10/28/2004 1:47 AM ET
Chronology of the Curse that was
A look at the timeline that came to an end in 2004
By Mark Newman / MLB.com
|Curt Schilling came to the Red Sox wanting to help Boston end "the Curse". (Ezra Shaw/Getty Images)
ST. LOUIS -- The Red Sox finally ended the fabled "Curse of the Bambino" on Wednesday night with a four-game sweep of the St. Louis Cardinals in the World Series. Here is a timeline of the tortuous tales:
1918: Babe Ruth opens the World Series by pitching a 1-0 shutout for Boston, and the Red Sox beat the Cubs in six. It is the fifth world championship for the Red Sox, the most in the Majors.
1920: Red Sox owner and Broadway producer Harry Frazee swaps Ruth, his first baseman/outfielder/pitcher, to the New York Yankees on Jan. 3 for $125,000 in cash and a $300,000 loan.
Ruth, who had set the single-season home run record with 29 a year earlier, shatters his own mark with 54 for the Yankees in his first season. He becomes known as "The Bambino" and the "Sultan of Swat."
1923: The Yankees win their first championship in the first World Series played at the brand-new Yankee Stadium, which eventually will become known as "The House That Ruth Built." From 1923-32, the Red Sox will finish last every year but two; the Yankees win four titles during this stretch.
1927: Ruth sets another home run record with 60 in a season, a mark that will stand for 34 years. The Yankees win it all and the term "'27 Yankees" becomes synonymous with pinnacle performance.
1932: The Red Sox lose 111 games.
1935: Ruth returns to Boston to play his last season with the Braves of the National League. At age 40, he hits .181 with six homers. All told, he has a combined 26 homers in his career for Boston teams and 688 with the Yankees.
1946: The Red Sox finally return to the World Series they once seemed to own. They lose to the Cardinals in Game 7 as Enos "Country" Slaughter scores the winning run on his "mad dash" around the bases. Boston shortstop Johnny Pesky is vilified for holding onto a relay throw while Slaughter goes from first to home. Ted Williams hits .200 in the series.
1962: The Yankees win their 16th World Series in a span that began in 1936.
1967: "The Impossible Dream" remains impossible for Boston. Hopes are up after a magical year in which the Sox win the pennant on the last day and Carl Yastrzemski wins the Triple Crown. The Red Sox lose Game 7 of the World Series at home to the Cardinals -- again. Bob Gibson throws three complete games for St. Louis, including Game 7.
1972: Boston trades pitcher Sparky Lyle to the Yankees for first baseman Danny Cater. Lyle goes 57-40 with 141 saves for New York. Danny who?
1975: Carlton Fisk waves a home run fair in the wee hours at Fenway Park, giving the Red Sox a classic Game 6 victory over Cincinnati's Big Red Machine in the World Series. Boston blows a 3-0 lead in Game 7 and loses.
1978: Boston has a 14-game lead on the Yankees in late July, but trails by 3 1/2 games with eight to play. Boston catches the Yankees to force a one-game playoff for the pennant. With New York down 2-0 in the seventh inning at Fenway, Bucky Dent, batting .140 in his previous 20 games, hits a three-run homer. The Yankees go on to win the World Series.
1986: Mookie Wilson's slow roller to first base goes through Bill Buckner's legs, and Boston blows a 5-3 lead in the 10th inning of Game 6 against the Mets. The Red Sox lose the World Series the next day -- just like 1975 -- blowing a 3-0 lead in Game 7.
1996: Three-time Cy Young winner Roger Clemens signs with Toronto on Dec. 13. He was 40-39 in his final four seasons with the Red Sox. In his first two year with the Blue Jays, he goes 41-13 and wins two more Cy Young Awards. Worse for the Sox, Clemens goes on to join the Yankees and win the World Series there.
2003: Aaron Boone's home run in the 11th inning at Yankee Stadium beats Boston in Game 7 of the AL Championship Series. Grady Little is dismissed as Boston manager largely because he had left Pedro Martinez in the game too long.
2004: The Curse of the Bambino is finally lifted after 86 years. The Red Sox come back from a 3-0 ALCS deficit to shock the Yankees, and then they sweep the Cardinals in four games to win their sixth World Series title.
"We can't reverse what was a long time ago," Red Sox manager Terry Francona said after the breakthrough. "I'm sure there are a lot of people in New England who are dancing in the streets right now. For that I'm thrilled. ... As far as the other stuff, this is the team. This was our team this year; you can't do anything else about any other year, so we'll celebrate this together."
Mark Newman is enterprise editor for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.