The Boston Red Sox are a professional baseball team based in Boston, Massachusetts, and are the reigning (2007) World Series Champions. The Red Sox are a member of the Major League Baseball’s American League Eastern Division and are the defending champions of the American League itself. Since , the Red Sox have made their home at Fenway Park.
The "Red Sox" name originates from the iconic uniform feature. They are sometimes nicknamed the BoSox, a combination of "Boston" and "Sox" (as opposed to the "ChiSox"), the Crimson Hose, and the Olde Towne Team. However, most fans simply refer to the team as the Sox.
One of the American League's eight charter franchises, the club was founded in Buffalo, New York in . After the move from Buffalo to Boston they became a dominant team, defeating the Pittsburgh Pirates in the first World Series in . They won four more championships by , and then went into one of the longest championship droughts in baseball history. Many attributed the phenomenon to the "Curse of the Bambino", said to have been caused by the sale of Babe Ruth to the New York Yankees in . The drought was ended and the "curse" reversed in , when the team won their sixth World Series Championship. Since 2003, the Red Sox have competed in four ALCS matchups, have won two World Series, and have emerged as arguably the most successful MLB team of the 21st century.
The Red Sox led all MLB teams in average road attendance in , while the small capacity of Fenway Park caused them to rank 11th in home attendance. Every home game since May 15, 2003 has been sold out—a span of over five years and an MLB record.
In 1901, the minor Western League, led by Ban Johnson, declared its equality with the National League, then the only major league in baseball. Johnson changed the name of the league to the American League, leading teams in his league to be christened with the unofficial nickname "Americans". This was especially true in the case of the new Boston franchise, which would not adopt an official nickname until 1908.
The upstart league placed franchises in Baltimore and Buffalo. After looking at his new league Ban Johnson decided that he would need a team in Boston to compete with the National League team there and so he moved the Buffalo club to Boston. Playing their home games at Huntington Avenue Grounds, the Boston franchise finished second and third before capturing their first pennant in 1903 and repeating the next year. Those teams were led by manager and star third baseman Jimmy Collins and by pitcher Cy Young, whose 1901 to 1904 seasons rank among the best four-year runs ever. In addition, they received significant contributions from outfielders Chick Stahl, Buck Freeman and Patsy Dougherty. In 1903, Boston participated in the first modern World Series, beating the favored Pittsburgh Pirates, winners of the NL pennant by six and a half games, winning the best-of-nine series five games to three. Aided by the modified chants of "Tessie" by the Royal Rooters fan club and by its stronger pitching staff, the Americans managed to overcome the odds, winning the first modern World Series.
The 1904 club was almost as good as the previous team, but due to the surprise emergence of the _the_Highlanders_Era_.281903.E2.80.931912.29, the Boston club found itself in a tight pennant race through the last games of the season. A predecessor to what would become a storied rivalry, this race featured such controversial moves as the trade of Patsy Dougherty to the Highlanders for Bob Unglaub. However, perhaps the climax of the season occurred on the last, dramatic doubleheader at the Highlanders’ home stadium, Hilltop Park. In order to win the pennant, the Highlanders needed to win both games. With Jack Chesbro, the Highlanders' 41-game winner, on the mound, the Highlanders seemed to have a good chance of winning the first game. However, with the score tied 2–2 with a man on third in the top of the ninth, a spitball got away from Chesbro and Lou Criger scored the go-ahead run on one of the most famous wild pitches in history. Unfortunately, the NL champion New York Giants declined to play any postseason series, fearing it would give their New York rivals credibility (they had expected the Highlanders to win), but a sharp public reaction led the two leagues immediately to make the World Series a permanent championship, starting in 1905.
These successful times soon ended, however, as Boston lost 100 games in the 1906 season. But several new star players helped the newly renamed Red Sox improve almost immediately.
By 1909, the legendary center fielder Tris Speaker had become a fixture in the Boston outfield, and the team (now named "Red Sox") worked their way to third place. However, the Red Sox would not win the pennant again until their 105-win 1912 season, finishing with a club record 0.691 winning percentage. Anchored by an outfield considered to be among the finest in the game—Tris Speaker, Harry Hooper and Duffy Lewis—and superstar pitcher Smoky Joe Wood, the Red Sox beat the New York Giants 4-3-1 in the classic 1912 World Series best known for Snodgrass’s Muff. From 1913 to 1916 the Red Sox were owned by Joseph Lannin, who signed Babe Ruth, soon the best-known and one of the best players ever. Another 101 wins in 1915 propelled the Red Sox to the 1915 World Series, where they beat the Philadelphia Phillies four games to one. The 1916 team repeated the pennant, though Tris Speaker, a fixture for six years, was traded to the Cleveland Indians in the off-season. His departure was more than compensated for, however, by the emergence of star pitcher Babe Ruth. Once again, the Red Sox won the 1916 World Series, this time defeating the Brooklyn Robins. By 1918, the team found itself at the top of the heap again, led by Babe Ruth to the 1918 World Series championship over the Chicago Cubs.
During that period, the Red Sox, White Sox and Yankees had a détente; they were called "Insurrectos" because their actions antagonized league president Johnson. Although Frazee owned the Boston Red Sox franchise, he did not own Fenway Park (it was owned by the Fenway Park Trust), making his ownership a precarious one; Johnson could move another team into the ballpark. His club was in debt, but Frazee felt the need to purchase its playing site (which he did in 1920). Further, providing the Yankees with a box office attraction would help that mediocre club, which had sided with him against Johnson and "the Loyal Five" clubs. Finally, Ruth was considered a serious disciplinary problem, a reputation he amply confirmed while playing for the Yankees. Frazee moved Ruth to stabilize Red Sox finances and cut distractions. It was a straight sale, no players in return.
Because New York achieved great success after the Ruth sale (and after several other very good players made the same move), and Boston did poorly during the 20s and 30s, the sale of Babe Ruth came to be viewed as the beginning of the Yankees-Red Sox rivalry, described as the "Greatest Rivalry on Earth" by some journalists. Plus, years later, many thought the sale was the cause of the legendary "Curse of the Bambino."
After the sale of Ruth to the Yankees, and after he decided to get out of baseball, Frazee sold many of his star players. In the winter of 1920, Wally Schang, Waite Hoyt, Harry Harper, and Mike McNally were traded to the Yankees for Del Pratt, Muddy Ruel, John Costello, Hank Thormahlen, Sammy Vick and cash. The following winter, iron man shortstop Everett Scott, and pitchers Bullet Joe Bush and Sad Sam Jones were traded to the Yankees for Roger Peckinpaugh (who would be immediately shipped to the Washington Senators), Jack Quinn, Rip Collins, Bill Piercy and $50,000. One particularly controversial deal was that of Joe Dugan and Elmer Smith, who were traded to the Yankees on July 23, 1922, for Elmer Miller, Chick Fewster, Johnny Mitchell, and Lefty O'Doul, who was at the time a mediocre pitching prospect. The trade of Dugan helped the Yankees edge the St. Louis Browns in a tight pennant race, and the resulting uproar helped create a June 15 trading deadline that went into effect the next year. Perhaps an even more outrageous deal was the trade of Herb Pennock, occurring in early 1923. Pennock was traded by the Red Sox to the Yankees for Camp Skinner, Norm McMillan, George Murray and $50,000.
A couple of notable trades involving Frazee and the Yankees occurred before the Babe Ruth sale. On December 18, 1918, outstanding outfielder Duffy Lewis (mentioned above), pitcher Dutch Leonard, and pitcher Ernie Shore were traded to the Yankees for pitcher Ray Caldwell, Slim Love, Roxy Walters, Frank Gilhooley and $15,000. As all three players were well-regarded in Boston — Lewis had been a key player on the 1910s championship teams, Shore had famously relieved Babe Ruth and retired 27 straight, and Leonard had only four years before set a modern record for earned run average — this trade was regarded as a poor one in Boston, Then, on July 13, 1919, submarine-style pitching star Carl Mays was traded to the Yankees for Bob McGraw, Allan Russell and $40,000. Mays would go on to have several good years for the Yankees, but had been a discipline problem for the Red Sox.
Following these trades, and their sale by Frazee, the Red Sox finished in the second division with poor records in the 1920s and 1930s. Over an eight-year period from 1925 to 1932, the Red Sox averaged over 100 losses in a season. One of the few bright spots on these teams was Earl Webb, who set the all-time mark for most doubles in a season in 1931 with 67. The Red Sox’ fortunes began to change in 1933, however, when Tom Yawkey bought the Red Sox. Yawkey would acquire Lefty Grove, one of the greatest pitchers of all-time, Joe Cronin, an outstanding shortstop and manager, Jimmie Foxx, the slugging first baseman, and Wes Ferrell, an outstanding pitcher. These moves paid off, as the Red Sox were once again competitive in the late thirties.
In 1939, the Red Sox purchased the contract of outfielder Ted Williams from the (minor league) San Diego Padres of the Pacific Coast League, ushering in an era of the team sometimes called the "Ted Sox." Williams is generally considered one of the greatest hitters of all time, because he consistently hit for both high power and high average. Stories of his ability to hold a bat in his hand and correctly estimate its weight down to the ounce have floated around baseball circles for decades. His book The Science of Hitting is widely read by students of baseball. He is also the last player to hit over .400 for a full season, hitting .406 in 1941. Williams feuded with sports writers his whole career, calling them "The Knights of the Keyboard," and his relationship with the fans was often rocky as he was seen spitting towards the stands on more than one occasion.
With Williams, the Red Sox reached the 1946 World Series, but lost to the St. Louis Cardinals in seven games in part because of the use of the "Williams Shift," a defensive tactic in which the shortstop would move to the right side of the infield to make it harder for the left-handed-hitting Williams to hit to that side of the field. Williams did not fare well in his first and only World Series, gathering just five singles in 25 at-bats for a 0.200 average. However, his performance may have been affected by an elbow injury he had received a few days before when he was hit by a pitch in an exhibition game. Also, some have claimed that he was too proud to hit to the other side of the field, not wanting to let the Cardinals take away his game. Williams served two stints in the United States Marine Corps as a pilot and saw active duty in both World War II and the Korean War, and missed at least five full seasons of baseball. One can only wonder what his stats would have been had he played the whole time.
The loss to the Cardinals in the 1946 Series is not without controversy, as the Cardinals' Enos Slaughter scored the go-ahead run all the way from first base on a base hit to left field. The throw from Leon Culberson was cut off by shortstop Johnny Pesky, who relayed the ball to the plate just a hair too late. Some say Pesky hesitated or "held the ball" before he turned to throw the ball, but this has been disputed.
The right-field bullpens in Fenway Park were built in part for Williams' left-handed swing, and are sometimes called "Williamsburg." Before this addition to right field, it was over in that area of the ballpark.
The Red Sox featured several other players during the 1940s, including Pesky (for whom the right field foul pole in Fenway — "Pesky's Pole" — is affectionately named by fans, and in 2006 the Red Sox officially named it such), second baseman Bobby Doerr, and center fielder Dom DiMaggio (the younger brother of Joe DiMaggio).
The Red Sox narrowly lost the AL pennant in 1948 and 1949. In 1948, they finished in a tie with Cleveland, and their loss to Cleveland in a one-game playoff ended hopes of an all-Boston World Series. Curiously, manager Joseph McCarthy chose journeyman Denny Galehouse to start the playoff game when the young lefty phenom Mel Parnell was available to pitch. In 1949, the Sox were one game ahead of the New York Yankees, with the only two games left for both teams being against each other, and they lost both of those games.
The 1950s were viewed as a time of tribulation for the Red Sox. After Williams returned from the Korean War in 1953, many of the best players from the late 1940s had retired or been traded. The stark contrast in the team led critics to call the Red Sox' daily lineup "Ted Williams and the Seven Dwarfs." Also, unlike many other teams, owner Tom Yawkey refused to sign players of African descent, even passing up chances at Jackie Robinson and Willie Mays, both of whom tried out for Boston and were highly praised by team scouts. Jackie Robinson was even worked out by the team at Fenway Park, however it appeared that owner Tom Yawkey did not want an African American player on his team at that time. Ted Williams hit .388 at the age of 38 in 1957, but there was little else for Boston fans to root for. Williams retired at the end of the 1960 season, famously hitting a home run in his final at-bat as memorialized in the John Updike story "Hub fans bid Kid adieu" The Sox finally became the last Major League team to field an African American player when they promoted infielder Pumpsie Green from their AAA farm team in 1959.
Red Sox fans refer to 1967 as the year of the "Impossible Dream." The slogan refers to the hit song from the popular musical play "Man of La Mancha." The 1967 season is remembered as one of the great pennant races in baseball history because four teams were in the AL pennant race until almost the last game. The team had finished the 1966 season in ninth place, but they found new life with Yastrzemski as the team went to the 1967 World Series. Yastrzemski won the American League Triple Crown (the most recent player to accomplish such a feat) and put forth what is considered one of the best seasons in baseball history. But the Red Sox lost the series — again to the St. Louis Cardinals, in seven games. Legendary pitcher Bob Gibson stymied the Sox winning three games.
Also during the 1960s, a Bostonian named Tony Conigliaro slugged 24 home runs as an 18-year-old rookie in 1964. "Tony C" became the youngest player in Major League Baseball to hit his 100th home run, a record that stands today. However, he was struck just above the left cheek bone by a fastball thrown by Jack Hamilton of the California Angels in August 1967. Conigliaro sat out the entire next season with headaches and blurred vision and although he did have a productive season in 1970, he was never the same.
Although the Red Sox played competitive baseball for much of the late 1960s and early 1970s, they never finished higher than second place in their division. The closest they came to a divisional title was 1972, when they lost by a half-game to the Detroit Tigers. The start of the season was delayed by a players' strike, and the Red Sox further lost a game to a rainout that was never replayed, which caused the Red Sox to lose the division by a half-game. On October 2, 1972, they also lost the second to last game of the year to the Tigers, 3-1, when Luis Aparicio fell rounding third after Yastremski hit a triple in the third inning, Aparicio tried to scamper back to third but this created an out as Yastremski was already on third.
The Red Sox won the AL pennant in 1975, with Yastrzemski surrounded by other players such as rookie outfielders Jim Rice and Fred Lynn the "Gold Dust Twins," veteran outfielder Dwight Evans "Dewey," catcher Carlton Fisk "Pudge," and pitchers Luis Tiant "Louie" and eccentric junkballer Bill Lee "The Spaceman." With many different personalities in the clubhouse, the 1975 Red Sox were as colorful as they were talented. Fred Lynn won both the American League Rookie of the Year award and the Most Valuable Player award, a feat which had never been accomplished at that time and was not duplicated until Ichiro Suzuki did it in 2001.. In the playoffs, the Red Sox swept the Oakland A's.
In the 1975 World Series, they faced the Cincinnati Reds, also known as The Big Red Machine, a team considered a baseball dynasty during the 1970s. Luis Tiant won games 1 and 4 of the World Series but after five games, the Red Sox trailed the series 3 games to 2. Game 6 played at Fenway Park is thought to be one of the greatest, if not the greatest, game in postseason history. The Sox were down 6–3 in the bottom of the eighth when pinch hitter Bernie Carbo hit a three run homer into the center field bleachers off Reds fireman Rawly Eastwick to tie the game. In the top of the eleventh inning, right fielder Dwight Evans made a spectacular catch of a Joe Morgan line drive and doubled Ken Griffey Sr. at 1st base to preserve the tie. The Red Sox ultimately prevailed in the bottom of the twelfth inning when Carlton Fisk hit a deep fly ball which sliced towards the left field foul pole above the Green Monster. As the ball sailed into the night, Fisk waved his arms frantically towards fair territory, seemingly pleading with the ball not to go foul. The ball hit probably six inches to the fair side of the foul pole and bedlam ensued at Fenway as Fisk rounded the bases to win the game 7–6. Footage of the Fisk home run is shown again and again on ESPN classic.
The Red Sox lost game 7, 4–3 even though they had an early 3–0 lead. Starting pitcher Bill Lee threw a slow looping curve which he called a "Leephus pitch" or "space ball" to Reds first baseman Tony Perez who hit the ball over the Green Monster and across the street. The Reds scored the winning run in the 9th inning. Carlton Fisk said famously about the 1975 World Series, "We won that thing 3 games to 4."
For the final three weeks of the season, the teams fought closely and the lead changed hands several times. By the final day of the season, the Yankees' magic number to win the division was one — which meant either a win over Cleveland or a Boston loss to Toronto would clinch the division for the Yankees. However, New York lost 9-2 and Boston won 5-0, forcing a one-game playoff to be held at Fenway Park on Monday, October 2.
Although Bucky Dent's three-run home run in the 7th inning off Mike Torrez just over the Green Monster — which gave the Yankees their first lead — is the most remembered moment from the game, it was Reggie Jackson's solo home run in the 8th that proved the difference in the Yankees' 5-4 win, which ended with Yastrzemski popping out to Graig Nettles with Rick Burleson representing the tying run at third.
However, in 1986, it appeared that the team's fortunes were about to change. The team's 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 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. A starting pitcher has not won the MVP award in either league since.
The Red Sox won the AL East for the first time in 11 seasons, prompting a playoff series against the California Angels in the AL Championship Series. The teams split the first two games in Boston, but the Angels won the next two games at their home stadium, 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.
In the 1986 World Series the Red Sox played the New York Mets. 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 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, the Red Sox were one strike away from breaking their championship drought. The champagne was on ice in the Red Sox clubhouse, a graphic appeared on the NBC telecast hailing Barrett as the Player of the Game, and 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. However, after three straight singles off Schiraldi and a wild pitch by Bob Stanley, the Mets tied the game at 5. It looked as though the Red Sox would record the third out leaving the score tied when Mookie Wilson hit a slow ground ball to first; the ball rolled through Bill Buckner's legs, allowing Ray 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, Wilson possibly 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."
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.
Many fans were upset when Roger Clemens and Mo Vaughn left the team as free agents. 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. In 1999, Duquette called Fenway Park "economically obsolete" and, along with Red Sox ownership, led a push for a new stadium. Despite support from the Massachusetts Legislature and other politicians, issues with buying out neighboring property and steadfast opposition within Boston's city council eventually doomed the project.
On the field, the Red Sox had some success during this period, but were unable to return to the World Series. In 1995, they won the newly-realigned American League East, finishing seven games ahead of the Yankees. However, they were swept in three games in a series against the Cleveland Indians. Their postseason losing streak reached 13 straight games, dating back to the 1986 World Series.
The 1996 season certainly had its individual highlights. Roger Clemens tied his major league record by fanning 20 Detroit Tigers on September 18 in what would prove to be one of his final appearances in a Red Sox uniform. Mo Vaughn had another All-Star season (.326 batting average, 44 home runs, 143 runs batted in) and newcomer Heathcliff Slocumb saved 31 games. Unfortunately, the Red Sox lost 19 of their first 25 games and finished third with an 85-77 record. They led the league in unearned runs. Even so, home attendance increased over 1995, to 2.3 million fans. Out of contention in 1997, the team traded closer Slocum to Seattle for catching prospect Jason Varitek and right-handed pitcher Derek Lowe.
In 1998, the Red Sox dealt pitchers Tony Armas, Jr. and Carl Pavano to the Montreal Expos in exchange 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.
A year later, 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 Sox in the much-hyped Martinez-Clemens game, although many Red Sox fans remember the series as one in which the umpires made several suspicious calls in the Yankees' favor.
In 2000, the Red Sox failed to take advantage of Nomar Garciaparra's career year and Pedro Martínez's historic season (18-6, 1.74 ERA, and his third Cy Young Award). Despite a few other standouts, they stumbled to an 85–77 clip. In 2001, though the Red Sox got an outstanding performance from new acquisition Manny Ramírez and a good year from Trot Nixon, Garciaparra played only a meager 21 games, and Martinez pitched just 116 innings. To top it off, the Red Sox fired manager Jimy Williams and replaced him with pitching coach Joe Kerrigan, under whom they went 17–26.
While nearly all offseason moves were made under Dan Duquette, such as signing outfielder Johnny Damon away from the Oakland A's, the new ownership made additions after their purchase of the team, including trading for outfielder Cliff Floyd and relief pitcher Alan Embree. Nomar Garciaparra, Manny Ramírez, and Floyd (in limited time) 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. The Red Sox won 93 games but they finished 10 1/2 games behind the Yankees for the division and 6 behind the Angels for the wild card.
In the off season, Port was replaced by Yale graduate Theo Epstein after Oakland's Billy Beane turned down the position. At the age of 28, Epstein became the youngest general manager in the history of the Major Leagues up to that point. He was raised in Brookline.
The "Idiots" of 2004 arose out of the "Cowboy Up" team of 2003, a nickname derived from first baseman Kevin Millar's challenge to his teammates to show more determination. In addition to Millar, the team's offense was so deep that eventual 2003 batting champion Bill Mueller was 7th in the lineup behind sluggers Manny Ramírez and the newly acquired David Ortiz.
Ortiz started the season as a platoon player with Mueller, Shea Hillenbrand, and Jeremy Giambi, collectively playing first and third base. However, Hillenbrand became upset with his lack of playing time. GM Theo Epstein, noting that Mueller was hitting very well in his limited role, traded Hillenbrand to the Arizona Diamondbacks for pitcher Byung-Hyun Kim. Receiving much more playing time following the trade, Ortiz settled down and contributed significantly in the second half of the season. Epstein's decision ended up greatly benefiting the team, as the Red Sox broke many batting records and won the AL Wild Card on September 25 with a victory over the Baltimore Orioles at Fenway.
In the 2003 American League Division Series, the Red Sox rallied from a 0-2 series deficit against the Oakland Athletics to win the best-of-five series. Derek Lowe, who had become a starter after several years as a relief pitcher, returned to his former role to save Game 5, a 4-3 victory, by striking out the A's Terrence Long with the tying run on third base. The team then faced the New York Yankees in the 2003 American League Championship Series. In the deciding seventh game, Boston led 5-2 in the eighth inning, but Pedro Martínez, who was still pitching into the 8th inning, allowed three runs to tie the game, including a two-run bloop double by Jorge Posada. 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 Red Sox pitcher Tim Wakefield.
Some placed the blame for the loss on manager Grady Little for failing to remove 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 decided a change was in order. Little's contract expired after the season, and the organization decided not to exercise his option. He was replaced by former Philadelphia Phillies manager Terry Francona.
Management shook up the team at the MLB trading deadline on July 31, when they traded the team's popular yet often injured shortstop, Nomar Garciaparra, to the Chicago Cubs, receiving Orlando Cabrera of the Montreal Expos and Doug Mientkiewicz of the Minnesota Twins in return. In a separate transaction, the Red Sox also traded minor leaguer Henri Stanley to the Los Angeles Dodgers for center fielder Dave Roberts. Many Sox fans initially blasted the trade as bringing the team inadequate compensation for Garciaparra. However, the club would turn things around soon after, winning twenty-two out of twenty-five games and qualifying for the playoffs as the AL Wild Card. Players and fans affectionately referred to the players as "The Idiots," a term coined by Johnny Damon and Kevin 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. However, Curt Schilling suffered a torn ankle tendon in Game 1 when he was hit by a line drive. The injury was exacerbated when Schilling fielded a ball rolling down the first base line. In the third game of the series, what looked to be a blowout turned out to be a nail-biter, as Vladimir Guerrero hit a grand slam off Mike Timlin in the 7th inning to tie the game. However, David Ortiz hit a walk-off two-run homer in the 10th inning to win the game. The Red Sox advanced to a rematch in the 2004 American League Championship Series against the New York Yankees.
The series started very poorly for the Red Sox. Schilling, pitching with an injured ankle, was routed for six runs in three innings. Yankees starter Mike Mussina had six perfect innings, and despite Boston's best efforts to come back, they ended up losing 10–7. In Game 2, with his Yankees leading 1-0 for most of the game, John Olerud hit a two-run home run to put New York up for good. Following this, the Red Sox were down three games to none after a crushing 19–8 loss in Game 3 at home. In that game, the two clubs set the record for most runs scored in a League Championship Series game. At that point in the history of baseball, no team had come back to win from a 3–0 series deficit. In Game 4, the Red Sox found themselves facing elimination, trailing 4–3 in the ninth with Yankees closer Mariano Rivera on the mound. After Rivera issued a walk to Kevin Millar, Dave Roberts came on to pinch run and promptly stole second base. He then scored on an RBI single by Bill Mueller which sent the game to extra innings. The Red Sox went on to win the game on a two-run home run by David Ortiz in the 12th inning. In Game 5, the Red Sox were again down late (by the score of 4–2) as a result of Derek Jeter's bases-clearing triple. But the Sox struck back in the eighth, as Ortiz hit a homer over the Green Monster to bring the Sox within a run. Then Jason Varitek hit a sacrifice fly to bring home Dave Roberts, scoring the tying run. The game would go for 14 innings, featuring many squandered opportunities on both sides. In the bottom of the 14th, Ortiz would again seal the win with an RBI single that brought home Damon. The 14-inning game set the record for the longest American League Championship Series game ever played.
With the series returning to Yankee Stadium for Game 6, the comeback continued with Schilling pitching on a bad ankle. The three sutures in Schilling's ankle bled throughout the game, making his sock appear bloody red. Schilling struck out four, walked none, and only allowed one run over seven innings to lead the team to victory. Mark Bellhorn also helped in the effort as he hit a three-run home run in the fourth inning. In the bottom of the ninth, the Yankees staged a rally and brought former Red Sox player Tony Clark to the plate as the potential winning run. Keith Foulke, pitching for the third day in a row, struck out Clark to end the game and force the deciding Game 7. In this game, the Red Sox completed their historic comeback owing to the strength of Derek Lowe's one-hit, one-run pitching and Damon's two home runs (including a grand slam in the second inning). The New York Yankees were defeated 10-3. 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 to win a best-of-seven games series after being down three games to none, as well as the first team to do so in professional baseball.
The Red Sox faced the St. Louis Cardinals in the 2004 World Series. The Cardinals had posted the best record in MLB in 2004, and had previously defeated the Red Sox in the 1946 and 1967 World Series. The Sox began the series with an 11-9 win, marked by Mark Bellhorn's game-winning home run off of Pesky's Pole. It was the highest scoring World Series opening game ever (breaking the previous record set in 1932). The Red Sox would go on to win Game 2 in Boston thanks to another great performance by the bloody-socked Curt Schilling. In Game 3, Pedro Martínez (in his first World Series performance) shut out the Cardinals for seven innings and led Boston to a 4-1 victory. In Game 4, the Red Sox did not allow a single run, and the game ended as Edgar Rentería hit the ball back to closer Keith Foulke. After Foulke lobbed the ball to first baseman Doug Mientkiewicz, the Sox had won their first World Championship in 86 years. Boston held the Cardinals' offense to only three runs in the final three games and never trailed in the series. 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 won the title about eleven minutes before totality ended.
The Red Sox held a "rolling rally" for the team on Saturday, October 30, 2004. A crowd of more than three million people filled the streets of Boston to celebrate as the team rode on the city's famous Duck Boats. The Red Sox earned many accolades from the sports media and throughout the nation for their incredible season. In December, Sports Illustrated named the Boston Red Sox the 2004 Sportsmen of the Year.
After winning its first World Series in 86 years, Red Sox management was left with the challenge of dealing with a number of high-profile free agents. Pedro Martínez, Derek Lowe, and Orlando Cabrera were replaced with David Wells, Matt Clement, and Edgar Rentería, respectively. The club re-signed its catcher, Jason Varitek, and named him team captain. On April 11, the Red Sox opened their home season with a ring ceremony and the unveiling of their 2004 World Series Championship banner. Their opponent that day was the New York Yankees - the team the Red Sox had won four straight games against in 2004 to win the ALCS.
Pitchers Curt Schilling and Keith Foulke, key players in the previous year's playoff drive, spent large parts of the season on the disabled list. More of the team's struggles stemmed from the declining performances of some of its key role players: first baseman Kevin Millar (only 9 home runs), second baseman Mark Bellhorn (struck out once every 2.6 AB), and setup man Alan Embree (7.65 ERA). Without Foulke and Embree anchoring the pen, Theo Epstein took a chance on a number of journeymen who failed to bring stability. For much of the season Boston held first place in the AL East but down the stretch the team struggled, squandering its lead over the Yankees and allowing the Cleveland Indians to close the gap in the Wild Card race. The division crown 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. The Indians had a record of 93-69, thus qualifying both the Yankees and Red Sox for the playoffs. Since the Yankees had won the season series, 10–9, they won the division, whereas the Red Sox settled for the Wild Card. The Red Sox faced the AL Central champion Chicago White Sox in the first round of the playoffs but were swept in three games.
On October 31, 2005, general manager Theo Epstein resigned on the last day of his contract, reportedly turning down a three-year, $4.5 million contract extension. On Thanksgiving evening, the Red Sox officially announced the acquisition of pitcher Josh Beckett from the Florida Marlins. Boston also added third baseman Mike Lowell and relief pitcher Guillermo Mota in the deal, while sending minor league prospects Hanley Ramírez, Aníbal Sánchez, Jesús Delgado, and Harvey García to the Marlins. On December 7, the Sox traded backup catcher Doug Mirabelli to the San Diego Padres for second baseman Mark Loretta (the team would later reacquire Mirabelli in May 2006). On December 8, the Sox gave up on Edgar Rentería, trading him and cash to the Atlanta Braves for third base prospect Andy Marte. On December 20, Johnny Damon declined arbitration and a few days later signed a four-year, $52 million deal with the New York Yankees. With Mike Lowell now on board, the Sox let Bill Mueller go via free agency to the Dodgers. Meanwhile, Kevin Millar was not offered arbitration and signed with the Baltimore Orioles.
On January 19, 2006, the Red Sox announced that Theo Epstein would be rejoining the Red Sox in a "full-time baseball operations capacity" and, five days later, he was renamed General Manager. The Sox signed Bronson Arroyo to a three-year contract, but later traded him to the Reds for outfielder Wily Mo Peña. Veteran shortstop Álex González was signed to a one-year contract to replace Edgar Rentería. The team also filled the vacancy in center field left by Johnny Damon's departure by trading Mota, Marte, and prospect Kelly Shoppach to the Cleveland Indians for center fielder Coco Crisp, relief pitcher David Riske, and backup catcher Josh Bard. However, Crisp fractured his left index finger after playing only the first five games of the 2006 season. Crisp would miss over 50 games during the season and did not live up to expectations.
Third baseman Mike Lowell rediscovered his offense after a difficult season in Florida, and together with shortstop Alex Gonzalez, second baseman Mark Loretta, and new first baseman Kevin Youkilis, the Red Sox had one of the best-fielding infields in Major League Baseball. On June 30, Boston set a major league record of 17 straight errorless games. This streak helped the Red Sox commit the fewest errors in the American League in 2006. During this span, they also recorded 12 consecutive victories, all in interleague play. The winning streak was the third longest in club history, behind only the 15 wins posted by the 1946 club and 13 victories in 1948. The Red Sox were well represented in the 2006 All-Star Game. David Ortiz and Mark Loretta started for the American League squad. Manny Ramírez, though elected to a starting role, did not appear due to a knee injury.
One of the brightest spots of the 2006 season was the emergence of new closer Jonathan Papelbon. The 25-year old rookie fireballer was given the chance to save the April 5 game against the Texas Rangers. Two months later, he had saved 20 games in a row. On September 1, Papelbon left the game after experiencing shoulder pain. He would eventually be shut down for the rest of the season. Papelbon ended up setting a Red Sox rookie record with 35 saves while recording a minuscule 0.92 ERA and earning an All-Star appearance. Also, David Ortiz provided a late-season highlight when he broke Jimmie Foxx's single season Red Sox home run record by hitting 54 homers.
Down the stretch, the Sox wilted under the pressure of mounting injuries and poor performances. Boston would compile a 9–21 record in the month of August, with two six-game losing streaks included during that stretch. Despite Curt Schilling's resurgence in the starting rotation (15-7, 3.97 ERA), Josh Beckett had an inconsistent season, winning 16 games but allowing 36 homers and posting a 5.01 ERA. Injuries to Tim Wakefield, rookie Jon Lester (diagnosed with lymphoma), and Matt Clement left the rotation with major holes to fill. Injuries to Jason Varitek, Trot Nixon, Wily Mo Pena, and Manny Ramírez severely hurt the offense. The Red Sox finished 2006 with an 86-76 record and third place in the AL East, their lowest placing in nine seasons.
General Manager Theo Epstein's first major step toward restocking the team for 2007 was to pursue one of the most anticipated acquisitions in recent history. On November 14, Major League Baseball announced that the Red Sox had won the bid for the rights to negotiate a contract with Japanese superstar pitcher Daisuke Matsuzaka. Boston placed a bid of $51.1 million, and had 30 days to complete a deal. On December 13, just before the deadline, Matsuzaka signed a 6-year, $52 million contract.
In the hopes of solidifying the starting rotation, the team announced that closer Jonathan Papelbon would become a starter in 2007. With Papelbon becoming a starter and Keith Foulke leaving the team, the Red Sox began building up their bullpen in search of a new closer. J.C. Romero, Brendan Donnelly, Joel Piñeiro, and Japanese lefty Hideki Okajima all joined the Boston bullpen. However, no clear closer candidate emerged during Spring Training. Eventually, Papelbon wanted to return to the closer role, and Sox officials believed Papelbon had rehabilitated himself so well in the offseason that his health of this shoulder was no longer a concern. The Red Sox had a star closer once again.
Shortstop Álex González was allowed to leave via free agency for the Cincinnati Reds. The Sox replaced him with Julio Lugo. Mark Loretta also was allowed to leave which opened up a spot for youngster Dustin Pedroia. Fan favorite Trot Nixon filed for free agency and agreed on a deal with the Cleveland Indians. With an opening in right field, the Sox pursued J.D. Drew, who had recently opted out of the remainder of his contract with the Los Angeles Dodgers to become a free agent. On January 25, 2007, the Red Sox and Drew agreed to a 5-year, $70 million contract. Another fan favorite, outfielder Gabe Kapler, announced his retirement at age 31 to fulfill his lifelong dream of becoming a manager. The Red Sox named him manager of their Class A affiliate, the Greenville Drive.
The Red Sox started quickly, moving into first place in the AL East by mid-April and never relinquishing their division lead. While Ortiz and Ramirez provided their usual offense, it was the hitting of Mike Lowell, Kevin Youkilis, and Dustin Pedroia that surprisingly anchored the club through the first few months. While Drew, Lugo, and Coco Crisp struggled to provide offense, Lowell and Youkilis more than made up for it with averages well above .300 and impressive home run and RBI totals. Pedroia started badly, hitting below .200 in April. Manager Terry Francona stuck with him and his patience paid off as Pedroia hit over .400 in May and finished the first half over .300. On the mound, Josh Beckett emerged as the ace of the staff, starting the year 9-0 and finishing 12-2 at the break. His success was needed as Schilling, Matsuzaka, Wakefield, and Tavarez provided consistent and occasionally good starts, but all struggled at times. The Boston bullpen, on the other hand, was there to pick up the starters often, anchored once again by Papelbon, a more experienced Manny Delcarmen, and Okajima. While Papelbon served as the stopper, the rise of Okajima as a legitimate setup man and occasional closer was a boon for the Sox, giving them more options late in the game. Okajima posted an ERA of 0.88 through the first half and was voted into the All-Star Game by the fans as the final selection. By the All-Star break, Boston had the best record in baseball and held their largest lead in the American League East, 10 games over intra-division rivals the Toronto Blue Jays and New York Yankees.
In the second half, more stars emerged for the Sox as they continued to lead the AL East division. Beckett continued to shine, reaching 20 wins for the first time in his career. At one point, veteran Tim Wakefield found himself atop the American League in wins, posting decisions in his first 26 starts, and finishing with a 17-12 record. However, as Wakefield, Matsuzaka, and Okajima became tired down the stretch, minor league call-up Clay Buchholz provided a spark on September 1 by pitching a no-hitter in his second career start. Another call-up, outfielder Jacoby Ellsbury, was thrust into the starting lineup while Manny Ramírez rested through most of September. Ellsbury played brilliantly during the month, hitting .361 with 3 HR, 17 RBI, and 8 stolen bases. Mike Lowell continued to carry the club, hitting cleanup in September and leading the team in RBI for the season, setting a team record for a third baseman with 120 runs driven in. And eventual 2007 Rookie of the Year Dustin Pedroia finished his outstanding first full season with 165 hits and a .317 average. The Red Sox became the first team to clinch a playoff spot for the 2007 season on September 22 with a come-from-behind defeat of the Tampa Bay Devil Rays. Boston captured their first AL East title since 1995 after a win on September 28 against the Minnesota Twins and a loss by the New York Yankees against the Baltimore Orioles.
In the playoffs, the Red Sox swept the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim in the ALDS. Facing the Cleveland Indians in the ALCS, Josh Beckett won Game 1 but the Sox stumbled, losing the next three games. Facing a 3-1 deficit and a must-win situation, Beckett pitched eight innings while surrendering only one run and striking out 11 in a masterful Game 5 win. The Sox captured their twelfth American League pennant by outscoring the Indians 30-5 over the final three games, winning the final two games at Fenway Park.
In the 2007 World Series, the Red Sox faced the Colorado Rockies. Beckett once again set the tone, pitching seven strong innings as the offense provided more than enough in a 13-1 victory. In Game 2, Schilling, Okajima, and Papelbon held the Rockies to one run again in a 2–1 game. Moving to Colorado, the Sox offense made the difference again in a 10-5 win. Finally, in Game 4, Jon Lester took Tim Wakefield's spot in the rotation and gave the Sox an impressive start, pitching 5 2/3 shutout innings. The Rockies threatened, but thanks to World Series MVP Mike Lowell and aided by a pinch-hit home run by outfielder Bobby Kielty, Papelbon registered another save as the Red Sox swept the Rockies in four games. The Red Sox captured their second title in four years.
The Red Sox began their season by participating in the third Opening Day game in Major League Baseball history to be played in Japan, where they defeated the Oakland Athletics in the Tokyo Dome. However, injuries to Schilling, Timlin, and ace Josh Beckett landed each pitcher on the disabled list before the season began, putting added pressure on young starters Jon Lester and Clay Buchholz.
On May 19, Lester threw the 18th no-hitter in team history, beating the Kansas City Royals 7–0. In addition to being his first no-hitter, it was also his first complete game. During the season, Lester emerged as an anchor in the Sox rotation, leading the team in starts and innings pitched while compiling at 16-6 record and a 3.21 ERA. While Buchholz threw his own no-hitter the previous September, he would struggle in 2008 to a 2-9 record, ending up back in the minors.
While Tim Wakefield once again provided consistancy for the staff - reaching 10 wins in his tenth straight season with the Red Sox - it was Daisuke Matsuzaka who would lead the team in wins.
The Red Sox played well enough, settling into a top position in the AL East as their rival New York Yankees found themselves struggling early on. However, the surprise Tampa Bay Rays (formerly the Tampa Bay Devil Rays) took over the top of the division with a sweep over the Red Sox in early July. While the Red Sox would attempt to regain the lead, the Rays would hold on and capture their very first division title in team history.
Kevin Youkilis and Dustin Pedroia provided offensive spark alongside new starter Jacoby Ellsbury, who stole 50 bases over the season, becoming just the third player to accomplish the feat in Red Sox history. Injuries would take a toll on the offense: David Ortiz missed 45 games with an injured wrist , Mike Lowell missed weeks with a torn hip labrum, and after a blistering performance in June, outfielder J.D. Drew aggrivated a back injury that shelved him for much of the second half of the season.
Struggling shortstop Julio Lugo - 16 errors and only 22 RBI in the first half - missed most of the second half due to a quad injury, giving rookie Jed Lowrie a chance to shine. Lowrie provided more offensive punch than Lugo, driving in 46 runs while committing no errors at shortstop.
Down the stretch, outfielder Manny Ramirez - playing in the final year of his 8-year contract - became a distraction to the team. His disruptive behavior included public incidents with fellow players in the dugout (shoving Kevin Youkilis), team employees (pushing a team secretary), criticizing ownership, and not playing due to questionable injuries. GM Theo Epstein decided to move the outfielder at the July 31 trade deadline, shipping him to the Los Angeles Dodgers in a three-way deal with the Pittsburgh Pirates.
With Ramirez gone, the Red Sox found new life. Kevin Youkilis upped his home run and RBI totals to career highs. Closer Jonathan Papelbon set a career high in saves. New leftfielder Jason Bay, acquired in the Ramirez trade, provided a new spark in the lineup. Starter Paul Byrd was picked up off waivers and provided a number of quality starts. But it was Dustin Pedroia who emerged as not only a team leader but an American League MVP candidate. Pedroia hit over .340 in the second half, finishing the year at or near the top in the AL in batting, hits, runs, and doubles.
Boston clinched a postseason berth by defeating the Cleveland Indians on September 23rd at Fenway Park. They defeated the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim in the ALDS and will face the Tampa Bay Rays in the ALCS.
The name originated with the Cincinnati Red Stockings, 1867-1870 member of the pioneering National Association of Base Ball Players. Managed by Harry Wright, Cincinnati adopted a uniform with white knickers and red stockings, and earned the famous nickname, a year or two before hiring the first fully professional team in 1869. When the club folded after the 1870 season, Wright was hired to organize a new team in Boston, and he did, bringing three teammates and the "Red Stockings" nickname along (Most nicknames were then only nicknames, neither club names nor registered trademarks, so the migration was informal). The Boston Red Stockings won four championships in the five seasons of the new National Association, the first professional league. The success of the two teams in Cincinnati and Boston gave "Red Stockings" and other "Red" nicknames some historical and profitable grounding there and probably grounded other "Stockings" nicknames in other cities.
Boston and a new Cincinnati club were charter members of the National League in 1876. Perhaps in deference to the Cincinnati history, many people reserved the "Red Stockings" nickname for that city; the Boston team is commonly called "Red Caps" today. Other names were sometimes used before Boston officially adopted the nickname "Braves" in 1912; that club is now based in Atlanta.
In 1901, the American League led by Ban Johnson declared itself equal to the National League and established a competing club in Boston. For seven seasons, the AL team wore dark blue stockings and had no official nickname. They were simply "Boston", "Bostonians" or "the Bostons"; or the "Americans" or "Boston Americans" as in "American Leaguers", Boston being a two-team city. Their 1901-1907 jerseys, both home and road, simply read "Boston", except for 1902 when they sported large letters "B" and "A" denoting "Boston" and "American." Newspaper writers of the time used other nicknames for the club, including "Somersets" (for owner Charles Somers), "Plymouth Rocks," "Beaneaters," and the "Collinsites" (for manager Jimmy Collins)"
The National League club, though seldom called the "Red Stockings" anymore, still wore red trim. In 1907, the National League club adopted an all-white uniform, and the American League team saw an opportunity. On December 18, 1907, Taylor announced that the club had officially adopted red as its new team color. The 1908 uniforms featured a large icon of a red stocking angling across the shirt front. For 1908, the National League club returned to wearing red trim, but the American League team finally had an official nickname, and would remain "The Red Sox" for good.
The name is often shortened to "Bosox" or "BoSox" by headline writers - to distinguish from the Chicago White Sox (or "ChiSox") - and the team is also called simply "The Sox" by the team and its fans, when the context is understood to mean "Red Sox".
|Home jersey script|
|Away jersey script|
The home uniform is white with red piping around the neck and down either side of the front buttons and "Red Sox" in red letters outlined in blue arched across the chest. This has been in use since 1979, and was previously used from 1933 to 1972, although the piping occasionally disappeared and reappeared.
The away uniform is gray with red piping on the sleeves and a "Boston" in red letters outlined in blue arched across the chest. This uniform has been in use since 1990.
A third uniform, much like those in use around the majors, is also used. This is red with blue piping around the neck, the sleeves, and down either side of the front buttons. "Red Sox" is displayed across the chest in blue lettering outlined in white.
There is also a fourth uniform, which is traditionally used only on St. Patrick's Day. This is a bright green, with "Red Sox" in white letters outlined in red across the front. A pair of red socks, like the ones in the team's logo, are displayed on the left sleeve. While the other uniforms all use the standard blue hat, this alternate uses a green one matching the uniform shirt. The Red Sox also wore this uniform on April 20, 2007 to honor former Boston Celtics coach, general manager and president Red Auerbach, who passed away during the previous off-season. The team was originally scheduled to wear the uniforms on April 12, however this game was rained out (It is in fact a coincidence that they wore the uniforms on the 95th anniversary of Fenway Park). A similar green uniform was worn June 20, 2008 to celebrate the recent Celtics victory over the LA Lakers in the NBA Finals. The uniforms had a white stripe down the side and the team wore their normal navy caps.
From 1936–2002 (with the exception of the 1974 alternate home uniform), the club wore tri-colored stirrup stockings, with a red anklet and two white stripes on a navy blue background on the upper sock. In 2003, the team switched to all-red stockings, which most players (Curt Schilling excepted) wear as full socks, not stirrups.
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 by the club (a prime example would be Roger Clemens), the team dropped the rule. Some would argue that the rule still exists de jure, as Wade Boggs' number has not been retired by Boston even though he meets the official requirements (Boggs finished his career with the Tampa Bay Devil Rays). However, the Red Sox may be waiting to see if Jim Rice, who played 16 seasons in Boston, makes the Hall of Fame before being dropped from the ballot after the 2009 vote; at that point, they may retire both numbers at once. It should be noted that Boston did honor Boggs by voting him into the Red Sox Hall of Fame in 2004, the year before he was enshrined into Cooperstown.
The numbers honored are as follows:
SS, 3B: 1942-52
M: 1963-64, 1980
OF, 1B: 1961-83
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. On April 15, 2007, the 60th anniversary of Robinson's major league debut, Major League Baseball invited players to wear the number 42 the day in commemoration of Robinson, players Coco Crisp (CF), David Ortiz (DH), and DeMarlo Hale (Coach) all wore 42. Given the same opportunity on April 15, 2008 Crisp, Ortiz and Hale again wore #42 for one game.
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.
The Red Sox have not issued several numbers since the departure of prominent players who wore them, specifically:
Rice, who played his 16-year career solely with the Sox, would meet the requirements to have his number 14 retired if elected to the Hall of Fame; in 2008, his 14th year on the ballot, he received 72.2% of the vote, falling 16 votes shy of election. While Garciaparra, Clemens and Martinez have yet to formally retire from baseball, only Clemens currently meets the requirement of having played at least 10 years with Boston.
There is also considerable debate in Boston media circles and among fans about the potential retiring of other numbers:
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. NESN became exclusive in 2003; before then, games were shown on such local stations as WBZ, WSBK, WLVI, WABU, and WFXT at various points in team history.