- PADRES NOTES: Injury woes catch up with Floyd - North County Times
- By JOHN MAFFEI - email@example.com | Friday, June 19, 2009 9:55 PM PDT ∞ SAN DIEGO ---- The kids have arrived, and 15-year major-league veteran Cliff Floyd is gone. "There comes a time when you have to be honest," said Floyd, 36....
- Padres place RHP Young on 15-day DL - San Jose Mercury News
- The club also placed catcher Nick Hundley (bruised left wrist) on the 15-day DL, retroactive to Thursday, and outfielder Cliff Floyd (torn labrum in right shoulder) on the 60-day DL. San Diego recalled left-hander Wade LeBlanc and purchased the...
- Floyd, Venable start for Padres - San Diego Union Tribune
- By Bill Center Cliff Floyd will be back at designated hitter and hitting fifth in the order Sunday as the Padres complete a three-game interleague series at Angel Stadium in Anaheim (12:35 pm / TV: 4 San Diego). Henry Blanco will be making a third...
- Floyd set to return to Padres' bench - Padres.com
- By Corey Brock / MLB.com DENVER -- If there was anything Padres outfielder Cliff Floyd took from his Minor League rehabilitation stint with Class A Lake Elsinore, it's that the 36-year-old sometimes feels like he's every bit of 36....
- Interleague schedule finally arrives, and no one is happier than Floyd - San Diego Union Tribune
- By Chris Jenkins, Union-Tribune Staff Writer "I've never looked forward to doing something more in my life than this interleague play," Cliff Floyd said. - AP Photo/Tony Gutierrez The Padres begin interleague play Friday in Anaheim, the first of 15...
- A baseball scout's 3 gems: Cliff Floyd, Kirk Rueter, Kevin Foster - Chicago Tribune
- Cliff FloydOccasionally a baseball prospect's talent is so obvious or unique that the weather conditions in which he plays are not a factor in evaluating him. Such was the case with Cliff Floyd of Thornwood High School in South Holland....
- Floyd is 2-for-4 in rehab outing - San Diego Union Tribune
- By Bill Center Lance Zawadzki broke up a scoreless tie with a run-scoring single in the ninth and Cliff Floyd went 2-for-4 with a double in what could have been his final rehab appearances with Single-A Lake Elsinore on Thursday night as the Storm...
- Floyd still a day away - San Diego Union Tribune
- By Chris Jenkins Having declared himself healthy and game-ready, Cliff Floyd took batting practice with the Padres before the opener of a three-game series with the Colorado Rockies, but the veteran outfielder likely won't be activated until Saturday....
- PADRES NOTES: Peavy's replacement will come from minors - North County Times
- Cliff Floyd went 1-for-4 with a walk in Friday's loss, his first start of the season. Floyd, who spent nearly two months on the disabled list with a knee injury, was happy with his pitch recognition, singling off a second-inning curveball....
- Tracy brought family along to take part in baseball life - Denver Post
- That star-packed team included Cliff Floyd, Rondell White, Joey Eischen, Kirk Rueter, Gabe White and Miguel Batista. "I was just old enough to really appreciate being around baseball for the first time," Brian said. "It was a blast....
Michael Tucker (baseball)
Michael Anthony Tucker (born June 25, 1971 in South Boston, Virginia) is a former right fielder in Major League Baseball. Tucker played with the Kansas City Royals (1995-1996, 2002-2003), Atlanta Braves (1997-1998), Cincinnati Reds (1999-2001), Chicago Cubs (2001), San Francisco Giants (2004-2005), Philadelphia Phillies (2005), and New York Mets (2006). He batted left-handed and threw right-handed.
He attended the then Longwood College (at the time a NCAA Division II school) from 1989 through 1992. In November 2005, Tucker was among the selection of Longwood's first Hall of Fame class, including basketball player Jerome Kersey and LPGA golfer Tina Barrett.
After college, Tucker begin his pro baseball career in the minors in 1993. Tucker spent most of the 1993 season with the Single-A Carolina League Wilmington Blue Rocks. Before making the move up to Double-A and spending time with the Memphis Chicks (now West Tennessee Diamond Jaxx) of the Southern League. In 1994, Tucker played in Triple-A with the Omaha Royals of the American Association before joining Major League Baseball and the Kansas City Royals.
In August 2005, San Francisco traded Tucker to the Philadelphia Phillies for minor leaguer Kelvin Pichardo. Tucker, whose playing time has been limited that season after starting for most of 2004, joined a Phillies team in the heart of the playoff chase.
On January 9, 2006, Tucker agreed to a one-year contract with the Washington Nationals. On August 9, Tucker's contract was purchased by the New York Mets from the Triple-A Norfolk Tides after Cliff Floyd was placed on the 15-Day DL. On May 17, 2007, Tucker signed a minor league contract with the Boston Red Sox, but was released on July 7 of the same year.
Tucker was basically a streaky line drive hitter with gap power whose struggles against left-handed pitching made him a platoon player throughout his career. Although his 108 stolen bases career total doesn't show it, he was an aggressive and smart base runner. In the field, Tucker had the ability to play all outfield positions well, particularly in right field. He had good range and a strong and secure arm.
Tucker enjoyed his most productive season in 1997 with the Braves, when he posted career highs in batting average (.283), runs (80) and hits (141) in 138 games. In 2004, for the Giants, he played 106 games in right field and 25 in center. He ended the year with a .256 average, 13 home runs, 62 RBI, 77 runs, and a significant .340 on base percentage. In nine of his ten seasons, he collected 11 or more home runs, with a career-high 15 in 2000.
The Florida Marlins are a professional baseball team based in Miami Gardens, Florida, United States. Established in 1993 as an expansion franchise, the Marlins are a member of the Eastern Division of Major League Baseball's National League. The Marlins play their home games at Dolphin Stadium, also home to the Miami Dolphins.
The Marlins are notable for winning the World Series twice (1997, 2003) during the only two times they've made it to the postseason. They won despite never winning first place in their division, advancing to the playoffs both times as the National League Wild Card winner. They are the only team to have won all of their postseason series to date.
In recent years, the Marlins ownership has pushed for a new stadium and recently agreed to a plan with Miami-Dade commissioners and the city of Miami to build a $515 million ballpark on the site of the legendary Miami Orange Bowl. As part of the deal, the Marlins in the future will be known as the "Miami Marlins." Their final season in Miami Gardens will be the 2011 season.
On March 7, 1990, Jonathan Alba., CEO of Blockbuster Entertainment Corporation, announced he had purchased 15 percent of the NFL's Miami Dolphins and 50 percent of the Dolphins' home, Joe Robbie Stadium, for an estimated $30 million. Huizenga stated his intention to aggressively pursue an expansion franchise. MLB had announced a few months earlier that it intended to add two new teams to the National League. It was a foregone conclusion that one of them would be placed in Florida; the only question was whether Huizenga would beat out competing groups from Orlando and Tampa Bay. On June 10, 1991, the National League awarded a Miami-based franchise to Huizenga for a $95 million expansion fee. One name considered early on was the Florida Flamingos.
Huizenga immediately announced plans to convert Joe Robbie Stadium (later Pro Player Park, Pro Player Stadium, Dolphins Stadium and now Dolphin Stadium) from a football-only stadium into a multipurpose stadium. The renovation cost only $100 million, largely because Dolphins founder Joe Robbie had anticipated that baseball would eventually come to South Florida and built the stadium with a wider field than is normally the case for the NFL. Purists feared the result would be similar to Exhibition Stadium in Toronto; when the Toronto Blue Jays played there from 1976 to 1989 they were burdened with seats more than 800 feet from the plate. However, Huizenga decided to cut down capacity from 67,000 to just over 43,500, in order to create a more intimate atmosphere. Aside from this, many of the upper deck outfield seats would have been too far from the field. The stadium's baseball capacity has been reduced even further in recent years, and it now seats just over 36,500. However, the Marlins usually open the upper level for postseason games. Huizenga eventually bought the Dolphins, and the stadium, in 1994.
Huizenga also sought, and received, a waiver from ESPN and MLB allowing him to play games on Sunday nights. The Marlins schedule nearly all of their games during the summer months (late May to mid-September) at night due to South Florida's hot and humid summers (with frequent afternoon rain). The Texas Rangers already had a similar waiver; until the Marlins' inception, the Rangers played in the hottest stadium in the majors.
In November 1991, the Marlins hired Fredi Gonzalez as the Marlins first Minor League manager.
Marlins selected catcher Charles Johnson of the University of Miami with their first-ever first round draft pick in the amateur draft of June 1992. Later that year Marlins President Carl Barger collapsed during an owners meeting at the baseball winter meetings in Louisville, Kentucky, and died a few hours later in Humana University Hospital. The Marlins later retired the number 5 in honor of Barger's favorite player, Joe Dimaggio.
The Marlins' first manager was Rene Lachemann, a former catcher who had previously managed the Seattle Mariners and Milwaukee Brewers, and who at the time of his hiring was a third base coach for the Oakland Athletics. The team drafted its initial lineup of players in the 1992 MLB Expansion Draft.The Marlins defeat the Houston Astros 12-8 in their inaugural Spring Training game. Jeff Conine hit Florida's first homer before a crowd of 6,696 at the Cocoa Expo Sports Complex. The Marlins won their first game on April 5, 1993, against the Dodgers. Charlie Hough became the marlins first starting pitcher in the teams history. Jeff Conine went 4-4 in this game, making him an immediate crowd favorite, and by the end of his tenure with Florida, he would earn the nickname "Mr. Marlin." Gary Sheffield and Bryan Harvey represented the Marlins as the club's first All-Star Game selections, and Sheffield homered in the Marlins first All-Star Game at-bat. The team finished the year five games ahead of the last-place New York Mets and with an attendance of 3,064,847. In that season, the Marlins traded their young set-up reliever Trevor Hoffman and two minor-league prospects to the San Diego Padres for third baseman Gary Sheffield. While Sheffield helped Florida immediately and became an all-star, Hoffman eventually emerged as the best closer in the National League. After the 1993 season, Donald A. Smiley was named the second President in club history. The Marlins finished last (51-64) in their division in the strike shortened season of 1994 and fourth (67-76) in 1995. Lachemann was replaced as manager midway through the 1996 season by director of player development, John Boles.
The Marlins had some bright spots on the mound and behind the plate in 1996. The team's 3.95 ERA ranked third in the NL, thanks in large part to newcomer Kevin Brown, who finished the season with a 17-11 win-loss record and an impressive 1.89 ERA. On May 11, Al Leiter pitched the first no-hitter in Marlins history. Catcher Charles Johnson led the league with a .995 fielding percentage, threw out a league-high 48 percent of base runners, and collected his second straight Gold Glove Award for fielding excellence. After a slow start, the Marlins finished the year with an 80-82 win-loss record to place third in their division. Boles returned to his previous position as director of player development, and former Pittsburgh Pirates manager Jim Leyland was hired to lead the club in 1997.
In addition to hiring Leyland as manager, the Marlins signed third baseman Bobby Bonilla, outfielder Moisés Alou, and pitcher Alex Fernandez to lucrative free-agent contracts, raising expectations to levels far beyond what they had ever been in franchise history. The Marlins' franchise got its second no-hitter from ace Kevin Brown on June 10, 1997. Brown nearly had the perfect game, but he hit the Giants' Marvin Benard with a pitch in the 8th inning when Benard attempted to bunt. With Brown, Leiter and Fernandez heading the rotation, and Robb Nen closing out games, the Marlins' staff was almost systematic during their regular season run. In 1997, the Marlins finished nine games back of the Division Champion Atlanta Braves. But despite this shortcoming, they earned the wild card. Veteran additions such as LF Moisés Alou, 3B Bobby Bonilla, and trade-deadline additions Darren "Dutch" Daulton and Jim Eisenreich added experience and clutch hits. Talented young stars and starters Luis Castillo (2B) and Edgar Rentería (SS) were one of the best double play combos in the League. Castillo did not perform to expectations offensively, and was replaced by Craig Counsell before the playoffs began. They swept the San Francisco Giants 3-0 in the National League Division Series, and then went on to beat the Atlanta Braves 4-2 in the National League Championship Series, where the Marlins overcame the loss of Alex Fernandez to a torn rotator cuff, and Kevin Brown's missing two scheduled starts due to a virus. His place was taken in Game 5 by rookie pitcher Liván Hernández, who had earned a spot in the rotation in the second half of the season, but was not in the rotation during the postseason until circumstances made it necessary. Hernandez would proceed to strike out 15 Braves and outduel multiple Cy Young award-winner Greg Maddux to a 2-1 victory and a 3-2 series lead. Brown would return to the mound for Game 6, pitching a complete game victory to secure the Marlins their first-ever National League pennant. The underdog Marlins went on to face the Cleveland Indians in the 1997 World Series, and won in seven games. In Game 7, Craig Counsell's sacrifice fly in the bottom of the ninth tied the game at 2, then, with the bases loaded and two outs in the bottom of the 11th, Edgar Rentería's soft liner glanced off the glove of Cleveland pitcher Charles Nagy and into center field to score Counsell and give the Marlins the win.
Following the World Series victory, Huizenga dismantled the team, claiming financial losses despite winning the World Series. He traded most of the club's best players in one of the biggest fire sales in sports history; one so infamous, it has come to synonymize the term "fire sale" in the baseball world. The first deal came days after the World Series, when outfieldler Moisés Alou was traded to the Houston Astros for pitchers Oscar Hernandez, Manuel Barrios, and Mark Johnson. The Marlins then traded Kevin Brown to the San Diego Padres. In May 1998 season they dealt Bobby Bonilla, Gary Sheffield, Charles Johnson, Jim Eisenreich, and Manuel Barrios to the Los Angeles Dodgers for Mike Piazza and Todd Zeile, both of who would be gone via trades by midseason. This ended the dismantling of the 1997 World Series champs. On the flip side, these trades brought promising youngsters Derrek Lee and A.J. Burnett.
The Marlins' 1998 slumped to 54-108, the worst record in the major leagues that year—still the most losses in franchise history. They are the only team to lose 100 games a year after winning the World Series. Leyland resigned as manager in October 1998, and was replaced by John Boles. Moreover, Huizenga soon sold the club to John Henry, a commodities trader from Boca Raton, during the off-season. The Marlins had the second overall pick in the 1999 draft and drafted Josh Beckett from the state of Texas. The Marlins finished the 1999 season with the worst record in baseball at 64-98, and traded World Series MVP Liván Hernández to the San Francisco Giants. The Marlins also drafted P Johan Santana from Houston in the Rule 5 Draft but traded him to Minnesota in a prearranged deal for P Jared Camp.
A month prior to the regular season, the Marlins hired David Dombrowski as the third President in club history, making him both President and General Manager. After posting the worst record in baseball for the 1999 season, the Marlins had the first overall pick in the 2000 first-year player draft and selected first baseman Adrian Gonzalez, a 16-year-old native of Bonita, California. The Eastlake High School product agreed to terms with the Marlins that same day. The Marlins went on that season to finish 79-82 and third place in the NL East. This was thanks to the emergence of OF Preston Wilson who had 31 home runs and 121 RBIs. Derrek Lee and Luis Castillo broke out this year as well, as Castillo posted a .334 batting average and Lee had 28 homers in his first full season. Antonio Alfonseca posted a then-club record 45 saves.
The club slowly worked its way back to respectability with a third place finish in 2000, driven by young stars such as A.J. Burnett, Brad Penny, Preston Wilson, Luis Castillo, and Mike Lowell. Burnett pitched the Marlins' third no-hitter on May 12 against the Padres, 2001. In a truly extraordinary performance, he walked nine batters and threw 129 pitches, 65 of which were strikes. Three weeks after the no-no, Manager John Boles was fired and Hall of Famer Tony Perez was named interim manager for the rest of the season. The club finished 76-86 and in fourth place, thanks to Brad Penny's and A.J. Burnett's emergence.
The offseason following the 2001 regular season included an overhaul of the ownership and front office. Tony Perez resigned and returned to his previous role as the front-office Baseball Operations assistant. About a month later, David Dombrowski resigned as President and General Manager of the Florida Marlins and accepted the position as President of the Detroit Tigers. Entering the new year, Henry sold the Marlins to Montreal Expos owner Jeffrey Loria, clearing the way for him to buy the Boston Red Sox. Loria brought the entire Expos management and coaching staff to the Marlins. David Samson became team president, Larry Beinfest became General Manager and Jeff Torborg became manager.
Prior to the 2002 season, the Marlins traded RHP Matt Clement and RHP Antonio Alfonseca to the Cubs for RHP Julian Tavarez, LHP Dontrelle Willis, RHP Jose Cueto and C Ryan Jorgensen. The Marlins had their ups as Luis Castillo had a team record 35 game hitting streak and Kevin Millar had 25 game hit streak. Around the all-star break they made their second big trade sending OF Cliff Floyd to the Expos for RHP Carl Pavano, RHP Justin Wayne, INF Mike Mordecai, LHP Graeme Lloyd, RHP Don Levinski and INF Wilton Guerrero. The same day, the Fish dealt RHP Ryan Dempster to the Cincinnati Reds for OF Juan Encarnacion and LHP Ryan Snare. The Marlins finished 79-83, second best season in team history up to that time, but the their fifth straight losing season since winning the World Series.
Nonetheless the Marlins showed promise entering the offseason as they had a rotation of Josh Beckett, Carl Pavano, Brad Penny, and A.J. Burnett.
During the offseason, the Marlins signed free agent catcher Iván Rodríguez - a 10-time Gold Glove Award winner - and acquired speedy outfielder Juan Pierre from the Colorado Rockies hoping to offset the loss of sluggers Cliff Floyd and Preston Wilson. The Marlins did acquire P Mike Hampton but dealt him and his hefty contract to the Braves for P Tim Spooneybarger.
The Marlins struggled in the opening stages of the season, going 16–22. During that span, Florida lost its top three pitchers: A.J. Burnett, Josh Beckett, and Mark Redman. On May 11, Florida replaced manager Jeff Torborg with 72-year-old Jack McKeon. On May 22, the Marlins hit bottom with a major league worst record of 19-29, having lost 6 straight games. However, help was on the way.
On May 9, the Marlins called up high-kicking southpaw Dontrelle Willis from the Double-A Carolina Mudcats and helped carry the injury-plagued Marlins with an 11–2 record in his first 17 starts. Miguel Cabrera (also from the Mudcats) filled in well, hitting a walk off home run in his first major league game, against the Tampa Bay Devil Rays at Pro Player Stadium. Both Willis and Cabrera would later prove to be essential parts of the Marlin's playoff success. Jeff Conine - an original Marlin and member of the 1997 World Series team - returned from Baltimore, and closer Ugueth Urbina arrived from the Texas Rangers. These acquisitions helped to keep the team in contention, and although they finished ten games behind the Braves, the Marlins captured the NL wild card.
The Marlins won the Division Series against the favored San Francisco Giants three games to one. The series ended with a dramatic collision between Marlins catcher Rodríguez and Giants first basemen J.T. Snow, making it the first postseason series ever to end with the potential tying run being thrown out at the plate.
On October 15, the Marlins defeated the Chicago Cubs four games to three in the Championship Series, coming back from a three games to one deficit. A Beckett complete-game shutout in Game 5, "The Inning" incident with Steve Bartman in Game 6, and a come-from-behind win in Wrigley Field in Game 7 helped the Marlins capture their second NL pennant.
In the 2003 World Series, the Marlins defeated the heavily favored New York Yankees in six games, winning the sixth game in Yankee Stadium. Shortstop Álex González helped the Marlins in Game 4 of the series with a walk off home run in extra innings. Josh Beckett was named the Most Valuable Player for the series after twirling a five-hit complete-game shutout in Game 6. Skipper Jack McKeon became the oldest manager ever to win a World Series title. The Marlins became the first opposing team to win a Series championship on the field at Yankee Stadium since the 1981 World Series, when the Los Angeles Dodgers did it. The Marlins are also the last team to win a World Series at the 1923 Yankee Stadium. The Marlins won the series despite scoring fewer runs (17) than the Yankees (21). The Marlins also became the first team since the creation of the Division Series to win the World Series without ever having home-field advantage during their entire post-season.
The offseason after their second World Series title, the Marlins made a questionable cost-cutting move as Derrek Lee was traded to Chicago Cubs for Hee Seop Choi and pitcher Mike Nannini. The Marlins also lost key parts of their second championship team, Ugueth Urbina and Iván Rodríguez left via free agency (signed by the Detroit Tigers). The Marlins did get good news though as Dontrelle Willis was named NL Rookie of the Year and Jack McKeon named Manager of the Year. They also signed Mike Lowell to a new four year contract.
The Marlins opened the 2004 season with expectation for another World Series title, minus Rodriguez, Lee, and Urbina but with rotation intact. They hoped newly acquired 1B Hee Seop Choi would emerge and that the combination of Ramon Castro and Mike Redmond would also come to life, as well as promising outfielder Miguel Cabrera and high kicking pitcher Dontrelle Willis.
The Marlins started the '04 season with a record of 30-20 but struggled in June with an 11-16 record. 5 of the 11 June wins came from pitcher Carl Pavano, who had the best month of the season. They entered the all-star break with a 45-43 record but went 11-14 in the month of July.
These struggles prompted the Marlins to make one of the biggest trades in club history as Los Angeles got P Brad Penny, 1B Hee Seop Choi and Double-A left-hander Bill Murphy in exchange for P Guillermo Mota, C Paul LoDuca and OF Juan Encarnacion. This trade really didn't pan out for either side that season as Penny's season was cut short after a great first half, Choi struggled in his tenure with the Dodgers, Lo Duca had his usual second half outage, Encarnacion was injury prone, and Guillermo Mota had his share of struggles.
The Marlins had a great August, which included a nine game winning streak into September, and then went on a 15 game stretch in which they played two double headers, going 7-8 in 13 days. This led to call-ups and emergency starts by relievers as well as fatigue. A three game home series with the Cubs was rained out, and one of three was played in Chicago's Comiskey Park, although it was considered a home game. The attendance for that third game did not count for either team.
Afterwards the Marlins lost 6 straight, including games to division rivals the Phillies and Braves who were also in contention. They swept the Expos to make up some ground but lost 3 of 4 games to the Philles to fall out of contention. Despite missing the playoffs, 21 year old Miguel Cabrera had 33 home runs and 112 RBIs, numbers that started to draw comparisons to Albert Pujols.
The Marlins posted a winning record of 83-79 (only their third winning season of their history), but finished 13 games back of the division champion Atlanta Braves). They became the fourth consecutive major league team not to repeat as World Series champions since the New York Yankees in 2000.
While losing All-Stars Carl Pavano and Armando Benitez in the off-season, the Marlins signed P Al Leiter and 1B Carlos Delgado. Delgado's contract was the biggest in franchise history at $52 million over 4 years, with an option for a fifth year. Meanwhile, play-by-play TV broadcaster Len Kasper was also lost to the Chicago Cubs and replaced by Rich Waltz (who had previously been with the Seattle Mariners), and radio announcer John "Boog" Sciambi was replaced by Roxy Bernstein.
With the addition of Delgado, many sportswriters expected the Marlins to finish the 2005 season in either first or second place in the NL East. However, at the All-Star break they were 44-42, and the NL East was unusually competitive, as all five of its teams had a winning record at the break. While Cabrera, Willis, and several others posted very good first-half numbers, Lowell was one of the least productive regular major-league starters, and Leiter went 3-7 with an ERA of 6.64 before being traded to the New York Yankees on July 15 for a player to be named later. Additionally, Guillermo Mota, who was acquired by Florida in 2004 along with Paul Lo Duca and Juan Encarnacion and was expected to be their closer, was inconsistent, and the Marlins gave the closer job to veteran Todd Jones, whom they signed in the offseason. However, the Marlins did send four players to the All-Star Game (Willis, Lo Duca, Castillo, and Cabrera), tying a team record.
The club was expected to be quite active at the trading deadline (July 31), as Burnett was slated to be a free agent after the season and had already declared his desire to test the market like Pavano did. Burnett was mentioned in possible trades with the Chicago White Sox, Boston Red Sox, New York Yankees, Toronto Blue Jays, and Texas Rangers, with many rumors also including Lowell or Encarnacion. The Marlins did not make a huge move at the deadline, instead trading minor-leaguers Yorman Bazardo and Mike Flannery to the Seattle Mariners for left-handed pitcher Ron Villone.
The Marlins did have some pleasant surprises during the season. Dontrelle Willis became the 13th member of the Black Aces when he defeated the Washington Nationals to earn his 20th win. He finished the season 22-10 with a 2.63 ERA, and he was considered a favorite to win the Cy Young Award for much of the season. Also, Jones, a journeyman who had been signed as a setup man, had one of the best years of his career as a closer; he earned 40 saves and had a 2.13 ERA. In addition, late-season call up Jeremy Hermida, a highly-regarded prospect who has been compared to the Atlanta Braves' Jeff Francoeur, hit a grand slam in his first major-league at-bat and a game-tying two-run homer in the last game of the season.
The Marlins led the NL wild-card race as late as September 13, then lost 12 of their next 14 games. The Marlins closed the season by sweeping the Braves, and their final record for the season stood at 83-79.
The 2005 offseason would prove to be one of busiest for the Marlins in years, Jack McKeon announced his retirement on October 2 after the Marlins' last game of the season. Former Tampa Bay Devil Rays manager Lou Piniella, Braves third base coach Fredi González (who previously managed in the Marlins' farm system), New York Yankees bench coach Joe Girardi, and even Yankees manager Joe Torre who most thought could have been let go after a short stint postseason. were named as possible replacements for McKeon. On October 19, Girardi was hired as the new manager. Girardi, who was hired at age 41, became one of the youngest current managers in the major leagues.
Few of the coaching staff, aside from infield/first base coach Perry Hill and bullpen coordinator Pierre Arsenault, were expected to return. Pitching coach Mark Wiley and bullpen coach Luis Dorante came under fire during the season due to the late-season struggles of Burnett and the season-long struggles of the Marlins' bullpen. Similarly, hitting coach Bill Robinson was often blamed for the Marlins' offensive woes throughout the season, and in particular for his failure to get Pierre and Lowell out of season-long slumps. Girardi hired Jim Presley as a replacement for Robinson, and also hired Rick Kranitz as the new pitching coach and Bobby Meacham as the new third-base coach.
On October 3, the first day after the end of the regular season, the Marlins made their first offseason moves, releasing relief pitchers John Riedling and Tim Spooneybarger. Riedling had a 4-1 record and a 7.14 ERA during the season; Spooneybarger, who had not played since 2003 due to rehabilitation from Tommy John surgery, had to have the surgery a second time during the season and missed the 2006 season as well. Screwball specialist Jim Mecir retired following the Marlins' last game of the season.
Closer Todd Jones, pitchers A.J. Burnett, Brian Moehler, Ismael Valdéz, Paul Quantrill, first baseman Jeff Conine, infielder Lenny Harris, outfielder Juan Encarnación, and shortstop Álex González were among the Marlins' players whose contracts expired following the 2005 season. Burnett signed a five-year deal with the Toronto Blue Jays worth $55 million and Jones signed for two years with the Detroit Tigers, while Moehler elected to remain with the Marlins. The team declined to offer arbitration to Conine, Valdez, Quantrill, Encarnacion, Damion Easley, and Mike Mordecai, effectively ending their tenures with the club. Soon after announcing a plan to relocate (see below), the Marlins started to shed payroll by dealing their highest-paid players for minor league prospects, in a series of moves reminiscent of the "fire sale" in the 1997 offseason. In response, the club announced that it was, in their opinion, of a "market correction," brought about by the lack of a stadium deal. On November 24, Josh Beckett, Mike Lowell, and Guillermo Mota were traded to the Red Sox for four minor-league prospects: shortstop Hanley Ramirez, and pitchers Aníbal Sánchez, Jesús Delgado, and Harvey García. The trade left Dontrelle Willis as the only remaining member of the team's 2005 Opening Day rotation. The Marlins filled most of the remaining rotation spots with young pitchers such as Jason Vargas, Josh Johnson, and Scott Olsen, all of whom they had recalled from their Class AA affiliate during the 2005 season.
On November 23, the Mets and the Marlins agreed on a deal to move Carlos Delgado to the Mets for first baseman Mike Jacobs and pitching prospect Yusmeiro Petit. Also, the Marlins would have to pay $7 million of Delgado's remaining contract. When the deal was made official the next day, the Marlins also received minor-league infielder Grant Psomas. According to the Fort Lauderdale Sun-Sentinel, the Marlins passed up the Mets' offer to give them center fielder Lastings Milledge, who was at the time ranked the Mets' top prospect according to Baseball America. Combined, the two trades allowed the Marlins to reduce their 2006 payroll by $27 million.
However, the Marlins were not yet done reducing payroll. Paul Lo Duca was traded to the Mets for two players to be named later, with the Marlins sending pitcher Gabriel Hernandez and outfielder Dante Brinkley to New York to complete the deal. Longtime second baseman Luis Castillo was traded to the Twins for pitchers Travis Bowyer and Scott Tyler, and Juan Pierre to the Cubs for pitchers Sergio Mitre, Ricky Nolasco, and Renyel Pinto. Of the seven players that the Marlins acquired in these three deals, only Mitre and Bowyer had any major-league experience when they came to the Marlins. To replace Castillo, the Marlins signed veteran Pokey Reese, but Reese was released during spring training after going AWOL, and was replaced by Dan Uggla, who had been selected from the Arizona Diamondbacks in the Rule 5 draft. Uggla played in the Arizona organization at the Class AA level in 2005.
At the start of the year, the Marlins had a team salary close to $21 million. Not only was it the lowest team salary in all of MLB, but New York Yankees third baseman Alex Rodriguez himself made more money than the entire team. The Marlins made MLB history when they started six rookies in their Opening Day lineup.By May 22, they reached a record of 11 wins and 31 losses. Although the Marlins kept losing games, Miguel Cabrera and rookie Dan Uggla were selected to the All-Star Game. Though Uggla did not play in the All-Star game, he became the first Rule 5 draftee to be selected for an All-Star team in the next year after he was taken in the Rule 5 draft. Uggla, Josh Willingham and Mike Jacobs are the first rookie teammates in NL history to hit at least 20 home runs in the same season.
After the All-Star break, the Marlins began to break both franchise and MLB records. They came back from 11-31 to reach the .500 mark at 68-68. No team has come back to the .500 mark from being 20 games under since 1899. Then, on September 4, 2006, the Marlins rallied from down five runs to defeat the Arizona Diamondbacks 8-5. This improved the Marlins' record to 69-68, marking the first time in Major League history a team that was 20 games under .500 went back over .500 in the same season. Additionally, as of September 8, 2006, three of their rookie starting pitchers (Josh Johnson, Scott Olsen, and Ricky Nolasco) have each won at least eleven games; the Marlins joined the 1934 Philadelphia A's and the 1952 Brooklyn Dodgers in accomplishing this feat.
On September 6, rookie Aníbal Sánchez pitched the fourth no-hitter in franchise history. During September, the Marlins advanced to within one game of the NL wild-card lead, but they were eliminated from contention after losing to the Cincinnati Reds on September 26. However, on the next day, Sánchez won his tenth game as a Marlin against the Reds, giving the Marlins four rookie starters who had each won ten or more games: Sánchez, Nolasco, Johnson, and Olsen. The 2006 Marlins were the first team in major-league history to have four rookie pitchers accomplish this feat. Because, as of September 27, Willis has won 12 games, the 2006 Marlins also had five ten-game winners for the first time in franchise history.
Shortly after the 2006 season ended and following months of speculation, Marlins manager Joe Girardi was fired on October 3, 2006 not long after winning the National League Manager of the Year award. This was due to a game against the Los Angeles Dodgers earlier in the year in which Girardi did not challenge a call that pitcher Taylor Tankersley thought was a strike and this prompted owner Jeffrey Loria, who was in the stands and a few feet away from the dugout, to call out Girardi who refused to listen to him. This wasn't the only thing that triggered the feud; earlier in the year Girardi reportedly wanted 1B Mike Jacobs to start off the year in triple A, Willingham to start at catcher, Miguel Cabrera to start at first base. This was just of the few of the other things that got Girardi fired from the Marlins. Within hours, Atlanta Braves third base coach Fredi González was named his replacement and was signed to a three year contract. On October 28, 2006, first baseman Wes Helms and pitchers Matt Herges and Brian Moehler filed for free agency. The next day, closer Joe Borowski filed. On December 29, 2006, the Marlins signed a one-year contract with infielder Aaron Boone. The Marlins also made some minor signings as they signed Lee Gardner and Justin Miller in hopes of rejuvenating their careers with the Fish.
The Marlins opened the 2007 season with high hopes after a successful 2006 season in which most expected they would lose 100 or more games. The underdog Marlins had remained in the Wild Card race until mid-September before finishing a respectable 78-84. The 2007 rotation included Dontrelle Willis, Scott Olsen, Anibal Sanchez, Sergio Mitre, and Ricky Nolasco, and the Marlins entered spring training with hopes that this rotation would blossom into one of the best in the National League. Willis was a Cy Young runner up in 2005, Sanchez threw a no-hitter in 2006, and Olsen led the team in strikeouts in 2006. The Marlins also banked on starter Josh Johnson to come back from an arm injury suffered the season before. Things got worse for Johnson entering spring training as MRI's discovered he had nerve damage in his throwing arm. Eventually, Johnson was put out for the remainder of the season after Tommy John Surgery. The Marlins got even more bad news as spring training went on. INF/1B coach Perry Hill retired, leaving the Marlins with a huge hole as Hill was considered to be one of the best defensive coaches around and was credited for the previous defensive success of Gold Glovers Luis Castillo and Mike Lowell. The Marlins' injuries took a toll as they lost OF Jeremy Hermida when an MRI of his right kneecap revealed a deep bone bruise for a month. Opening Day center fielder, Alejandro De Aza had an ankle sprain, P Sergio Mitre had a blister problem and P Ricky Nolasco had a sore elbow. In May, Marlins sent struggling P Anibal Sanchez to the minor leagues, where he was put on the Minor League DL with shoulder tendinitis. He then went out for the remainder of the season due to a tear in his labrum. The Fish also put promising pitcher Henry Owens on the DL as well as 1B Mike Jacobs. They sought bullpen help, dealing Jorge Julio, who amassed 2 blown saves and 2 loses in his tenure, to the Rockies for P Byung-Hyun Kim.
As injuries amassed for the Marlins, they traded P Randy Messenger to the Giants for P Armando Benitez who became a middle reliever instead as Gregg was the closer. In the June Draft, the Marlins selected 3B Matt Dominguez out of high school; it marked the first time since 2002 that the Fish got a position player rather than pitcher in the first round. The team entered the All Star break with more injuries: SS Hanley Ramirez had a hamstring injury, Miguel Cabrera missed the Home Run Derby with a shoulder injury, and Aaron Boone was out for the remainder of the season. The Marlins sent only one player to the All Star game as Miguel Cabrera went for a franchise record fourth time and fourth straight overall. The team had a record of 42-47 at the break.
After the All-Star break, the Marlins fell apart. After a July 20 game against the Reds, Scott Olsen was arrested by Aventura, Florida police and booked on charges of driving under the influence, resisting arrest with violence and fleeing and eluding a police officer. After completing the Reds series at 48-51, the Marlins sunk dramatically to last place in the NL East with a record of 23-40 the rest of the way and a 71-91 record overall. The Marlins had to deal with the struggles of both Willis and Olsen, the teams' top starters who both finished with ERAs north of 5.00 carrying 15 losses a piece. The Marlins did have some bright spots on offense as they set club records for runs scored (790), hits (1,504), doubles (340), home runs (201), RBIs (749) and slugging percentage (.448).
The Marlins offseason began with trying to get better on defense and pitching. Two players formally filed for free agency, Aaron Boone and Armando Benitez.
The Marlins filled their pitching coach vacancy by hiring Mark Wiley, formerly the pitching coach in the 2005 season and scout for the Rockies in 06' and 07'.
The focus of the 2007 offseason, however, was that the Marlins were officially listening to offers for slugger Miguel Cabrera and pitcher Dontrelle Willis. The team that seemed to be leading was the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim. They felt that they had worked out a deal for Cabrera not once, but twice. Angels owner Arte Moreno said that each time, the Marlins came back after he felt a trade had been completed and asked for more to sweeten the trade. The San Francisco Giants expressed similar sentiments about the asking price the Marlins wanted, saying that the Marlins were asking for 4 players, with 3 of the 4 being pitchers and 2 of the 4 being major league players, not minor leaguers. Talks with both teams fell apart, but most still felt the Marlins would complete the trade with the Angels when MLB's annual Winter General Manager Meetings took place in Nashville.
On December 5, 2007, the Marlins agreed to the terms of a trade with the Detroit Tigers. The trade would surprisingly send not only Cabrera, but also Willis, to the Tigers. In return, the Marlins did not receive four players, but six. The Marlins received center fielder Cameron Maybin, catcher Mike Rabelo, and pitchers Andrew Miller, Eulogio De La Cruz, Burke Badenhop, and Dallas Trahern.
With a vacancy at third base, the Marlins signed infielders Jorge Cantu and Dallas McPherson. They've also added veterans Luis Gonzalez and pitcher Mark Hendrickson.
The Marlins began 2008 on a positive note. Analysts expected a lackluster performance on the field, citing the low payroll and loss of Dontrelle Willis and Miguel Cabrera during the offseason. However, in the first few months of the season, the Marlins were off to one of best starts in team history. At one point in the season, the Marlins jumped to (30-20), moved 10 games over .500 for the first time since September 14, 2005. They jumped atop of the National League East in April and May and for the first time with a lead that late in a season since 2002. The good start was attributed to powerful offensive production from their core of Mike Jacobs, Hanley Ramirez, Dan Uggla, Josh Willingham, and Jonathan A. and quality pitching by southpaws Andrew Miller and Scott Olsen along with right-hander Ricky Nolasco.
The team also received great and encouraging news after injured pitcher Josh Johnson made a fast recovery from Tommy John Surgery and Anibal Sanchez coming back from a torn labrum in the shoulder; leaping into the rotation right away along with calling up prized prospect Chris Volstad. In addition, the Marlins sent two players, Hanley Ramirez, who started the game at Shortstop for the National league, and reserve Dan Uggla to the last All-Star Game at Yankee Stadium. In addition to surprises, the Marlins signed star shortstop Hanley Ramirez to a 6 year, $70 million dollar deal making him the richest Marlin in history.
The Marlins hot start made them a rare buyer at the July trade deadline where they were involved in talks on a three-way deal with the Pittsburgh Pirates and Boston Red Sox which could have brought Manny Ramirez to the South Florida. The Marlins backed out at the last second when it involved their coveted power-hitting prospect, Michael Stanton. Instead, Manny Ramirez headed up with the Dodgers and the Marlins wound up trading for Arthur Rhodes.
The team struggled in the month of August where they went 11–16 due to lack of offense which they had the earlier months. In September, the Marlins surprised some when they tied the franchise-record nine game win streak which was contributed in part by prized prospect, Cameron Maybin. Unfortunately, the fish lost four straight afterwards eliminating them from playoff contention but they managed to eliminate the New York Mets for the second consecutive season on the final day.
The team finished the season setting a franchise record for most home runs in a season at 208. Mike Jacobs, Dan Uggla, Hanley Ramirez and Jorge Cantu made MLB history by becoming the first foursome of infielders to hit at least 25 homers in a season.
Just a day after the World Series concluded, the Marlins began wheeling and dealing. They traded first baseman Mike Jacobs to the Royals for reliever Leo Nunez, who the Marlins hope can become a setup-man in late innings.
Around a couple of weeks later, the Marlins traded power hitting outfielder Josh Willingham and southpaw Scott Olsen to the Nationals for utility player Emilio Bonifacio and two minor leaguers. Soon after the Marlins traded closer Kevin Gregg to the Cubs for relief prospect Jose Ceda.
On April 1, 2009 the Marlins traded shortstop Robert Andino to the Baltimore Orioles for right-handed pitcher Hayden Penn, the trade was completed just before the two teams took the field in a spring training game against each other.
A few weeks before the regular season, the Florida Marlins' 15-year quest for a permanent home became a reality by agreeing to bankroll a big share of a $634 million stadium complex to rise on the grounds of the old Orange Bowl site. The Marlins hope to open at the new stadium on Opening Day 2012 with a new name; Miami Marlins.
The Marlins kicked off the new season with the youngest team in baseball and with the lowest payroll for the fourth consecutive season. New leadoff man Emilio Bonifacio stole the show on Opening Day. He hit the first Opening Day inside-the-park home run since Carl Yastrzemski did it for the Boston Red Sox in 1968 and had three stolen bases to go along with four hits. Hanley Ramirez hit his first career grand slam as the Marlins went on to score 12 runs, the most ever in franchise history on Opening Day.
The Marlins started the 2009 season hot by sweeping the Washington Nationals, only the second time they started the season with sweep since the 1997 Marlins team. The Marlins won their first four games for the first time in franchise history and have started 11-1, which included 2 out of 3 wins from the Mets, the first Marlins franchise sweep at Turner Field, and three comeback late-inning wins against the Nationals in Washington, sweeping the teams' second series matchup. The 11-1 start is the best start in Marlins history.
The Marlins are the first team in Major League Baseball to have a dance/cheer team: "The Marlins Mermaids". Debuting in 2003, the "Marlin Mermaids" quickly gained national exposure, and have influenced other MLB teams to develop their own cheer/dance squads.
A few years later, the Marlins created an all-male dance team: "The Manatees". This unique group consists of several overweight men, who "show off their own moves" for home crowds during weekends.
The Florida Marlins (soon to be Miami Marlins) hope to begin construction of a new, state-of-the-art stadium at the Miami Orange Bowl site. The now approved stadium was the subject of a protracted legal battle. A lawsuit by local automobile franchise mogul and former Philadelphia Eagles owner Norman Braman contested the legality of the deal with Miami-Dade County and the City of Miami. However, Miami-Dade County Judge Beth Cohen dismissed all the charges in Braman's lawsuit. Braman is likely to appeal, but there is only a slight chance of the appeal being heard, so construction will begin soon. When completed, the seating capacity will be 37,000, making it the second smallest stadium (in capacity) in the MLB. Set to open in April 2012, the stadium would become only the sixth MLB stadium to have a retractable roof, joining Rogers Centre, Chase Field, Safeco Field, Miller Park, and Minute Maid Park. The Marlins will share Dolphin Stadium with the NFL's Miami Dolphins and the Miami Hurricanes football team starting in the 2008 season until 2010 when the Marlins' current lease runs out. The new stadium will not be ready until 2012, but Dolphin Stadium officials have said they would extend their lease with the Marlins if a stadium deal was in place.
These statistics are current as of May 3, 2009. Bold denotes a playoff season, pennant or championship; italics denote an active season.
The Marlins' flagship radio station from their inception in 1993 through 2007 was WQAM 560 AM. Although the Marlins had plans to leave WQAM after 2006, they ultimately remained with WQAM for the 2007 season. On October 11, 2007, it was announced that the Marlins had entered into a partnership with WAXY 790 AM to broadcast all games for the 2008 season. Dave Van Horne and Glenn Geffner split the play-by-play assignment.
Games are also heard in Spanish on WQBA 1140 AM. Felo Ramirez, who calls play-by-play on that station along with Luis Quintana, won the Ford C. Frick Award from the National Baseball Hall of Fame in 2005.
Marlins games are televised by FS Florida and Sun Sports. FS Florida's slogan in 2008 was "You Gotta Be Here". For the 2009 season the new slogan is "It's where you wanna be". There are no games available over-the-air; the last "free TV" broadcast of a game was on WPXM in 2005. Rich Waltz is the play-by-play announcer and Tommy Hutton is the color analyst.
As of the 2009 Baseball Hall of Fame election, no inducted members have played for the Marlins. Tony Perez, inducted in honor of his playing career, briefly worked as interim manager of the Marlins after his induction.
Marlins pitchers have issued four no-hitters in team regular-season history.
No Marlin has ever hit for the cycle in history. But the Marlins' Triple-A affiliate had two cycles in one week in August 2008.
2008 Tampa Bay Rays season
The Tampa Bay Rays' 2008 season, the 11th season in franchise history, marked the change of the team's name from the "Tampa Bay Devil Rays" to the "Tampa Bay Rays", as revealed on November 8, 2007. The change in name also came with a change in logo and uniforms, with new team colors of Columbia blue, Navy blue and gold. The new logo, colors and name were leaked on September 20, 2007, and were confirmed officially on November 8, 2007, when an official announcement was made in downtown St. Petersburg.
This was the third season with Joe Maddon managing the club. The club had built upon the improvements made in 2007, and had secured the franchise's first winning record, playoff berth, and American League pennant.
The Rays played another series at Champion Stadium at Disney's Wide World of Sports Complex in 2008, making it the second year that a series had been moved to the Greater Orlando area. The April 22-24 series against the Toronto Blue Jays was selected for the move. Neither the MLB — nor the Blue Jays, who were 10-17 at Tropicana Field over the previous three seasons — resisted the idea. The series move was successfully voted on by the City of St. Petersburg, who holds the lease to Tropicana Field, on January 24, 2008. This was similar to the 2007 series against the Texas Rangers, in which the Rays also won all three games.
The Rays, with their off-season acquisitions and continued prospect development, fostered high hopes both within the organization and from analysts that the team would perform well during the 2008 season. Their performance on the field during spring training justified those hopes. On March 23, they won their team-record 15th spring training game, and finished with a record of 18-8 with two ties and two cancellations due to rain, along with having the highest winning percentage of all teams in spring training.
There were lingering questions, however. Ace pitcher Scott Kazmir had been dogged with arm soreness all spring, and was placed on the 15-day disabled list, retroactive to March 21. He was expected to be ready in early May. Ben Zobrist, who had been groomed for a super-utility role, suffered a broken thumb during the second week of spring training. Rocco Baldelli, after missing most of the 2007 season with a hamstring injury, was sidelined indefinitely due to chronic fatigue believed to be caused by mitochondrial disease, and placed on the 60-day disabled list just days before the start of the season.
Elliot Johnson, a infielder prospect on the 40-man roster who spent the previous season with the Durham Bulls, made headlines during a game against the New York Yankees when he crashed into Yankees prospect catcher Francisco Cervelli in a play at the plate. He was tagged out, but the collision led to Cervelli breaking his wrist. While the Yankee organization said the move was uncalled-for, most analysts claimed that it was a good baseball play. Johnson himself stated he never intended to hurt Cervelli. The act is believed to have led to heightened tensions in their next game on March 12, leading to an incident where Yankees outfielder Shelley Duncan slid with his spikes high into Akinori Iwamura, leading to a fight between Duncan and Jonny Gomes. During the bench-clearing brawl, Melky Cabrera punched Rays third baseman Evan Longoria. Duncan, Cabrera and Gomes were suspended for three, three, and two games respectively. All three dropped their appeals, and had their suspensions reduced by a game.
Pitcher David Price, the #1 pick in the 2007 Amateur Draft, made his spring training debut on March 8 (prior to the Elliot Johnson incident), accidentally hitting Francisco Cervelli on the arm before striking out 2 to get through the inning. His fastball reached 99 mph on radar guns. After three appearances, he was officially assigned to High-A Vero Beach but is expected to advance quickly through the minor leagues.
The initial starting rotation for the Rays was James Shields, Matt Garza, Andy Sonnanstine, Edwin Jackson and Jason Hammel.
April turned into feast-or-famine for the Rays. The bullpen, which was derided as the worst in baseball in 2007, was the best in the league at the end of the month, with a 2.52 ERA. New closer Troy Percival saved 5 games, and did not allow a single run.
Carlos Peña was bringing the lumber that made him a superstar in 2007, having six home runs in the first 20 games, but finished the month with 31 strikeouts, and had difficulty getting on base with a batting average of just .200. The bigger surprise has been Eric Hinske. Appearing in 25 games, he hit .293 with 6 home runs and 15 RBI. On April 22, against the Toronto Blue Jays in Orlando, he was a single away from hitting for the cycle, which would have made him the first Ray to ever accomplish such a feat. For the second year in a row, the Rays won a sweep during the home series at Champion Stadium.
Evan Longoria was one of the last cuts in spring training, surprising Rays fans. He was called up on April 11 after their chosen third baseman, Willy Aybar, went on the disabled list. After six appearances, he was signed to a six-year, $15 million contract. His future seems promising for the season, with a .250 average and 3 home runs in April. In one game against the Yankees, Longoria hit a home run that capped a 5-run inning to tie the game, and a few weeks later, he homered off of Josh Beckett of the Red Sox, which provided a cushion for the team to complete their first sweep of the Boston Red Sox in franchise history.
James Shields, with the absence of Scott Kazmir, became the team's ace pitcher. In 6 starts, he went 3-1, with the one loss coming to the New York Yankees, opposite their ace Chien-Ming Wang. On April 27, he pitched his first complete game of his career in a game against the Red Sox, where he allowed only 3 batters to reach base. Just a few days after his career outing, he was named AL Player of the Week.
In 26 games during the month, the Rays went 14-12, which marked the first time in franchise history that the team had a winning record for the month of April. After their sweep of the Red Sox, the Rays were 14-11, which was the latest the team had ever been 3 games over .500 in a season.
After winning a series in Baltimore on May 1, the Rays were 16-12, the first time ever the team was 4 games over .500. Although they suffered a sweep to the Red Sox at Fenway Park immediately following, they bounced back with a series win against the Blue Jays at Rogers Centre and a sweep of the Angels at Tropicana Field. After a win over the Yankees in extra innings Hank Steinbrenner, Senior Vice President and part-owner of the New York Yankees, expressed his frustration with his team at the time, saying that the Yankees "got to start playing the way the Rays are playing," and that he wished the Rays were in a different division. Hank also stated that he was happy for the Rays, but that he wished they played in the National League instead.
Following a win on Memorial Day, the Rays became the first team in over 100 years to hold the best record in the league through Memorial Day, having the worst record in the league the year before. The last team to do it was the New York Giants in 1903.
Closer Troy Percival was placed on the disabled list for precautionary measures following his removal from a game in which he felt tightness in his hamstring after striking out a batter and then falling to the ground. Percival threw several warm-up pitches but then left the game.
Scott Kazmir set a new franchise record for the most wins in one month. Kazmir lost his first start of the season in Boston, but then won his next five starts following that loss, also sporting a 1.22 ERA in all six starts. Because of this, he was named American League Pitcher of the Month.
The Rays finished May with a 34-22 record, the best record in the American League, leading the division by one game over the Boston Red Sox, and had their first winning record in the month of May (19-10).
Carlos Pena fractured his left index finger on June 4, and was placed on the disabled list. He returned to the team on June 26, wearing a protective padding outside of his left batting glove to help ease impact. Rays manager Joe Maddon stated that once the Rays finished interleague play, and returned to playing American League teams, Pena would consider putting Pena in the Designated Hitter role to help ease the workload on his left index finger, as the Rays were more concerned about his ability to throw the ball, more than having to swing the bat.
The next night, Rays pitcher James Shields hit Crisp below the waist on the first pitch in Crisp's first at-bat of the game. Crisp then charged the mound, punches were thrown by both players, and both teams' benches emptied onto the field. Shields and Crisp were ejected from the game, as well as Rays Designated Hitter Jonny Gomes.
Following the brawl, suspensions were given to players on both teams. For the Rays, Shields was given a suspension of 6 games, and for their actions in the fight, Gomes and pitcher Edwin Jackson were given 5 game suspensions, Left Fielder Carl Crawford was given a 4 game suspension, and Iwamura was given a 3 game suspension. For the Red Sox, Crisp was suspended for 7 games, and for their actions in the fight, pitcher Jon Lester was given a 5 game suspension, and 1st Baseman Sean Casey was given a 3 game suspension.
Both Crisp and Iwamura appealed their suspensions. On June 27, it was announced that Iwamura's suspension was upheld, while Crisp's was reduced to 5 games, no longer making him the longest suspended player of all involved. Iwamura was unhappy that his suspension was upheld so that he would miss the first game of the next series against the Red Sox. Rays manager Joe Maddon stated that the decision "baffles" him and that he will seek an explanation from the appropriate decision-makers. Both suspensions started the following day, and the decision caused Crisp to miss the next series against the Rays at Tropicana Field.
On June 12, it was reported that Red Sox closer Jonathan Papelbon had made comments about the incident stating that in his opinion, it was "a bunch of bull what did. All I got to say is what comes around goes around, man. Payback's a b----, I'll tell you what," and that "this thing isn’t all settled and done." Papelbon also said that things would be different at Tropicana Field the next time the Red Sox were there, as opposed to the last time in which the Red Sox were swept by the Rays for the first time in franchise history. In that series from June 30 to July 2, the Rays swept the Red Sox at home for the second time in the season, and Papelbon never pitched in the series.
On June 19, the Rays swept the Chicago Cubs in a 3-game series. It was the first time in franchise history that the Rays had swept a team with the best record in baseball, as the Cubs entered the series with the best record in the league at 45-25.
The Rays went 16-10 in June, improving to 50-32 overall and leading the division over the Red Sox by ½ game.
Troy Percival was placed on the Disabled List once again on July 1, due to re-injuring his hamstring, this time after running to backup a throw to 3rd base. Percival and Rays manager Joe Maddon had a brief argument over Maddon's decision to take Percival out of the game, but Percival eventually walked off the field and understood Maddon's concern.
On July 2, the Rays completed a 3-game sweep of the Boston Red Sox, which was the first series between the two teams since their altercation in early June. It was the second home sweep by the Rays of the Red Sox in the season, and increased their division lead to 3.5 games over the Red Sox, as well as giving the Rays the best record in the league.
Pitcher Scott Kazmir and Catcher Dioner Navarro were named to the American League All-Star team on July 6. It was Navarro's first selection, while Kazmir had been selected previously in 2006.
3rd Baseman Evan Longoria was named to the American League All-Star roster on July 10. This meant that it would be the first time the Rays would ever send three players to the All-Star Game. Longoria was voted into the roster by the All-Star Final Vote, where fans vote for one of five players for each league to be the final players selected for the All-Star Game. The chance to vote began on July 6 after the initial All-Star lineups were announced. Longoria was reported to have received over 9 million votes out of 47.8 million total votes cast. He won over Jermaine Dye, Jason Giambi, Brian Roberts, and José Guillén.
Longoria also took part in the Home Run Derby, the first Ray to ever do so. He was quickly eliminated, hitting only three home runs in the first round, the least of any competitor.
The Rays went into the All-Star break with a 7-game losing streak. They had won 7 straight before then. The losing streak caused the Rays to fall to 2nd place in the AL East, but by only half a game behind the Boston Red Sox. Even though the Rays lost the division lead, they still led the Wild Card spot by 2½ games.
Barely managing a winning record for the month of July at 13-12, the Rays would nonetheless go into August with the AL East division lead having an overall record of 63-44.
The Rays acquired relief pitcher Chad Bradford on August 8 from the Baltimore Orioles for a player to be named later. To make room for Bradford on the roster, relief pitcher Al Reyes, who was the Rays' closer from the 2007 season and had 26 saves in that role, was designated for assignment.
On August 9, against the Seattle Mariners, the Rays equaled their franchise record, set in 2004, of 70 wins in a season. The following day, the Rays won again meaning at the season's conclusion, the Rays will have won more games in one season than in any other season in franchise history.
The injury bug would bite the Rays a few times in August. On August 3, Shortstop Jason Bartlett was hit by a pitch on his right index finger, the result of a failed bunt attempt. Bartlett was not placed on the Disabled List but missed several days before returning to the lineup as the designated hitter. He would not return to his position in the field until August 15. Left Fielder Carl Crawford was placed on the Disabled List on August 10, with a hand injury. Crawford's injury was called by the Rays as a "tendon subluxation" in the middle finger of his right hand, simply meaning that the tendon is not in its normal position. Crawford would opt to have surgery, deciding not to place a splint on his hand instead. An initial report stated that there was a possibility that Crawford would miss the rest of the season, but after it was announced that he would undergo surgery, he was reported to "likely, though not absolutely" miss the rest of the regular season. One day after placing Crawford on the Disabled List, the Rays would place Third Baseman Evan Longoria on it as well, retroactive to August 8. The injury to Longoria's right hand, suffered from being hit by a pitch, was at first thought to be just a bruise, but turned out to be a fracture. Executive Vice President, Andrew Friedman, stated that Longoria was expected to be out for three weeks. Closer Troy Percival was removed from another game on August 14, because of a right knee sprain which he suffered from fielding a bunt and tagging the runner out. After further evaluation, it was reported that there was "cartiledge involvement" in Percival's injury, but it was not a tear. The following day, Percival was once again placed on the Disabled List. When the announcement was made that he would not have surgery, Percival revealed that he may return sooner than expected.
Because of Crawford's injury, Rocco Baldelli was finally activated to take his place on the roster. On August 10, Baldelli started the day's game in Right Field, his first Major League game since May 15, 2007.
On August 29, the Rays recorded their 82nd win of the season, needing just 133 games to reach the milestone, and thus clinching the first winning season in franchise history.
By the end of the month, the Rays' entire starting rotation, Scott Kazmir, Matt Garza, Edwin Jackson, Andy Sonnanstine, and James Shields had recorded at least 10 wins.
On the last day in August, shortstop Jason Bartlett hit his first home run as a member of the Rays, and his first home run overall since August 27, 2007, spanning 471 at-bats.
Despite the injuries to Longoria, Crawford, and Percival, the Rays had the best single month in franchise history, going 21-7 for the month of August. With an 84-51 overall record, the Rays went into September with the best record in baseball, a 5½ game lead in the division, and eyeing their first playoff appearance in franchise history. As Jason Bartlett stated, the Rays were "pumped" for the final month of the season, "no one wants to play us, especially at home," and the team was determined to prove that they were a legitimate postseason contender.
Troy Percival was activated from the disabled list on September 2. In Toronto for his second outing since his return, he allowed a walk-off grand slam with two outs when the Rays were ahead by a single run and in position to win the game in extra innings. Against Boston during another extra inning game, Percival came in to close with a three run lead and allowed the first three batters to reach base. He was removed from the game in favor of Jason Hammel, who had never recorded a save at the MLB level, and was the only remaining reliever available for the Rays in the game due to its length. Hammel converted the save opportunity, but many questioned if Percival should remain as the team's closer. The reason for Percival's removal from the game against Boston was a stiff back, and not for the game's situation, or for any sort of leg injury that had plagued him throughout the year. Percival stated that because of warming up multiple times throughout the game, only to not come in until the Rays took a lead, was what pained his back. Percival acknowledged that he knew he didn't feel well, and that he should have called for his own removal, but decided that with the lead the Rays had, he would be able to get the job done. As a result of the game, the Rays decided to not use Percival too often on consecutive nights, and using him in a tie game if the situation of the game changes while he is warming up. He would still be listed as the team's closer.
Instant Replay made its debut in Major League Baseball at Tropicana Field on September 3 after Alex Rodriguez of the New York Yankees hit a ball near the left-field foul pole that was initially ruled a home run by third base umpire Brian Runge. Rays manager Joe Maddon argued that the ball was foul and asked for a review. After a conversation among the umpires, though all agreed the play was ruled correctly, crew chief Charlie Reliford allowed the replay to take place and after review, upheld the home run call. On September 20 at Tropicana Field, instant replay would overturn a call on the field for the first time ever in Major League Baseball. A fly ball hit by Rays' first baseman Carlos Pena, the umpires ruled, was interfered with by a fan sitting in the front row of the stands, when the ball hit the hands of the fan and fell back onto the field of play. After Joe Maddon requested the umpires hold a conference to discuss the play, the umpires, headed by Gerry Davis, decided to look at instant replay. Just over four minutes later, Davis returned to the field and signaled that the ball was a home run.
David Price, the Rays' first overall pick in the 2007 Major League Baseball Draft, was called up from Triple-A class Durham on September 12. Price made his way up through the ranks, accumulating a 12-1 record, and a 2.30 ERA in 19 starts. He would make his first career start against the Baltimore Orioles on September 22, pitching 5⅓ innings, allowing four hits and two runs (one earned), while striking out three, but did not pick up a decision in the Rays 4-2 win that night.
Third baseman Evan Longoria made his return to the Rays as a starter on September 13 in the first game of a doubleheader against the New York Yankees, more than a month after being hit by a pitch in his hand, causing a fracture.
On September 18, it was reported that left fielder Carl Crawford would miss the rest of the regular season due to a finger injury suffered in the previous month. Joe Maddon stated that the concern was over Crawford's inability to swing a bat, and that if he were to be used at all before being completely healed, it would be for defense and baserunning. Crawford said that if the Rays were to make the ALCS or the World Series, he would have a chance to come back.
On September 20, the Rays clinched their first playoff berth in franchise history, after a 7-2 victory over the Minnesota Twins. On September 24, St. Petersburg mayor Rick Baker declared 2008 the "Year of the Rays" in the city. On September 26, despite losing that day, the Rays clinched their first ever AL East Division Championship when the Boston Red Sox lost to the New York Yankees.
Going 13-14 for the month, the Rays suffered their only losing month of the season.
The Rays finished the regular season 2 games ahead of the Boston Red Sox for the division championship with a 97-65 record, the third best record in the league, and 31 games better than their finish in the 2007 season. They also surpassed the record for most wins by a team in a single season having finished with the worst record in the previous year, set by the Atlanta Braves in 1991 who went 94-68 after finishing 65-97 in 1990.
The Rays began their first playoff run in franchise history against the AL Central division champion Chicago White Sox, who finished the regular season 89-74 and advanced to the playoffs after defeating the Minnesota Twins in a one-game playoff to decide the winner of their division. In the regular season, the Rays were 5-2 against the White Sox. The Rays had home-field advantage for the series.
On September 30, it was announced that Carl Crawford would start for the Rays in his regular left field position, his first start in nearly two months after injuring his right hand and undergoing surgery thereafter.
In Game 1, Rays first baseman Carlos Peña started the game, but left after his first at-bat after reportedly having blurry vision because of an eye injury suffered at his home the previous night. Rays third baseman Evan Longoria hit a solo home run in the 2nd inning on the first pitch of his first career post-season at-bat, giving the Rays the early one run lead. White Sox left fielder DeWayne Wise hit a 3-run home run in the next inning to put Chicago ahead 3-1. The Rays came back in the bottom half of the 3rd inning with three runs of their own, including another home run by Longoria, putting the Rays back on top 4-3. Two more RBI singles in the 5th inning gave the Rays a 6-3 cushion. In the 7th inning, Rays relief pitcher Grant Balfour appeared to get into an argument with White Sox shortstop Orlando Cabrera. After Balfour's first pitch to Cabrera, which was a ball to Cabrera's far side, Cabrera kicked some dirt in Balfour's direction. Balfour, who is known to get fired up by shouting to himself, may have yelled something that Cabrera took offense too. After words were exchanged between the two, play continued and Balfour finished the at-bat by striking out Cabrera. Cabrera later stated that he was unaware of Balfour's tendency to pump himself up, and that "it was just heat of the moment." Dan Wheeler would come in close for the Rays in the 9th inning. After giving up a leadoff home run, he retired the next three batters, capping off a 6-4 win for the Rays in their first playoff game in franchise history, giving them a one game lead in the 5-game series.
Peña was expected to start Game 2, but was scratched before the first pitch. Still, the Rays continued to shine. After starter Scott Kazmir allowed the bases to become loaded in the 1st inning, and gave up two runs to put the Rays in an early hole, the pitching staff would not allow another run as the Rays' offense came through strong for the second consecutive night. In the 2nd inning, Dioner Navarro cut the deficit to 2-1 on an RBI single. Akinori Iwamura hit a 2-run home run in the 5th inning to put the Rays ahead 3-2. Adding some insurance runs in the 8th inning from three RBI singles by Carl Crawford, Rocco Baldelli, and Navarro, the Rays had a comfortable 6-2 lead going into the final inning. Chad Bradford came in to finish the game off, and did so by striking out Jim Thome of the White Sox to give the Rays a commanding two games to none lead in the best-of-five series, with a chance to win their first ever playoff series, and a trip to the ALCS in Game 3 as the series moved to Chicago.
The Rays looked to be in shape to win the series early in Game 3, after Akinori Iwamura hit an infield single to bring in the game's first run, but starter Matt Garza allowed the White Sox to tie the game in the 3rd inning, and then take a 4-1 lead in the 4th inning. Juan Uribe of the White Sox added an RBI single in the 6th inning to increase the lead for Chicago. B.J. Upton hit a 2-run home run for the Rays in the 7th inning to make the game a bit closer, but the Rays could not get their bats going enough. The White Sox would take Game 3 by a final score of 5-3, living to play another day only down two games to one in the series.
In Game 4, B.J. Upton hit two solo home runs in his first two at-bats which gave the Rays an early 2-0 lead. Cliff Floyd added an RBI double, followed by a Dioner Navarro RBI single in the 4th inning put the Rays ahead by 4 runs. Paul Konerko put the White Sox on the board with a solo home run in the 4th inning, but was answered in the 5th inning by a Carlos Peña single that scored one run, giving the Rays a 5-1 lead. Jermaine Dye had a solo home run in the 6th inning, but once again the Rays answered back with another RBI single by Peña in the 7th inning. Grant Balfour came in to close the game and struck out Ken Griffey Jr. to end the game, and in their first playoff series in franchise history, the Rays took the series three games to one, and advanced to the American League Championship Series.
The Rays' next round opponent would be their division rivals, the Boston Red Sox. Boston won the American League wild card, and advanced to the ALCS by defeating the team who had finished the regular season with the best record in baseball, the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim, three games to one in their ALDS series. The Rays won the season series against the Red Sox 10-8. In those 18 games, the visiting team won only three times.
In Game 1 neither team scored until the 5th inning when Jed Lowrie of the Red Sox hit a sacrifice fly that scored a run from 3rd base. Red Sox starter Daisuke Matsuzaka held a no-hitter through six innings until a hit by Carl Crawford ended that bid with a leadoff hit in the 7th inning. Following Crawford's base hit, Cliff Floyd would single, advancing Crawford to a scoring position. The Rays however, could not capitalize as the next three batters were retired to end the inning. In the 8th inning, Kevin Youkilis hit a fly ball to left field for the Red Sox, which went off the end of Carl Crawford's glove, scoring Dustin Pedroia from 1st base and giving the Red Sox a 2-0 lead. The 8th inning for the Rays saw the first two batter reach base to send Carlos Peña to the plate with none out. With three balls and no strikes, Rays manager Joe Maddon gave Pena the green light to swing away, a move which would backfire as Peña flew out to Right Field. Evan Longoria then grounded into an inning ending double play. The Red Sox would hold on to their lead and shut out the Rays by a score of 2-0, taking the first game of the series.
While the first game of the series was a pitchers' duel, Game 2 was the exact opposite. The scoring opened up quickly, as the Red Sox put on a 2-out rally against Rays starter Scott Kazmir in the 1st inning from a Jason Bay double that scored Kevin Youkilis and David Ortiz to put the Red Sox up 2-0. The Rays answered in their half of the 1st inning off Red Sox starter Josh Beckett, with a 2-out home run by Evan Longoria which also brough in Carlos Peña, evening the game at 2-2. Dustin Pedroia hit a solo home run to Left Field in the 3rd inning, which was again answered by the Rays with B.J. Upton hitting a solo home run of his own to Left Field to tie the game back up at 3-3. Carl Crawford would hit a single to score Evan Longoria, and the Rays took their first lead of the night at 4-3. Cliff Floyd went deep to Center Field in the 4th inning to give the Rays a 5-3 lead. The Red Sox would hit three solo home runs in the 5th inning, including Dustin Pedoria for his second long ball of the night, Kevin Youkilis, and Jason Bay, respectively, putting the Red Sox back on top at 6-5. The Rays would also score three separate times in the 5th inning, off of a single from Carlos Pena, a double by Evan Longoria, and a single by Carl Crawford, retaking the lead at 8-6. The Red Sox would not go away quietly as Jason Bay hit a bases loaded single to Center Field and cut the Rays' lead to 8-7. With Dan Wheeler in to pitch for the Rays in the 8th, a wild pitch would score Dustin Pedroia from 3rd base to again tie the game at 8-8. The game would need extra innings, where in the 11th inning, and Dan Wheeler still pitching for the Rays, walked a batter with one out, and rookie David Price came in for the Rays. Price would walk the first batter he faced but stuck out Mark Kotsay, and was able to get Coco Crisp to ground into a force out at 2nd base. For the Rays in the 11th inning, Dioner Navarro walked to lead off, and Fernando Perez came in to pinch run. Ben Zobrist then walked, and a ground out by Jason Bartlett advanced the runners. The Red Sox would intentionally walk Akinori Iwamura to set up a double play chance, but B.J. Upton would hit a fly ball to Right Field deep enough to score Fernando Perez from 3rd base on a sacrifice fly, ending the game in the Rays' favor 9-8, knotting the series at one game each as the series shifted to Fenway Park for the next three games. The time that the game took to complete was 5 hours and 27 minutes.
Game 3 would play out very well for the Rays. Red Sox starter Jon Lester threw four pitches in the 1st inning, but gave up one run in the 2nd inning to put his team in an early hole. In the 3rd inning, the Rays distanced themselves from their opponents. B.J. Upton hit a 3-run home run, and two batters later, Evan Longoria added a solo home run to put the Rays up 5-0 in Boston. Rays starter Matt Garza held the Red Sox scoreless until a sacrifice fly scored a run in the 7th inning, the Rays still having a 5-1 advantage. Rocco Baldelli and Carlos Peña would put the final nails in the Red Sox' coffin as far as Game 3 was concerned, Baldelli with a 3-run home run, and Peña with a solo shot in the 8th and 9th innings, respectively. The Rays would go on to win 9-1, taking a two games to one lead in the series.
It was more of the same for Tampa Bay in Game 4, jumping out to a 3-0 lead in the 1st inning on Red Sox starter Tim Wakefield with a 2-run home run by Carlos Peña, immediately followed by a solo home run by Evan Longoria. Willy Aybar added a 2-run home run of his own in the 3rd inning to make it 5-0. Kevin Cash put the Red Sox on the board in the bottom half of the 3rd inning with a solo home run. The Rays however, were not finished with their offensive explosion, putting together a lead of 11-1 through six innings. The Red Sox would score a run in the 8th inning, causing Rays manager Joe Maddon]] to pull starter Andy Sonnanstine. Both teams would score two runs in the 8th inning, but the Rays' lead proved to be insurmountable for the Red Sox, as the Rays would take the game by a final score of 13-4. On October 19, Tampa Bay dethroned the previous World Series champions, the Boston Red Sox, and are now going to their first World Series. The final score was 3-1.
Game 5, for the longest time, looked as if it would be the series clinching win for the Rays. B.J. Upton hit a 2-run home run in the 1st inning to make it 2-0. Carlos Peña would hit one of his own in the 3rd inning, immediately followed by a home run by Evan Longoria, giving the Rays a 5-0 lead. Upton would double in the 7th inning, scoring two more runs, increasing the lead to 7-0. In the bottom half of the 7th inning, with Rays starter Scott Kazmir having been removed from the game by manager Joe Maddon, the Red Sox would begin to rally. Boston would score four runs in that inning by virtue of a Dustin Pedroia RBI single, and a 3-run home run by David Ortiz which cut the Rays' lead to 7-4. With the Rays' bats quiet in the 8th inning, J.D. Drew hit a 2-run home run to bring the Red Sox within one run, and Coco Crisp would single home the tying run to make the score even at 7-7. In the 9th inning, with the score still tied and two out, Kevin Youkilis hit a ground ball to Rays third baseman Evan Longoria who made an errant throw which allowed Youkilis to advance to 2nd Base. After an intentional walk issued by the Rays, J.D. Drew came up big for Boston once again, sailing a fly ball over the head of Right Fielder Gabe Gross which fell to the ground and then bounced over the Right Field wall, scoring Youkilis on the ground rule double and capping off the largest comeback by a team facing elimination in postseason history. The Rays series lead was now down to only one game heading into Game 6, but would now return home as the series shifted back to Tropicana Field.
Game 6 began well for the Rays, with B.J. Upton continuing his postseason emergence with a solo home run in the 1st inning and giving the Rays the first lead of the night. The Red Sox returned that with a solo home run by Kevin Youkilis, leveling the score at 1-1. Youkilis would give the Red Sox the lead in the 3rd inning by grounding out, but scoring Dustin Pedroia from 3rd Base. In the 5th inning, Jason Bartlett would hit his second home run of the entire season, another solo shot which tied the game at 2-2. Again, Boston would quickly answer back, with a solo home run by captain Jason Varitek, his first base hit of the ALCS, Boston now having a 3-2 lead. Later in the inning, Coco Crisp singled, and in the next at-bat, Jason Bartlett committed a throwing error to First Base, allowing Crisp to advance to 3rd Base. David Ortiz would then hit a single to give the Red Sox a 4-2 cushion, having scored Crisp. The Rays were unable to make a comeback, and lost the game by that score, their series lead now erased as a Game 7 would now have to be played to decide the series.
The starting pitchers of Game 7 were Jon Lester of the Red Sox, and Matt Garza of the Rays, a rematch of Game 3. Lester, who was the losing pitcher in Game 3, had never lost consecutive outings in his career. Dustin Pedroia wasted no time, homering off of Garza for the early 1-0 lead in favor of Boston. After that, Garza was almost unhittable until his departure. Lester was also great early, retiring the first nine batters he faced before allowing a single in the 4th inning. Later in the inning, Evan Longoria dropped a double into Right Field, and scored Carlos Peña all the way from 1st Base to tie the game at 1-1. Rocco Baldelli knocked a single into Left Field in the 5th inning, scoring Willy Aybar from 2nd Base and putting the Rays ahead for the first time in the game, 2-1. With one out the 6th inning for the Red Sox, with Dustin Pedroia on 1st Base and David Ortiz at the plate, Matt Garza was able to get "Big Papi" to swing and miss for the strikeout, and Dioner Navarro gunned down Pedroia at 2nd Base, who was attempting to steal on the pitch, and ending that half of the inning. Willy Aybar would belt a solo home run for the Rays in the 7th inning to give them a slightly more comfortable lead at 3-1. Garza was removed with one out in the 8th inning, having allowed only two hits and striking out nine batters, and receiving a standing ovation from Rays fans at the game as he left the field. The defending world champion Red Sox would not go away though, loading the bases in that inning. Joe Maddon elected to go with rookie David Price in hopes of ending the threat. Price would do just that by striking out J.D. Drew on a check swing. Price would return to close out the game in the 9th inning, and after two strikeouts and a walk, Jed Lowrie hit a ground ball to Rays Second Baseman Akinori Iwamura, who stepped on 2nd Base to make the final out and send the Tampa Bay Rays to their first World Series in franchise history, defeating the Boston Red Sox four games to three. Garza, who had won two games in the series, was named ALCS MVP.
The Rays now stood only four wins from their first world championship, with only the Phillies in their way. Philadelphia won the NL East division title, disposed of the Milwaukee Brewers in their division series in four games, and the Los Angeles Dodgers in the NLCS in five games. The Rays had home field advantage because of the American League's win in the 2008 All-Star Game.
In Game 1, Rays starting pitcher Scott Kazmir did not get off to a good start to the Rays' first ever World Series game, giving up a 2-run home run to the Phillies' Chase Utley in the 1st inning. The Rays had a chance to get on the scoreboard in the 3rd inning with the bases loaded and one out, but would not score as B.J. Upton hit into a double play. The Phillies would add another run in the 4th inning on an RBI groundout, jumping out to a 3-0 lead. Carl Crawford the longest tenured Ray on the team's roster, would give the Rays their first run in World Series history, by hitting a solo home run off of Phillies' starter Cole Hamels in the 4th inning, cutting the deficit of 3-1. In the 5th inning, Akinori Iwamura hit an RBI double to bring the Rays within one. The Rays would not be able to put up any more offense, with the Phillies relief pitchers retiring the Rays' last six batters and winning the game 3-2, taking the first game of the series.
Game 2, saw an impressive performance by the Rays' "Big Game James" Shields. In this game, it was the Rays taking a 2-0 lead in the 1st inning, on two consecutive RBI groundouts, each scoring a runner from 3rd base. In the 3rd inning, B.J. Upton singled home Dioner Navarro, with Rocco Baldelli being thrown out at home plate after the score, giving the Rays a 3-0 lead. Shields was taken out of the game in the 6th inning after getting into a jam, but he did not give up any runs to the Phillies in the game. David Price would eventually come into the game for the Rays in the 7th inning, and would allow the Phillies to get on the scoreboard from a solo home run by pinch-hitter Eric Bruntlett to make the score 4-1 with the Rays still ahead. Price would finish the game, with the Phillies making it a bit interesting by scoring a runner from 2nd base because of an error by Rays' Third Baseman Evan Longoria, who deflected the ball into shallow Left Field. Already with one out, Price would then strike out Chase Utley, and retired Ryan Howard on a groundout to end the game and give the Rays the 4-2 win. The series would now move to Philadelphia and Citizens Bank Park, tied at one game for each team.
With the start of Game 3 delayed by rain for an hour and 31 minutes, the series finally resumed in Philadelphia just after 10 pm EST. Jamie Moyer became the oldest pitcher to start a World Series game, facing off against ALCS MVP Matt Garza. Philadelphia was on the board early, as Chase Utley was put out on a ground ball that scored a runner from third. The Rays would even the game at one run each in the 2nd inning as Gabe Gross flew out on a sacrifice fly. The Phillies would take the lead back in the 2nd inning after a solo home run by Carlos Ruiz. The Phillies would make it 4-1 in the 6th inning from back-to-back home runs by Chase Utley and Ryan Howard. Gabe Gross scored Carl Crawford by grounding out, and Jason Bartlett would do the same to score Dioner Navarro during the next at-bat to make the score 4-3 Philadelphia. In the 8th inning for the Rays, B.J. Upton would single to reach base. During Evan Longoria's at-bat, Upton would steal 2nd base, and later steal 3rd base in the same at-bat. Trying to throw out Upton at 3rd base, Phillies catcher Carlos Ruiz made a throwing error which allowed Upton to score and tie the game at 4-4. The 9th inning went sour for the Rays defensively, as Phillies batter Eric Bruntlett was hit by a pitch. When Bruntlett attempted to steal 2nd base, Rays catcher Dioner Navarro made a throwing error which allowed Bruntlett to advance to 3rd base. The Rays intentionally walked the next two batters, which loaded the bases with no outs. Carlos Ruiz would hit a soft ground ball down the 3rd base line, which was fielded cleanly by Rays 3rd baseman Evan Longoria, but trying to toss to Navarro at home to make a forceout, sailed the throw over the catcher's head, and the winning run was scored by the Phillies to win the game 5-4, and take a two games to one series lead. Because of the game's late start, it was not completed until 1:47 am EST.
The Phillies scored in the 1st inning of Game 4 on a bases loaded walk, and never looked back. Pedro Feliz drove in a run in the 3rd inning to make it a 2-0 Phillies lead. In the 4th inning, Carl Crawford hit a solo home run to cut the deficit in half to just one run for the Rays, but in the bottom half of the inning, Ryan Howard knocked a 3-run home run to make it a 5-1 game. Eric Hinske hit a solo home run to make it 5-2, but Phillies pitcher Joe Blanton hit a solo home run of his own to make it 6-2. In the 8th inning for the Phillies, Jayson Werth and Ryan Howard each hit 2-run home runs, finishing off the Rays in the most one-sided game the series had seen by a score of 10-2. The Phillies now had the Rays on the ropes, needing just one more win to become World Champions.
Game 5 was perhaps the most interesting game of the series. The Phillies scored in the 1st inning again, on a bases loaded single by Shane Victorino to make it 2-0. Evan Longoria scored Carlos Peña to make it a 2-1 game.
At one point, it began to rain, and the weather conditions would get worse as the game continued. There was much speculation, including that from FOX baseball commentators Joe Buck and Tim McCarver, that the game may be called early because of the weather. Major League Baseball rules state that the game could have been called after the 5th inning, ending the game and resulting in the Phillies winning the World Series. MLB commissioner Bud Selig had made it clear to both teams prior to the game anyway, that the game would not be called early under any circumstance, as he would not allow such an important game like this to be ended before the 9th inning. However, such a controversy was prevented from happening because of the events on the field, when in the 6th inning, Carlos Peña scored B.J. Upton to tie the game at 2-2.
Following the completion of the top of the 6th inning, the tarps were pulled over the infield, and the game was delayed until 11:10 pm EST, when it was officially announced that the game would be suspended, making it the first time a World Series game had ever been suspended. It would not resume the next day, as it continued to rain in Philadelphia, but the day following that, the game would resume.
The Phillies had scored in the 1st inning in each game of the World Series in Philadelphia, and essentially did the same again as Jayson Werth singled on a pop up that scored a run in the bottom of the 6th inning to give the Phillies a 3-2 lead. Rocco Baldelli kept the Rays in it with a solo home run in the 7th inning to tie the game again. Pedro Feliz would answer that home run with an RBI single that ended up being the game winner, as Phillies closer Brad Lidge would strike out Eric Hinske in the 9th inning to end the game. The Philadelphia Phillies had defeated the Rays four games to one to win their second World Series title, and first since 1980. Cole Hamels was named MVP of the series.
Boston Red Sox
The Boston Red Sox are a professional baseball team based in Boston, Massachusetts. The Red Sox are a member of the Major League Baseball’s American League Eastern Division. Since 1912, the Red Sox's home ballpark has been Fenway Park. The "Red Sox" name originates from the iconic uniform feature.
The club was founded in 1901, as of the American League's eight charter franchises. They were a dominant team in the new league—defeating the Pittsburgh Pirates in the first World Series in 1903. They won four more championships by 1918, and then went into one of the longest championship droughts in baseball history, which ended in 2004, when the team won their sixth World Series Championship. Since 2003, the Red Sox have competed in four ALCS, have won two World Series, and have emerged as arguably the most successful MLB team of the last decade.
The Red Sox led all MLB teams in average road attendance in 2007, 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.
The name Red Sox, chosen by owner John I. Taylor after the 1907 season, refers to the red hose in the team uniform beginning 1908. Actually, Sox was adopted by newspapers needing a headline-friendly form of Stockings, as "Stockings Win!" in large type would not fit on a page. The Spanish language media sometimes refers to the team as Medias Rojas for Red Stockings.
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.
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 with the Boston team commonly referred to as the "Red Caps" today. Other names were sometimes used before Boston officially adopted the nickname "Braves" in 1912; that club is now based in Atlanta.
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," a combination of "Boston" and "Sox" (similar to the "ChiSox" in Chicago or the minor league "PawSox" of Pawtucket). Sportswriters sometimes refer to the Red Sox as the Crimson Hose, and the Olde Towne Team. However, most fans simply refer to the team as the "Sox" when the context is understood to mean Red Sox.
For years many sources have listed the early Boston AL team as the "Pilgrims", but researcher Bill Nowlin has demonstrated that the name was barely used, if at all, at the time.
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, Maryland 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 cancelled the Buffalo club's franchise, offering one to a new club in 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, outfielders Chick Stahl, Buck Freeman and Patsy Dougherty and pitcher Cy Young, who in 1901 won the pitching Triple Crown with 33 wins (41.8% of the team's 79 games), 1.62 ERA and 158 strikeouts. His 1901 to 1904 seasons rank among the best four-year runs ever.
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, and win the World Series.
The 1904 club was almost as good as the previous team, but due to the surprise emergence of the New York Highlanders, 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. 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, and 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 1906. However, several new star players helped the newly renamed Red Sox improve almost immediately.
By 1909, legendary center fielder Tris Speaker had become a fixture in the Boston outfield, and the team 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 .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. Following the 1915 season, Tris Speaker was traded to the Cleveland Indians. His departure was more than compensated for, however, by the emergence of star pitcher Babe Ruth. The Red Sox went on to win the 1916 World Series, this time defeating the Brooklyn Robins. In 1918, Babe Ruth led his team to another World Series championship. This time over the Chicago Cubs.
Harry Frazee bought the Red Sox from Joseph Lannin in 1916 for about $500,000. A couple of notable trades involving Harry Frazee and the Yankees occurred before the Babe Ruth sale. On December 18, 1918, outstanding outfielder Duffy Lewis, pitcher Dutch Leonard (who'd posted a modern record 0.96 ERA in 1914.), 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.
On December 26, 1919, Frazee sold Babe Ruth, who had played the previous six seasons for the Red Sox, to the rival New York Yankees (Ruth had just broken the single-season home run record, hitting 29 in 1919.) Legend has it that Frazee did so in order to finance the Broadway play No, No, Nanette. That play did not actually open on Broadway until 1925, but as Leigh Montville discovered during research for his book, The Big Bam: The Life and Times of Babe Ruth, No, No, Nanette had originated as a non-musical stage play called My Lady Friends, which opened on Broadway in December 1919. My Lady Friends had, indeed, been financed by the Ruth sale to the Yankees.
During that period, the Red Sox, Yankees and Chicago White Sox had a détente; they were called "Insurrectos" because their actions antagonized league president Ban 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.
New York achieved great success after acquiring Ruth and several other very good players. Boston, meanwhile, did poorly during the 20s and 30s, and the sale of Babe Ruth came to be viewed as the beginning of the Yankees-Red Sox rivalry, widely considered the "Greatest Rivalry on Earth" by sports journalists.
After deciding to get out of baseball, Frazee began selling 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. On July 23, 1922, Joe Dugan and Elmer Smith were traded to the Yankees for Elmer Miller, Chick Fewster, Johnny Mitchell, and Lefty O'Doul, who was at the time a mediocre pitching prospect. Acquiring 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.
Over an eight-year period from 1925 to 1932, the Red Sox averaged over 100 losses per 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 BoSox’ fortunes began to change in 1933 when Tom Yawkey bought the team. Yawkey acquired pitcher Wes Ferrell and one of the greatest pitchers of all-time, Lefty Grove, making his team competitive once again in the late thirties. He also acquired Joe Cronin, an outstanding shortstop and manager and slugging first baseman Jimmie Foxx whose 50 home runs in 1938 would stand as a club record for 68 years. Foxx also drove in a club record 175 runs.
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 consistently hit for both high power and high average, and is generally considered one of the greatest hitters of all time. The right-field bullpens in Fenway were built in part for Williams' left-handed swing, and are sometimes called "Williamsburg." Before this addition, it was over 400 feet (120 m) to right field. He 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, missing at least five full seasons of baseball. His book The Science of Hitting is widely read by students of baseball. He is currently the last player to hit over .400 for a full season, batting .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. 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. His performance may have also been affected by a pitch he took in the elbow in an exhibition game a few days earlier. Either way, in his first and only World Series, Williams gathering just five singles in 25 at-bats for a .200 average.
The Cardinals won the 1946 Series when 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.
Along with Williams and Pesky, the Red Sox featured several other star players during the 1940s, including 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, Boston 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 Red 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." 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. Willie Mays also tried out for Boston and was highly praised by team scouts. 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 Red 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.
The 1960s also started poorly for the Red Sox, though 1961 saw the debut of Carl "Yaz" Yastrzemski, Williams' replacement in left field, who developed into one of the better hitters of a pitching-rich decade.
Red Sox fans know 1967 as the season of the "Impossible Dream." The slogan refers to the hit song from the popular musical play "Man of La Mancha." 1967 saw one of the great pennant races in baseball history with four teams in the AL pennant race until almost the last game. The BoSox 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), hitting .326 with 44 home runs and 121 RBIs. He finished one vote short of a unanimous MVP selection, as a Minnesota sportswriter placed Twins center fielder César Tovar first on his ballot. But the Red Sox lost the series — again to the St. Louis Cardinals, in seven games. Legendary pitcher Bob Gibson stymied the Red Sox winning three games.
An 18-year-old Bostonian rookie named Tony Conigliaro slugged 24 home runs 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. Although he did have a productive season in 1970, he was never the same.
Although the Red Sox were competitive 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. The 1975 Red Sox were as colorful as they were talented, with Yastrzemski and rookie outfielders Jim Rice and Fred Lynn, veteran outfielder Dwight Evans, catcher Carlton Fisk, and pitchers Luis Tiant and eccentric junkballer Bill "The Spaceman" Lee. Fred Lynn won both the American League Rookie of the Year award and the Most Valuable Player award, a feat which had never previously been accomplished, and was not duplicated until Ichiro Suzuki did it in 2001.. In the 1975 American League Championship Series, the Red Sox swept the Oakland A's.
In the 1975 World Series, they faced the heavily favored Cincinnati Reds, also known as The Big Red Machine. 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 at Fenway Park is considered among the greatest games in postseason history. Down 6–3 in the bottom of the eighth inning, Red Sox 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 at first base to preserve the tie. In the bottom of the twelfth inning, 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 complied, and bedlam ensued at Fenway as Fisk rounded the bases to win the game for the Red Sox 7–6.
In 1978, the Red Sox and the Yankees were involved in a tight pennant race. The Yankees were 14½ games behind the Red Sox in July, and on September 10, after completing a 4-game sweep of the Red Sox (known as "The Boston Massacre"), the Yankees tied for the divisional lead.
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 — with a win over Cleveland or a Boston loss to the Toronto Blue Jays clinching the division. 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.
The most remembered moment from the game was Bucky Dent's 7th inning three-run home run in off Mike Torrez just over the Green Monster, giving the Yankees their first lead. Reggie Jackson provided a solo home run in the 8th that proved to be the difference in the Yankees' 5–4 win, which ended with Yastrzemski popping out to Graig Nettles in foul territory with Rick Burleson representing the tying run at third.
Carl Yastrzemski retired after the 1983 season, during which the Red Sox finished sixth in the seven-team AL East, posting their worst record since 1966. 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, and no starting pitcher has won the MVP award in either league since.
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 games 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 two strikes, 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.
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 ], 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.
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 Slocum 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. 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 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.
It was during this period that Yankees fans started to chant "1918!" each time the Red Sox visited Yankee Stadium.
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 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 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 10½ games behind the Yankees for the division and 6 behind the Angels for the AL wild card.
In the off-season, Port was replaced by Yale graduate Theo Epstein. At the age of 28, Epstein became the youngest general manager in the history of MLB up to that point. He was raised in Brookline, Massachusetts.
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 2003 batting champion Bill Mueller batted 7th in the lineup behind sluggers Manny Ramírez and the newly acquired David Ortiz.
GM Theo Epstein, noticing that Mueller was hitting very well in a limited role, traded Shea Hillenbrand to the Arizona Diamondbacks for Byung-Hyun Kim. Receiving much more playing time following the trade, Ortiz contributed significantly in the second half of the season. The trade ended up greatly benefiting the team, as the Red Sox broke many batting records and won the AL Wild Card.
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 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 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 decided a change was in order and did not renew Little's contract. He was replaced by former Philadelphia Phillies manager Terry Francona.
During the 2003–04 offseason, the Red Sox acquired another ace pitcher, Curt Schilling, and a closer, Keith Foulke. Expectations once again ran high that 2004 would be the year that the Red Sox ended their championship drought. The regular season started well in April, but through mid-season the team struggled due to injuries, inconsistency, and defensive woes.
Management shook up the team at the MLB trading deadline on July 31 with a blockbuster four team trade. They traded the team's popular yet often injured shortstop Nomar Garciaparra with outfielder Matt Murton to the Chicago Cubs. The Cubs sent Brendan Harris, Alex Gonzalez and Francis Beltran to the Montreal Expos, and minor leaguer Justin Jones to the Minnesota Twins. The Red Sox received first baseman Doug Mientkiewicz from the Twins, and shortstop Orlando Cabrera from the Expos.
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. In the third game of the series, 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 ALCS against the Yankees.
The series started very poorly for the Red Sox. Schilling, pitching injured, was routed for six runs in three innings and Boston ended up losing Game 1. In the second game, 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.
Up to this point, no team in the history of baseball 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 Mariano Rivera in to close for the Yankees. 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, sending the game into extra innings. The Red Sox went on to win the game on a two-run home run by David Ortiz in the 12th inning. Game 5 would last 14 innings, setting the record for the longest ALCS game ever played. Both sides squandered many opportunities, until Ortiz again sealed the win with a walk-off RBI single in the bottom of the 14th.
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 only allowed one run over 7 innings to lead the Red Sox to victory. In Game 7, the Red Sox completed their historic comeback owing to the strength of Derek Lowe's pitching and Johnny Damon's two home runs (including a grand slam in the second inning). The 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.
The Red Sox swept the St. Louis Cardinals in the 2004 World Series. The Red Sox began the series with an 11–9 win, marked by Mark Bellhorn's game-winning home run off Pesky's Pole. Game 2 in Boston was won thanks to another great performance by the bloody-socked Curt Schilling. 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 3, and Derek Lowe and the Red Sox did not allow a single run in game 4. The game ended as Edgar Rentería hit the ball back to closer Keith Foulke. After Foulke lobbed the ball to Mientkiewicz at first, the Red Sox had won their first World Championship in 86 years. Until the Red Sox won the World Series, each time they visited Yankee Stadium, Yankee fans taunted them with demeaning chants of "1918! 1918!" Players on the Red Sox said that the team would never ever hear "1918!" at Yankee Stadium again.
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 city of Boston held a "rolling rally" for the team on October 30, 2004. Red Sox Nation packed the streets of Boston that Saturday 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, the club re-signed Jason Varitek and named him team captain. 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. The Yankees had won the season series, 10–9, thus they won the division, and the Red Sox settled for the Wild Card. Boston was swept in three games by the eventual 2005 World Series champion White Sox in the first round of the playoffs.
On October 31, 2005, general manager Theo Epstein resigned on the last day of his contract. On Thanksgiving evening, 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 broke the hearts of Red Sox Nation by signing a four-year, $52 million deal with the Yankees. The team filled the vacancy in center field left by Damon's departure 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. 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 Mike Lowell joining new shortstop Alex Gonzalez, second baseman Mark Loretta, and first baseman Kevin Youkilis was one of the best-fielding infields in baseball. The Red Sox committed the fewest errors in the American League in 2006, and on June 30, Boston set a major league record of 17 straight errorless games. One of the brightest spots of the 2006 season was the emergence of new closer Jonathan Papelbon. Papelbon ended up setting a Red Sox rookie record with 35 saves 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 Red Sox wilted under the pressure of mounting injuries and poor performances. Boston would compile a 9-21 record in the month of August. Injuries to Jason Varitek, Trot Nixon, and Manny Ramírez severely hurt the offense. Also, injuries to Tim Wakefield, rookie Jon Lester (diagnosed with lymphoma), and Matt Clement left the rotation with major holes to fill. The Red Sox finished 2006 with an 86–76 record and third place in the AL East.
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 superstar pitcher Daisuke Matsuzaka. Boston placed a bid of $51.1 million and had 30 days to complete a deal. On December 13, Matsuzaka signed a 6-year, $52 million contract.
Fan favorite Trot Nixon filed for free agency and agreed on a deal with the Indians. With an opening in right field, the Red Sox signed J.D. Drew on January 25, 2007 to a 5-year, $70 million contract. Free agent Shortstop Álex González was replaced by another free agent, Julio Lugo. Second baseman Mark Loretta also left via free agency for the Houston Astros, opening a spot for rookie Dustin Pedroia.
The Red Sox moved into first place in the AL East by mid-April and never relinquished their division lead. While Ortiz and Ramirez provided their usual offense, it was the hitting of Lowell, Youkilis, and Pedroia that 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 finished the first half over .300.
On the mound, Josh Beckett emerged as the ace of the staff and was 12–2 at the all-star break. His success was needed as Schilling, Matsuzaka, Wakefield and Tavarez all struggled at times. Meanwhile, the Boston bullpen, anchored by Papelbon and Hideki Okajima, was there to pick up the starters often. Papelbon served as the stopper, and the rise of Okajima as a legitimate setup man and occasional closer gave the Red Sox more options late in the game. Okajima posted an ERA of 0.88 through the first half and was selected for the All-Star Game.
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 the Blue Jays and Yankees. In the second half, more stars emerged for the Red Sox as they continued to lead the AL East. Beckett continued to shine, reaching 20 wins for the first time in his career. At one point, veteran Tim Wakefield found himself atop the AL in wins and finished with a 17–12 record. 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 with 120 RBI for the season. 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 and the Red Sox captured their first AL East title since 1995.
The Red Sox swept the Angels in the ALDS. Facing the Indians in the ALCS, Josh Beckett won Game 1 but the Red 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 Red 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.
The Red Sox faced the Colorado Rockies in the 2007 World Series. Beckett set the tone in game 1, 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 Red Sox offense made the difference again in a 10–5 win. Finally, in Game 4, Jon Lester took Wakefield's spot in the rotation and gave the Red 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 home run by Bobby Kielty, Papelbon registered another save as the Red Sox swept the Rockies in four games, capturing their second title in four years.
Following their World Series victory, the Red Sox were forced to address a few personnel questions in the hopes of repeating as champion. The team re-signed free agents Mike Lowell, Curt Schilling, Tim Wakefield and Mike Timlin. The Red Sox also added veteran first baseman Sean Casey to back up Kevin Youkilis.
Injuries to Schilling, Timlin, and Josh Beckett landed each pitcher on the disabled list before the season began, putting added pressure on young starters Jon Lester and Clay Buchholz. 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. Boston played well to start the season, settling into a top position in the AL East. However, the surprise Tampa Bay Rays took over the top of the division with a sweep over the Red Sox in early July. From May 17-22, the Sox had a winning streak of seven games, their longest of the season. On May 19, Lester threw the 18th no-hitter in team history, beating the Kansas City Royals 7–0. During the season, 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 minors. Injuries would take a toll on the Red Sox offense during the season. 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, 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 — playing in the final year of his eight 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 the team's 64 year old traveling secretary to the ground), criticizing ownership, and not playing 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 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 found new life. Kevin Youkilis had career highs in home runs (29) and RBIs (115). Closer Jonathan Papelbon set a career high in saves with 41. Daisuke Matsuzaka improved on his 2007 performance and led the team in wins, finishing with an 18–3 record. However, 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 average, hits, runs, and doubles. Despite Boston's 34–19 record following the trading deadline, the Rays held onto the AL East lead and captured their first division title in franchise history.
Boston still made the playoffs as the AL Wild Card. Behind the strong pitching of Jon Lester (two games started and no earned runs allowed), the Red Sox defeated the Angels in the 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 the greatest single game comeback in ALCS history. Trailing 7-0 in the 7th inning with elimination pending, the Red Sox came back to win the game 8-7. They tied the series at 3 games apiece before losing Game 7, 3–1, thus becoming the eighth team in a row since 2000 not to repeat as world champions. The Red Sox led the American League last season in shutouts with 16, but only two were complete games by the starter.
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.
Perhaps the most memorable game played at City of Palms was on March 7, 2004. This was the first game played between the Red Sox and New York Yankees since Aaron Boone hit the home run that eliminated the Red Sox from the playoffs the previous October. Boone's replacement at third base, Alex Rodriguez was the high profile key acquisition of the off season for the Yankees, and he was savagely booed by the 7,304 in attendance.
The Red Sox's lease with Fort Myers runs through 2019, however, team ownership had been toying with exercising the early out in their contract that allows them to leave following the 2009 spring season. Chief operating officer Mike Dee met with Sarasota officials on April 25, 2008 to discuss the possibility of the Red Sox moving to Sarasota's Ed Smith Stadium once its current spring inhabitants, the Cincinnati Reds, move to their new spring home in Goodyear, Arizona.
John Yarborough, director of Lee County Parks and Rec, met with Jeff Mudgett, a Fort Myers architect who is volunteering his time to brain storm ideas on what can be done to keep the Red Sox in Fort Myers. “I’d like to have a project by 2012,’’ Yarborough said after the meeting.
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.
Currently, the flagship radio station of the Red Sox is WRKO, 680 AM. Joe Castiglione, in his 25th year as the voice of the Red Sox, serves as the lead play-by-play announcer, along with the rotating team of Dave O'Brien, Dale Arnold 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. In addition WEEI 850 AM, WRKO's sister station and former Red Sox flagship station, broadcast all weekday afternoon games and Wednesday night games.
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 2006; before then, games were shown on such local stations as WBZ, WSBK, WLVI, WABU, and WFXT at various points in team history.
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 Rays). 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 only exception that has been made to date is for former Boston shortstop Johnny Pesky, whose number 6 was retired on 28 September 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, 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. In 2009, MLB had all uniformed players for all teams wear #42.
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.
There is also considerable 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 several players (including Orlando Cepeda, Mark Clear, Don Baylor, Larry Parrish, Jack Clark and Troy O'Leary). Number 25 is currently worn by the team's third baseman, Mike Lowell, who coincidentally won the Tony Conigliaro Award in 1999.
Matt Bush (born February 8, 1986 in San Diego, California) is a minor league baseball pitcher who is currently a free agent.
He was selected first overall by the San Diego Padres in the 2004 Major League Baseball Draft out of Mission Bay High School. When he signed with the Padres, he received a signing bonus of $3,150,000, which is the largest signing bonus ever given to a Padres draft pick.
Bush was the first shortstop drafted first overall from high school since the Seattle Mariners took Alex Rodriguez in 1993.
The Padres' selection of Bush in 2004 was controversial from the start. Jeff Niemann, Stephen Drew, and Jered Weaver were considered better, but San Diego did not think they were worth the bonus they would command as the top overall choice. As a compromise, they decided to take Bush who was from the San Diego area and was also considered an elite talent.
Bush's pro career began poorly when he was suspended before he ever took the field for his role in a fight outside an Arizona nightclub. The shortstop went on to hit .192 in 99 at bats between the Rookie-level Arizona League and the short-season Northwest League.
2005 did not bring improvement, as he hit .221 in 453 at bats for Fort Wayne.
During spring training 2006, he broke his ankle and missed half the season.
Bush struggled again in 2007, hitting to just a .583 OPS as of May 28. The Padres then converted the strong-armed Bush to a pitcher. His fastball reaches a speed of 95 mph, and he has prior knowledge of pitching from his days as a high school ace. After a promising start in rookie league, Bush tore a ligament in his pitching elbow and is not expected to pitch again until the 2009 season. On February 5, 2009, he was designated for assignment to make room for Cliff Floyd shortly after it was learned that Bush was allegedly involved in a drunken assault on a high school campus.
On February 10, 2009, Bush was traded to the Toronto Blue Jays for either a player to be named later or cash considerations. On April 1, 2009, Bush was released by the Toronto Blue Jays for violating their zero tolerance behavioral policy.
Claudio Vargas Almonte (born on June 19, 1978 in Valverde Mao, Dominican Republic) is a Major League Baseball pitcher for the Los Angeles Dodgers. In the past, he has started games and also pitched in both middle and long relief.
Vargas was signed as an undrafted free agent by the Florida Marlins in 1995 at age 16 and made his professional debut with the Marlins Dominican Summer League team, where he played in 1996 and 1997. In 1998 he pitched for the rookie league Gulf Coast Marlins and the Class-A Brevard County Manatees. He continued to pitch in the Marlins system through 2001 with the Kane County Cougars, Portland Sea Dogs and Calgary Cannons.
On July 11, 2002 he was traded by the Marlins (along with Wilton Guerrero, Cliff Floyd and cash) to the Montreal Expos for Donald Levinski, Justin Wayne, Carl Pavano, Mike Mordecai and Graeme Lloyd. In the Expos minor league system he pitched for the Harrisburg Senators and Edmonton Trappers.
Vargas made his Major League debut on April 26, 2003 against the Houston Astros and recorded his first victory in a 6-3 win over the San Francisco Giants. He made 23 appearances (20 starts) for the Expos in 2003, with a 6-8 record and 4.34 ERA. In 2004 he appeared in 45 games (only 14 starts) and went 5-5 with a 5.25 ERA.
He signed as a free agent with the Washington Nationals before the 2005 season but the Nationals designated him for assignment after he went 0-3 with a 17.55 ERA at the start of the season. He was claimed off waivers by the Arizona Diamondbacks on June 3 and went 9-6 with a 4.81 ERA in 21 games (19 starts) for the Diamondbacks the rest of the season. He remained with the team for the 2006 season and turned in a solid season, 12-10, 4.83 ERA in 30 starts.
In November 2006, Vargas was traded to the Milwaukee Brewers along with pitcher Greg Aquino and catcher Johnny Estrada, for outfielder Dave Krynzel, and pitchers Dana Eveland and Doug Davis.
In March 2008, Vargas was released by the Brewers after struggling in 2007 with a 11-6 record and 5.09 ERA in 23 starts (29 total appearances). In April, he was signed to a minor league deal with the New York Mets. In his Mets debut on May 14, 2008, he received a standing ovation from the Shea Stadium crowd, giving up only 2 earned runs and 3 hits, despite the loss to the Washington Nationals. Vargas was designated for assignment in June and spent the rest of the season in the minors.
In January 2009, Vargas signed a 1-year deal with the Los Angeles Dodgers.