On October 27, 2004, the Boston Red Sox win the World Series for the first time since 1918, finally vanquishing the so-called “Curse of the Bambino” that had plagued them for 86 years. “This is for anyone who has ever rooted for the Red Sox,” Boston general manager Theo Epstein tells reporters. “This is for all of Red Sox Nation, past and present.”
Ever since team owner Harry Frazee sold the great Babe Ruth to the Yankees in 1920, the Red Sox had been unable to win the World Series. Some believed the team was cursed. Before 1920, the Red Sox had won five championships, the Yankees none. After the Babe left, Boston’s well ran dry. The Yankees, meanwhile, won a record 26 World Series after 1920.
Boston had its chances to snap the streak.
In the 1946 World Series against St. Louis, the Red Sox were winning Game 7 with two outs in the eighth—until shortstop Johnny Pesky held onto a relay throw just long enough for Enos Slaughter to score the winning run from first base. Boston lost the World Series in 1967 and 1975, too.
Three years later, in a one-game playoff for the AL pennant, the Red Sox lost when light-hitting Yankees shortstop Bucky Dent cranked a three-run home run over the Green Monster. (The Yankees won the game and went on to win their 22nd World Series.) In the 10th inning of Game 6 in the 1986 World Series against the Mets, an error by Red Sox first baseman Bill Buckner plated the winning run. The Mets beat the Red Sox in Game 7 for the title.
But in 2004, the team’s luck changed.
The Yanks were three games up in the AL Championship Series, but Boston made a miraculous comeback and swept the last four. Boston's opponent in the World Series, the St. Louis Cardinals, had the best regular-season record in the majors. But in the World Series, their pitching was weak and their batting was worse. The Red Sox won the first three games handily.
In Game 4 in St. Louis, Johnny Damon led off with a homer, and Trot Nixon’s bases-loaded double in the third scored two more. Pitcher Derek Lowe gave up just three hits in seven innings as Boston won, 3-0.
“This,” wrote a columnist for the Boston Globe, “is what it must have felt like in 1918.”
In the 2007 World Series, the Sox did it again—they swept the Rockies for another easy victory. They won the World Series again in 2013 and 2018.