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Red Sox win first Series since 1918

Published October 27, 2004

ST. LOUIS (AP) — The Boston Red Sox — yes, the
Boston Red Sox! — are World Series champions at long, long
last. No more curse and no doubt about it.

They sure got you, Babe.

Ridiculed and reviled through decades of defeat, the Red Sox
didn’t just beat the St. Louis Cardinals, owners of the best
record in baseball, they swept them for their first crown since
1918.

Johnny Damon homered on the fourth pitch of the game, Derek Lowe
made it stand up and the Red Sox won 3-0 last night, wrapping up a
Series in which they never trailed.

Chants of “Let’s go, Red Sox!” bounced all
around Busch Stadium, with Boston fans as revved-up as they were
relieved. Only 10 nights earlier, the Red Sox were just three outs
from getting swept by the New York Yankees in the AL championship
series before becoming the first team in baseball postseason
history to overcome a 3-0 deficit.

It was Boston’s sixth championship, but the first after 86
years of frustration and futility, after two world wars, the Great
Depression, men on the moon, and the rise and fall of the Soviet
Union.

After all that, on an eerie night when the moon went dark in a
total eclipse, the Red Sox made it look easy.

Gone was the heartbreak of four Game 7 losses since their last
title, a drought — some insist it was a curse — that
really began after they sold Babe Ruth to the Yankees in 1920.

“I’m so happy. I’m happy for the fans in
Boston, I’m happy for Johnny Pesky, for Bill Buckner, for
(Bob) Stanley and (Calvin) Schiraldi and all the great Red Sox
players who can now be remembered for the great players that they
were,” pitcher Curt Schilling said.

Schilling got himself traded from Arizona to Boston last
November, eager to beat the Yankees and put the Red Sox in the
World Series for the first time since 1986. He made it worth his
while, with the win ensuring him of an extra $15 million in a
contract he negotiated himself.

“We wanted to do it so bad for the city of Boston. To win
a World Series with this on our chests — it hasn’t been
done since 1918,” first baseman Kevin Millar said. “So
rip up those ‘1918’ posters right now.”

Damon’s leadoff homer off starter Jason Marquis and Trot
Nixon’s two-out, two-run double on a 3-0 pitch were all that
Lowe needed. Having won the first-round clincher against Anaheim in
relief and then winning Game 7 at Yankee Stadium, Lowe blanked the
Cards on a mere three hits for seven innings.

Relievers Bronson Arroyo and Alan Embree worked the eighth and
Keith Foulke finished it off for his first save.

Even before Doug Mientkiewicz caught Foulke’s toss on
Edgar Renteria’s grounder for the last out, the Red Sox were
rushing out of the dugout. Boston players streamed in from the
bullpen, and they all came together in a pulsating pile between the
mound and first base.

With flashbulbs popping, the hugging and jumping was
electrifying. And why not? The day that would never quite come for
a generation of Red Sox players and fans had arrived.

Now the Red Sox get to raise the World Series banner next April
11 in the home opener at Fenway Park, with the dreaded Yankees in
town forced to watch. No telling who will be there — 18
Boston players are potential free agents, including Pedro Martinez
and Lowe.

Boston became the third straight wild-card team to win the
Series, relying on the guts of Schilling and the guile of Martinez.
And they took it in the same year they traded away popular
shortstop Nomar Garciaparra.

Led by Series MVP Manny Ramirez, Boston got key contributions
from almost everyone. Backup outfielder Dave Roberts did not play
in the Series, yet it was his stolen base in the ninth inning of
Game 4 in the ALCS that began the comeback against Yankees closer
Mariano Rivera.

And while second baseman Mark Bellhorn was born in Boston, no
one else on the roster came from anywhere near Beantown. And the
only homegrown players on the team are Nixon and rookie Kevin
Youkilis.

No matter, this win might make all of them as much a part of New
England lore as Plymouth Rock and Paul Revere.

“All of our fans have waited all their lives for this
night, and it’s finally here. These guys did it for you, New
England,” Red Sox owner John Henry said.

The Boston win also left no doubt which city is now the most
jinxed in baseball. It’s Chicago — the Cubs last won it
all in 1908, the White Sox in 1917.

Meanwhile, the Cardinals team that led the majors with 105 wins
never showed up. The timely hitting, solid pitching and sharp
baserunning that served them so well all season completely broke
down.

Albert Pujols, Scott Rolen and Jim Edmonds, the meat of the
order, combined for just one RBI. Rolen got it on a sacrifice fly,
and it was little consolation as he went 0-for-15.

“They outplayed us in every category, so it ended up not
being a terrific competition,” Cardinals manager Tony La
Russa said. “We were ready to play. We didn’t play good
enough.”

Ramirez, put on waivers in the offseason and nearly traded to
Texas for Alex Rodriguez, was 7-for-17 (.412) with a homer and four
RBIs. The left fielder’s biggest contribution came in Game 3,
when he bounced back from a couple of errors to throw out a runner
at the plate and end an early St. Louis threat.

Lowe was loose from the start. While the Cardinals took batting
practice, he sat alone in the Boston dugout, his hat backward and
singing the little ditty, “If you’re happy and you know
it, clap your hands.”

 


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