed the ball.

 Munson tried to give Fisk a forearm to the throat and Fisk jammed the ball in Munson’s side.
The two competitors flipped completely over and landed on home plate. They both came up swinging while standing toe to toe on home plate.

That’s when Michael gave Fisk a punch from behind, up until then it was only two warriors going at it one on one.  Both benches erupted and Fisk, Munson, and Michael were ejected. The Yankees failed to score, and Boston won in the bottom of the ninth.

Each year it seemed as though Boston and NY would have at least one fight on the field. Now with new leaders in Fisk and Munson, the rivalry was reaching a peak again.
In 1973 the Red Sox won 89 games but finished a distant second to the Baltimore Orioles. The team was led by two pitchers Luis Tiant and Bill Lee.  Tiant was even better in 1973 than he was the year before. He won 20 games. The first Red Sox since Longborg in 1967, Luis had 23 complete games.

Opening Day was against the Yankees and Boston and NY really didn’t like each other, mainly because of the competition at catcher. Munson and Fisk were linked like Williams and DiMaggio. Boston against NY. Fisk hit his first career grand slam and also hit another as well, as Luis Tiant pitched a complete game with Boston beating the Yankees 15-5.

Of note from this game Ron Bloomberg became the first Designated Hitter in baseball when he walked in the first inning. Fenway Park had the earliest start of any American League game; hence the first DH was at Fenway Park

The Sox were led by Tommy Harper and his record setting 54 stolen bases. Fisk led the team with 26 home runs, and Reggie Smith was the only starter over .300, at .303.

What took place on August 1st on a Wednesday afternoon, between Fisk and Munson, made the cover of the 1974 Red Sox yearbook.

The score was tied 2-2 in the top of the ninth with one out. Munson was on third and Gene Michael the batter. The Yankees tried a suicide squeeze and Michael missed the ball.

 Munson tried to give Fisk a forearm to the throat and Fisk jammed the ball in Munson’s side.
The two competitors flipped completely over and landed on home plate. They both came up swinging while standing toe to toe on home plate.

That’s when Michael gave Fisk a punch from behind, up until then it was only two warriors going at it one on one.  Both benches erupted and Fisk, Munson, and Michael were ejected. The Yankees failed to score, and Boston won in the bottom of the ninth.

Each year it seemed as though Boston and NY would have at least one fight on the field. Now with new leaders in Fisk and Munson, the rivalry was reaching a peak again.

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1974 The 1974 Red Sox finished third, behind Baltimore and NY with a record of 84-78.

The team was led by Tiant and Lee, two pitchers that started 75 games on the year. Luis Tiant threw 311.1 innings with an ERA of 2.92. He was a twenty game winner for the second year in a row, at 22-13 the true ace on the staff. Bill Lee chipped in with 17 victories Juan Marichal was four games over .500 near the end of his great career.

The Red sox lost their leader, Carlton Fisk, on a play at the plate on June 28. The game with Cleveland was tied 1-1 with two out in the ninth, when George Hendrick hit a double sending Leron Lee crashing into Fisk at the plate with the winning run. Fisk severely damaged his knee on the play, and did not play again until the next year

On August 23rd on a Friday night at Fenway, before 35,866 Luis Tiant won his 20th game a complete game, six hit shutout as Boston beat Vida Blue and the Athletics 3-0

A reporter from the Hartford Courant asked Bob Montgomery what his thoughts were after the game. At the time the Red Sox led the Eastern Division by seven full games. “Nobody is catching us now,” was the headlines the next day, Montgomery guaranteeing a division title.

Ten days later on Labor Day September 2, in a twin bill with the Orioles, Luis Tiant lost the first game 1-0 with Boston getting three hits. In the night cap Bill Lee lost by the same score and the team had but two hits in this game. The lead that was insurmountable was down to one game. When Jim Palmer shut out the Sox for the third straight time the next game, Boston was in second place. The swoon continued all month ending up 7 games behind the Orioles at the end.

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1975 1975 felt like the Impossible Dream season, right from Opening Day. It was almost too good to be true. Batting clean up was Tony Conigliaro. After being out of baseball for four years, Tony C. was back in Boston hitting right behind Yaz, like it was a decade ago.

 In the first inning when Tony Conigliaro came up, there was an ovation unlike any other. Tony lined a single to right, and at that moment roses were tossed from the roof boxes, and landed on top of the Red Sox dugout. Yaz and Tony pulled off a double steal, and Yaz scored the first run of the season, with Tony Conigliaro, getting the first hit of 1975.

The truth was, Tony’s eye was not getting better, and by the end of April Conigliaro was hitting .120. He played his last game on June 12th, and he never will be forgotten in the hearts of any Red Sox fan that ever saw him play.

The team had the Gold Dust twins. Two rookies, Fred Lynn and Jim Rice were carrying the Red Sox in the summer of 1975.

The highlight of that season was a Sunday doubleheader at Shea Stadium in front of 53,631. The first game was a tense duel between Bill Lee and Catfish Hunter.  Fred Lynn made an amazing catch to keep the game scoreless. Boston scored an unearned run in the ninth, and when Bobby Heise squeezed the last out, a pop up near the mound by Chambliss, he took the ball out of his glove and spiked it on the mound, for punctuation of the victory. In the second game Roger Moret pitched another shutout a Boston won 6-0, putting NY 12 games behind them.

With Lynn being named Rookie of the Year, and MVP, this team was destined for October glory. The curse was heard from as Jim Rice was hit on the hand and forced off the roster with only two weeks left in the season.

The Red Sox swept the three time defending champion Oakland Athletics, and faced the mighty Cincinnati Reds in the World Series that brought baseball back to America.

Carbo, and Fisk, and the catch made by Evans, are known to people of Red Sox Nation like Paul Revere and his ride.

The question that was asked for years to come was “Why did Johnson take out Willoughby?

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1976 1976 was a hangover year for the Red Sox. .The manager that took them to the seventh game of the World Series only eight months ago, Darrell Johnson, was fired by the team in July. Don Zimmer became the new leader of the club in 1976.

 They still had Luis Tiant winning 21 games again, but they lost the other half of the tandem, Bill Lee injured his arm in a brawl against the Yankees. Piniella had barreled into Fisk and both teams came out swinging. At the end Lee was holding his arm, like a bird with a broken wing.

On Opening Day at Fenway 32,127 came out to see the Red Sox raise the American League pennant to fly in center field all year. Carlton Fisk hit a home run and Reggie Cleveland beat Cleveland 7-4

Fred Lynn hit .314 to lead the team and Yastrzemski drove in 102 on the year, but the magic was gone from a year ago.

The Yankees opened their new Yankee Stadium and a game with the Red Sox summed up the whole year in July.

The Red Sox led 5-3 with two outs in the bottom of the ninth, when Tom House came in to face Chris Chambliss, with two men on base. House threw one pitch, and Chambliss hit a three run walk off to win it for NY. Chambliss would do this again in October to bring the pennant to NY.

There was one day when hope seemed eternal that year. On June 15 the Red Sox paid $2 million to Oakland for Joe Rudi and Rollie Fingers. For one game they each wore a Red Sox uniform in Fenway Park. The picture in the Boston Globe the next day confirmed that they really were on the Red Sox

Bowie Kuhn did not think it was fair that one team could buy the best players on another team by just giving them money.  He said the trade of two players for $2 million was not in the best interest of baseball, and the Red Sox were forced to return these two stars to Oakland.

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1977
In 1975, free agency hit baseball for the first time, but it wasn’t until the 1977 season that the Red Sox spent money to buy a star.

Bill Campbell was bought from the Twins for five years and $1 million. This seemed at the time, an outrageous amount for one player.

Soup won 13 games and saved 31 that first season for Boston. He hurt his arm pitching so often, and never was the same for the rest of the contract with the team.

The team won 97 games but ended up trailing NY by 2.5 games at the end. They played well at the end winning 21 out of their last 30 games.  For the entire season they never trailed by more than 4 1/2 games.

George Scott returned to Boston and hit 33 home runs. As a whole they led the league with 213, including 39 from Jim Rice and 30 from new third baseman Butch Hobson. Eight players hit 15 or more.

During a three game sweep of the Yankees in June the Red Sox hit 16 home runs

On July 4th the fireworks at Fenway were really flying out of the park, The Red Sox hit seven solo home runs and eight all total in defeating the Blue Jays 9-6. The 1977 team was known for its power and was called the “Crunch Bunch.” In one ten game stretch the team hit 33 home runs

Four batters drove in more than 100 runs led by Rice with 114 and Butch Hobson at 112. Fisk (batting .315) and Yastrzemski both had 102.

Six pitchers on the team won double digit wins, and Bill Lee was close behind at 9-5.

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1978 In 1978 the free agent the Red Sox signed was the Yankees World Series MVP from a year ago Mike Torrez.

The Sox picked up a local kid trading with the Angels. For pitcher Don Asse they were able to put Somerville’s Jerry Remy at second base

The Red Sox made a huge trade at the end of Spring Training. They obtained Dennis Eckersley from the Indians, for Ted Cox, Bo Diaz, Rick Wise and Mike Paxson.

The team was led by MVP Jim Rice.

Jim Ed had 213 hits and 46 home runs. His 406 total bases had not been not in some time.

Eckersley led the team with a 20-8 record, and Bob Stanley in relief became know as the vulture with his 15-2 record.

Boston led the Yankees by 14 games on July 19, and it looked Boston would be playing in the post season for sure.

Then there was weekend in September that became known as the Boston massacre, Boston was four games up going in, and tied when it ended on Sunday. On Saturday it was Guidry against Eckersley, and when Duffy dropped a pop up to give the Yankees a 1-0 lead, most in the park felt the game was over.  The last game Boston put Billy Sprowl on the mound.  Zimmer said “this kid has ice water in his veins.” He never lasted the first inning, and this one game ruined his whole career. The Yankees outscored Boston 42-9 for the sweep.

The Red Sox trailed NY by one game with eight games to play. Each team won seven in a row, and on the last day of the year Tiant shut out Toronto, and rick Waits beat the Yankees setting up the most dramatic game ever played between the two arch rivals


The game of the century was in Fenway Park. It started out with Yastrzemski taking Guidry deep in the first and Boston took the lead.

Bucky Dent came up in the seventh, with Boston leading 2-0. Dent fouled a pitch off his foot and took a long time to get back in. He switched bats with Mickey Rivers, and some claim that the bat he used was corked. When Reggie hit a solo home run off Stanley in the eighth, the Yankees led 5-2.

Remy led off the eighth with a double and Yaz singled him in to cut the lead. Lynn followed with an RBI and now the Yankee lead was one.

In the ninth Burleson walked with one out and Jerry Remy hit a screaming line hit in to the sun in right field, where Lou Piniella could not see the ball. He stuck out his glove like a goalie, and to his delight he found the ball. What would have been at least a game tying double, and maybe the greatest inside the park home run, turned into only a single, with Burleson only reaching second base. Jim Rice followed with a long drive to right, that would have tied the game, if Burleson reached third.

Instead it left it up to Carl Yastrzemski with runners on first and third with two outs. Yaz did not mean to swing and hit a check swing pop up to third. Craig Nettles made the catch, and Boston would wait until 2004 to finally get their revenge.

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1979 The 1979 Red Sox won 91 games. They became the third consecutive Red Sox team to reach at least 90 victories. It didn’t put them close to first though, as the Orioles won going away.

This was not an easy year to root for the Red Sox. Gone was the leader since 1972, Luis Tiant. And worse thing of all he was now on the Yankees.

Bill Lee was gone as well. Lee was traded to Montreal for a second baseman named Stan Papi.. The fans never liked Papi and batting .188 got him out of  Fenway after one year

Bernie Carbo, another fan favorite no longer was with the Red Sox.
All the Buffalo heads were now gone from the team. Bill Lee, Ferguson Jenkins, and Bernie Carbo

The team still had Rice and Lynn hitting together.
Each of them ended with 39 home runs on the year.

1979 was a milestone year for Carl Yastrzemski.

On July 24th at Fenway Park Captain Carl hit his 400th home run in a 7-3 victory over Oakland.

On September 12th against the Yankees at Fenway Park, Carl Yastrzemski became the fourth player and first in the American League to have 3,000 hits and 400 home runs as he singled of Jim Beattie in Boston’s 9-2 victory over the Yankees

The year never felt like the fans were behind them and one game in September showed it all was about money. The Red Sox Mike Torrez matched up with Yankee Luis Tiant on September 4. It seemed like each pitcher belonged on the other team.

The Yankees scored an unearned run in the eighth, and Tiant beat Torrez, and many that rooted for the Boston Red Sox were glad Luis Tiant got the victory.

The only reason Steinbrenner signed Tiant was to take him away from the Red Sox.

If he stayed with Boston he might have put up enough numbers that would have brought him to Cooperstown.

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1980 1980 was the end of “The Gerbil” era in Red Sox baseball. Don Zimmer whose other nicknames included “Popeye” would be fired with four games left in the 1980 season.

Under Zimmer the Red Sox won more than 90 games or more three years in a row, and his 78 team won 99. He will be remembered as the stubborn manager that would not stop playing his players, even when they were hurt. Butch Hobson made an error an night, with bone chips in his elbow, and Zimmer would not take him out. He also would not let Bill Lee pitch the final game of the massacre weekend, instead going with Bobby Sprowl, and that game cost the Red Sox the division.

The 1980 Red Sox were a team hit hard by injuries, much like their counterpoint 30 years in the future. Butch Hobson, Fred Lynn, and Jerry Remy all missed more than 50 games. Jim Rice was hit on the wrist again, taking away much of his power from this point on. At one point Yastrzemski, Lynn, and Rice were all on the DL.

They still won more than they lost and ended up 83-77 on the year, but in fifth place.

The starting line up in 1980 had seven players from the Boston farm system.
The only new outsider was 38 year old first baseman Tony Perez, the major free agent signing for Boston going into the 1980 season. Boston paid $1.2 million for three years for the man that helped beat Boston in the 1975 World Series. Boston has had a history of getting aging home run hitters from Jimmy Foxx, to Orlando Cepeda, to Perez

One of the Fenway highlights was on May 13 at Fenway Park; Fred Lynn became the 14th Red Sox player to hit for the cycle in a 10-5 romp of the Twins.

The pitching future looked bright with three young southpaws all rookies in 1980. Bruce Hurst, John Tudor, and Bobby Ojeda all had promising futures in Boston ahead of them.

December 22, 1980 turned out to be the worst day of the year for the Red Sox. That was the date the team mailed out contracts to Fred Lynn and Carlton Fisk one day too late. An arbitrator ruled that because the contracts were late both Lynn and Fisk could be free agents

 Two icons of the team left Boston because of a postage date.

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1981 The 1981 Red Sox season had many changes to deal with. There was a new manager of the team. Former Yankee Ralph Houk, nicknamed “the Major” from his rank as an Army Ranger in WWII, took over the Red Sox.

Opening Day was against the White Sox at Fenway, and it was as if someone was writing a script. Carlton Fisk the hometown hero had changed his Sox from red to white, and was playing in Fenway for his first game as a visitor. The Red Sox led the game 2-0 going into the eighth inning, there were two on and two out, and Carlton Fisk stepped to the plate against Bob Stanley. Fisk didn’t hit the foul pole, but he did clear the screen, in leading his new sox over his old one.

Besides losing Fisk and Lynn, the Red Sox also traded away Butch Hobson and Rick Burleson. In return the received Carney Lansford and Mark Clear. Lansford won the batting title with a .336 average. (In 110 years of AL baseball a Red Sox has won the batting crown 25 times)

The 1981 baseball season was unlike any other in the history of the game. The league endured a player strike from June 12 until July 31. It was decided the season would be split in two halves. All the leaders as of June 12 were declared the first half winners.

With one week left in the second season the Red Sox were tied for fifth, but only one half game out of first place.  There were 26,136 in Fenway when Yaz hit one out and Boston beat Cleveland 5-4, putting Boston to as close as they would come to first place. From there they ended up losing five out of the last eight, and finished in fifth place for the second half.

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1982 In 1982 the first game at Fenway, was again with the White Sox and Carlton Fisk in town, Fisk didn’t homer, but he did go two for three with an RBI double in Chicago’s 3-2 victory over Boston.

On May 1, 1982 Fenway Park was host to the first ever Red Sox Old Timers Game. The headliner of course was 63 year old Ted Williams, who put on the Red Sox number nine, for the first time since 1960. Ted was the star of the game, not for his hitting but for his fielding. Ted came running in and made a shoe string catch on a bloop hit off the bat of Mike Andrews. The crowd went wild. The next day his catch made the headlines in all the Boston papers.

 In Ted’s only at bat he flied out. Bobby Doeer did hit a triple and Bob Montgomery the only home run.

In the real game the first place Red Sox, scored two runs in the last of the 12th to defeat the Texas Rangers 6-5.

1982 also featured the rookie season for 23 year old Wade Boggs. Boggs hit .349 his rookie season,  but he did not have enough at bats to qualify for the batting crown, soon would earn five sliver slugger awards.

On August 8th the Red Sox defeated the White Sox 12-6, (Carlton Fisk hit another home run at Fenway) and only trailed the Milwaukee Brewers by 2.5 games.

They never got closer than that the rest of the year, and finished up at 89-73.

Since Dick Williams made his famous statement in 1967, “We will win more than we lose,” the Boston Red Sox of 1982 just finished their 16th consecutive season over .500.

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1983 1983 arrived, and the only new face on the field was Tony Armas in a trade with Oakland for Carney Lansford. Armas had hit 95 home runs in his last here years at Oakland and he lived up to Boston’s expectations with 36 home runs and 107 RBI his first year in Boston.

The pitching staff was led by three lefties, all from Boston’s farm system. Bruce Hurst, John Tudor, and Bobby Ojeda each had double digit wins, but the rest of the staff was not that strong.

1983 became the first losing season for the Red Sox, since 1966. The team ended up at 78-84, sixth in the AL East.

Opening Day was Dennis Eckersley against Dave Stieb and Toronto, and Stieib only gave up three hits, and Eck got lit up and Toronto won the game 7-1.

From the start of the year, everyone knew it would be Captain Carl’s last year. From 1939 through 1983 either an 8 or 9 was on every Boston team. The shy kid in 1961, that didn’t know how to fill a legend’s shoes, closed out 23 years with the Red Sox, and went out with style.

The last two games of the year Yaz took victory laps shaking hands with all the fans. It was a hero saying thank you when the first one we had, would never tip his hat.

The last game of the year for the only time that year, he played left field for the entire game. When he stepped up to the plate with two outs in the last of the seventh, one had the feeling that this would be Yaz’s last swing. When he took a swing at the pitch thrown by Dan Spillner we all wished for one more deep fly, but all we saw pop up to second.

The only championship Red Sox team in 1983 was in New Britain, CT and not Boston. The last game to win the Eastern League Championship was a two hit shut out by a young right hander from the Texas Longhorns, that just might be the one. His name was Roger Clemens and soon Boston would have the best pitcher in all the game.

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1984 In 1984 the Red Sox were putting together a young homegrown pitching staff that might be the best in the game.

The rotation looked good with Bruce Hurst, Oil Can Boyd, Bob Ojedja and Al Nipper, all 26 and younger. Added to the mix on May 15, was 21 year old Roger Clemens.

Add to that the hitting of Tony Armas who led the AL with 43 home runs 123 RBI and 339 total bases, and Boston thought they had a good chance.

By the time the Red Sox got to have Opening Day at Fenway, they were already 5.5 games behind the Tigers, when Detroit came in to Opening Day on Friday the 13th.. Detroit scored eight in the first and won the game 13-9 to start the season at 8-0. By the 24th of May the Tigers were 35-5 and Boston’s season was done already 16.5 games behind.

There was one week in May when the Red Sox lost two players who had been here together for seven seasons in Boston. On May 18th Jerry Remy played his last game for the Red Sox, his knees just would not let him continue to play the game he loved.

Then on May 26 in a trade with the Cubs, the Red Sox traded Dennis Eckersley for Bill Buckner.

The Red Sox had their first numbers ever retired on May 29th when they retired number nine for Ted Williams and number four for Joe Cronin. The numbers were put on the fa�ade in right field in a ceremony before a game that was eventually rained out.

One of the most dramatic games was on June 28th against Seattle at Fenway. The game went extra innings with Seattle scoring two in the tenth and then Boston tying it up. In the eleventh, Dwight Evans hit for the cycle by hitting a walk off three run home run to end the game 9-6.

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1985 The new manager of the Red Sox in 1985 was John McNamara a veteran manger of 13 plus years. The first time Mac took out the line up card it was for Opening Day against the Yankees.  Oil Can Boyd beat 46 year old Phil Neikro 9-2. The Red Sox would not open again with a victory over NY in Boston until 2010.

The young pitching staff had their growing pains, but the biggest setback was the shoulder surgery that Roger Clemens had. This limited him to only 15 games on the year, and he ended up at 7-5.

The one player that everyone wanted to see was Wade Boggs to hit a baseball. Boggs ended the year with 240 hits a new Red Sox record and led the league in batting at .368. Included in Boggs hitting was a 28 game hitting streak in July.

One game that stood out was a 13-1 victory over division winner Toronto on September 18. In that game catcher Rich Gedman, of all people, hit for the cycle. Gedman became the 16th Red Sox ever to hit for the cycle in 85 years, and when Gedman did it, it meant that four times in the past six seasons a Red Sox had accomplished this feat.

The team never got on any roll and finished even at 81-81 fifth place overall. Not much thought was given to this being the prelude to a special year.

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1986 The 1986 season started out with a bang, as Dwight Evans swung at the first pitch of the year, and hit the ball out. Boston lost that game in Detroit, but the year had a magical feel right from the start.

On April 29th 1986 on a night where many in Boston were watching the Celtics at the Garden beat Atlanta in the second round of the playoffs a young pitcher was about to make history in front of  13,414 in chilly Fenway Park. Roger Clemens set a Major League record with 20 strikeouts in a 3-1 victory over Seattle.  Gorman Thomas gave Seattle a 1-0 lead in the seventh with a home run to center, but Dewey Evans came back with a three run home run the same inning and Clemens was never threatened again. In the ninth inning he struck out the first two batters and everyone knew he set a new MLB record. He still had one more batter to go, but Phelps grounded out on the first pitch.

Clemens started out 14-0 and carried the team to first place. By July Boston was up eight games over the field.
A key trade with Seattle was made in August bringing Dave Henderson and Spike Owen to Boston.
In September the lead was so large we were waiting for the day to clinch the first post season birth in 11 years. On Sunday afternoon on September 28 before 32, 929 at Fenway, Oil Can Boyd beat Toronto 12-3 and Boston was celebrating on the field. The police brought in horses for fear the fans would storm the field like the sixties. Roger Clemens climbed up on a horse and rode around right field giving fans high fives.

The ALCS started at Fenway with 24-4 MVP and CY Young winner Roger Clemens losing to Mike Witt and the Angels 8-1.

Bruce Hurst won the second game 9-2 and the series was tied going to Anaheim.

Boston was down 3-1 with one swing to go, and Dave Henderson hit a magical home run against the Angels, and Boston came back to Fenway for games six and seven.

 Boston knew they had changed the series with one swing, and easily won game six 10-4 setting up Clemens in game seven. Roger was masterful and Boston won the game and AL title 8-1. Roger was riding around on horses at Fenway again, in another home field celebration.

The World Series with the Mets was next, and Boston was a two to one underdog going in. The first game in NY, Bruce Hurst won 1-0 with Boston scoring the only run on a ball going through the legs of second baseman Tim Teufel in the seventh. The second game Clemens against Gooden turned into a slugfest and Boston won 9-3 and led the series 2-0 heading into three games at Fenway Park

In game three at Fenway Bob Ojeda, (who we never should have traded) beat Oil Can Boyd 7-1. Most thought Hurst would go next in game four, but instead McNamara pitched Al Nipper who gave up three runs in the fourth, and Ron Darling won easily 6-2. Hurst was brilliant in game five at Fenway, setting Boston up for a fateful weekend trip to Queens, leading the Series three games to two, with Roger Clemens on the mound for game six.

The Shea Stadium crowd was rocking in the first when a person parachuted landing on the mound with Bill Buckner at the bat. At the end of game six, when the ball rolled through Buckner’s legs, even though the Series was tied 3-3 it seemed as though the Red Sox had already lost.

Boston led 3-0 in the sixth, in game seven, just like in 1975, but Hurst ran out of gas, and Mac brought in Calvin Schiraldi who lost his third game, instead of Roger Clemens, and the Mets scored eight runs and we lost 8-5.

The Red Sox have now played in four World Series since 1946 and each one has gone seven games, and each time they have lost.

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1987 1987 started out on a sour note when Roger Clemens walked of spring training, saying he would sit out the year if he wasn’t given more money. The Commissioner of baseball Peter Ueberroth stepped in and said it would be good for baseball if the two sides could reach an agreement.
The Clemens hold out, forced the Red Sox to jump his salary from $350,000 to $650,000 for 1987. Because of his hold out, Clemens did not start the new season until the fifth game of the year.
Boston lost their first three games on the road, and were already three games behind when on Opening Day at Fenway the American League Champion flag was raised, but unlike the others, this time it really felt like there should have been more.
Bruce Hurst shut out Toronto on three hits 3-0. Things looked like it could be like the year before when Roger Clemens threw his pitch a week late the next day. Clemens looked like he was still in spring training, and when he fell down fielding a ground ball in the fourth the Fenway crowd let him know if he didn’t hold out he would have made that play. The next batter hit a three run home run, and last year’s MVP and Cy Young winner was booed off the mound because of his greed for more money as they lost the game 11-1.
One person worth watching on the 1987 team was Wade Boggs. Wade won his fourth of fifth batting titles at .363 and had an OPS of 1.049 with a career high of 24 home runs, and exactly 200 hits.
The team ended up 78-84 and on the last day of the year before 25,454 at Fenway Park Roger Clemens won his 20th game of the year, he was the only pitcher in the AL to reach that amount. He ended up 20-9 and won his second consecutive Cy Young award. It didn’t seem the same when they ended up 20 games out of first place.

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1988 In 1988 the Red Sox were still led by John McNamara, but they only looked like a .500 team. At the break the team record was 42-43. At the All-Star break, the team was nine games out and John McNamara was fired. The new interim manager was a shocker. It was Walpole Joe Morgan, the man that was a snow plow driver on the Mass Pike in the off season was now the skipper of the Boston Red Sox. The team won their first 12 games under Morgan Magic, and soon management took the interim part of the job away.

On July 29th in front of 35,169 in a twi-night doubleheader Jody Reed went seven for nine and Boston swept and was only 1.5 games out of first. On August 3rd the Red Sox beat Texas 5-4 on a hit by Jody Reed in the last of the eighth. The team record was 19-1 under Morgan, and tied for first place.

On  August 13 Mike Boddicker beat Detroit 16 to 4 and Boston set a new AL record with their 24th  consecutive home victory.

On September 30 in Cleveland Roger Clemens lost 4-2 to end his year at 18-12. More important NY had lost, and Boston clinched the division with two games left to play.

The ALCS opened at Fenway with Bruce Hurst pitching game one. The Fenway crowd chanted “steroids,” every time Canseco came up. He did hit a home run and Boston trailed 2-1. In the last of the ninth, the Sox had two on and two out with Wade Boggs facing Dennis Eckersley. All it took was three pitches and Eck struck Boggs out and the only hope for this playoff victory ended quickly.

In game two Clemens led 3-0 in the seventh when Canseco hit a two run home run, and later a single by McGuire tied the game. Oakland took the lead in the ninth, and all Eck needed was seven pitches to put Oakland up 2-0.

In game three Boston trailed 6-5 with runners on first and third with one out in the fifth. Jody Reed hit a ground ball and Rich Gedman slid into second to break up the double play. The tying run scored, but second base umpire Ken Kaiser called Gedman out for interference, and cries of Ed Arbrister went up in New England. Boston never tied the game up, and Eck got his third save.

In game four Dave Stewart beat Bruce Hurst 4-1 with Canseco hitting another home run, and Eckersley saved his fourth in a row.

It took all year to reach the post-season and so quickly it ended

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1989 In 1989 by the time the Red Sox played their home opener they were already 1-4, and a let down following a post season team seemed like it would happen again.

On Opening Day they raise a banner for the division crown and Mike Boddicker beat Cleveland 4-2, with new first baseman Nick Easley hitting a home run, and going 3-4 as well.

On Memorial Day Boston beat Oakland 4-3 at Fenway in 10 innings, and were only one game out of first.

On June 4th they led Toronto 10-0 after six innings at Fenway. Toronto scored 11 runs in the last three innings. Boston tied it in the ninth, but Lee Smith gave up two in the 12th and Boston lost 13-11. The 10 runs was the largest lead the team had ever given up in the history of the club. They now trailed by 5.5 games and Morgan Magic had disappeared.

On August 6th the team had Carl Yastrzemski day and retired his number 8. Then they went out and beat Cleveland 4-2.

The team was lead in hitting by Wade Boggs once a gain. In 1989 Boggs became the first player in baseball history to have 7 consecutive 200 hit seasons. Boggs had become a hitting machine. For the fifth year in a row he led the league in On Base Percentage.

The decade of the 80’s closed out, and for the first time in baseball history neither the Red Sox nor Yankees had a title to claim during the ten year span.

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1990 The 1990 season started off on a somber note for Boston, when on January 24, forty-five year old Tony Conigliaro died. Many Red Sox fans never understood why the Yankees could retire numbers for their fallen heroes, like Thurman Munson, and Boston management did not hear the cry many fans over the age of 55 that felt Tony Conigliaro’s number 25 belonged on the right field fa�ade, right next to Yaz and Ted.

The season started off with Roger Clemens beating Jack Morris and the Tigers 5-2 at Fenway Park. Clemens had a spectacular year going 21-6 with an ERA of 1.93. He finished second in the Cy Young voting and third in MVP. Without Roger in 1990 the Red Sox were one game under .500 with him they were 15 games over. The team only won 88 games on the season, but it was good enough to be the Eastern Division Champions.

On of the highlight games of the year, was on June 23, Roger pitched nine innings leaving giving up two unearned runs. In the tenth Baltimore took the lead. In the last of the tenth Dwight Evans was up with one on, and two outs, with two strikes. Dewey then hit a dramatic walk off home run.

The season came down to the last six games of the year. Boston was tied with Toronto and hosted the Jays for three. In the first game Toronto scored two runs in the top of the ninth to take a 6-5 lead. Boston won the game on a single by Jeff Stone off Tom Henke in the bottom of the ninth. It was the only hit Stone ever had as a Red Sox, and it turned out to be the last hit of his career.


The next game Roger won his 21st leaving with a 6-0 lead. The bullpen gave up five runs in the eighth and Boston held on 7-5 to give Boston a two game lead with four remaining. It came down to the last game against Chicago. Boston was leading 3-1 with two on and two outs in the ninth inning. Ozzie Guillen hit a screaming line drive deep in the right field corner. Tom Brunansky ranged out of view from the TV camera, and made a head first diving catch landing on his face, but holding on to the ball. Everyone saw the umpire’s out call, and Boston won the division with that catch.

Once again Boston was matched up with Oakland in the ALCS. In the opener at Fenway Roger Clemens was matched up with Dave Stewart. Boston led 1-0 after six, and Joe Morgan brought in Larry Johnson to pitch. (Johnson was acquired in a trade for top prospect Jeff Bagwell in one of Boston’s worst trades ever.) Oakland scored nine runs after Clemens left, and won the game, 9-1.

In Game Two Cy Young winner Bob Welsh beat Boston 4-1. They had a chance in the eighth, but Eck struck out Dewey with two on and two out.

Game Three in Oakland was another 4-1 loss with Eck saving again.

Game Four became know as the ninja turtle game. Roger thought he was “shredder” the evil villain from the ninja turtles. For game four he wore ninja turtle shoelaces, and eye paint, that looked like war paint with a fu Manchu. In the second inning he blew up at a call by umpire Terry Cooney on ball four to Willie Randolph. Roger said:
"I'm not [expletive] talking to you.... Just keep your [expletive] mask on."

For that he was tossed, and soon the Red Sox were throwing buckets out of their dugout, and Boston was swept again losing, 3-1, in Game Four.

Since the infamous Game Six in 1986, Boston has now lost 10 postseason games in a row.

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1991 In 1991 the big pick up the Red Sox made in the off season was to sign another old power hitting, right handed, first baseman. They paid $5.8 million to 35 year old Jack Clark for two years. He hit 28 home runs his first year for Boston, but hit only .249. His second year he only hit five home runs, so his contract was really a bust for Boston.

Roger Clemens won his third Cy Young award in 1991, with an 18-10 record. he lead the league in ERA at 2.62 and in strikeouts with 241.

On Opening Day at Fenway, Boston had another Eastern Davison banner to raise, but the fact that they had been swept again by Oakland, did not make it seem like a successful year.

Boston still had a chance as long as they had Roger Clemens, and in the second game of the year he showed that he would be a good as ever. He shut out the Indians on three hits striking out 11 and walking done, winning 3-0 in a complete game.

The team as a whole never gave up on the season. On August 7, roger Clemens lost to Kansas City 2-0 and Boston was in third 11.5 behind Toronto at 50-57.

With two weeks left in the year on September 21 after beating NY at Fenway 12-1, they were 81-67, tied on the loss column, and just one half game out of first.

The team ran out of gas, as from this point out they won only three of the remaining 14 games and finished seven games behind Toronto.

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1992 The Red Sox had a new manager to start the 1992 season, Joe Morgan was fired, and Butch Hobson, former third baseman of the team replaced him in 1992. The big free agent pick up Boston made was to sign former Cy Young winner Frank Viola for three years at $15 million. Frank was 13-12 his first season with Boston but for the life of his contract he ended up 25-21. This was another free agent bust for Boston.

Roger Clemens was the only other pitcher to win more than they lost on the 1992 Red Sox.  Roger was third in Cy Young voting at 18-11, leading the league in ERA for the third year in a row at 2.41 and WHIP at 1.074, while striking out 208. 1992 was the seventh year in a row that Clemens struck out 200 or more batters.

The 1992 team did not have much power either as they only hit 84 home runs on the year, with the team leader Tom Brunansky with 15 and Mo Vaughn with 13 the only player to hit double figures.

On April 12th, Matt Young pitched no-hit ball against Cleveland but lost the game 2-1. In the second game Roger Clemens gave up two hits in a complete game shutout, setting a MLB record for fewest hits in two games on one day.

By the Forth of July the team was already 10 games out of first, and they finished last in the AL East 23 games behind the world Champion Toronto Blue Jays.

On September 7, 30 year old Roger Clemens matched up with 45 year old Nolan Ryan in Texas. The game was scoreless through seven, and Boston scored two in the eighth, and one in the ninth, as Roger beat Ryan for the last time in a face to face match up.

In December Wade Boggs left Boston after 11 seasons. Boggs signed as a free agent with the NY Yankees for three years at $11 million.

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1993 The 1993 Red Sox started off with another over the hill, aging power hitter from the NL, coming to Boston. This time Boston spent $9.7 million for two years for 38 year old Andre Dawson. For that money Boston got 13 home runs and a .273 average from the future Hall of Famer, and the tail end of a distinguished career.

Roger Clemens suffered through his first losing season as he ended up 11-14 losing eight of his last ten decisions on the year.

The hitting star of the 1993 Red Sox was slugging first baseman Mo Vaughn with 29 home runs, and 101 RBI.

On Opening Day at Fenway Frank Viola pitched seven strong innings as Boston beat Cleveland 6-2.

On April 22 in Seattle, Chris Bosio walked the first two Red Sox batters of the game, and then retired the next 27 in a row, pitching a no-hitter and beating Boston 7-0.

On June 20 when Boston lost 3-2 in 12 innings to Toronto the team was in fifth place 13 games out of first with a record of 30-38.

On July 23 after Boston scored three runs off Eckersley to tie it, and then a run off Goose Gossage to win it 6-5. They stood at 53-43, tied for first.

After beating Toronro 5-3 on Friday August 13th, the Red Sox were one game out of first, trailing both NY and Toronto with a record of 64-51.

From there, Boston went into a swoon, winning 16 and losing 31 for the rest of the year, finishing in fifth, 15 games out of first.

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1994 In 1994 the big splash Boston made in the free agent signing season was to get 35 year old Otis Nixon for one year at $3.25 million. For that money Boston got zero home runs and 25 RBIs.

Boston also had a new General Manager in stealing MA native Dan Douquette the boy wonder at Montreal to come to Boston.

On Opening Day at Fenway Park against Detroit, Roger Clemens gave up eight runs in 4.1 innings, but Boston came back and Otis Nixon scored the winning run on a passed ball, giving Boston a 9-8 victory.

The 1994 season was the first where the AL was divided into three divisions, with a Wild Card added to the playoffs. Unfortunately baseball never got to the post-season as the worst strike in baseball history began on August 10. There were no playoffs, and no World Series because of this work stoppage.

The Red Sox had two individual accomplishments in 1994. On April 22 against Kansas City, Scott Cooper hit for the cycle in a 22-11 Red Sox romp.

On July 8th at Fenway, shortstop John Valentin became the second Red Sox player ever to turn an unassisted triple play. (George Burns in 1923 was the only other.) In the top of the sixth Marc Newfield hit a line drive that Valentin caught with the runners going, and he stepped on second and tagged Kevin Mitchell. In the last of the sixth, Valentin led off the inning with a home run, as Boston scored four in the frame to win 4-3.

From June 3rd until June 19th the Red sox won one game and lost 15 pretty much ending their season, as they finished up 54-61 in the shortened year.

In October, the Red Sox fired Butch Hobson, and hired Kevin Kennedy who also was let go that year by the Texas Rangers.

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1995 In 1995 the baseball strike lingered through the first month of the year, and the schedule was shortened to 144 games, with Opening Day not occurring until April 26 at Fenway a 9-0 victory over the Twins.

Because of the strike free agents were not allowed to sign with other teams. Boston though went out and signed Sammy Sosa and John Wetteland by Dan Duquette in January, only to have the moves voided because of the work stoppage.

The two major pick ups by the Red Sox were two players released by other teams. In April, Boston signed Troy O’Leary an outfielder that hit .310 on the year, and also Tim Wakefield, who had been released, and out of baseball.

In Wakefield’s third start he pitched a 10 inning complete game 2-1 victory over Seattle at Fenway. By August 13th, Wakefield was 14-1 and Boston was well on their way to winning the Eastern division. For the entire year except for the first ten games of the year, Boston led the entire season. The lead stretched as far as 15.5 games on September 6, and when Boston beat Milwaukee 3-2 on September 20th at Fenway, they clinched the division title, with ten games remaining.

In the new playoff format, the first round was a best of five, and Boston opened up in Cleveland.
Roger Clemens pitched the opener, and in the sixth Cleveland scored the tying run, when a throw home hit the bat left in front of home plate. The game went into extra innings and Tim Naehring hit a home run in the 11th to give Boston the lead. Albert Belle tied it up by hitting one in the last of the 11th and the game which lasted five hours plus two rain delays, was in the 13th inning at three o’clock in the morning. Tony Pena was up with two outs and nobody on when Zane Smith threw a 3-0 meatball right down the middle. Pena swung, and Boston lost the game.

In game two Orel Hershiser shut out Boston on three hits winning 4-0, and putting Boston on the brink of elimination as they came home to Fenway Park.
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Tim Wakefield gave up seven runs and Charles Nagy defeated Boston 8-2 giving the Indians the sweep over Boston. Boston’s post season futility now consisted of losing 13 consecutive post-season games. All since the ball rolled through Buckner’s legs a decade ago.

On the year Mo Vaughn was named MVP over Albert Belle of Cleveland even though Bell hit 50 home runs compared to Mo’s 39. Each had 126 RBI with Belle hitting .317 compared to Vaughn’s .300

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1996 In 1996 the big free agent signing Boston had in the off season was pitcher Tom Gordon of the Kansas City Royals. Boston gave Flash, $13 million for a four year deal to come to Boston.

By the time Boston had their Opening Day at Fenway they had lost their first five games of the year, and limped home at 1-5. Tom Gordon pitched a complete game 9-1 victory over Minnesota, but by April 12 Boston was six games out of first, and never got closer than that during the entire season.

On June 6th at Fenway, John Valentin hit for the cycle, and in the same game Boston also hit into a triple play. Valentin became the 19th Red Sox to accomplish this feat, and nobody on the team has done it since then.

On September 2nd Mike Greenwell set a record by driving in all nine runs in a 9-8 ten inning victory over Seattle.

In his second to the last start for the Red Sox roger Clemens struck out 20 Detroit Tigers beating Detroit 4-0, tying the mark he set in 1986.

At the end of the year, Clemens filed for free agency, and Dan Duquette, stating that roger was in “the twilight of his career,” let him leave and sign with Toronto for two years at $17 million. In Roger’s last four years in Boston he was 40-39. In his two years in Toronto he was 41-13 winning back to back Cy Young awards.

At the end of the season Boston fired manager Kevin Kennedy, and replaced him with Jimy Williams.

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1997 1997 really turned out to be a bridge year for the Red Sox. Gone was Roger Clemens to Toronto. To replace the legend, Boston signed left hander Steve Avery for their major free agent signing, paying $8.75 million for two seasons. Avery was 6-7 and 10-7 in his two seasons in Boston. Steve Avery turned into another free agent bust for Boston

The Red Sox were led by 23 year old unanimous rookie of the year, Nomar Garciaparra, who ended up with 207 hits, a .306 average and 30 home runs.

Opening day at Fenway put Steve Avery on the mound against Randy Johnson of Seattle. Johnson won the game 5-3, despite giving up two home runs to John Valentin.

On July 12th Roger Clemens came back to Fenway for the first time, and was warmly received by the Fenway faithful. Clemens proceeded to strike out 16 in eight innings defeating Boston 3-1.

The Red Sox were never in the race this season finishing in fourth place at 78-84, 20 games behind the Baltimore Orioles

On July 31 Dan Duquette made on of the best trades ever for Boston acquiring Derek Lowe and Jason Varitek for closer Heathcliff Slocumb.

In November Duquette topped that deal by trading Tony Armas and Carl Pavano for Pedro Martinez.

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1998 In 1998 the major free agent signing for Boston was Bret Saberhagen for four years at $17 million. The pitching staff was really strong in 1998 with Pedro leading the way at 19-7. Boston had four starters with double digit wins. Tom Gordon moved from the rotation to closer, and excelled in the capacity with 46 saves on the season.

On Opening Day in Fenway, Randy Johnson had 15 strikeouts through eight innings, and left with a 7-2 lead. Boston never made an out in the last of the ninth, starting their rally against Heathcliff Slocumb, and ending it with a three run walk off home run by Mo Vaughn to win the game over Seattle 9-7. The next day Pedro Martinez pitched his first game in Fenway Park. Pedro threw a complete game two hit shutout with 12 strikeouts, and a new hero was born in Fenway Park.

On September 24 behind Pedro’s 19th victory Boston secured a Wild Card berth beating Baltimore 9-6. On the season Boston won 92 and lost 70. Boston finished 22 games behind NY, but they made it to the post season.

In the playoffs Boston matched up with Cleveland again. In the first game Boston finally won a post season game in the opening game as Pedro defeated the Indians 11-3.

In game two Boston started off with two quick runs off Dwight Godden in the first inning. Gooden and manager Mike Hargrove were both ejected, with Godden only throwing 22 pitches. Dave Burba came in, and shut down Boston and Cleveland tied the series at 1-1.

In Boston for game three, Boston sent Bret Saberhagen to the mound against Charles Nagy Manny Ramirez hit two home runs, and Cleveland won the game 4-3.

In game four, most expected Boston to comeback with Pedro, but manger Williams went with Pete Schourek in a move that brought back cries of Denny Galehouse.  Schourek pitched great and did not allow a run. Boston led 1-0 when Tom Gordon gave up a two run double to David Justice in the eighth and Flash blew his first save since April 14, and Boston was defeated three games to one, ending the 1998 season.

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1999 In 1999 the Red Sox and their fans were witnesses to one of the greatest pitching performances in the history of the franchise. Pedro Martinez 23-4 record in 1999 with a 2.07 ERA and 313 strikeouts and 37 walks ranks as one of the finest years ever, along with Smoky Joe Wood’s 34-5 in 1912 and Roger Clemens 24-4 in 1986.

The Red sox started out 5-0 on the road, and when the played their first game at Fenway, Bret Saberhagen shut out Chicago 6-0 and Boston was off to a 6-1 start on the year.

On May 10 against Seattle Nomar Garciaparra hit three home runs including two grand slams, and tied Fred Lynn’s record of 10 RBIs in a 12-4 victory.

In July, Fenway Park was home to their third All-Star game. Ted Williams made his last appearance at Fenway, and the love that the fans had for so many years was finally received by Ted in an emotional experience by all who were there. It did not seem like the game could top the pre-game festivities, but it did. Pedro Martinez was the MVP of the game striking out five of the six batters he faced, in a dominating performance.

On September 27 Pedro struck out 12 without a walk in winning his 23rd game of the year, and clinching Boston playing in the post-season in back to back years for the first time since 1915-16.

In the first round of the playoffs Boston met Cleveland for the third time in five years.

In game one of the ALDS Pedro Martinez came out of the game after four innings with an injury to his back. Derek Lowe pitched until the ninth, but Cleveland won the game in the ninth, 3-2.

In game two Nagy and the Indians dominated Boston 11-1.

Boston stayed alive in game three started by Pedro’s older brother Ramon, with a 9-3 victory.

In game four Boston raked Bartolo Colon for seven runs and scored 23 in a romp over the Indians 23-7 setting up a winner take all game five in Cleveland.

Pedro was risking a career ending injury, by coming out to pitch in game five, but he did anyway. Boston gave up eight runs to Cleveland in the first three innings, but thanks to a grand slam by Troy O’Leary the game was tied up going into the fourth. That was the dramatic moment when Pedro came on in relief with the scored tied 8-8. In six innings Pedro held Cleveland hitless and struck out eight. O’Leary hit another home run, this time a three run blast, and Boston won 12-8, and became the first AL team to come from two games down and win a Divisional Series.

In the ALCS against the Yankees in game one Bernie Williams hit a home run in the last of the tenth to give NY a one game lead.

In game two Nomar gave Boston a 2-1 lead with a home run in the sixth, but NY scored two in the seventh to take a 3-2 lead. In the ninth Boston had runners on first and third with two outs when Mariano Rivera struck out Damon Buford to end the game.

In the first game at Fenway Park, Roger Clemens faced off against Pedro Martinez. Clemens started off by giving up a triple and then a home run. Roger last only two innings and Pedro pitched seven shutout innings in a 13-1 victory.

In game four Andy Pettitte pitched into the eighth of a 3-2 game. In the ninth NY put it away with six runs, winning 9-2.

In game five, Derek Jeter hit a two run home run in the first, and the Yankees never looked back winning the game 6-1 and the series four games to one.

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2000
In 2000 the Red so were attempting to do something they had never done in their history, that is to make the post season three consecutive years. The new century added one new face to the team. In the off season Boston traded Adam Everett to Houston for Carl Everett. Boston then gave Jurassic Carl a new $12.3 Million two year contract. Boston was already in the middle of a four year $24 million contract they gave to Jose Offerman.

The 2000 Red Sox were led by Nomar Garciaparra who hit .372. Nomar’s league leading average was the highest by a Red Sox since Ted Williams hit .388 in 1957. This marked the 23rd time in last 70 years that a Red Sox won the batting title.

The pitching staff was led by Pedro Martinez, and his brother Ramon, as they were the only pitchers to win double digits. Pedro might have had a year superior to his near MVP year in 1999. He finished with an 18-6 record and ERA of 1.74 and WHIP of 0.7373. That was the lowest WHIP ever recorded by any pitcher ever in baseball. He also struck out 284 and walked 32 in 2000.

Pedro pitched Opening Night in Seattle and gave up two hits and struck out 12, winning 2-0. Brother Ramon pitched the Fenway home Opener, and Boston trounced Minnesota 13-4 behind home runs on each side of the plate by Carl Everett.

On May 6th Pedro lost his first game 1-0 while he struck out 17. His next start he gave up two hits to Baltimore and struck out 15 without any walks. His ERA at the time was 1.01. Pedro had just set the record for the most strikeouts in two games at 32.

The highlight of the year came on a Sunday night game on May 28th against the Yankees. Both teams were tied for first and Pedro Martinez was matched up with Roger Clemens. The game was scoreless until the ninth, when Trot Nixon hit a two run home run, and Pedro won 2-0, and Boston was alone in first place.

The 2000 Red Sox failed to make the post- season for the third year in a row, but they did have the batting champion, and back to back Cy Young champions as well.

In December, they failed on signing Mike Mussina for $88 million and instead spent $160 million to sign Manny Ramirez for eight years.

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2001 The Red Sox had the two time defending American League batting champion in Nomar Garciaparra, heading into the 2001 season. Nomar was featured on the cover of Sports Illustrated in March. The title was “A Cut Above.” Days after the story appeared Nomar was found to have a split tendon in his right wrist, and never played on the end of July.

In 2001 the Red Sox added David Cone and Hideo Nomo to the rotation. In the second game of the year at Baltimore, Nomo pitched the first Red Sox no-hitter since Dave Morehead in 1965. Nomo beat Baltimore 2-0

Boston came home for the first time two days later and Manny Ramirez hit a home run on the first pitch he saw, and Boston scored 11 runs as Tim Wakefield won in relief, over Tamp Bay 11-4.

On June 5th in an 18 inning game Shea Hillenbrand hit a game winning home run that made Wakefield 3-0 and Boston in first.

In Nomar’s first game back on July 29th at Fenway, the park had a feel of Opening Day to it. Nomar hit a home run to tie the game 2-2 with Chicago in the sixth, then after the White Sox took the lead in the seventh, in the bottom of the inning Nomar’s two run single was the margin of victory in a 4-3 game.

The team was only 3.5 games out of first, but little did we know Nomar would only play in twenty more game the entire season.

On August 6th at Fenway Park, Scott Hatteberg hit a line drive to Alex Rodriguez at short and he tagged the runner and tossed to second for a triple play. The next time he was up, Hatteberg hit a grand slam. A triple play/grand slam feat was never done before in the game. Boston beat Texas 10-7 and trailed the Yankees by only 2.5 games.

Ten days later Jimy Williams was fired as manager and pitching coach Joe Kerrigan took over.

The closest they got the rest of the way was on August 25th. Boston played 18 innings in Texas, only to lose the game 8-7 and fall four games from first.

They wilted from here losing 23 out of the next 29 games and finishing second to the Yankees again, by 13 games.

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2002 In 2002 the first thing the new owners did was to fire the boy wonder Dan Duquette, and replace him with Mike Port. Two of the last moves made by Duquette were to sign free agents Johnny Damon, and Ricky Henderson. Duquette also signed first baseman Tony Clark to a one year $5 million deal. In return Boston got three home runs from Clark and 29 RBI, to go with a .207 average.

Opening Day was April Fool’s Day at Fenway. In Tony Clark’s first game as a Red Sox and he went 3-5 with and a home run with three RBIs. We certainly got fooled by this start.

Pedro lived up to the day, by giving up eight runs in the first three innings. Boston came back and took the lead 11-8. The man with six fingers, Ugueth Urbina, (who the Sox paid $6.7 million to be the closer,) gave up a run in the ninth and Boston lost 12-11 in the first game ever managed by new Sox skipper Grady Little.

On April 27th for the second year in a row, a Red Sox pitcher threw a no-hitter. This time it was Derek Lowe, beating Tampa Bay 10-0 at Fenway Park. It was the first no-hitter at Fenway in 37 years.

In June the new ownership held a Fenway Ambassador open house. The new leaders wanted to know the pulse of the fan base, and gave their addresses to anyone who wanted to write.

The new leaders not only listened to suggestions, they wrote back and said thanks.

On July 5th, 83-year-old legend Ted Williams died. Fenway Park was turned into a funeral parlor, with 30,000 there to say good bye.

Boston never got closer than four games in August, and finished in second again, behind NY.

Derek Lowe and Pedro Martinez each won twenty games. The last time Boston had two pitchers to do that, it was 1949.

Manny Ramirez won another batting title for Boston with a .349 average

On November 25th, after being turned down by Billy Beane for the job, Boston signed 28 year old Theo Epstein, to be the GM of the club.

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2003 2003 was Theo Epstein’s first as a General Manager, and his first year he really hit a home run with the pieces he put together. He picked up a new third baseman in Bill Mueller, who went on to win the batting title his first year for the Red Sox. He got a new second baseman in Todd Walker. He picked up Bronson Arroyo off waivers from the Pirates. He kept Kevin Millar from going to Japan, and brought him to Fenway instead. And Theo Epstein found a new DH for $1.25 million. His name was David Ortiz. Theo did all this before Opening Day of 2003.


On Opening day at Fenway, Pedro Martinez gave up 10 runs to the Orioles and Boston lost 13-6. The team played well, and could hit. On June 27th with Carl Pavano on the mound for the Marlins, Boston scored 25 runs in a 25-8 romp. Johnny Damon tied Gene Stephens’s record from 1953 of three hits in one inning.

On the Fourth of July, Boston hit seven home runs against the Yankees and won 10-3, then the next day Ortiz hit two off Roger Clemens, and Boston won again 10-2. If they won the next two games they would be tied for first, but NY came back and held serve, and Boston could never catch up. Boston did however have a lead in the Wild Card race.

When they clinched the Wild Card on September 25th they went a little wild. In fact Kevin Millar and Derek Lowe were tending the bar in their cleats and uniforms at the Baseball Tavern around the corner from Fenway.

In the first round of the playoffs they met the Oakland Athletics.

 In game one the game lasted until three in the morning Boston time. The Red Sox lost in 12 innings on a bunt single by Oakland catcher Ramon Hernandez, with the bases loaded and two outs.

In game two, Tim Wakefield gave up five in the second, and Boston lost 5-1.

In game three, Trot Nixon hit a pinch hit two run walk off home run in the 11th inning to give Boston a 3-1 victory.

In game four Boston trailed 4-3 with two outs in the eighth and David Ortiz hit a double to score two and tie the Series up 2-2.

In game five back in Oakland, Johnny Damon collided with Damian Jackson and both had to be carried off the field. Pedro Martinez left the game leading 4-3, and Derek Lowe struck out Terrence Long with the bases loaded to win the series for Boston.

In the ALCS Boston met the NY Yankees.

In the first game Boston hit three home runs and beat the Yankees 5-2.

Game two NY tied the series winning 6-2.

Game three was Roger vs. Pedro, and it turned into a fist fight, with Zimmer charging Pedro, and Pedro tossing the old man to the ground. NY won the game.

In game four Wakefield won his second game 3-2, knotting up the series two apiece.

In game five Wells beat Lowe 4-2.

In game six Boston stormed back winning 9-6.

Game seven was Pedro and Roger again, with Boston and Pedro up 5-2 in the eighth, when I let the Yankee Stadium crowd know there were “five outs to go!” Nixon misplayed Jeter’s ball and instead of two outs and nobody on, the Yankees had a rally started, and chants of 1918 started creeping into Boston’s head. Grady had a brain freeze and left Pedro in. This move cost him his job, and tied the game up 5-5. The game went until Aaron Boone led of the 11th. NY erupted again with “1918” heard over and over again in the Bronx.

The Red Sox had already put the World Series logo behind home plate at Fenway Park. Some say this was like opening the champagne too early in 1986. Others just said, “Wait until next year we will get them for sure.”

The first move they did in the off- season was to listen to the words of the email sent. “If you get Schilling it will bring rings to Boston, and make heads roll in NY.

First the Red Sox signed Tito Francona to manage, and his relationship with Schilling helped the team meet with Curt. Over Thanksgiving in Arizona Theo made the trade by convincing Schilling to come to Boston, to end a curse.

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2004 The hot stove league was never hotter than it was between 2003 and 2004. First the team put Manny Ramirez on waivers, but nobody claimed him. They were going to make a trade for the best player in baseball, shortstop Alex Rodriguez of Texas, when the Player’s Association stepped in, and forced Boston to alter the deal, and it all fell through

Even without A-Rod, the 2004 Red Sox had one major difference from the 2003 version. Curt Schilling was the new sheriff in town. He came here telling everyone he was going to end an 86-year curse. Then he went out and won 21 games, and fulfilled his prediction with a bloody sock to boot.

The 2004 team won 98 games, and knew most of the year, they going to be in the hunt in October. The year had many memorable moments but by far a FOX Saturday game with NY on July 24th was the game that turned the season around. Bronson Arroyo hit ARod and next thing you know Varitek was shoving his mitt in his face, and the two teams started fighting again. Boston trailed NY into the ninth, and Bill Mueller hit a walk off two run home run off Mariano Rivera to win the game 11-10.

A week later, Boston traded its biggest star in Normar Garciaparra, and ended up with Orlando Cabrera at short and Doug Mientkiewicz for back up at first.

Boston faced the Angels in the first round of the playoffs and came home to Boston with a 2-0 lead. A sweep was looking good heading into the seventh with a 6-1 lead, but Vladimir Guerrero hit a grand slam off Mike Timlin that tied it, and into the tenth inning the game stayed knotted 6-6. Jared Washburn threw one pitch to David Ortiz and he sent it in to the monster seats in left, and Boston was on to meet the Yankees again.

The Yankees won twice in NY, and game three in Boston, was the worst nightmare that could be. NY won the game 19-8 and even the score made you think of 1918.

In game four NY went for the sweep and had Mariano on in the ninth with a one run lead. Dave Roberts came in and stole second base, (in a frame etched in every Red Sox fan’s mind,) then Mueller drove him in with a single through Rivera, and suddenly the team had a life again. The game went on until 1:22 the next morning when David Ortiz sent a drive into right that cleared the fence winning the game 6-4 in 12 innings.

Game five had more drama lasting 5 hours and 49 minutes with Ortiz the hero again with a walk off single in the 14th inning to win 5-4. Tim Wakefield pitch three innings in relief, and Boston won in spite of giving up three passed balls in one inning, and other fluke plays.

In NY for game six, Schilling pitched with blood filling his sock, and Boston tied the series 3-3 with a 4-2 victory. Alex Rodriguez made a play like a girl trying to slap the ball out of Bronson’s glove, and that acting like a spoiled brat when told you can’t play the game like that.

In game seven all the demons were erased as Boston won 10-3 behind two home runs from Johnny Damon, including a grand slam.

The World Series opened in Boston against the Cardinals for the third time in history. Boston never trailed in any game. In Game One, Mark Bellhorn hit the foul pole for the second game in a row, and Boston made four errors but won the game 11-9.

In Game Two, Schilling pitched with blood in his sock again, and Boston won again 6-2.

In St Louis for Game Three, Pedro was brilliant for seven, and Boston won 4-1, putting them on the verge of ending many years of frustration for Red Sox fans.

In Game Four, Derek Lowe pitched great, and won the game 3-0 setting off a celebration in Boston ending with a duck boat parade.

By Boston winning the World Series, they finally ended that NY chant forever of “1918.”

Boston became the only team in baseball history to come back from being down 3-0, and the fact that they did it against the Yankees is something nobody will ever forget

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2005 The 2005 Red Sox did not stay pat after winning their first championship in 86 years. They let Pedro Martinez go to the Mets, and signed Matt Clement for three years at $25 million and David Wells for two years at $8.150 million. They let Orlando Cabrera leave as a free agent and signed Edgar Renteria for four years and $40 million to replace him.

On April 11th Red Sox Nation raised the flag from winning the World Series, and the Yankees were there to see the rings passed out to all of the players. Mariano Rivera received the loudest ovation, for letting the Red Sox off the hook in game four. He waved his cap, showing why he has as much class as anyone that ever put on a uniform. The Red Sox won Opening Day behind Tim Wakefield 8-1, and hopes for a repeat were in everyone’s mind.

Keith Foulke was not the same as he was before, with nagging injuries limiting his success. Curt Schilling was not the same as before the bloody sock, and his innings became limited, so Boston made him their closer most of the year.

The season came down to the last three games of the year, with the Yankees. Boston needed to sweep to win the division, but only needed to win two games to clinch the Wild Card over Cleveland. They ended up winning two out of three with NY, and tying for first, but losing out on the tie breaker to the Yankees. They qualified again as the Wild Card, making 2005 the first year Boston made it to the post season for three consecutive years.

In the ALDS Boston faced the Chicago White Sox, with the first two games in Chicago. In game one Matt Clement was knocked out early and Boston lost 14-2.

In game two Boston was cruising along behind David Wells 4-0, when a ground ball went right between Tony Graffanino’s legs and instead of being out of the inning Wells gave up a three run home run, and Chicago had enough to win 5-4.

In game three in Boston, Manny Ramirez hit a home run in the seventh to cut Chicago’s lead to 4-3. Boston loaded the bases without any outs, but ending with nothing more when Johnny Damon struck out. Edgar Renteria made the last out of the season for Boston two years in row. Last year it gave Boston a sweep, and in 2005 Boston was swept, with Renteria making the last out both times

In the off season Boston let Johnny Damon sign with the Yankees for four years and $44 million and paid Atlanta to take Renteria off their hands as well.

On Halloween Theo Epstein snuck out of Fenway dressed as a Gorilla, and left his job as GM. Without a GM, Boston managed to make a trade with the Marlins sending Hanley Ramirez to the Marlins for Josh Beckett and Mike Lowell.

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2006 Opening Day in 2006 was against Toronto with Boston showing off their new pitcher, Josh Beckett getting the win. Boston also had a new closer as Jonathan Papelbon already had four saves.

The team had many dramatic wins including one similar to Casey at the bat. On June 12th with Texas, the Mudville nine trailed 4-2 with what one more inning left to play. Ortiz took the place of Casey, but on his last swing and there was joy in Mudvillle as Ortiz hit one out, with two strikes and two outs, giving Boston a 5-4 victory.

The Red sox were tied for first on August 2nd when they beat Cleveland on a walk off two run double by Mark Loretta with two outs in the ninth.

On August 18th the Red Sox played a five game series with NY at Fenway, which became known as Boston Massacre II. They lost all five games and suddenly were out of the race 6.5 games out of first.

David Ortiz kept hitting home runs, but some like Manny Ramirez just gave up, and the team faded in September ending in third place 11.5 games behind the Yankees with a record of 86-76.

David Ortiz set a new season home run mark for Boston as he ended with 54 on the season. Ortiz tied the Red Sox record with 14 home runs in one month, and ended four games with walk off hits, giving him 12 in his Red Sox career.

In December the Red Sox spent $103 million to sign Japanese pitcher Daisuke Matsuzaka.

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2007 The 2007 Red Sox were determined to make it back to the playoffs, after the previous year, they fell short of that goal for the first time since 2002.

The 2007 Red Sox had a few new faces, and most of them were not cheap. Boston spent $36 million for four years, to get Julio Lugo to play shortstop. They also spent $70 million to have J. D. Drew for the next five years in right field. Added to the $103 million paid for Daisuke Matsuzaka, the Red Sox of 2007 were determined to spend what ever it took to win the World Series again.

Opening Day at Fenway was on April 10th, and Boston behind a home run by new right fielder J. D. Drew, beat Seattle 14-3 as Beckett won his second game of the season.

A three game series with NY in April set the tone for the year. In the Friday night game Boston trailed 6-2 going into thee last of the eighth. A two run triple off Rivera by coco Crisp tied the score, and a single by Cora gave them a 7-6 lead. Heidki Okajima came on, and earned his first save for Boston. On Saturday Beckett won 7-5. On Sunday night baseball Boston trailed 3-0 in the last of the third, when Ramirez, Drew, Lowell, and Varitek hit four home runs in a row, and Boston scored lucky seven again, sweeping the series, this time the score was 7-6.

On Mother’s Day a miracle took place for the Red sox. They trailed Baltimore 5-0 with one out in the ninth. From there they scored six runs to win the game 6-5, and the Mother’s Day miracle was born.

On September 1 Clay Buchholz made his second start for Boston at Fenway, and he pitched a no-hitter 10-0.

The new second baseman Dustin Pedroia made an unbelievable play to keep the no-hitter in tact. Pedroia would be the Rookie of the Year in 2007.

On September 28th with a 5-2 victory over Minnesota, Boston won their first divisional title since 1995.

In the first round of the playoffs the team faced off against the Angels. Beckett showed why he was the best pitcher in baseball throwing a complete game four hit shutout, that Boston won 4-0. In game two the score was tied at 3-3 with two outs in the last of the ninth. When Manny Ramirez sent a drive deep into the night. It sailed over everything and Boston led 2-0 heading west. In game three Curt Schilling did not give up a run, and Boston broke it open with seven runs in the eighth, to sweep 9-1.

In the ALCS game one at Fenway put Beckett against Sabathia. Boston scored 10runs and won going away 10-3. In game two the game went into the 11th tied at six. Boston tried to use Eric Gagne and Cleveland scored seven runs. They moved to Cleveland tied one game each.

In game three Daisuke gave up four runs in 4.2 innings and Boston lost 4-2. In game four Wakefield let in seven in the fifth, and Boston lost again 7-3. In game five, Beckett put the team on his back. Youkilis hit a home run and drove in three, as Boston won the game 7-1, heading back to Fenway down three games to two. In game six, Schilling won his second game of the series 12-2. Boston started with a grand slam by Drew in the first and never looked back.

In game seven Matsuzaka lasted five and left leading 3-2. Cleveland had a chance to score after Lugo dropped a pop up in the seventh. Lofton stopped at third, and then a double play stopped Cleveland from tying the score. Pedroia hit a home run putting Boston up 5-2. In the eighth they scored six more and won the AL pennant again in seven games.

In the World Series that opened in Fenway Boston was matched up with the Colorado Rockies.

In the first game Beckett dominated and the team won 13-1.

In Game Two, Curt Schilling gave up only one run, and Boston scored two to win 2-1. It was Schillings third win in this post season. Schilling ended his career with an 11-2 mark in his post-season, including 6-1 in his time with the Red Sox.

Game Three was in Colorado and Boston scored six in the third and Daisuke won the game 10-5, putting Boston on the brink again.

In Game Four, 23-year-old Jon Lester, just a year earlier beating cancer, won the World Series for Boston without giving up any runs. Boston won the game, 4-3, and third baseman Mike Lowell was named MVP of the World Series.

The Red Sox now were riding an eight-game winning streak in the World Series.

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2008 The 2008 Red Sox were once again the defending World Champions of baseball. The off-season featured another duck boat parade, and bringing duel Championship trophies to every town in Red Sox Nation in New England. 86 years of frustration had turned into three years since the last triumph.

The 2008 Red Sox did not make any major changes from the team that just won the World Series. The only free agent signed was Sean Casey for less than $1 million. The only omission from the pitching staff was the retirement of Curt Schilling.

The team opened up the season with two games in the Tokyo Dome. In the opener favorite son Daisuke Matsuzaka started for Boston, and Heidki Okajima won the game in relief, thanks to a two run double by Manny in the tenth.

Opening Day at Fenway was on April 10th with Detroit. It was another celebration, as the Red Sox had two titles in four years. Daisuke won his second game winning 5-0. 2008 would be Matsuzaka’s best year, ending at 28-3.

On May 16th at Fenway Park Jon Lester threw the 18th no-hitter in Red Sox history, beating Kansas City 7-0. It also made Jason Varitek the only catcher in baseball history to have caught four no-hitters, all with Boston. Jacoby Ellsbury made a diving catch that was the best play of the game

On July 31st the Red Sox finally traded Manny Ramirez, sending him to the Dodgers and ending up with Jason Bay from the Pirates replacing Manny in Boston.

Boston and Tampa Bay stayed ahead of NY and the rest of the pack most of the year. Boston had a chance to take over first by beating Tampa at Fenway on September 9th. Boston led 4-3 going into the ninth, thanks to a two run home run by Jason Bay in the last of the eighth. Jonathan Papelbon gave up a home run to Dan Johnson to tie it, and then gave up another run to lose the game. Boston never could catch the Rays, but stayed far enough away from NY.

On September 23rd, in the 157th game Boston beat Cleveland 5-4 and clinched the Wild Card.

In the playoffs Boston opened with the Angels again. The first two games in California both featured home runs by Jason Bay, and Boston won both games.

On October 5th, Boston went for a sweep. (At the time they had beaten the Angels 11 straight times in the postseason, dating back to game five in 1986.) The game lasted until 12:48 the next morning with the Angels scoring in the 12th to win 4-3.

In Game Four at Fenway with the score tied at 2-2 and two outs in the ninth, Jed Lowrie stroked a single to right, and Jason Bay scored the winning run.

In the ALCS Boston opened in Tampa and Matsuzaka shut out the Rays in the first game, and Boston won 2-0. In game two Josh Beckett gave up eight runs in four innings, but Pedroia hit two home runs, and the game went into the 11th. A sacrifice fly to Drew in right, on a play he did not get in good throwing position tied the series at one each heading into Fenway. In game three and four Tampa rocked Boston 9-1 and 13-4 giving them a 3-1 lead. In game five Tampa was only nine outs away from winning their first pennant 7-0. Boston scored four in the seventh, and three in the eight, and won the game in the ninth, on a double by Drew.

In game six Beckett won the game 4-2 with home runs by Varitek and Youkilis the difference.

In game seven, (which was the fourth game seven of an ALCS Boston had played in this decade,) Boston led 1-0 thanks to a home run by Dustin Pedroia in the first, but Jon Lester gave up three, and David Price closed the door, with Tampa Bay winning 3-1.

At the end of the season Dustin Pedroia won the league MVP, with Youkilis third in the voting. Pedroia also added a Gold Glove to his hardware, and he became only the third person in baseball history, to start off his career with ROY followed by MVP.

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2009

Going into the 2009 season the Red Sox added two arms for the staff. They signed former Marlin/Dodger Brad Penney for $5 million, and then added 42 year old John Smoltz for $5.5 million more.

Boston opened 2009 at home against Tampa Bay. Dustin Pedroia hit a home run his first time up, and Beckett won the game 5-3. The second home stand at Fenway, Boston won all nine games including the first three games with NY. In the first Yankee game on April 24th NY led 4-2 heading in the ninth with Mariano on the mound. Jason Bay hit a two run home run to tie it, and Manny hit the walk off blast in the 11th. Boston won 11 in a row, and moved into first with Toronto.

On June 11th at Fenway Boston beat the Yankees for the eighth straight time. The only longer streak was in 1912 when they won their first 14 games with NY.

On July 31 the Red Sox traded Justin Masterson and Nick Hagadone to Cleveland for catcher Victor Martinez. In his second game with Boston on August 2nd, Victor Martinez collected five hits in an 18-10 romp over Baltimore.

In August Boston added Billy Wagner to the pen, and brought back Alex Gonzalez to play short. Both John Smoltz and Brad Penney were dropped from the team, but a new arm in former first round pick, Daniel Bard emerged in the pen. Bard was never given a chance in 2008 to show what he could do, and maybe they would have beaten Tampa the year before if they tried him in 2008. Bard reached past 100 with many of his pitches giving Boston a stronger pen. He had 63 strikeouts in 49 1/3 innings. Bard might be faster than Smoky Joe Wood or Dick Radatz.

On September 29th in game 157 Boston lost their fifth in a row, but clinched the Wild Card with 91 victories when Texas lost in LA. This marked the sixth time in eight years with the new owners that the Red Sox were in the hunt for October. It marked the seventh time since 1995 that Boston was the AL Wild Card winner.

In the playoffs Boston matched up with the Angels for the fourth time since 2004.

In game one John Lackey beat Jon Lester 5-0, and game two Beckett lost 4-1.

In Boston for game three, with their backs to the wall, Boston led 6-4 with two outs and two strikes in the ninth, when Bobby Abreu ht a double off Papelbon to tie the score. Vladimir Guerrero followed with a single up the middle, and suddenly Boston’s post season was done 7-6.

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2010 The Red Sox never seem to think any year is a rebuilding year, and when Theo Epstein made the statement that the 2010 year would be a bridge year, many fans felt like jumping. Then they went out and spent $120 million for four new players.


The team spent $85 million to sign John Lackey, the man that shut them out in game one of the playoffs the year before. They spent $11.5 million to sign Marco Scutaro to play short for two years. Boston signed Adrian Beltre to play third, for one year and $10 million. The Red Sox also gave Mike Cameron $15 million for two years..

The Red Sox opened the 2010 season, as the first game played in all baseball, when on Sunday night April 4th they played the Yankees. Beckett was hit hard and left trailing, but Pedroia tied the score 7-7 with a two run home run in the seventh, and Boston led 9-7 when Papelbon closed it out in the ninth.

The team never was at full strength as Ellsbury broke some ribs on April 11th, and only played in 18 games all season. Cameron was injured as well, and he too only played in 37 games all year.

On June 12th in his first pitch he ever saw in the Big Leagues Daniel Nava hit a grand slam in front of his parents, and FOX national audience, as Boston beat Philadelphia 12-2

Then in a weekend in San Francisco the worst of the injuries occurred. On June 25th Dustin Pedroia fouled a pitch off his foot, and ended up breaking his foot. He tried to come back too early, and ended up playing only one more game and being gone for the year. On the Sunday game with the Giants on June 27th Victor Martinez broke his thumb, and he too was out. Next in line was Jason Varitek on July 3rd, he broke his foot, and Boston was losing players almost every game.

On July 3rd Jon Lester won his tenth game of the year, beating Baltimore 9-3 at Fenway, and Boston was in second only a half game behind NY.

From that moment on, the season started to slip, with the injuries mounting up.

A last gasp effort by Boston was made when the played in Tampa on August 28th. The Sox needed to sweep, with any hopes of getting back into the race. Leading the game 1-0 in the seventh, Matt Joyce hit a long foul fly to right. For reasons unknown to only himself, J.D. Drew went ranging over the bullpen mound and made a shoestring catch. The play let Tampa tie the score, and soon Boston lost 3-2 in ten innings. The season will be remembered as the catch that should have been dropped, but in reality it was the injuries that kept Boston from play in the post-season again.

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2011

What a year this was. At the end of March, before a single game had been played, the Boston Herald’s front page was devoted to the question: “Best Team Ever?” And it actually seemed there was a good chance that could come to be. It still looked possible well into the season – though for such a hugely-hyped team to lose its first six games offered a warning that all might not be right.
The Sox had added first baseman Adrian Gonzalez, who put together perhaps the best season of his career, driving in 117 runs and batting .338. They had former ROY and MVP Pedroia at second, and his 91 RBIs remain his career-best. Jacoby Ellsbury exploded for 32 home runs (more than three times as many as he’d hit before, or since) and drove in 105 runs, a full 40 more than in any other year. Though shy of his typical year, David Ortiz still drove in 96 runs.

The Sox scored 875 runs and only allowed 737, a good runs differential. The biggest disappointment on offense was four-time All-Star Carl Crawford, acquired over the winter within days of the Gonzalez signing. Crawford’s batting average dropped about 50 points from his from his consistently solid years with Tampa Bay. He’d driven in 90 runs for the Rays in 2010; he drove in 56 for Boston.

But their pitching was far from impressive, a team 4.20 ERA and no one who won more than 15 games (Jon Lester, 15-9, 3.49). Josh Beckett won only 13 and John Lackey had a dismal (historically bad, actually) 6.41 ERA, and a 12-12 record. Perhaps as surprising was Alfredo Aceves’ 10-2 record out of the bullpen.

After the bad start, it wasn’t until May 15 that the Red Sox ever reached .500 – they beat the Yankees that days and went to 20-20. Winning 13 out of 15 put them into first place. Then they lost four. And won nine more in a row.

They were in first place for most of June and for most of July (thanks to a 20-6 month), and all seemed OK, though they never led by more than three games at any time. Though playing well, one still had the sense they should be playing a lot better. They entered September in first place.

Then everything fell apart. They were 7-20 in September. They fell into second place and stayed there, possible contenders for the Wild Card, until the very last day of the season, when they lost to the Orioles, 4-3, when Jonathan Papelbon gave up two runs in the bottom of the ninth in Baltimore. The Sox were eliminated.

Within weeks, manager Terry Francona (who’d led the only two Red Sox teams to win a World Series since 1918) was gone, word being spread about that he had lost control of the team, perhaps too involved in problems of his own. Players may have taken advantage of him treating them like adults, instead of enforcing discipline in the clubhouse, and there were stories of the pitchers, in particular, drinking beer and eating fried chicken during games.

Within three weeks, GM Theo Epstein was gone, too. He resigned on October 21.

2012

After their collapse at the end of the 2011 season, expectations were brought down a bit for the 2012 Red Sox – though they did have a new manager in place in Bobby Valentine and they did have a brand-new spring training ballpark and player development complex near Fort Myers. Things couldn’t be as bad in 2012 as the horrific way everything fell apart at the end of 2011, could they?

Since 1998, the Red Sox had averaged nearly 92 wins a year (91.79) over that 14-year stretch that covered the final Yawkey years and the first decade of new ownership. And, really, they’d won 90 games in 2011, after all was said and done. They’d been very close to a playoff berth, or at least a single-game playoff against the Rays. It was such a sour and dispirited team, though, that they probably wouldn’t have gone far in the postseason had they actually made it rather than going home.

A winter of soul-searching and a new manager offered the opportunity of a re-set. There was plenty of talent on this team. And there was good feeling at the start of the season, with a huge celebration to recognize the 100th birthday of venerable Fenway Park, which had restored and improved over the prior 10 years.

But the 2012 Red Sox only won 69 games and finished in fifth place – last place. Not for a half-century – not since 1960 — had they had such a poor winning percentage (.426). They were 69-93, and 26 games out of first place, behind…the Yankees.

It had been a year of losing. They didn’t start with six consecutive losses, as in 2011, but they did lose five of the first six, and 10 of the first 14. There was a stretch in June where they actually bobbed above .500, and climbed into third place for a few days in mid-June and again in mid-July.

It was also a year of injuries and underperformance, though. The stats are depressing. Only two players drove in as many as 80 runs. Only two hit as high as .300. Not one pitcher won as many as a dozen games. The team’s main closer – Aceves, who had been 10-2 in 2011 – mirrored that year, going 2-10. There wasn’t much of anything about which to feel positive.
From August 1 on, the most they could muster was a two-game winning streak, and you can’t really call winning two games in a row a “streak.” They lost 12 of their last 13 games, including every one of the final eight.

On the 25th of August, the team had pulled off a stunning trade, a nearly-unbelievable one which freed up over a quarter billion dollars’ worth of future salary obligations, allowing a nearly complete re-set. The Los Angeles Dodgers had recently changed hands, and were well-capitalized. They saw that Adrian Gonzalez was unhappy in Boston, as was Carl Crawford and as was Josh Beckett. So they traded for all three of them! The Red Sox added utility infielder Nick Punto to the mix, and got back five players, none of them household names but two of them being young pitchers with a possible bright upside – Rubby de la Rosa and Allen Webster. As much as anything, though, they shed all that money that had been tied up in players who were underperforming in Boston. It would take time to see how things might play out.

The month of September was mostly just playing out the string. From September 1 through the end of the season, the Sox were 7-22. And they were in last place. The last time a Red Sox team had been in last place was 1932.

The team wasted no time showing Bobby Valentine the door. He was gone on October 4, the day after the final game. The last time the Red Sox fired a manager after just one season was in 1934.

It wasn’t how Ben Cherington would have wanted to spend his first full year as the team’s new GM. But Cherington took the long view, and had immediately started looking past 2012. He didn’t have long to wait before things became brighter.

2013

Worst to first. World Champions again, for the third time in 10 years. 2013 saw an unexpected rebirth of the Boston Red Sox. No one expected it, and—judging from how “soft” the demand for game tickets was all year long—not many people actually believed it was happening. Until it did.

Yes, the team was in first place without interruption through the first 36 games, and for two more months from May 26 through July 25. But after how 2011 had fallen apart, everyone was waiting for the proverbial other shoe to drop. Few believed. Other than the team in the clubhouse.

John Farrell was brought in from Toronto to manage the Red Sox. The Sox actually traded for him, on October 20, sending shortstop Mike Aviles to the Blue Jays for Farrell and pitcher David Carpenter (who Boston placed on waivers before the end of November.)

GM Ben Cherington added a number of “character” players to the team, perhaps departing a bit from the script to look for players who would help provide a cohesive clubhouse. At the same time, he was not unmindful of those players’ success on other teams – right-fielder Shane Victorino, for instance, already had 46 postseason games on his resume, thanks to the Phillies going to the playoffs five years in succession. Left-fielder Jonny Gomes had been with three teams who had made the postseason—the Rays, the Reds, and the A’s.

The Sox had another left-fielder in Daniel Nava, who was nominally a backup but actually appeared in 134 games and hit for a .303 average, ranking him eighth in the league. David Ortiz rebounded, driving in a team-best 103 runs, hitting 30 homers, and batting .309. Big Papi was fourth in the league in OPS. Dustin Pedroia tore a thumb ligament on Opening Day, and played through it all year long, only missing two games, hitting .301 and driving in 84. Mike Napoli, another newcomer, hit 23 homers and drove in 92 runs.

And then there were the beards. Several players – and then almost every player – started growing beards at the beginning of the season, and some became pretty formidable by year’s end. It was one of those indefinable things that helped with cohesion and the feeling of “team” and this year’s team had that kind of feeling in spades. There were so many different players who contributed over the course of the season, at key moments when it was time for somebody else to step up.

The pitching was evenly distributed. No one won as many as 16 games (Jon Lester was 15-9) and other than the 12-1 Clay Buchholz (who missed half the season, from June 8 to September 10, but pitched with a 1.74 ERA when in the rotation), no one else won even a dozen games. Felix Doubront won 11 and John Lackey, back from surgery, won 10. The team ERA, however, was 3.79. Only five A.L. teams had a better one.

The 2013 Red Sox simply put it all together, flying under the radar almost the full year, but finishing 5 ½ games ahead of the second-place Rays. The Orioles and Yankees were both 12 games behind, and the Blue Jays 23.

The Red Sox beat the Rays in the Division Series, three games to one. They beat the Tigers in the ALCS, four games to two. And they found themselves in the World Series again, facing the St. Louis Cardinals.

They had a chance to even the score—the Cardinals had beaten them in 1946 and in 1967, each Series going seven. The Sox had swept St. Louis in 2004.
The Red Sox had won two World Series in the 21st century – 2004 and 2007. But the last time they had won a World Series in Boston was way back in 1918, and there wasn’t really anyone left who could remember it. It had, after all, been 95 years.

The Sox won it at home, taking Game Six on October 30 with a fairly easy 6-1 win behind the pitching of John Lackey, a symbol of redemption for sure. From one of the most reviled players in 2011, and Tommy John surgery in 2012, he’d contributed well to the 2013 Sox and won the clinching game of the 2013 World Series (just as he had done for the Angels in 2002), allowing just the one run in 6 2/3 innings. Lackey was 3-1 in the 2013 postseason.

It had been a strange World Series; the Red Sox as a team only hit for a .211 batting average. Only three players even hit that high, to help bring up the average—Xander Bogaerts (.238), Jacoby Ellsbury (.250), and the man who for very obvious reasons was named World Series MVP: David Ortiz. All Ortiz did was hit .688! He drove in six runs and scored seven. Without Ortiz having gone 11-for-16, the Red Sox as a team would have hit .168.

Red Sox pitching was dramatically better than the Cardinals (who’d hit .224 as a team). The Sox staff recorded an ERA of 1.74, while the Cardinals’ (despite Boston’s poor batting average) was 4.19.

With the win, the Red Sox became the first team in the 21st century to win three World Series titles – and all three had come in a 10-year stretch, 2004 through 2013.
A more complete recounting of the 2013 postseason would be enjoyable, wouldn’t it? Check the Fall 2014 publication of From The Babe to the Beards by Bill Nowlin and Jim Prime.