When the 2018 Boston Red Sox won Game Five against the Los Angeles Dodgers the club became the first MLB team to win four World Championships in the 21st Century! And they became the first team in MLB history to win four World Championships over fifteen consecutive seasons in both the 20th and 21st Centuries! Given the recent “novelty season” this is a good time to step back and review the glorious history of baseball in Boston over 150 years.
Boston’s 150 consecutive seasons are the most in major league baseball—in fact the most in the world. Chicago is second with 148 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 over the next 52 seasons until the Braves waved the white flag of surrender and moved to Milwaukee for the 1953 season.
In the first two decades of the twentieth century Boston continued as baseball’s capital. During this time the Red Sox won five World Championships and the 1914 Miracle Braves won another.
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 National League pennant while the Red Sox tied the Indians for the American League 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 reminded us that Boston baseball dominates the first two decades of every century!
That 2018 Red Sox made history by winning 108 games over the regular season, eclipsing the old team record of 105 wins set by the 1912 Boston Red Sox. And with 11 victories in the playoffs their win total of 119 is second best in MLB history, trailing only the 2001 Seattle Mariners with 120 wins.
Let’s look back on that historic 2018 Boston Red Sox team to distract us from the worries of the pandemic and the many questions about the 2021 season!