When the Red Sox season opened the season with a 6-2 win over the Cleveland Indians on April 5, 2016, it marked the 146th consecutive season of professional baseball in Boston!
Boston’s 146 consecutive seasons are the most in major league baseball—in fact the most in the world. Chicago is second with 144 consecutive seasons, and we can thank Mrs. O’Leary’s cow for shutting down Chicago baseball in 1872, leaving us with the world record. From 1871 to 1900, the Boston Red Stockings/Beaneaters were the dominant team in professional baseball. Then in 1901 the Boston Nationals—who became the Braves in 1912—were joined by the Boston Americans—who became the Red Sox in 1908. The two teams fought for fans’ affections for the next 52 seasons until the Braves waved the white flag of surrender and moved to Milwaukee for the 1953 season.
The sale of some fellow named Ruth after the 1919 season kicked off two dismal decades of baseball in Boston. But the arrival of another fellow named Williams in 1939 kicked off a resurgence of interest.
In 1946 the Red Sox carried the St. Louis Cardinals to a seven game World Series. And in 1948 the Braves won the NL pennant and the Red Sox tied the Indians for the AL pennant. A disappointing Red Sox playoff loss to the Indians spoiled the city’s chance for a subway series and the Braves fell to the Indians in a six-game World Series.
The Red Sox bottomed-out with 90 losses and a ninth place finish in 1966, while average attendance fell to 10,000 fans per game. But the 1967 Impossible Dream team overcame 100-1 odds to win the AL pennant on the last day of the season and baseball fever returned to New England.
Seven-game defeats in the 1967, 1975, and 1986 World Series only seemed to stoke the passion of Red Sox fans. When the 2004 Red Sox staged one of the great comebacks in sports history by defeating the New York Yankees and then sweeping the Cardinals in the World Series, Red Sox Nation was in full-flower.
World Series wins in 2007 and the improbable 2013 World Championship reminds us that Boston baseball dominates the first two decades of every century!
And the challenge of going from worst-to-first-to-worst-to first ensures that the 2016 Red Sox season will continue to be a very exciting year!