|2004 Boston Red Sox|
|AL Wild Card Winner
American League Champions
World Series Champions
|Major League affiliations|
|Owner(s)||John W. Henry (New England Sports Ventures)|
|General manager(s)||Theo Epstein|
(Sean McDonough, Jerry Remy)
(Don Orsillo, Jerry Remy)
(Jerry Trupiano, Joe Castiglione)
(Bill Kulik, Uri Berenguer, Juan Pedro Villamán)
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The 2004 Boston Red Sox season was the 104th season in the franchise's Major League Baseball history. Managed by Terry Francona, the Red Sox finished with a 98–64 record, three games behind the New York Yankees in the American League East. The Red Sox qualified for the postseason as the AL wild card, swept the Anaheim Angels in the ALDS, and faced the Yankees in the ALCS for the second straight year. After losing the first three games to the Yankees and trailing in the ninth inning of the fourth game, the Red Sox became the first team in major league history to come back from a three-game postseason deficit, defeating the Yankees in seven games. The Red Sox then swept the St. Louis Cardinals in the World Series, capturing their first championship since 1918.
During the 2003–04 off season, the Red Sox acquired a starting ace pitcher; Curt Schilling, as well as a closer, Keith Foulke. Many visitors at their Spring training at Fort Myers, Florida were very enthusiastic about the 2004 Red Sox team. Expectations once again ran high that 2004 would finally be the year that the Red Sox ended their championship drought.
|New York Yankees||101||61||0.623||—||57–24||44–37|
|Boston Red Sox||98||64||0.605||3||55–26||43–38|
|Tampa Bay Devil Rays||70||91||0.435||30½||41–39||29–52|
|Toronto Blue Jays||67||94||0.416||33½||40–41||27–53|
2004 American League Records
Sources:              
|2004 Boston Red Sox roster|
The regular season started well in April, but through midseason the team struggled due to injuries, inconsistency and defensive woes, and fell more than eight games behind New York. A bright point came on July 24, when the Red Sox overcame a five-run deficit as Bill Mueller hit a game-winning home run to right-center off Yankees closer Mariano Rivera. The game also featured the infamous brawl between Yankee superstar Alex Rodriguez and Red Sox catcher and captain Jason Varitek.
Red Sox General Manager Theo Epstein shook up the team at the MLB trading deadline July 31, trading the team's wildly popular yet often hurt and disgruntled shortstop, Nomar Garciaparra, to the Chicago Cubs, receiving Orlando Cabrera from the Montreal Expos and Doug Mientkiewicz from the Minnesota Twins in return. In a separate transaction, the Red Sox also traded AAA outfielder Henri Stanley to the Los Angeles Dodgers for center fielder Dave Roberts. With valuable players like Cabrera, Mientkiewicz, and Roberts in the line up, the club turned things around, winning twenty-two out of twenty-five games and going on to finish within three games of the Yankees in the AL East and qualifying for the playoffs as the AL Wild Card.
The team played its home games at Fenway Park, before a regular season total attendance of 2,837,294 fans.
|2004 game log|
Note: Pos = position; G = Games played; AB = At bats; H = Hits; Avg. = Batting average; HR = Home runs; RBI = Runs batted in
|C||Varitek, JasonJason Varitek||137||463||137||.296||18||73|
|1B||Millar, KevinKevin Millar||150||508||151||.297||18||74|
|2B||Bellhorn, MarkMark Bellhorn||138||523||138||.264||17||82|
|3B||Mueller, BillBill Mueller||110||399||113||.283||12||57|
|SS||Cabrera, OrlandoOrlando Cabrera||58||223||67||.294||6||31|
|LF||Ramirez, MannyManny Ramirez||152||568||175||.308||43||130|
|CF||Damon, JohnnyJohnny Damon||150||621||189||.304||20||94|
|RF||Nixon, TrotTrot Nixon||48||149||47||.315||6||23|
|DH||Ortiz, DavidDavid Ortiz||150||582||175||.301||41||139|
|Garciaparra, NomarNomar Garciaparra||38||156||50||.321||5||21|
|McCarty, DavidDavid McCarty||91||151||39||.258||4||17|
|Gutiérrez, RickyRicky Gutiérrez||21||40||11||.275||0||3|
|Kapler, GabeGabe Kapler||136||290||79||.272||6||33|
|Youkilis, KevinKevin Youkilis||72||208||54||.260||7||35|
|Mirabelli, DougDoug Mirabelli||59||150||45||.281||9||32|
Note: G = Games played; IP = Innings Pitched; W = Win; L = Loss; ERA = Earned Run Average; SO = Strikeout
|Martínez, PedroPedro Martínez||33||217.0||16||9||3.90||227|
|Wakefield, TimTim Wakefield||32||188.1||12||10||4.87||116|
|Schilling, CurtCurt Schilling||32||226.2||21||6||3.26||203|
|Lowe, DerekDerek Lowe||32||182.2||14||12||5.42||105|
|Arroyo, BronsonBronson Arroyo||32||178.2||10||9||4.03||142|
|Alvarez, AbeAbe Alvarez||1||5.0||0||1||9.00||2|
|Astacio, PedroPedro Astacio||5||8.2||0||0||10.38||6|
|Kim, Byung-hyunByung-hyun Kim||7||17.1||2||1||6.23||6|
|Foulke, KeithKeith Foulke||72||5||3||32||2.17||79|
Boston began the playoffs by sweeping the AL West champion Anaheim Angels. The Red Sox blew out the Angels 9–3 in Game 1, scoring 7 of those runs in the fourth inning. However, the Sox' 2003 off season prize pickup Curt Schilling suffered a torn tendon when he was hit by a line drive. The injury was exacerbated when Schilling fielded a ball rolling down the first base line. The second game, pitched by Pedro Martínez, stayed close until Boston scored four in the ninth to win 8–3. In game three, what looked to be a blowout turned out to be a nail-biter, as Vladimir Guerrero hit a grand slam off Mike Timlin in the top of the seventh inning to tie it at six. However, David Ortiz, who was noted for his clutch hitting, delivered in the 10th inning with a game winning two-run homer, off Jarrod Washburn, sailing over the Green Monster. The Red Sox advanced to a rematch in the 2004 American League Championship Series against their bitter rivals, the New York Yankees.
Despite high hopes that the Red Sox would finally vanquish their nemesis from the Bronx, the series started disastrously for them. Curt Schilling pitched with the torn tendon sheath in his right ankle he had suffered in Game 1 of the Division Series against Anaheim, and was routed for six runs in three innings. Yankee starter Mike Mussina had six perfect innings, and held an 8–0 lead. Despite the Sox' best effort to come back (they scored seven runs to make it 8–7), they ended up losing 10–7. In Game 2, already with his Yankees leading 1–0 for most of the game, John Olerud hit a two-run home run to put the New York team up for good. The Sox were soon down three games to none after a 19–8 loss in Game 3 at home. In that game, the two clubs set the record for most runs scored in a League Championship Series game. At that point in the history of baseball, no team had come back to win from a 3–0 series deficit (only the 1998 Atlanta Braves and 1999 New York Mets had ever gotten as far as a Game 6).
In Game 4, the Red Sox found themselves facing elimination, trailing 4–3 in the ninth with Yankees closer Mariano Rivera on the mound. After Rivera issued a walk to Kevin Millar, Dave Roberts came on to pinch run and promptly stole second base, this being what many consider the turning point in the series. He then scored on an RBI single by Bill Mueller which sent the game to extra innings. The Red Sox went on to win the game on a two-run home run by David Ortiz in the 12th inning. In Game 5, the Red Sox were again down late, this time by the score of 4–2, as a result of Derek Jeter's bases-clearing triple. But the Sox struck back in the eighth, as Ortiz hit a homer over the Green Monster to bring the Sox within a run. Then Jason Varitek hit a sacrifice fly to bring home Dave Roberts, scoring the tying run. The game would go for 14 innings, capped off by many squandered Yankee opportunities (they were 1 for 13 with runners in scoring position). In the top of the 12th inning, the knuckleballing Tim Wakefield came in from the bullpen, without his customary "personal catcher", Doug Mirabelli. Varitek, the starting catcher, had trouble with Wakefield's tricky knuckleballs in the 12th: he allowed 3 passed balls in the 13th. The third and last of those gave the Yankees runners on second and third with two out. The Red Sox were spared, however, as Rubén Sierra struck out to end the inning. In the bottom of the 14th, Ortiz would again seal the win with a game-winning RBI single that brought home Damon. The game set the record for longest postseason game in terms of time (5 hours and 49 minutes) and for the longest American League Championship Series game (14 innings), though the former has since been broken.
With the series returning to Yankee Stadium for Game 6, the improbable comeback continued, with Curt Schilling pitching on an ankle that had three sutures wrapped in a bloody white sock (red with a blood stain). Schilling struck out four, walked none, and only allowed one run over seven innings to lead the team to victory. Mark Bellhorn also helped in the effort as he hit a three-run home run in the fourth inning. Originally called a double, the umpires conferred and agreed that the ball had actually gone into the stands before falling back into the field of play, which was apparent to the television audience but angered Yankees fans. A key play came in the bottom of the eighth inning with Derek Jeter on first and Alex Rodríguez facing Bronson Arroyo. Rodríguez hit a ground ball down the first base line. Arroyo fielded it and reached out to tag him as he raced down the line. Rodríguez slapped at the ball and it came loose, rolling down the line. Jeter scored and Rodríguez ended up on second. After conferring, however, the umpires called Rodríguez out on interference and returned Jeter to first base, the second time in the game they reversed a call. Yankees fans, upset with the calls, littered the field with debris. The umpires called police clad in riot gear to line the field in the top of the 9th inning. In the bottom of the ninth, the Yankees staged a rally and brought former Red Sox player Tony Clark, who had played well against the Red Sox since leaving the team, to the plate as the potential winning run. Closer Keith Foulke however, struck out Clark to end the game and force a Game 7. In this game, the Red Sox completed their historic comeback on the strength of Derek Lowe's one-hit, one-run pitching and Johnny Damon's two home runs, including a grand slam in the second inning off the first pitch of reliever Javier Vázquez, and defeated the New York Yankees, 10–3. Ortiz, who had the game-winning RBIs in Games 4 and 5, was named ALCS Most Valuable Player.
Major League Baseball, the National Basketball Association, and the National Hockey League are three professional sports that feature best-of-seven games series in their playoffs. Coming back to win a seven-game series when down by three games has only been accomplished by five teams in the history of the MLB, NBA, and NHL. The 1942 Toronto Maple Leafs (NHL) came back from being down by three games to the Detroit Red Wings to win the 1942 Stanley Cup. The 1975 New York Islanders (NHL) did the same when they came back to beat the Pittsburgh Penguins in the 1975 Stanley Cup Quarterfinals. During their Cinderella run to the 2010 Stanley Cup Finals, the Philadelphia Flyers (NHL) came back from three games down to defeat the Boston Bruins to advance to the Eastern Conference Finals. In the 2013–14 NHL Playoffs the Los Angeles Kings defeated the San Jose Sharks in the first round, on their way to winning the 2014 Stanley Cup. The Boston Red Sox are currently the only team in Major League Baseball history to do this.
The Red Sox faced the St. Louis Cardinals in the 2004 World Series. The Cardinals had posted the best record in the major leagues that season, and had previously defeated the Red Sox in the 1946 and 1967 Series, with both series going seven games. The third time would be the charm, however, as the momentum and confidence Boston had built up in the ALCS would overwhelm St. Louis. The Red Sox began the Series with an 11–9 win, marked by Mark Bellhorn's game-winning home run off Pesky's Pole. He later on said that he "just did what he needed to do." It was the highest scoring World Series opening game ever (breaking the previous record set in 1932). The Red Sox would go on to win Game 2 in Boston (thanks to another sensational performance by the bloody-socked Schilling). The Red Sox won both these games despite making 4 errors in each game. In Game 3, Pedro Martínez shut out the Cardinals for seven innings. The Cardinals only made one real threat — in the third inning when they put runners on second and third with no outs. However, the Cardinals' rally was killed by pitcher Jeff Suppan's baserunning gaffe. With no outs, Suppan should have scored easily from third on a Larry Walker ground ball to second baseman Bellhorn, who was playing back, conceding the run. But as Bellhorn threw out Walker at first base, Suppan inexplicably froze after taking several steps toward home and was thrown out by Sox first baseman David Ortiz as he scrambled back to third. The double play was devastating for St. Louis. The Red Sox needed one more game to win their first championship since the 1918 World Series. In Game Four the Red Sox did not allow a run, and the game ended as Édgar Rentería (who would become the 2005 Red Sox starting SS) hit the ball back to Keith Foulke. (This was the second time that Rentería had ended a Series, as he had won it for the Marlins seven years prior in the 1997 World Series.) After Foulke lobbed the ball to Doug Mientkiewicz, the Sox had won their first World Championship in 86 years. The Sox held the Cardinals' offense (the best in the NL in 2004) to only three runs in the last three games, never trailing in the Series. Manny Ramírez was named World Series MVP. The Red Sox won Game Four of the series on October 27, eighteen years to the day from when they lost to the New York Mets in the 1986 World Series. In fact, it came 18 years to the day they lost their last World Series game, as they would sweep the 2004 series.
The Red Sox performed well in the 2004 postseason. From the eighth inning of Game 5 of the American League Championship Series against the Yankees (a tie) until the end of the World Series, the Sox played 60 innings, and never trailed at any point. This was only the fourth World Series ever played in which the losing team had never held a lead.
To add a final, surreal touch to the Red Sox championship title, on the night the Red Sox won, a total lunar eclipse colored the moon over Busch Stadium to a deep red hue. The Red Sox won the title about eleven minutes before totality ended. Many Red Sox fans who were turned away due to no tickets for the game were allowed to watch the final inning from the confines of Busch Stadium after being let in free of charge.
The Red Sox held a parade (or as Boston mayor Thomas Menino put it, a "rolling rally") on Saturday, October 30, 2004. A crowd of more than three million people filled the streets of Boston to cheer as the team rode on the city's famous Duck Boats. The parade followed the same route the New England Patriots took following their victories in Super Bowls Super Bowl XXXVI in 2002 and Super Bowl XXXVIII in February.
Following their 2004 World Series win, the Red Sox replaced the dirt from the field as a "fresh start". They earned many accolades from sports media and throughout the nation for their incredible season.
The Patriots win in the Super Bowl meant the Red Sox World Series win made Boston the first city to have Super Bowl and World Series champions in the same year in 25 years, when the Pittsburgh Steelers won Super Bowl XIII, followed by the Pirates winning the 1979 World Series. The Patriots winning Super Bowl XXXIX in the ensuing offseason made Boston the first city to have two Super Bowls and one World Series championship over a span of 12 months since Pittsburgh in 1979–1980.
After the Bruins won the 2011 Stanley Cup Finals, which made Boston the first city to win championships in all four sports leagues in the new millennium, Dan Shaughnessy of The Boston Globe ranked all seven championships by the Boston teams (the Patriots in the Super Bowls played in 2002, 2004 and 2005, the Red Sox in 2004 and 2007, the Celtics in 2008, and the Bruins in 2011) and picked the Red Sox win in 2004 as the greatest Boston sports championship during the ten-year span.
|AAA||Pawtucket Red Sox||International League||Buddy Bailey|
|AA||Portland Sea Dogs||Eastern League||Ron Johnson|
|A||Sarasota Red Sox||Florida State League||Todd Claus|
|A||Greenville Drive||South Atlantic League||Chad Epperson|
|A-Short Season||Lowell Spinners||New York–Penn League||Luis Alicea|
|Rookie||GCL Red Sox||Gulf Coast League||Ralph Treuel|
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