The arrival of spring awakens the citizens of Red Sox Nation and the annual quest for a World Series victory by the local nine. They began in 1901 as the Boston Americans of the newly formed American League. They won the first ever World Series in 1903 over the Pittsburgh Pirates. In 1908 they changed their name to the Red Sox. In 1912 they moved into brand new Fenway Park, where they still play today.
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In 1918, the Red Sox won their fifth World Series, thanks in part to a star lefty pitcher named Babe Ruth, who could also hit the 'you know what' out of the ball. Following the 1919 season, Sox owner Harry Frazee sold Ruth to the New York Yankees. For the next 86 years despite the enduring loyalty by Red Sox Nation the team suffered a variety of gut wrenching disappointments and no World Series victories.
After the Babe's exile to New York, thirteen futile years followed including nine last place campaigns. A resurgence began in 1933 when millionaire Tom Yawkee purchased the team, remodeled Fenway Park, and spent money for big name players. Through the 1940's and 50's, the team continually competed for the pennant but they were foiled several times, often by the Yankees. In 1946 they won their first pennant since 1918 but were beaten by the St. Louis Cardinals in the World Series.
They went through another bleak period from the late fifties until the "Impossible Dream" team of 1967; led by Carl Yastrzemski's incredible Triple Crown season. The love affair between New England baseball fans and the Red Sox was reborn. Since that magical '67 season Fenway Park has consistently been filled to capacity. In the following years the Sox won pennants in 1975 and 1986, captured three divisional championships, and made five wild-card appearances. In the winter of 2002 the Yawkee era ended with the sale of the team to a group led by principle owner John Henry.
In 2004, eight decades of heartbreak were forever purged. In the A.L. Championship Series, the Sox went down a seemingly impossible three games to none to the Yankees. Amazingly they reversed the tide and vanquished the New Yorkers four straight times to take the pennant. Four games later in St. Louis, when reliever Keith Foulk fielded Cardinals shortstop Edgar Rentaria's bouncer to the mound, and tossed the ball to Doug Mientkiewicz at first base, the Boston Red Sox were finally the World Champions of Baseball once again.
This time there would be no 86 year World Series drought for Red Sox Nation. In 2007 the Sox ended the Yankees 11 year reign as Eastern Division champs, enroute to a second world championship in four years. Once again they came back from the brink of elimination in the American League Championship Series, rallying from a 3-1 deficit to the Cleveland Indians to win the pennant. They completed their championship year, behind MVP Mike Lowell, sweeping the Colorado Rockies in the World Series.
Boston fans have witnessed many historic moments at Fenway Park. They watched the spectacular career of Ted Williams, called by many who saw him play, "the greatest hitter who ever lived." They also cheered the exploits of Hall of Famers Carl Yastrzemski, Carlton Fisk, Joe Cronin, Wade Boggs, and Bobby Doerr. Former Red Sox pitcher Roger Clemens guaranteed his place in Cooperstown with his years in a Boston uniform. Now playing elsewhere, Pedro Martinez and Nomar Garciapara left indelible marks in Boston sports lore in the late 90's and the early 21st century.
Currently Boston fans are being treated to the heroics of David Ortiz, Mike Lowell, Jacoby Ellsbury and a perennial contending team. With a second championship now under their belts, Josh Beckett, Jonathan Papelbon, Kevin Youkilis, Dustin Pedroia, and Daisuke Matsuzaka, are among the new names added to the long line of Red Sox greats.
In addition to bringing world championships to the starved fans of New England, the new ownership has infused fresh energy to the team on and off the field. They have made many improvements to aging Fenway Park, most notably the addition of the Monster Seats atop the famed left field wall. They have greatly improved the food, the comfort, and the area around the park to make a Red Sox game a unique and memorable Boston experience.