Curse of the Bambino

The Curse of the Bambino was a superstition evolving from the failure of the Boston Red Sox baseball team to win the World Series in the 86-year period from 1918 to 2004. While some fans took the curse seriously, most used the expression in a tongue-in-cheek manner.[1] This misfortune began after the Red Sox sold star player Babe Ruth, sometimes nicknamed as "The Bambino", to the New York Yankees in the off-season of 1919–1920.[2] Before that point, the Red Sox had been one of the most successful professional baseball franchises, winning the first World Series and amassing five World Series titles.[3] After the sale, they went without a title for nearly a century as the previously lackluster Yankees became one of the most successful franchises in North American professional sports.[4] The curse became a focal point of the Yankees–Red Sox rivalry over the years.

Talk of the curse as an ongoing phenomenon ended in 2004, when the Red Sox came back from a 0–3 best-of-seven deficit to beat the Yankees in the 2004 American League Championship Series (ALCS) and then went on to sweep the St. Louis Cardinals to win the 2004 World Series.[5] The curse had been such a part of Boston culture that when a "reverse curve" road sign on Longfellow Bridge over the city's busy Storrow Drive was graffitied to read "Reverse The Curse",[6] officials left it in place until after the Red Sox won the 2004 Series. After the Red Sox won the last game of the World Series that year, the road sign was edited to read "Curse Reversed" in celebration.[6]

Babe Ruth Red Sox 1918
Babe Ruth, also known as "The Bambino", in his earlier days as a pitcher for the Red Sox
External images
Picture of the graffitied "reverse curve" road sign
Removal of the sign (then re-graffitied to read "reversed the curse") by a crew including Governor Mitt Romney, following Boston's 2004 World Series victory.

Lore

Harry-frazee
Harry Frazee sold Babe Ruth to the Yankees.

Although it had long been noted that the selling of Ruth had been the beginning of a decline in the Red Sox' fortunes, the term "curse of the Bambino" was not in common use until the publication of the book The Curse of the Bambino by Dan Shaughnessy in 1990.[7] It became a key part of Red Sox lore in the media thereafter, and Shaughnessy's book became required reading in some high school English classes in New England.[7][8]

Although the title drought dated back to 1918, the sale of Ruth to the Yankees was completed January 3, 1920.[9] In standard curse lore, Red Sox owner and theatrical producer Harry Frazee used the proceeds from the sale to finance the production of a Broadway musical, usually said to be No, No, Nanette.[10] In fact, Frazee backed many productions before and after Ruth's sale, and No, No, Nanette did not see its first performance until five years after the Ruth sale and two years after Frazee sold the Red Sox. In 1921, Red Sox manager Ed Barrow left to take over as general manager of the Yankees. Other Red Sox players were later sold or traded to the Yankees as well.[11]

Neither the lore, nor the debunking of it, entirely tells the story. As Leigh Montville wrote in The Big Bam: The Life and Times of Babe Ruth, the production No, No, Nanette had originated as a non-musical stage play called My Lady Friends, which opened on Broadway in December 1919.[12] That play had, indeed, been financed as a direct result of the Ruth deal.[13] Various researchers, including Montville and Shaughnessy, have pointed out that Frazee had close ties to the Yankees owners, and that many of the player deals, as well as the mortgage deal for Fenway Park itself, had to do with financing his plays.[12]

Yankee fans taunted the Red Sox with chants of "1918!" one weekend in September 1990.[14] The demeaning chant echoed at Yankee Stadium each time the Red Sox were there.[15] Yankee fans also taunted the Red Sox with signs saying "1918!", "CURSE OF THE BAMBINO", pictures of Babe Ruth, and wearing "1918!" T-shirts each time they were at the Stadium.[15][16]

Reportedly cursed results

Before Ruth left Boston, the Red Sox had won five of the first fifteen World Series, with Ruth pitching for the 1916 and 1918 championship teams (he was with the Sox for the 1915 World Series but the manager used him only once, as a pinch-hitter, and he did not pitch). The Yankees had not played in any World Series up to that time. In the 84 years after the sale, the Yankees played in 39 World Series, winning 26 of them, twice as many as any other team in Major League Baseball. Meanwhile, over the same time span, the Red Sox played in only four World Series and lost each in seven games.[7]

Even losses that occurred many years before the first mention of the supposed curse, in 1986,[7] have been attributed to it. Some of these instances are listed below:

  • In 1946, the Red Sox appeared in their first World Series since the sale of Babe Ruth and were favored to beat the St. Louis Cardinals.[17] The series went to a seventh game at Sportsman's Park in St. Louis. In the bottom of the eighth inning, with the score tied at 3–3, the Cardinals had Enos Slaughter on first base and Harry Walker at the plate. On a hit and run, Walker hit a double to very short left-center field. Slaughter ran through the third base coach's stop sign and beat Boston shortstop Johnny Pesky's relay throw to home plate.[18] Some say Pesky hesitated on the throw, allowing Slaughter to score, but Pesky always denied this charge. Film footage is inconclusive, except that it shows Pesky in bright sunlight and Slaughter in shadow. Boston star Ted Williams, playing with an injury, was largely ineffective at bat in his only World Series.
  • In 1948, the Red Sox finished the regular season tied for first place,[19][20] only to lose the pennant to the Cleveland Indians in the major leagues' first-ever one-game playoff.[21]
  • In 1949, the Red Sox needed to win just one of the last two games of the season to win the pennant,[22] but lost both games to the Yankees,[23] who would go on to win a record five consecutive World Series from 1949 to 1953.
  • In 1967, the Red Sox surprisingly reversed the awful results of the 1966 season by winning the American League pennant on the last weekend of the season.[24] In the World Series, they once again faced the Cardinals, and just as in 1946, the Series went to a seventh game. St. Louis won the deciding contest, 7–2, behind their best pitcher Bob Gibson; Gibson defeated Boston ace Jim Lonborg, who was pitching on short rest and was ineffective. Gibson even hit a home run against Lonborg in the game.[25]
  • In 1975, the Red Sox won the pennant and met the dynastic Cincinnati Reds in the World Series. The Red Sox won Game 6 on a famous walk-off home run by catcher Carlton Fisk, setting the stage for the deciding Game 7. Boston took a quick 3–0 lead, but the Reds tied the game. In the top of the ninth, the Reds brought in the go-ahead run on a Joe Morgan single that scored Ken Griffey, Sr., winning what is regarded as one of the greatest World Series ever played.
  • In 1978, the Red Sox held a 14-game lead in the American League East over the Yankees on July 18.[26] However, the Yankees subsequently caught fire, eventually tying Boston atop the standings on September 10 after sweeping a four-game series at Fenway Park, an event known to Red Sox fans as the "Boston Massacre."[27] Six days later, the Yankees held a ​3 12 game lead over the Red Sox, but the Sox won 12 of their next 14 games to overcome that deficit and force a one-game playoff on October 2 at Fenway Park. The memorable moment of the game came when light-hitting Yankee shortstop Bucky Dent cracked a three-run home run in the seventh inning that hit the top of the left field wall (the Green Monster) and skipped out of the park, giving New York a 3–2 lead. The Yankees held on to win the playoff game, 5–4, eventually winning the World Series.
  • In Game 6 of the 1986 World Series, Boston (leading the series three games to two) took a 5–3 lead in the top of the 10th inning. Red Sox reliever Calvin Schiraldi retired the first two batters, putting the team within one out (and shortly within one strike) of winning the World Series. However, the New York Mets scored three runs, tying the game on a wild pitch from Bob Stanley and winning it when Boston first baseman Bill Buckner allowed a ground ball hit by the Mets' Mookie Wilson to roll through his legs, scoring Ray Knight from second base. In the seventh game, the Red Sox took an early 3–0 lead, only to lose, 8–5. The collapses in the last two games prompted Vecsey's articles.[28][29][30][31]
  • In 1988 and 1990, the Red Sox advanced to the American League Championship Series, only to suffer four-game sweeps both times at the hands of the Oakland Athletics. They were also swept by the Cleveland Indians in the 1995 AL Division Series in three games (extending their postseason losing streak to a major-league record 13 games), lost again to the Indians in the 1998 ALDS three games to one, and were defeated by the Yankees four games to one in the 1999 ALCS.[32]
  • In 2003, the Red Sox were playing the Yankees in Game 7 of the American League Championship Series. Boston held a 5–2 lead in the eighth inning, and manager Grady Little opted to stay with starting pitcher Pedro Martínez rather than go to the bullpen.[33] New York rallied against the tired Martínez, scoring three runs on a single and three doubles to tie the game.[33] In the bottom of the 11th inning, Aaron Boone launched a solo home run against knuckleballing Boston starter Tim Wakefield (pitching in relief) to win the game and the pennant for the Yankees.[33]

Attempts to break the curse

Red Sox fans attempted various methods over the years to exorcise their famous curse. These included placing a Boston cap atop Mt. Everest and burning a Yankees cap at its base camp; hiring professional exorcists and Father Guido Sarducci to purify Fenway Park; spray painting a "Reverse Curve" street sign on Storrow Drive to change it to say "Reverse the Curse" (the sign was not replaced until just after the 2004 World Series win); and finding a piano owned by Ruth that he had supposedly pushed into a pond near his Sudbury, Massachusetts farm, Home Plate Farm.

In Ken Burns' 1994 documentary Baseball, former Red Sox pitcher Bill Lee suggested that the Red Sox should exhume the body of Babe Ruth, transport it back to Fenway and publicly apologize for trading Ruth to the Yankees.

Some declared the curse broken during a game on August 31, 2004, when a foul ball hit by Manny Ramírez flew into Section 9, Box 95, Row AA and struck a boy's face, knocking two of his teeth out.[34] 16-year-old Lee Gavin, a Boston fan whose favorite player was Ramirez, lived on the Sudbury farm owned by Ruth. That same day, the Yankees suffered their worst loss in team history, a 22–0 clobbering at home against the Cleveland Indians.[35][36][37]

Some fans also cite a comedy curse-breaking ceremony performed by musician Jimmy Buffett and his warm-up team (one dressed as Ruth and one dressed as a witch doctor) at a Fenway concert in September 2004. Just after being traded to the Red Sox, Curt Schilling appeared in an advertisement for the Ford F-150 pickup truck hitchhiking with a sign indicating he was going to Boston. When picked up, he said that he had "an 86-year-old curse" to break.[38]

End of the curse

In 2004, the Red Sox once again met the Yankees in the American League Championship Series. The Red Sox lost the first three games, including losing Game 3 at Fenway by the lopsided score of 19–8.[39][40]

The Red Sox trailed, 4–3, in the bottom of the 9th inning of Game 4.[41] But the team tied the game with a walk by Kevin Millar and a stolen base by pinch-runner Dave Roberts, followed by an RBI single against Yankee closer Mariano Rivera by third baseman Bill Mueller, and won on a two-run home run in the 12th inning by David Ortiz.[41] The Red Sox won the next three games to become the first Major League baseball team to win a seven-game postseason series after being down three games to none.[42]

The Red Sox then faced the St. Louis Cardinals, the team to whom they had lost in 1946 and 1967, and led throughout the series, winning in a four-game sweep.[5] Cardinals shortstop Édgar Rentería, who wore the same number as Ruth (3), hit the final out of the game.[5][43][44]

Antisemitism

Glenn Stout argues that the idea of a curse was indirectly influenced by antisemitism, although that aspect was not part of its modern usage; he even says "This does not mean that ... anyone who writes or speaks of the Curse today -- as a journalist or a fan -- is either anti-Semitic or even remotely aware of the anti-Semitic roots of the Curse."[45] Because Frazee was from New York and involved in theatre, it was assumed he was Jewish (he was actually a Presbyterian). Though Frazee was well respected in Boston, Henry Ford's Dearborn Independent ran a series of articles purporting to expose how Jews were "destroying America", and among these were articles lambasting Frazee, saying that with his purchase of the Red Sox "another club was placed under the smothering influences of the 'chosen race.'"[45] These articles turned the tide of both baseball owners and public opinion against Frazee, and Fred Lieb's vilification of Frazee in his history of the Red Sox portrayed him implicitly as a Jew.[45] Stout argues that this hatred indirectly created the atmosphere where the "curse" could be accepted.

In popular culture

Non-fiction works

  • The 2004 Red Sox season was the subject of several non-fiction books, including Faithful: Boston Red Sox Fans Chronicle the Historic 2004 Season, whose authors Stewart O'Nan and Stephen King decided to write the book before the season began, and Reversing the Curse by Dan Shaughnessy of The Boston Globe.
  • In the fall of 2003, HBO produced a documentary called The Curse of the Bambino, featuring commentary from native Boston celebrities such as Denis Leary, narrated by Ben Affleck. After the 2004 World Series, the ending of the documentary was re-filmed with a number of the same celebrities and it was retitled Reverse of the Curse of the Bambino, narrated by Liev Schreiber.

Fiction

  • The British memoir Fever Pitch, about author Nick Hornby's obsession with the Arsenal FC English soccer team, was adapted into an American film of the same name by the Farrelly brothers. The American adaptation was about an obsessive Red Sox fan. It was made during the 2004 World Series, which forced the filmmakers to rework the story; the Red Sox were not originally supposed to make it to the World Series.
  • In the movie 50 First Dates, Adam Sandler's character Henry Roth reminds his girlfriend about what happened in 2003 including a screen capture showing the Red Sox winning the World Series, until the next clip shows the title 'just kidding'. The movie was released in February 2004 and, by coincidence, the Red Sox eventually won the World Series later that year.
  • On the television show Lost, Jack and his father Christian often use the phrase "That's why the Sox will never win the damn series" to describe fate. In season 3, Ben shows the end of the 2004 game to try to convince Jack that the Others have contact with the outside world.
  • An episode of the children's TV series Arthur titled "The Curse of the Grebes" has Elwood City's baseball team losing two of its games in the world championship series due to events based directly on Bucky Dent's homer and Bill Buckner's error. The episode states that the team hadn't won a championship in 87 years and that their opponents, the Crown City Kings, had won 25 since then. Johnny Damon, Edgar Renteria, and Mike Timlin all voice caricatures of themselves. The Kings resembled the Yankees while the Grebes resemble the Red Sox.
  • In the movie Moneyball, Brad Pitt's character Billy Beane talks to the Boston Red Sox' owner about a job as GM after taking the Oakland A's to a 20-game winning streak. When the Red Sox' owner asks Billy Beane why he returned his call, he says because he wants to help them end the Curse of the Bambino.

Music

  • The Ben Harper song "Get It Like You Like It" includes the lines "But Johnny Damon swung his bat. Grand Slam. That was that. An 86-year curse is gone."
  • James Taylor "Angels of Fenway" (Album - Before This World) released June 15, 2015. Taylor sings "86 summers gone by. Bambino put a hex on the Bean. We were living on a tear and a sigh. In the shadow of the Bronx machine..."

Other

Video games

  • In the Fallout universe, one of the events in the Timeline Divergence is that the curse was never broken and the Boston Red Sox never won the World Series, even up to 2077. Newspaper articles in Fallout 4 show that the Red Sox were up 3-0 against Texas in 2077; Game 4 was scheduled for the day the nuclear bombs would fall.
  • In the first person shooter Team Fortress 2, there is an achievement called "A Year To Remember", in which the player has to make 2004 kills with the Scout (that is born in Boston, and uses a baseball bat as a weapon), referencing the end of the "curse".

See also

References

Inline citations
  1. ^ Shaughnessy 2005, pp. 8–10
  2. ^ Shaughnessy 1990, pp. 31–32
  3. ^ Shaughnessy 1990, p. 21
  4. ^ Shaughnessy 2005, p. 21
  5. ^ a b c Shaughnessy 2005, p. 3
  6. ^ a b Shaughnessy 2005, p. 231
  7. ^ a b c d Shaughnessy 2005, pp. 7–8
  8. ^ Kernan, Kevin (October 28, 2004). "Ding-Dong, Curse is Dead". New York Post. p. 86.
  9. ^ Shaughnessy 1990, p. 1
  10. ^ Shaughnessy 2005, p. 11
  11. ^ Shaughnessy 2005, p. 23
  12. ^ a b Montville, Leigh (2006). The Big Bam: The Life and Times of Babe Ruth. Random House. pp. 161–164.
  13. ^ Shaughnessy 1990, p. 33
  14. ^ Maske, Mark (September 25, 1990). "Pennant Chases in East Still Flying High, West All but Flagged". The Washington Post. p. E3. Yankees fans had taunted the Red Sox all weekend with chants of "1918, 1918!"—the last time Boston won the World Series—and the Red Sox are not allowed by long-suffering New Englanders to forget the pain they have wrought with years of excruciating near misses.
  15. ^ a b Shaughnessy 2005, p. 26
  16. ^ Frommer & Frommer 2004, pp. 18, 78
  17. ^ Shaughnessy 1990, pp. 63–64
  18. ^ Shaughnessy 1990, pp. 66–68
  19. ^ Drebinger, John (October 3, 1948). "Bombers Bow, 5-1; Red Sox End Yanks' Flag Chances When Kramer Pitches a 5-Hitter". The New York Times. p. S1.
  20. ^ Shaughnessy 1990, p. 79
  21. ^ Drebinger, John (October 5, 1948). "Indians Win American League Flag, Beating Red Sox in Play-Off, 8-3". The New York Times. p. 1.
  22. ^ Frommer & Frommer 2004, p. 319
  23. ^ Vaccaro 2005, pp. 322–325
  24. ^ Shaughnessy 1990, pp. 98–99
  25. ^ Shaughnessy 1990, p. 102
  26. ^ Shaughnessy 2005, p. 7
  27. ^ Shaughnessy 1990, p. 138
  28. ^ Shaughnessy 1990, p. 175
  29. ^ Shaughnessy 2005, p. 8
  30. ^ Vecsey, George (October 26, 1986). "Sports of the Times: The World Series '86; Red Sox: 68 Years and Counting". The New York Times. p. A3. Archived from the original on May 24, 2015.
  31. ^ Vecsey, George (October 28, 1986). "SPORTS OF THE TIMES; Babe Ruth Curse Strikes Again". The New York Times. p. D33. Archived from the original on May 24, 2015.
  32. ^ Frommer & Frommer 2004, pp. 180–182
  33. ^ a b c Shaughnessy, Dan (October 17, 2003). "Heartbreak again Yankees beat Red Sox, 6-5, on 11th-inning homer to capture AL pennant". Boston Globe. p. A1.
  34. ^ McGrory, Brian (September 2, 2004). "Taking teeth out of curse?". Boston Globe.
  35. ^ Shaughnessy 2005, p. 159
  36. ^ Popper, Steve (September 1, 2004). "Slide of the Yankees: Pinstripes Punished". The New York Times. p. D1.
  37. ^ Blum, Ronald (August 31, 2004). "Indians 22, Yankees 0". Associated Press.
  38. ^ Shaughnessy 2005, pp. 83–91
  39. ^ Shaughnessy 2005, p. 193
  40. ^ Shaughnessy, Dan (October 17, 2004). "Red Sox on brink of elimination as Yanks pound them, 19–8". The Boston Globe. Archived from the original on May 27, 2012.
  41. ^ a b Shaughnessy 2005, pp. 197–199
  42. ^ Shaughnessy, Dan (October 21, 2004). "A World Series ticket; Sox complete comeback, oust Yankees for AL title". Boston Globe.
  43. ^ Shaughnessy, Dan (October 28, 2004). "YES!!! Red Sox complete sweep, win first Series since 1918". The Boston Globe. Retrieved October 29, 2018.
  44. ^ Browne, Ian (October 28, 2004). "Magic 8 ball: Sox rack up history". MLB.com. MLB Advanced Media. Archived from the original on February 7, 2005. Retrieved October 29, 2018.
  45. ^ a b c Stout, Glenn (October 3, 2004). "Curse Born of Hate". ESPN. Archived from the original on January 3, 2005.
Bibliography

External links

1918 World Series

The 1918 World Series featured the Boston Red Sox, who defeated the Chicago Cubs four games to two. The Series victory for the Red Sox was their fifth in five tries, going back to 1903. The Red Sox scored only nine runs in the entire Series, the fewest runs by the winning team in World Series history. Along with the 1906 and 1907 World Series (both of which the Cubs also played in), the 1918 World Series is one of only three Fall Classics where neither team hit a home run.

The 1918 Series was played under several metaphorical dark clouds. The Series was held early in September because of the World War I "Work or Fight" order that forced the premature end of the regular season on September 1, and remains the only World Series to be played entirely in September. The Series was marred by players threatening to strike due to low gate receipts.

The Chicago home games in the series were played at Comiskey Park, which had a greater seating capacity than Weeghman Park, the prior home of the Federal League Chicago Whales that the Cubs were then using and which would be rechristened Wrigley Field in 1925. The Red Sox had played their home games in the 1915 and 1916 World Series in the more expansive Braves Field, but they returned to Fenway Park for the 1918 series.

The 1918 World Series marked the first time "The Star Spangled Banner" was performed at a major league game. During the seventh-inning stretch of Game 1, the band began playing the song because the country was involved in World War I. The song would be named the national anthem of the United States in 1931, and during World War II its playing would become a regular pre-game feature of baseball games and other sporting events. The winning pitcher of Game 1 was Babe Ruth, who pitched a shutout.

The 1918 championship would be the last Red Sox win until 2004. The drought of 86 years was often attributed to the Curse of the Bambino. The alleged curse came to be when Red Sox owner Harry Frazee traded the superbly talented but troublesome Babe Ruth (who was instrumental in their 1918 victory) to the New York Yankees for cash after the 1919 season.

The Cubs would not win their next World Series until 2016. The Cubs, who last won in 1908, won the National League but lost the Series in 1918, 1929, 1932, 1935, 1938, and 1945, and, allegedly stymied by the infamous Curse of the Billy Goat imposed during that latter Series. The Red Sox, who had won the American League but lost the Series in 1946, 1967, 1975, and 1986, finally won the World Series in 2004 and then won again in 2007, 2013 and 2018. When the Red Sox won in 2018 (against the Los Angeles Dodgers), they became the first team to win the Fall Classic exactly one century apart.

After Game 6, it would be some 87 years until the Cubs and Red Sox would play again. A three-game interleague matchup at Wrigley Field began June 10, 2005, and was Boston's first visit to the park. The Cubs would not return to Fenway Park for nearly 94 years until a three-game interleague matchup beginning May 20, 2011.

† For the first time in the Series, all four umpires worked in the infield on a rotating basis. In previous Series from 1909 through 1917, two of the four umpires had been positioned in the outfield for each game, in addition to the standard plate umpire and base umpire.

1975 Boston Red Sox season

The 1975 Boston Red Sox season was the 75th season in the franchise's Major League Baseball history. The Red Sox finished first in the American League East with a record of 95 wins and 65 losses. Following a sweep of the Oakland Athletics in the ALCS, the Red Sox lost the World Series to the Cincinnati Reds in seven games. In their 4 losses in the World Series, they had at least a one run lead in each game, only to let the Reds come back and win all 4, spoiling the Sox's chances at winning the World Series for the first time since 1918, which would have ended the Curse of the Bambino. In game 7, the Red Sox had a 3-0 lead at one point, but the Reds rallied back to spoil the Red Sox chances of a major upset.

1986 World Series

The 1986 World Series was the 83rd edition of Major League Baseball's championship series, and the conclusion of the 1986 Major League Baseball season. A best-of-seven playoff, it pitted the National League (NL) champion New York Mets against the American League (AL) champion Boston Red Sox. The Mets won the Series in the seventh game, after overcoming a deficit of two runs with two outs and no one on base in the bottom of the 10th inning of Game 6. This was a game in which the Red Sox were twice one strike away from victory, and known for the famous error by Boston's first baseman Bill Buckner after their lead had already been blown. Game 6 has been cited in the legend of the "Curse of the Bambino" to explain the major comeback. It was also the first World Series to use the designated hitter only in games played at the American League representative's stadium, a policy which has continued since (prior to this, since 1976, the DH would be used in all parks in the World Series for even-numbered years, but in odd-numbered years, the DH rule would not be in effect).

2004 Major League Baseball season

The 2004 Major League Baseball season ended when the Boston Red Sox defeated the St. Louis Cardinals in a four-game World Series sweep. This season was particularly notable since the Red Sox championship broke the 86-year-long popular myth known as the Curse of the Bambino. The Red Sox were also the first team in MLB history and the third team from a major North American professional sports league to ever come back from a 3–0 postseason series deficit, in the ALCS against the New York Yankees.

The Montreal Expos would play their last season in Montreal, before re-locating to Washington DC, becoming the Washington Nationals in 2005.

2004 World Series

The 2004 World Series was the championship series of Major League Baseball's (MLB) 2004 season. The 100th edition of the World Series, it was a best-of-seven playoff between the American League (AL) champion Boston Red Sox and the National League (NL) champion St. Louis Cardinals; the Red Sox swept the Cardinals in four games. The series was played from October 23 to 27, 2004, at Fenway Park and Busch Memorial Stadium, broadcast on Fox, and watched by an average of just under 25.5 million viewers. The Red Sox's World Series championship was their first since 1918.

The Cardinals earned their berth into the playoffs by winning the NL Central division title, and had the best win–loss record in the NL. The Red Sox won the AL wild card to earn theirs. The Cardinals reached the World Series by defeating the Los Angeles Dodgers in the best-of-five NL Division Series and the Houston Astros in the best-of-seven NL Championship Series. The Red Sox defeated the Anaheim Angels in the AL Division Series. After trailing three games to none to the New York Yankees in the AL Championship Series, the Red Sox came back to win the series, advancing to their first World Series since 1986. The Cardinals made their first appearance in the World Series since 1987. With the New England Patriots winning Super Bowl XXXVIII, the World Series victory made Boston the first city to have Super Bowl and World Series championship teams in the same year (2004) since Pittsburgh in 1979. The Red Sox became the third straight wild card team to win the World Series; the Anaheim Angels won in 2002 and the Florida Marlins won in 2003.The Red Sox had home-field advantage in the World Series by nature of the AL winning the 2004 All-Star Game. In game one, Mark Bellhorn helped the Red Sox win with a home run, while starter Curt Schilling led the team to a game two victory by pitching six innings and allowing just one run. The Red Sox won the first two games despite committing four errors in each. The Red Sox won game three, aided by seven shutout innings by Pedro Martínez. A home run by Johnny Damon in the first inning helped to win game four for the Red Sox to secure the series. The Cardinals did not lead in any of the games in the series. Manny Ramírez was named the series' Most Valuable Player. The Red Sox and Cardinals faced each other again in the 2013 World Series, which the Red Sox also won, this time 4 games to 2.

Baseball superstition

Baseball is a sport with a long history of superstition. From the Curse of the Bambino to some players' refusal to wash their clothes or bodies after a win, superstition is present in all parts of baseball. Many baseball players — batters, pitchers, and fielders alike — perform elaborate, repetitive routines prior to pitches and at bats due to superstition. The desire to keep a number they have been successful with is strong in baseball. In fact anything that happens prior to something good or bad in baseball can give birth to a new superstition.

Some of the more common superstitions include purposely stepping on or avoiding stepping on the foul line when taking the field, and not talking about a no-hitter or perfect game while it is in progress — a superstition that also holds for fans and announcers. Others include routines such as eating only chicken before a game like Wade Boggs, pitcher Justin Verlander eating three crunchy taco supremes (no tomato), a cheesy gordita crunch and a Mexican pizza (no tomato) from Taco Bell, before every start, and drawing in the dirt in the batter's box before an at bat. Justin Morneau, the 2006 American League Most Valuable Player winner, wears number 33 to honour his idol, ex-NHL goaltender Patrick Roy. His ritual before every Twins' home game entails stopping by the same Jimmy John's Gourmet Subs — located on Grand Avenue in St. Paul, Minnesota — and ordering the same sandwich from the menu: Turkey Tom with no sprouts. Afterwards, he drinks a Slurpee from a Slurpee machine in the Twins' clubhouse made of one-half Mountain Dew, one-half red or orange flavor.Certain players go as far as observing superstitions off the field. This includes early 20th century second baseman Amby McConnell. Whenever he was in the middle of a batting slump, he would scavenge the streets and pick up any pin he found, believing this was a sign he would break out of the slump.

Curse of the Black Sox

The Curse of the Black Sox (also known as the Curse of Shoeless Joe) (1919–2005) was a superstition or "scapegoat" cited as one reason for the failure of the Chicago White Sox to win the World Series from 1917 until 2005. As with other supposed baseball curses, such as the crosstown Chicago Cubs' Curse of the Billy Goat, or the Boston Red Sox' Curse of the Bambino, these "curses" have been publicized by the popular media over the course of time.

Curse of the Colonel

Curse of the Colonel (カーネルサンダースの呪い, Kāneru Sandāsu no Noroi) refers to an urban legend regarding a reputed curse placed on the Japanese Kansai-based Hanshin Tigers baseball team by deceased KFC founder and mascot Colonel Harland Sanders.

The curse was said to be placed on the team because of the Colonel's anger over treatment of one of his store-front statues, which was thrown into the Dōtonbori River by celebrating Hanshin fans following their team's victory in the 1985 Japan Championship Series. As is common with sports-related curses, the Curse of the Colonel was used to explain the team's subsequent 18-year losing streak. Some fans believed the team would never win another Japan Series until the statue had been recovered. They have appeared in the Japan Series three times since then, losing in 2003, 2005 and 2014.

Comparisons are often made between the Hanshin Tigers and the Boston Red Sox, who were said to be under the Curse of the Bambino until they won the World Series in 2004. The "Curse of the Colonel" has also been used as a bogeyman threat to those who would divulge the secret recipe of eleven herbs and spices that result in the unique taste of his chicken.

Dan Shaughnessy

Dan Shaughnessy (born July 20, 1953) is an American sports writer. He has covered the Boston Red Sox for the Boston Globe since 1981. In 2016, he was given the J.G. Taylor Spink Award by the Baseball Hall of Fame. Shaughnessy is often referred to by his nickname "Shank," given by the 1980s Boston Celtics team for the often unflattering and critical nature of his articles.

George Roy

George Roy is an American sports documentary director, producer, and editor. His best known films include HBO's Mantle, When it was a Game, Curse of the Bambino, Broad Street Bullies, Fists of Freedom, Hitler's Pawn, and City Dump: The 1951 City College Basketball Scandal. He is the winner of three George F. Foster Peabody Awards.

Harry Frazee

Harry Herbert Frazee (June 29, 1880 – June 4, 1929) was an American theatrical agent, producer and director, and owner of the Major League Baseball Boston Red Sox from 1916 to 1923. He is well known for selling Babe Ruth to the New York Yankees, which started the Curse of the Bambino.

History of the Boston Red Sox

The history of the Boston Red Sox begins in 1901, as one of the original franchises of the American League.

Home Plate Farm

Home Plate Farm was located on 558 Dutton Road in Sudbury, Massachusetts. It was owned by baseball legend Babe Ruth from 1922 to 1926. Ruth had previously rented a modest cottage on Willis Pond while still with the Red Sox. That is where the supposed piano sinking took place. A few versions have Babe tossing the piano into the pond, but more likely that he and friends pushed it out onto the ice for a daytime party, and then left it there rather than try to push it pack up the hill to the cabin.

In the fall of 1922 the Ruths' marriage was faltering.

An urban legend concerning the site revolves around a teenaged boy, Lee Gavin, who was struck by a batted ball during an August 31, 2004 baseball game at Fenway Park between the Boston Red Sox and the Los Angeles Angels. Gavin lived at the Home Plate Farm site, and this incident is supposed to have presaged the Red Sox winning the World Series later in 2004, thus ending the Curse of the Bambino. The Red Sox won the game 10-7 while the New York Yankees lost 22-0 to the Cleveland Indians on the same night.

Johnny Baseball

Johnny Baseball: The New Red Sox Musical is a musical with a book by Richard Dresser and a score by brothers Robert Reale and Willie Reale. The story involves circumstances relating to the Curse of the Bambino. The musical had a preview run in Massachusetts that began on May 14, 2010. The musical's world premiere was on June 2, 2010 at the Loeb Drama Center of the American Repertory Theater.

List of Boston Red Sox seasons

The Boston Red Sox are a professional baseball team based in Boston, Massachusetts. From 1912 to the present, the Red Sox have played in Fenway Park. The "Red Sox" name originates from the iconic uniform feature. They are sometimes nicknamed the "BoSox", a combination of "Boston" and "Sox" (as opposed to the "ChiSox"), the "Crimson Hose", and "the Olde Towne Team". Most fans simply refer to them as the Sox.

One of the American League's eight charter franchises, the club was founded in Boston in 1901. They were a dominant team in the early 20th century, defeating the Pittsburgh Pirates in the first World Series in 1903. They won four more championships by 1918, and then went into one of the longest championship droughts in baseball history. Many attributed the phenomenon to the "Curse of the Bambino" said to have been caused by the trade of Babe Ruth to the New York Yankees in 1920. The drought was ended and the "curse" reversed in 2004, when the team won their sixth World Series Championship. The Red Sox led all MLB teams in average road attendance in 2007, while the small capacity of Fenway caused them to rank 11th in home attendance. Every home game from May 15, 2003 through April 10, 2013 was sold out—a span of 820 games over nearly ten years.

No, No, Nanette

No, No, Nanette is a musical comedy with lyrics by Irving Caesar and Otto Harbach, music by Vincent Youmans, and a book by Otto Harbach and Frank Mandel, based on Mandel's 1919 Broadway play My Lady Friends. The farcical story involves three couples who find themselves together at a cottage in Atlantic City in the midst of a blackmail scheme, focusing on a young, fun-loving Manhattan heiress who naughtily runs off for a weekend, leaving her unhappy fiancé. Its songs include the well-known "Tea for Two" and "I Want to Be Happy".

During its 1924 pre-Broadway tour, No, No, Nanette became a hit in Chicago, and the production stayed there for over a year. In 1925, the show opened both on Broadway and in the West End, running 321 and 665 performances respectively. Film versions and revivals followed. A popular 1971 Broadway revival, with a book adapted by Burt Shevelove, led to the piece becoming a favorite of school and community groups for a time.

A popular myth holds that the show was financed by selling baseball's Boston Red Sox superstar Babe Ruth to the New York Yankees, resulting in the "Curse of the Bambino." However, it was My Lady Friends, rather than No, No, Nanette, that was directly financed by the Ruth sale.

October 2004 lunar eclipse

A total lunar eclipse took place on October 28, 2004, the second of two total lunar eclipses in 2004, the first being on May 4, 2004. It was the first lunar eclipse to take place during a World Series game, which when seen from Busch Memorial Stadium in St, Louis, Missouri, provided a surreal sight on the night the Boston Red Sox won their first World Series in 86 years to end the Curse of the Bambino.

Trot Nixon

Christopher Trotman "Trot" Nixon (born April 11, 1974) is an American former professional baseball right fielder. He played in Major League Baseball (MLB) from 1996 through 2008, primarily with the Boston Red Sox from 1996 through 2006, with whom he was a fan favorite for his scrappy play and won the 2004 World Series, ending the Curse of the Bambino. His career wound down with limited appearances for the Cleveland Indians in 2007 and the New York Mets in 2008. He currently serves as co-host/analyst for "The 5th Quarter," a high school football highlight show on WWAY-TV in his hometown of Wilmington, North Carolina.

Yankees–Red Sox rivalry

The Yankees–Red Sox rivalry is a Major League Baseball (MLB) rivalry between the New York Yankees and Boston Red Sox. The two teams have competed in MLB's American League (AL) for over 100 seasons and have since developed one of the fiercest rivalries in American sports. In 1919, Red Sox owner Harry Frazee sold star player Babe Ruth to the Yankees, which was followed by an 86-year period in which the Red Sox did not win a World Series. This led to the popularization of a superstition known as the "Curse of the Bambino", which was one of the most well-known aspects of the rivalry.The rivalry is often a heated subject of conversation, especially in the home region of both teams, the Northeastern United States.

Until the 2014 season, every season's postseason had featured one or both of the AL East rivals since the inception of the wild card format and the resultant additional Division Series; they have faced each other in the AL Championship Series (ALCS) three times. The Yankees won twice, in 1999 and 2003; while the Red Sox won in 2004. The two teams have also met once in the AL Division Series (ALDS), in 2018, with Boston winning 3-1, a series which included a 16-1 Red Sox win in Game 3 at Yankee Stadium, the most lopsided postseason loss for the Yankees in their history. In addition, the teams have twice met in the last regular-season series of a season to decide the league title, in 1904 (when the Red Sox, then known as the Americans, won) and 1949 (when the Yankees won).The Yankees and the Red Sox finished tied for first in 1978; subsequently, the Yankees won a high-profile tie-breaker game for the division title. The first-place tie came after the Red Sox had a 14-game lead over the Yankees more than halfway through the season. Similarly, in the 2004 ALCS, the Yankees ultimately lost a best-of-7 series after leading 3–0. The Red Sox comeback was the only time in baseball history that a team has come back from a 0–3 deficit to win a series. The Red Sox went on to win the World Series, ending the 86-year-old curse.This match-up is regarded by some sports journalists as the greatest rivalry in sports. Games between the two teams often generate considerable interest and receive extensive media coverage, including being broadcast on national television. National carriers of Major League Baseball coverage, including Fox/FS1, ESPN, and MLB Network carry most of the games in the rivalry across the nation, regardless of team standings or playoff implications. Yankees–Red Sox games are some of the most-watched MLB games each season. Outside of baseball, the rivalry has led to violence between fans, along with attention from politicians and other athletes.

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