However, in 1986, it appeared that the team's fortunes were about to change. The offense had remained strong with Jim Rice, Dwight Evans, Don Baylor and Wade Boggs. Roger Clemens led the pitching staff, going 24–4 with a 2.48 ERA, and had a 20-strikeout game to win both the American League Cy Young and Most Valuable Player awards. Clemens became the first starting pitcher to win both awards since Vida Blue in 1971.
The Red Sox won the AL East for the first time in 11 seasons, and faced the California Angels in the AL Championship Series. The teams split the first two games in Boston, but the Angels won the next two home games, taking a 3–1 lead in the series. With the Angels poised to win the series, the Red Sox trailed 5–2 heading into the ninth inning of Game 5. A two-run homer by Baylor cut the lead to one. With two outs and a runner on, and one strike away from elimination, Dave Henderson homered off Donnie Moore to put Boston up 6–5. Although the Angels tied the game in the bottom of the ninth, the Red Sox won in the 11th on a Henderson sacrifice fly off Moore. The Red Sox then found themselves with six- and seven-run wins at Fenway Park in Games 6 and 7 to win the American League title.
The Red Sox faced a heavily favored New York Mets team that had won 108 games in the regular season in the 1986 World Series. Boston won the first two games in Shea Stadium but lost the next two at Fenway, knotting the series at 2 games apiece. After Bruce Hurst recorded his second victory of the series in Game 5, the Red Sox returned to Shea Stadium looking to garner their first championship in 68 years. However, Game 6 would go down as one of the most devastating losses in club history. After pitching seven strong innings, Clemens was lifted from the game with a 3–2 lead. Years later, Manager John McNamara said Clemens was suffering from a blister and asked to be taken out of the game, a claim Clemens denied. The Mets then scored a run off reliever and former Met Calvin Schiraldi to tie the score 3–3. The game went to extra innings, where the Red Sox took a 5–3 lead in the top of the 10th on a solo home run by Henderson, a double by Boggs and an RBI single by second baseman Marty Barrett.
After recording two outs in the bottom of the 10th, a graphic appeared on the NBC telecast hailing Barrett as the Player of the Game, and Bruce Hurst had been named World Series MVP. A message even appeared briefly on the Shea Stadium scoreboard congratulating the Red Sox as world champions. After so many years of abject frustration, Red Sox fans around the world could taste victory. With the count at two balls and one strike, Mets catcher Gary Carter hit a single. It was followed by singles by Kevin Mitchell and Ray Knight. With Mookie Wilson batting, a wild pitch by Bob Stanley tied the game at 5. Wilson then hit a slow ground ball to first; the ball rolled through Bill Buckner's legs, allowing Knight to score the winning run from second.
While Buckner was singled out as responsible for the loss, many observers—as well as both Wilson and Buckner—have noted that even if Buckner had fielded the ball cleanly, the speedy Wilson probably would still have been safe, leaving the game-winning run at third with two out.
Many observers questioned why Buckner was in the game at that point considering he had bad knees and that Dave Stapleton had come in as a late-inning defensive replacement in prior series games. It appeared as though McNamara was trying to reward Buckner for his long and illustrious career by leaving him in the game. After falling behind 3–0, the Mets then won Game 7, concluding the devastating collapse and feeding the myth that the Red Sox were "cursed."
This World Series loss had a strange twist: Red Sox General Manager Lou Gorman was vice-president, player personnel, of the Mets from 1980 to 1983. Working under Mets' GM Frank Cashen, with whom Gorman served with the Orioles, he helped lay the foundation for the Mets' championship.
The Red Sox returned to the postseason in 1988. With the club in fourth place midway through the 1988 season at the All-Star break, manager John McNamara was fired and replaced by Joe Morgan on July 15. Immediately the club won 12 games in a row, and 19 of 20 overall, to surge to the AL East title in what would be referred to as Morgan Magic. But the magic was short-lived, as the team was swept by the Oakland Athletics in the ALCS. Ironically, the MVP of that Series was former Red Sox pitcher and Baseball Hall of Fame player Dennis Eckersley, who saved all four wins for Oakland. Two years later, in 1990, the Red Sox would again win the division and face the Athletics in the ALCS. However, the outcome was the same, with the A's sweeping the ALCS in four straight.
In 1990, Yankees fans started to chant "1918!" to taunt the Red Sox. The demeaning chant would echo at Yankee Stadium each time the Red Sox were there. Also, Fenway Park became the scene of Bucky Dent's worst moment as a manager, although it was where he had his greatest triumph. In June, when the Red Sox swept the Yankees during a four-game series at Fenway Park, the Yankees fired Dent as their manager. Red Sox fans felt retribution to Dent being fired on their field, but the Yankees used him as a scapegoat. However, Dan Shaughnessy of The Boston Globe severely criticized Yankees Owner George Steinbrenner for firing Dent—his 18th managerial change in as many years since becoming owner—in Boston and said he should "have waited until the Yankees got to Baltimore" to fire Dent. He said that "if Dent had been fired in Seattle or Milwaukee, this would have been just another event in an endless line of George's jettisons. But it happened in Boston and the nightly news had its hook." "The firing was only special because...it's the first time a Yankee manager—who was also a Red Sox demon—was purged on the ancient Indian burial grounds of the Back Bay."
The Red Sox hosting a home game against the Atlanta Braves in July 2001.
Tom Yawkey died in 1976, and his wife Jean R. Yawkey took control of the team until her death in 1992. Their initials are shown in two stripes on the left field wall in Morse code. Upon Jean's death, control of the team passed to the Yawkey Trust, led by John Harrington. The trust sold the team in 2002, concluding 70 years of Yawkey ownership.
In 1994, General Manager Lou Gorman was replaced by Dan Duquette, a Massachusetts native who had worked for the Montreal Expos. Duquette revived the team's farm system, which during his tenure produced players such as Nomar Garciaparra, Carl Pavano and David Eckstein. Duquette also spent money on free agents, notably an eight-year, $160 million deal for Manny Ramírez after the 2000 season.
The Red Sox won the newly realigned American League East in 1995, finishing seven games ahead of the Yankees. However, they were swept in three games in the ALDS by the Cleveland Indians. Their postseason losing streak reached 13 straight games, dating back to the 1986 World Series.
Roger Clemens tied his major league record by fanning 20 Detroit Tigers on September 18, 1996 in what would prove to be one of his final appearances in a Red Sox uniform. After Clemens had turned 30 and then had four seasons, 1993–96, which were by his standards mediocre at best, Duquette said the pitcher was entering "the twilight of his career". Clemens went on to pitch well for another ten years and win four more Cy Young awards.
Out of contention in 1997, the team traded closer Heathcliff Slocumb to Seattle for catching prospect Jason Varitek and right-handed pitcher Derek Lowe. Prior to the start of the 1998 season, the Red Sox dealt pitchers Tony Armas, Jr. and Carl Pavano to the Montreal Expos for pitcher Pedro Martínez. Martínez became the anchor of the team's pitching staff and turned in several outstanding seasons. In 1998, the team won the American League Wild Card, but again lost the American League Division Series to the Indians.
In 1999, Duquette called Fenway Park "economically obsolete" and, along with Red Sox ownership, led a push for a new stadium.
On the field, the 1999 Red Sox were finally able to overturn their fortunes against the Indians. Cleveland took a 2–0 series lead, but Boston won the next three games behind strong pitching by Derek Lowe, Pedro Martínez and his brother Ramón Martínez. Game 4's 23–7 win by the Red Sox was the highest-scoring playoff game in major league history. Game 5 began with the Indians taking a 5–2 lead after two innings, but Pedro Martínez, nursing a shoulder injury, came on in the fourth inning and pitched six innings without allowing a hit while the team's offense rallied for a 12–8 win behind two home runs and seven RBIs from outfielder Troy O'Leary. After the ALDS victory, the Red Sox lost the American League Championship Series to the Yankees, four games to one. The one bright spot was a lopsided win for the Red Sox in the much-hyped Martinez-Clemens game.
2002–present: John Henry era
In 2002, the Red Sox were sold by Yawkey trustee and president Harrington to New England Sports Ventures, a consortium headed by principal owner John Henry. Tom Werner served as executive chairman, Larry Lucchino served as president and CEO, and serving as vice chairman was Les Otten. Dan Duquette was fired as GM of the club on February 28, with former Angels GM Mike Port taking the helm for the 2002 season. A week later, manager Joe Kerrigan was fired and was replaced by Grady Little.
While nearly all offseason moves were made under Duquette, such as signing outfielder Johnny Damon away from the Oakland Athletics, the new ownership made additions such as outfielder Cliff Floyd and relief pitcher Alan Embree. Nomar Garciaparra, Manny Ramírez, and Floyd all hit well, while Pedro Martínez put up his usual outstanding numbers. Derek Lowe, newly converted into a starter, won 20 games—becoming the first player to save 20 games and win 20 games in back-to-back seasons.
After failing to reach the playoffs, Port was replaced by Yale University graduate Theo Epstein. Epstein, raised in Brookline, Massachusetts, and just 28 at the time of his hiring, became the youngest general manager in MLB history.
The Red Sox celebrate their clinching of the 2003 AL Wild Card with a victory over the Baltimore Orioles
The 2003 team was known as the "Cowboy Up" team, a nickname derived from first baseman Kevin Millar's challenge to his teammates to show more determination. In the 2003 American League Division Series, the Red Sox rallied from a 0–2 series deficit against the Athletics to win the best-of-five series. Derek Lowe returned to his former relief pitching role to save Game 5, a 4–3 victory. The team then faced the Yankees in the 2003 American League Championship Series. In Game 7, Boston led 5–2 in the eighth inning, but Pedro Martínez allowed three runs to tie the game. The Red Sox could not score off Mariano Rivera over the last three innings and eventually lost the game 6–5 when Yankee third baseman Aaron Boone hit a solo home run off of Tim Wakefield. Some placed the blame for the loss on manager Grady Little for failing to remove starting pitcher Martínez in the 8th inning after some observers believe he began to show signs of tiring. Others credited Little with the team's successful season and dramatic come-from-behind victory in the ALDS. Nevertheless, Boston's management did not renew Little's contract, and hired former Philadelphia Phillies manager Terry Francona.
"The Idiots": 2004 World Series Championship
During the 2003–04 offseason, the Red Sox acquired another ace pitcher, Curt Schilling, and a closer, Keith Foulke. Due to some midseason struggles with injuries, management shook up the team at the July 31 trading deadline as part of a four-team trade. The Red Sox traded the team's popular, yet oft-injured, shortstop Nomar Garciaparra and outfielder Matt Murton to the Chicago Cubs, and received first baseman Doug Mientkiewicz from the Minnesota Twins, and shortstop Orlando Cabrera from the Montreal Expos. In a separate transaction, the Red Sox acquired center fielder Dave Roberts from the Los Angeles Dodgers. Following the trades, the club won 22 out of 25 games and qualified for the playoffs as the AL Wild Card. Players and fans affectionately referred to the players as "the Idiots", a term coined by Damon and Millar during the playoff push to describe the team's eclectic roster and devil-may-care attitude toward their supposed "curse."
Boston began the postseason by sweeping the AL West champion Anaheim Angels in the ALDS. In the third game of the series, David Ortiz hit a walk-off two-run homer in the 10th inning to win the game and the series to advance to a rematch of the previous year's ALCS in the ALCS against the Yankees. The ALCS started very poorly for the Red Sox, as they lost the first three games (including a crushing 19-8 home loss in game 3). In Game 4, the Red Sox found themselves facing elimination, trailing 4–3 in the ninth with Mariano Rivera in to close for the Yankees. After Rivera issued a walk to Millar, Roberts came on to pinch run and promptly stole second base. He then scored on an RBI single by Bill Mueller, sending the game into extra innings. The Red Sox went on to win the game on a two-run home run by Ortiz in the 12th inning, who also made the walk-off hit in the 14th inning of game 5. The comeback continued with a victory from an injured Schilling in game 6. Three sutures being used to stabilize the tendon in Schilling's right ankle bled throughout the game, famously making his sock appear bloody red. The Red Sox completed their historic comeback in game 7 with a 10-3 defeat of the Yankees. Ortiz, who had the game-winning RBIs in Games 4 and 5, was named ALCS Most Valuable Player. The Red Sox joined the 1942 Toronto Maple Leafs and 1975 New York Islanders as the only professional sports teams in history at the time to win a best-of-seven games series after being down three games to none. The 2009-10 Philadelphia Flyers (against the Boston Bruins) and the 2013-14 Los Angeles Kings (against the San Jose Sharks) would also accomplish the feat.
The Commissioner's Trophy (2004 World Series)
The Red Sox swept the St. Louis Cardinals in the 2004 World Series. The Red Sox never trailed throughout the series; Mark Bellhorn's hit a game-winning home run off Pesky's Pole in game 1, and Schilling pitched another bloodied-sock victory in game 2, followed by similarly masterful pitching performances by Martinez and Derek Lowe. It was the Red Sox' first championship in 86 years. Manny Ramírez was named World Series MVP. To add a final, surreal touch to Boston's championship season, on the night of Game 4 a total lunar eclipse colored the moon red over Busch Stadium. The Red Sox earned many accolades from the sports media and throughout the nation for their incredible season, such as in December, when Sports Illustrated named the Boston Red Sox the 2004 Sportsmen of the Year.
The 2005 AL East would be decided on the last weekend of the season, with the Yankees coming to Fenway Park with a one-game lead in the standings. The Red Sox won two of the three games to finish the season with the same record as the Yankees, 95–67. However, a playoff was not needed, as the loser of such a playoff would still make the playoffs as a Wild Card team. As the Yankees had won the season series, they were awarded the division title, and the Red Sox competed in the playoffs as the Wild Card. Boston failed to defend their championship, and was swept in three games by the eventual 2005 World Series champion Chicago White Sox in the first round of the playoffs. After the season, general manager Theo Epstein resigned rather than accept a contract extension.
In November 2005, the Red Sox announced the acquisition of pitcher Josh Beckett and third baseman Mike Lowell from the Florida Marlins, while sending several prospects including Hanley Ramírez to the Marlins. Fan-favorite Johnny Damon signed a four-year, $52 million deal with the rival Yankees, whom he had earlier vowed never to play for. The team filled the vacancy in center field by trading for Cleveland Indians center fielder Coco Crisp. However, Crisp fractured his left index finger in April and would end up missing over 50 games in 2006. Meanwhile, in January 2006, Epstein came to terms with the Red Sox and was once again named General Manager.
The revamped Red Sox infield, with third baseman Lowell joining new shortstop Álex González, second baseman Mark Loretta, and first baseman Kevin Youkilis (formerly the team's third baseman) was one of the best-fielding infields in baseball. The Red Sox committed the fewest errors in the American League in 2006, and set a major league record of 17 consecutive errorless games. One of the brightest spots of the 2006 season was the emergence of new closer Jonathan Papelbon, who became the first Red Sox rookie to be credited with 35 saves, earning an All-Star appearance. Also, David Ortiz broke Jimmie Foxx's single season Red Sox home run record by hitting 54 homers. However, Boston failed to make the playoffs after compiling a 9–21 record in the month of August due to injuries to catcher Jason Varitek, outfielder Trot Nixon, outfielder Manny Ramírez, pitcher Tim Wakefield, rookie pitcher Jon Lester (who was diagnosed with lymphoma), and pitcher Matt Clement. The Red Sox failed to make the playoffs as a result.
2007: World Series Championship
2007 season final standing
Theo Epstein's first step toward restocking the team for 2007 was to pursue one of the most anticipated acquisitions in baseball history. On November 14, MLB announced that Boston had won the bid for the rights to negotiate a contract with Japanese Nippon Professional Baseball superstar pitcher Daisuke Matsuzaka. Boston placed a bid of $51.1 million to negotiate with Matsuzaka and completed a 6-year, $52 million contract after they were announced as the winning bid.
The Red Sox moved into first place in the AL East by mid-April and never relinquished their division lead. Initially, rookie second baseman Dustin Pedroia under-performed, hitting below .200 in April. Manager Terry Francona refused to bench him and his patience paid off as Pedroia eventually won the AL Rookie of the Year Award for his performance that season, which included 165 hits and a .317 batting average. On the mound, Josh Beckett emerged as the ace of the staff with his first 20-win season, as fellow starting pitchers Schilling, Matsuzaka, Wakefield and Julian Tavarez all struggled at times. Relief pitcher Hideki Okajima, another recent arrival from the NPB, posted an ERA of 0.88 through the first half and was selected for the All-Star Game. Okajima finished the season with a 2.22 ERA and 5 saves, emerging as one of baseball's top relievers. Minor league call-up Clay Buchholz provided a spark on September 1 by pitching a no-hitter in his second career start. The Red Sox captured their first AL East title since 1995.
The Red Sox swept the Angels in the ALDS. Facing the Cleveland Indians in the ALCS, the Red Sox fell in games 2, 3, and 4 before Beckett picked up his second victory of the series in game 5, starting a comeback. The Red Sox captured their twelfth American League pennant by outscoring the Indians 30–5 over the final three games. The Red Sox faced the Colorado Rockies in the 2007 World Series, and swept the Rockies in four games. In Game 4, Wakefield gave up his spot in the rotation to a recovered Jon Lester, who gave the Red Sox an impressive start, pitching 5⅔ shutout innings. Key home runs late in the game by third baseman Mike Lowell and pinch-hitter Bobby Kielty secured the Red Sox' second title in four years, as Lowell was named World Series MVP.
2008-2012: Injuries and Collapses
The Red Sox struggled with injuries throughout the 2008 season. Injuries to Schilling, relief pitcher Mike Timlin, and Beckett landed each pitcher on the disabled list before the 2008 season began, putting added pressure on young starters Lester and Buchholz. Lester emerged as an anchor in the Red Sox rotation, leading the team in starts and innings pitched while compiling a 16–6 record and a 3.21 ERA. Buchholz meanwhile struggled mightily in 2008 to a 2–9 record, ending up back in the minor leagues. The Red Sox began their season by participating in the third opening day game in MLB history to be played in Japan, where they defeated the Oakland A's in the Tokyo Dome. On May 19, Lester threw the 18th no-hitter in team history, defeating the Kansas City Royals 7–0. However, despite early Red Sox success, the surprise Tampa Bay Rays in early July. Injuries would take a toll on the Red Sox offense during the season, most notably when David Ortiz missed 45 games with an injured wrist, Mike Lowell missed weeks with a torn hip labrum, and outfielder J.D. Drew aggravated a back injury that shelved him for much of the second half of the season. Down the stretch, outfielder Manny Ramirez became embroiled in controversy surrounding public incidents with fellow players and other team employees, as well as criticism of ownership and not playing, which some claimed was due to laziness and nonexistent injuries. The front office decided to move the disgrunted outfielder at the July 31 trade deadline, shipping him to the Dodgers in a three-way deal with the Pittsburgh Pirates that landed them Jason Bay to replace him in left field. With Ramirez gone, and Bay providing a new spark in the lineup, the Red Sox improved vastly and made the playoffs as the AL Wild Card.
Behind the strong playoff pitching of Lester, the Red Sox defeated the Angels in the 2008 ALDS three games to one. The Red Sox then took on their AL East rivals the Tampa Bay Rays in the ALCS. Down three games to one in the 5th game of the ALCS, Boston mounted a comeback from trailing 7-0 in the 7th inning to win 8-7. They tied the series at 3 games apiece with a game 6 victory before losing game 7, 3–1, thus becoming the eighth team in a row since 2000 to fail to repeat as world champions.
In 2009, the Red Sox got into a rough start, but then won eleven games in a row. During the first half of the season, star slugger David Ortiz had a very bad slump with a .185 average and one sole home run. In response to poor offensive performance and to make room for Jed Lowrie's return from injury, shortstop Julio Lugo was traded to the St. Louis Cardinals for cash and two minor-league players were traded to the Pirates for first baseman Adam LaRoche on July 22, who was soon traded to the Atlanta Braves for Casey Kotchman. The Red Sox made a big move at the July 31 trade deadline, acquiring catcher Victor Martinez from the Cleveland Indians for three pitchers. The Red Sox lost the last six games of the 2009 season to place the team second in the AL East, with the Yankees (who would later win the World Series). The Red Sox entered the playoffs via the Wild Card, but were swept by the Los Angeles Angels in three games.
The Red Sox' 2010 season was highlighted by its many injuries to its players despite new additions to the team such as starting pitcher John Lackey, outfielder Mike Cameron and infielder Marco Scutaro. Matsuzaka, Pedroia, and Youkilis ended the season early to recover his health, and Ellsbury spent most of the season on the bench due to injuries. The Red Sox missed the playoffs for the first time since 2006, finishing in third place in the AL East. After the season, Lowell decided to retire.
The Red Sox acquired superstar first baseman Adrian Gonzalez and Carl Crawford in an attempt to help the team return to the playoffs. The Red Sox struggled early in 2011, falling to an 0-6 start for the first time since 1945. However, they gradually made their way into playoff contention by July, thanks to a potent offense which made up for a decimated pitching staff. Matsuzaka and Buchholz ended their season with injuries, while new additions such as Andrew Miller, Alfredo Aceves and relief pitcher Daniel Bard proved their worth filling in for injured pitchers. After rookie pitcher Kyle Weiland proved ineffective, the Red Sox made a three-way trade, giving up some prospects for Érik Bédard. Due to further injuries in September, the Red Sox lost 11 out of 14 in that month, and their postseason aspirations were ultimately destroyed on September 28, 2011, losing to the Orioles by a score of 4–3 while the Rays clinched the American League Wild Card with a win over the Yankees on the same night. The Red Sox missed the playoffs in consecutive seasons for the first time since missing three straight postseasons from 2000-2002. Following the season, the Red Sox declined to exercise Terry Francona's 2012 contract option. After the season, there was much controversy when it was claimed that the clubhouse didn't have solid leadership. On some days, starting pitchers Lackey, Beckett, and Lester spent time in the dugout drinking when they should have paid attention to the ballgame. Lester and the rest of the responsible pitchers stressed that they were only drinking when they had the day off pitching. After the tumultuous end of the season, Theo Epstein left for the Chicago Cubs and was replaced by his previous assistant, Ben Cherington.
In December 2011, Bobby Valentine was hired as a new manager. At about the same time, longtime closer Papelbon signed with the Philadelphia Phillies rather than the Red Sox. The 2012 season marked the centennial of Fenway Park, and on April 20, past and present Red Sox players and coaches assembled to celebrate the park's anniversary. However, the collapse that they endured in September 2011 carried over into the season. The Red Sox struggled throughout the season due to injuries, inconsistent play, and off-field news, and many attempts to better the team through trades and free agent signing failed. Amidst rumors that Valentine and Youkilis were not getting along, the Red Sox traded Youkilis to the Chicago White Sox on June 24. On August 25, the Red Sox sent struggling players Gonzalez, Beckett, Crawford and infielder Nick Punto to the Los Angeles Dodgers for James Loney and four minor league prospects. In addition to the clubhouse drinking, Beckett was also heavily connected to another incident where some of the players attended his charity bowling game rather than the funeral for Johnny Pesky, a longtime Red Sox shortstop, manager, and coach who died on August 13. Coupled with a bizarre and inconsistent season, the one-time ace became a pariah to Red Sox Nation. The Red Sox, realizing that the postseason was not in reach, decided to build with talent from their minor league system. Over the next few months, minor league callups Will Middlebrooks, Pedro Ciriaco, Ryan Lavarnway and Daniel Nava were making regular appearances for the Red Sox. The Red Sox finished 69–93 for their first losing season since 1997, and their worst season since 1965.
Bobby Valentine was subsequently fired on October 4, 2012. Valentine has been replaced by John Farrell, who had spent the previous two seasons as manager of the Toronto Blue Jays. Farrell was the pitching coach for the Red Sox from 2007–2010 before becoming manager of the Blue Jays.
Boston Strong: 2013 World Series Champions
Boston, which finished last in the American League East with a 69–93 record in 2012—26 games behind the Yankees, became the 11th team in major league history to go from worst in the division to first the next season when it clinched the A.L. East division title on September 21, 2013. Many credit the team's turn around with the hiring of manager John Farrell, the former Red Sox pitching coach under Terry Francona from 2007 to 2010. As a former member of the staff, he had the respect of influential players such as Lester, Pedroia, and Ortiz. But there were other moves made in the offseason by general manager Ben Cherington who targeted "character" players to fill the team's needs. These acquisitions included veteran catcher David Ross, Jonny Gomes, Mike Napoli, and Shane Victorino. While some questioned these players as "re-treads", it was clear that Cherington was trying to move past 2011–2012 by bringing in "clubhouse players". Essential to the turn around, however, was the pitching staff. With ace veteran John Lackey coming off Tommy John surgery and both Jon Lester and Clay Buchholz returning to their prior form, this allowed the team to rely less on their bullpen. Everything seemed in danger of collapsing, however, when both closers, Joel Hanrahan and Andrew Bailey, went down early with season-ending injuries. Farrell gave the closing job to Koji Uehara on June 21 who delivered with a 1.09 ERA and an MLB record 0.565 WHIP. On September 11, the 37-year-old right-hander set a new Red Sox record when he retired 33 straight batters. Other reasons include the trade deadline acquisition of pitcher Jake Peavy when the Red Sox were in second place in the AL East, the depth of the bench with players such as Mike Carp and rookies Jackie Bradley, Jr. and Xander Bogaerts, and the re-emergence of players such as Will Middlebrooks and Daniel Nava. On September 28, 2013, the team secured home field advantage throughout the American League playoffs when their closest competition, the Oakland Athletics, lost. The next day, the team finished the season going 97–65, the best record in the American League and tied with the St. Louis Cardinals for the best record in baseball. They proceeded to defeat the St. Louis Cardinals in the 2013 World Series, four games to two. The Red Sox became the first team since the 1991 Minnesota Twins to win the World Series a year after finishing in last place, and the second overall. The 2012 Red Sox' .426 winning percentage was the lowest for a team in a season prior to a World Series championship.
Patch worn by the Boston Red Sox in memory of Boston Marathon bombing victims
Throughout the season, the Red Sox players and organization formed a close association with the city of Boston and its people in relation to the Boston Marathon bombings that occurred on April 15, 2013. On April 20, the day after the alleged bombers were captured, David Ortiz gave a pre-game speech following a ceremony honoring the victims and the local law enforcement, in which he stated, "This is our fucking city! And nobody is going to dictate our freedom! Stay strong!". For the entirety of the season, the team wore an additional arm patch that exhibited the Red Sox "B" logo and the word "Strong" within a blue circle. The team also hung up in the dugout a custom jersey that read "Boston Strong" with the number 617, representing the city of Boston's area code. On many occasions during the season, victims of the attack and law enforcement involved were given the honor of throwing the ceremonial first pitch. Following their victory in the 2013 World Series, the first one clinched at home in Fenway Park since 1918, Red Sox players Jonny Gomes and Jarrod Saltalamacchia performed a ceremony during the team's traditional duck boat victory parade, in which they placed the World Series trophy and the custom 617 jersey on the Boston Marathon finish line on Boylston Street, followed by a moment of silence and a singing of God Bless America. This ceremony helped the city "reclaim" its spirit that was lost after the bombing. Overall, the Red Sox team and organization played a role in the healing process after the tragedy, owing to the team's unifying effect on the city.
Gone from Boston's 2013 roster are core players such as center fielder Jacoby Ellsbury, catcher Jarrod Saltalamacchia, and pitcher Ryan Dempster. To help replace their needs, the Red Sox added catcher A. J. Pierzynski, and outfielder Grady Sizemore, while also calling up young stars, outfielder Jackie Bradley Jr., and third baseman Xander Bogaerts. During the season, the Red Sox released a number of veteran players including Sizemore, Pierzynski, and Chris Capuano while promoting top prospects such as Christian Vazquez and Mookie Betts.
Red Sox logo on the fence outside City of Palms Park
The unofficial beginning of the spring training season for the Red Sox is Truck Day, the day a tractor-trailer filled with equipment leaves Fenway Park bound for the Sox spring training facility in Florida. Truck Day 2014 took place on Saturday, February 8.
City of Palms Park
Former left fielder Mike Greenwell is from Fort Myers, Florida and was instrumental in bringing his team to the city for spring training. City of Palms Park was built in 1992 for that purpose and holds 8,000 people. It is also the home of the Red Sox Rookie team, the Gulf Coast League Red Sox, from April through June.
On October 28, 2008, the Lee County commission voted 3–1 to approve an agreement with the Boston Red Sox to build a new spring-training facility for the team in south Lee County. Commissioner Brian Bigelow was the lone dissenting vote. Commissioner Bob Janes was not present for the vote, but stated that he supported it.
Dee was present in the chambers for the vote, and took the agreement back to Boston to meet with John Henry and other team officials. On November 1, 2008, the Red Sox signed an agreement with Lee County that will keep their spring training home in the Fort Myers area for 30 more years.
Wednesday, April 30, 2009, the Lee County commissioners selected the Watermen-Pinnacle site on Daniels Parkway (a little more than a mile east of Interstate 75) as the site for the new facility. The backup choice, if negotiations between county staff and the developer falter, is the University Highland site just north of Germain Arena in Estero. Jeff Mudgett, a Fort Myers architect who is volunteering his time toward the project, envisions a facility with a mini-Fenway Park that would open for Spring 2012.
On March 29, 2011, it was announced that the new field would be named JetBlue Park at Fenway South. The park was named JetBlue Park after JetBlue Airlines, which has maintained major operations at Boston's Logan International Airport since 2004.
Many characteristics of the stadium will be taken from Fenway Park, including a 37-foot (11 m) Green Monster wall in left field, featuring seating on top of and behind the wall. Included in the wall will be a restored version of the manual scoreboard that was housed at Fenway for almost 30 years, beginning in the 1970s. The field dimensions at JetBlue Park will be identical to those at Fenway.
Rivalry with the Yankees
The Yankees–Red Sox rivalry is one of the oldest, most famous and fiercest rivalries in professional sports. For over 100 years, the Red Sox and New York Yankees have been rivals.
The rivalry is often a heated subject of conversation in the Northeastern United States. Since the inception of the wild card team and an added Division Series, every playoffs has featured one or both of the American League East rivals and they both have squared off in the American League Championship Series three times, with the Yankees winning twice in 1999 and 2003 and the Sox winning in 2004. 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 won) and 1949 (when the Yankees won).
The teams also finished tied for first in 1978, when the Yankees won a high-profile one-game playoff for the division title. The 1978 division race is memorable for the Red Sox having held a 14-game lead over the Yankees more than halfway through the season. Similarly, the 2004 AL Championship Series is notable for the Yankees leading 3 games to 0 and ultimately losing a best of seven series. 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 rivalry is often termed "the best" and "greatest rivalry in all of sports." Games between the two teams often generate a great deal of interest and get extensive media coverage, including being broadcast on national television.
Radio and television
Currently, the flagship radio station of the Red Sox is WEEI, 850 AM. Joe Castiglione, in his 25th year as the voice of the Red Sox, serves as the lead play-by-play announcer, along with Dave O'Brien and Jon Rish. Some of Castiglione's predecessors include Curt Gowdy, Ken Coleman, and Ned Martin. He has also worked with play-by-play veterans Bob Starr and Jerry Trupiano. Many stations throughout New England and beyond pick up the broadcasts.
All Red Sox telecasts not shown nationally on Fox or ESPN are seen on New England Sports Network (NESN) with Don Orsillo calling play-by-play and Jerry Remy, former Red Sox second baseman, as color analyst. During Remy's recovery from cancer, former Red Sox players Dennis Eckersley and Dave Roberts have alternated doing color commentary. NESN became exclusive in 2006; before then, games were shown on such local stations as WBZ-TV, WSBK-TV, WLVI, WABU, and WFXT at various points in team history.
The widespread growth of mobile devices and social media have cause the Red Sox to expand its team update information into other platforms. Some off-air news updates via social media take place including on: Facebook, Google+, and Twitter.
The Red Sox have two official requirements for a player to have his number retired:
- Election to the National Baseball Hall of Fame
- At least 10 years played with the Red Sox
Retired July 28, 2009
The Red Sox previously had a requirement that the player "must have finished their career with Red Sox", but this was reconsidered after the election of Carlton Fisk to the Hall of Fame. Fisk actually retired with the White Sox, but then-GM Dan Duquette hired him for one day as a special assistant, which allowed Fisk to technically end his career with the Red Sox. After that, with the anticipation that there might be other former Red Sox players who would be denied the chance to have their number retired by the club (prime examples include Roger Clemens and Wade Boggs), the team dropped the rule.
Some would argue that the 3rd rule still exists de facto, as Boggs' number 26 has not been retired (nor withheld from circulation) by Boston even though he meets the 2 official requirements (Boggs finished his career with the Tampa Bay Rays after spending five years with the rival New York Yankees). But the Red Sox, who inducted Boggs into their team Hall of Fame in 2004, won’t retire his number. “They told me there’s criteria,” Boggs said to the Boston Globe. “You have to end your career as a Red Sox.” 
The only exception that has been made to date is for former Boston shortstop Johnny Pesky, whose number 6 was retired on September 28, 2008. Pesky neither spent ten years as a player nor was elected to the Baseball Hall of Fame; however, Red Sox ownership cited "... his versatility of his contributions—on the field, off the field, [and] in the dugout...", including as a manager, scout, and special instructor and decided that the honor had been well-earned.
The number 42 was officially retired by Major League Baseball in 1997, but Mo Vaughn was one of a handful of players to continue wearing #42 through a grandfather clause. He last wore it for the team in 1998. In commemoration of Jackie Robinson Day, MLB invited players to wear the number 42 for games played on April 15, Coco Crisp (CF), David Ortiz (DH), and DeMarlo Hale (Coach) did that in 2007 and again in 2008. Starting in 2009, MLB had all uniformed players for all teams wear #42 for Jackie Robinson Day.
Red Sox retired numbers as hung on the right-field facade during the 2011 season in Fenway Park
While not officially retired, the Red Sox have not issued several numbers since the departure of prominent figures who wore them, specifically:
Even if elected into Baseball's Hall of Fame, Martinez would not qualify to have their uniform number retired based on the above "10 year" policy.
There has also been debate in Boston media circles and among fans about the potential retiring of Tony Conigliaro's number 25. Nonetheless, since Conigliaro's last full season in Boston, 1970, the number has been assigned to 15 players (including Orlando Cepeda, Mark Clear, Don Baylor, Larry Parrish, Jack Clark, Troy O'Leary, Jeremy Giambi and Mike Lowell), a coach (Dwight Evans), and a manager (Bobby Valentine). #25 is currently worn by OF Jackie Bradley, Jr.
Until the late 1990s, the numbers originally hung on the right-field facade in the order in which they were retired: 9–4–1–8. It was pointed out that the numbers, when read as a date (9/4/18), marked the eve of the first game of the 1918 World Series, the last championship series that the Red Sox won before 2004. After the facade was repainted, the numbers were rearranged in numerical order. In 2012, the numbers were rearranged again in chronological order of retirement (9,4,1,8,27,6,14) followed by Robinson's 42.
Baseball Hall of Famers
|Boston Red Sox Hall of Famers
|Affiliation according to the National Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum
- Players listed in bold are depicted on their Hall of Fame plaques wearing a Red Sox cap insignia.
- * Wears Red Sox cap on Hall Of Fame plaque, but spent more time on other teams
Ford C. Frick Award recipients
|Boston Red Sox Ford C. Frick Award recipients
|Affiliation according to the National Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum
- Names in bold received the award based primarily on their work as broadcasters for the Red Sox.
Minor league affiliations
Other notable seasons and team records
- Nomar Garciaparra hit .372 in 2000, the club record for a right-handed hitter.
- David Ortiz in 2005 had 47 home runs and 148 RBIs. He also had many game winning and timely hits and came in second in the MVP voting to the New York Yankees' Alex Rodriguez.
- David Ortiz had a franchise record-breaking 2006 season with 54 home runs in the regular season
- On April 22, 2007, Manny Ramírez, J. D. Drew, Mike Lowell, and Jason Varitek hit four consecutive home runs in the 3rd inning off 10 pitches from Chase Wright of the New York Yankees in his second Major League start and his fourth above Single-A ball. This was the fifth time in Major League history, and first time in Red Sox history this feat has occurred. Notable is that J. D. Drew had previously contributed to a four consecutive home run sequence on September 18, 2006 (coincidentally also the second batter in the sequence) while with the Los Angeles Dodgers. Additionally, then-Red Sox manager Terry Francona's father, Tito Francona, also was a part of such a four consecutive home run sequence for the Cleveland Indians in 1963.
- The overall regular season winning percentage since club inception in 1901 is .516, a record of 8595–8065 for games played through July 9, 2008. They started 2007 with winning percentage of 0.512 (8444–7960).
- On September 1, 2007, Clay Buchholz no-hit the Baltimore Orioles in his second Major League start. He is the first Red Sox rookie and 17th Red Sox pitcher to throw a no-hitter.
- On September 22, 2007, with a victory over the Tampa Bay Devil Rays, the Red Sox clinched a spot in the postseason for the fourth time in five years, the first time in club history this has happened. Also, with this postseason berth, manager Terry Francona becomes the first manager in team history to lead the club to three playoff appearances.
- Between May 15, 2003 and April 10, 2013, the Red Sox sold out every home game. The 820 game streak is a record for all major American sports, narrowly passing the Portland Trail Blazers record of 814 between 1977 and 1995. The previous major league baseball record had been held by the Cleveland Indians, who sold out 455 games between June 12, 1995 and April 2, 2001. (The team's definition of a sellout: "The criteria used for a sellout at Fenway Park have been the same since the early 1990s", Kennedy said in an e-mail. "Our policy is simple and straightforward, and is used by many MLB clubs [and other sports teams around the country]. A sellout occurs when the number of tickets distributed to spectators is equal to or greater than the seating capacity at Fenway Park. [The 2008 seating capacity is 36,984 for day games and 37,400 for night games.]" That is: a sellout only covers ticket sales, not spectators in physical seats.)
- On May 21, 2011, the Red Sox played against the Chicago Cubs at Fenway Park for the first time since the 1918 World Series (they had faced each other at Chicago's Wrigley Field in 2005). Both teams wore uniforms that match the style worn in 1918.