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TWISH: Red Sox win the 2004 World Series and break the “Curse of the Bambino”

On Oct. 27, 2004, the Boston Red Sox defeated the St. Louis Cardinals 3-0 to win the World Series. This was no ordinary World Series win, though, as it was Boston’s first World Series since 1918 and finally broke the Curse of the Bambino.

The curse started on Dec. 26, 1919, when the Boston Red Sox sold Babe Ruth to the New York Yankees for $100,000. Ruth wanted out of Boston because he wanted a salary raise and the Red Sox refused while the Yankees agreed. This trade turned out to alter the two franchises in ways that were unimaginable at the time.

This trade began the rise of the “Evil Empire,” as the Yankees never won a world series prior to the trade while, after acquiring Ruth, they won four of their next 27 World Series appearances with their new star that ushered in the most dominant run in all of sports history.

In 1946, Boston advanced to the World Series for the first time without Ruth. They lost to the St. Louis Cardinals in game seven, 4-3, after giving up a run in the bottom of the eighth with the score tied 3-3.

The first true curse moment came in 1948, when the Red Sox tied for the most regular season wins, which caused baseball’s first and only ever one-game playoff series to decide the pennant winner. The Indians crushed the Red Sox 13-5 and proceeded to win the World Series.

In 1949, Boston was only one game away from winning the pennant, but they had to beat the Yankees at least once. They lost both games they played, and the Yankees proceeded to win five consecutive World Series in a row from 1949 to 1953.

During the 1967 season, the Red Sox once again faced the Cardinals in the World Series, and just like in 1946, the series went to seven games. Once again, the Cardinals beat the Red Sox, this time 7-2, after the Red Sox ace Jim Lonborg did not play well on short rest.

In 1978, the Red Sox blew a 14-game advantage over the Yankees. But New York went on a roll and defeated Boston in a four-game series by a combined score of 42-9, with this series being affectionately called the “Boston Massacre.”

Even though the Yankees were winning the division afterward, the Red Sox won 12 out of 14 games, and they forced a one-game playoff against the Yankees. The Yankees beat Boston thanks to Bucky Dent’s three-run homerun that eventually led to a 5-4 New York victory. The Yankees went on to beat the Los Angeles Dodgers in the World Series.

Up until this point, the curse wasn’t solidified. However, in the 1986 World Series game six, the curse made Red Sox history. Bill Buckner let a ball go through his legs, causing New York Met Mookie Wilson to score from second, winning the Mets the game and eventually costing Boston the series.

The Red Sox reached the ALCS in the years 1988 and 1990, but they were swept by the Oakland Athletics in both years. In 1999, they faced the Yankees in the ALCS once more but fell to their arch-rivals 4-1.

Facing the Yankees in ALCS again once more in 2003, the Red Sox held a 5-2 lead in game seven, and manager Grady Little chose to keep out their ace starter Pedro Martinez in the eighth inning. The Yankees proceeded to score three runs on Martinez, which sent the game to overtime. In overtime, Aaron Boone hit a solo home run in the 11th off closer Tim Wakefield to win the pennant.

In 2004, the Red Sox were losing to the Yankees in the ALCS, down 3-0. But the Red Sox could stay alive in game four thanks to Dave Roberts stealing second in game four, followed by Bill Mueller hitting a two-run home run and David Ortiz hitting a two-run home run in the 12th to win the Red Sox the game and leading Boston to win their last three games to complete the 3-0 comeback.

After 86 years, the curse was finally broken once the Red Sox swept the Cardinals in four games in the 2004 World Series. Boston went on to win three world series in 2007, 2013 and 2018, proving that once and for all, the curse was truly broken.

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