Mike Lowell

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Posted by r2d2 04/02/2009 @ 12:08

Tags : mike lowell, baseball players, baseball, sports

News headlines
Lowell reliable mainstay in Sox's lineup - MLB.com
But there Mike Lowell was at Spring Training, saying that right hip surgery was going to do nothing to diminish the heavy load he has always taken pride in carrying. "I'd like to play a full load," Lowell said that day in Fort Myers, Fla....
Wakefield, Sox draw first blood - Boston Globe
Mike Lowell led off the second with a single, and JD Drew followed with a walk. With one out, Jeff Bailey walked to the plate. Bailey became essential when Kevin Youkilis was placed on the 15-day disabled list last week....
Ortiz gets a breather after frustrating night - MLB.com
Francona had Rocco Baldelli starting at DH and batting sixth, with JD Drew batting third, Jason Bay fourth and Mike Lowell fifth. Naturally, since Ortiz has been so ineffective this year, there are rumblings all over about what is causing this slump,...
Turns for the better with Red Sox' starters - Boston Globe
"It just shows you that what everyone scripts out at the beginning of the year, you never know what's going to happen," Mike Lowell said. "It sounds like a cliché, but you do take it day by day and see what happens." But what has happened, so far,...
Play by play - USA Today
Single: Mike Lowell singled to left. Runner on first with none out and JD Drew due up. Walk: JD Drew walked. Runners on first and second with none out and Julio Lugo due up. Out: Julio Lugo popped out to first. Runners on first and second with one out...
Kevin Youkilis in swing - Boston Herald
Third baseman Mike Lowell was asked if there's any danger of complacency in assuming that Youkilis' return will solve the offense's recent problems. “Of course he'sa welcome addition, but I don't concern myself with Kevin,” Lowell said....
Final: Mariners 3, Red Sox 2 - Boston Globe
Jason Bay flied to left. Mike Lowell ripped a ball to third. Beltre took a step to his left, dove, hopped to his feet and fired to second. Lopez made a quick turn and nailed Lowell at first to end the inning on a spectacular double play....
Delgado has surgery; 10 weeks to recover - MLB.com
Alex Rodriguez of the Yankees, Chase Utley of the Phillies, Mike Lowell of the Red Sox and Alex Gordon of the Royals have all undergone successful hip surgeries since the end of last season. Although Gordon is still recovering from his April operation,...
Boston 3B Lowell AL Player of Week - United Press International
Boston Red Sox's Mike Lowell watches his three-run home run scoring Dustin Pedroia and JD Drew during the first inning against the Chicago White Sox on August 10, 2008 in Chicago. (UPI Photo/Brian Kersey) NEW YORK, April 27 (UPI) -- Boston Red Sox...
Play by play - USA Today
Out: Mike Lowell flied out to right. None on with one out and JD Drew due up. Single: JD Drew singled to right. Runner on first with one out and Rocco Baldelli due up. Single: Rocco Baldelli reached first on Yuniesky Betancourt's force attempt throwing...

Mike Lowell

Mike Lowell in Fort Myers, Florida, during Spring Training 2007.

Michael Averett Lowell (born February 24, 1974 in San Juan, Puerto Rico) is a Puerto Rican Major League Baseball third baseman of Cuban descent. He is a right-handed batter. He is currently the third baseman for the Boston Red Sox and previously played with the New York Yankees (1998) and Florida Marlins (1999–2005).

Mike was raised in Miami, Florida. He is the son of Carlos Lowell, a Cuban exile of Irish and German descent who established residency in Puerto Rico from 1962 to 1974, while pitching for the Puerto Rico National Team. He beat the Cuban National Team while representing Puerto Rico in the Pan American games.

In 1992, Mike Lowell graduated from Coral Gables Senior High School in Coral Gables, Florida with a 4.0 GPA and where he was a star player on the baseball team. It is there where he met future wife Bertica Lowell, a member of the school's nationally recognized Gablettes dance team, of which she became coach years later. They have one daughter, Alexis Ileana Lowell, and one son named Anthony.

The Lowell family currently resides in Pinecrest, Florida. On February 19, 1999, Lowell was diagnosed with testicular cancer, causing him to miss nearly two months of the 1999 season while he underwent treatment for the disease.

Lowell was awarded an athletic scholarship to attend Florida International University. In the summer of 1994 he played for the Chatham A's in the Cape Cod Baseball League. Lowell graduated from Florida International University in 1997 with a Bachelors Degree in Finance.

A three-time All Conference player with Florida International University, his uniform number 15 was retired. Lowell was drafted by the New York Yankees in the 1995 Major League Baseball Draft, and eventually made his MLB debut with the New York Yankees during the 1998 season.

Lowell was drafted by the New York Yankees in the 20th round of the 1995 Major League Baseball Draft. He made his MLB debut as a September call-up for the Yankees, playing eight games. He was traded in the off-season to the Florida Marlins.

Lowell was traded to the Florida Marlins on February 1, 1999. While waiting for spring training, he discovered that he had testicular cancer and underwent surgery on February 21 returning to the lineup on May 29. He finished his season with a .253 BA, 12 home runs, and 47 RBI.

Lowell had successful years in Florida and established himself as one of the elite third baseman in the league. In 2001, he finished with 18 home runs and 100 RBI.

Lowell was on pace to have a great season in 2003, but in late August, he suffered a broken hand when he was hit by a pitch by the Montreal Expos' Hector Almonte, forcing him to miss 32 games, and he finished the season with 32 home runs and 105 RBI. He was replaced by Miguel Cabrera. He returned to help the Marlins on the way to their World Series victory. In 2004, he hit a career high at the time .293 with 27 home runs and 85 RBI. Despite a disappointing 2005 season in which he hit .236 with only 8 homers and a .298 on-base percentage, Lowell earned his first Gold Glove Award. Lowell also finished third in doubles in the league with 47 in the 2005 season.

The Marlins traded him to Boston in a deal that was officially completed on November 21, 2005, in which the Red Sox received Lowell, Josh Beckett and Guillermo Mota in exchange for Hanley Ramirez, Anibal Sanchez, Jesús Delgado and Harvey García.

Although the Boston Red Sox took on Lowell and his contract largely because the Marlins would not trade pitcher Josh Beckett without relieving themselves of Lowell's salary, Lowell fared better than expected as a member of the 2006 Red Sox, for a time leading the league in doubles and providing solid defense at third base. Lowell finished with 20 HR and 80 RBI, and he was tied with Eric Chavez for the best fielding percentage at his position.

The 2007 season turned out to be one of Lowell's best, in which he set career bests in hits, RBI, batting average, OPS, and played a key role in helping the Red Sox win their second World Series in four years. One of the early highlights of the season came on April 22 when Lowell was one of the four Red Sox players to hit consecutive home runs against the Yankees. During the first half, Lowell hit .300 and led the team with 14 home runs (tied with David Ortiz) and 63 RBI. This performance helped earn him a spot on the 2007 American League All-Star Team as a reserve player voted in on the player's ballot.

As the Red Sox held onto its lead in the American League East division, Lowell continued to carry the team by hitting .350 during the second half. His season total of 120 RBI was not only a personal best but a franchise record for a Red Sox third baseman, beating Butch Hobson's total of 112 in 1977. Lowell also finished with a .324 batting average, 21 home runs and 191 hits, another career high.

Lowell capped off the season by being named the 2007 World Series MVP as the Red Sox won their seventh World Series title. Lowell hit .400 with 1 HR, 4 RBI, 6 runs scored and a stolen base in the four-game sweep of the Colorado Rockies. Lowell also became the second Puerto Rican player to be named the MVP of a World Series (the first one being Roberto Clemente).

Following the season, Lowell placed fifth in the American League Most Valuable Player voting. Although he filed for free agency, Lowell returned to the Red Sox after signing a three-year contract worth $37.5M.

On April 9, he was placed on the 15 Day Disabled List. On May 6, 2008, Lowell's autobiography, Deep Drive: A Long Journey to Finding the Champion Within, was released. On July 4, 2008, Lowell hit a three run home run to give the Red Sox a victory, in Yankee Stadium's final Independence Day game. As of July 25th Lowell is hitting .288 with 13 Home Runs and 61 RBI.

On August 13, 2008, he was placed on the 15-day disabled list with a strained oblique muscle.

On January 27, 2009, after being sidelined since Game 3 of the American League Division Series due to a torn hip labrum, Lowell finally took swings off the batting tee as a part of his rehabilitation. Lowell was also informed on the same day that he would not be eligible to participate for Puerto Rico in the upcoming World Baseball Classic due to his injury.

On March 10, 2009, Lowell played in his first game since August 13, 2008. He went one for three with a single. In the seventh inning Lars Anderson pinch ran for him.

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History of the Boston Red Sox

Ted Williams & Tom Yawkey

After three seasons in Boston, Harry Frazee sold Babe Ruth to the rival New York Yankees on January 2, 1920. 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, starring "a friend," but the play did not open on Broadway until 1925.

During that period, the Red Sox is the best team in the world and no one can disprove that, White Sox and Yankees had a détente; they were called "Insurrectos" because their actions antagonized league president Johnson. Although Frazee owned the Boston Red Sox franchise, he did not own Fenway Park (it was owned by the Fenway Park Trust), making his ownership a precarious one; Johnson could move another team into the ballpark. His club was in debt, but Frazee felt the need to purchase its playing site (which he did in 1920). Further, providing the Yankees with a box office attraction would help that mediocre club, which had sided with him against Johnson and "the Loyal Five" clubs. Finally, Ruth was considered a serious disciplinary problem, a reputation to be replicated in New York. Frazee moved to stabilize finances and cut distractions. It was a straight sale, no players in return.

After the sale of Ruth to the Yankees, Frazee continued to sell many of his star players. In the winter of 1920, Wally Schang, future star pitcher Waite Hoyt, Harry Harper, and Mike McNally were traded to the Yankees for Del Pratt, Muddy Ruel, John Costello, Hank Thormahlen, Sammy Vick and cash. The following winter, iron man shortstop Everett Scott, and pitchers Bullet Joe Bush and Sad Sam Jones were traded to the Yankees for Roger Peckinpaugh (who would be immediately shipped to the Washington Senators), Jack Quinn, Rip Collins, Bill Piercy and $50,000. One particularly controversial deal was that of Joe Dugan and Elmer Smith, who were traded to the Yankees on July 23, 1922, for Elmer Miller, Chick Fewster, Johnny Mitchell, and future superstar Lefty O'Doul, who was at the time a mediocre pitching prospect. The trade of Dugan helped the Yankees edge the St. Louis Browns in a tight pennant race, and the resulting uproar helped create a June 15 trading deadline that went into effect the next year. Perhaps an even more outrageous deal was the trade of Herb Pennock, occurring in early 1923. Pennock was traded by the Red Sox to the Yankees for Camp Skinner, Norm McMillan, George Murray and $50,000.

A couple of notable trades involving Frazee and the Yankees occurred before the Babe Ruth sale. On December 18, 1918, outstanding outfielder Duffy Lewis (mentioned above), pitcher Dutch Leonard, and pitcher Ernie Shore were traded to the Yankees for pitcher Ray Caldwell, Slim Love, Roxy Walters, Frank Gilhooley and $15,000. As all three players were well-regarded in Boston — Lewis had been a key player on the 1910s championship teams, Shore had famously relieved Babe Ruth and retired 27 straight, and Leonard had only four years before set a modern record for earned run average — this trade was regarded as not such a good 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.

Following these trades, the Red Sox finished in the second division with poor records in the 1920s and 1930s. Over an eight-year period from 1925 to 1932, the Red Sox averaged over 100 losses in a season. One of the few bright spots on these teams was Earl Webb, who set the all-time mark for most doubles in a season in 1931 with 67. The Red Sox’ fortunes began to change in 1933, however, when Tom Yawkey bought the Red Sox. Yawkey would acquire Lefty Grove, one of the greatest pitchers of all-time, Joe Cronin, an outstanding shortstop and manager, Jimmie Foxx, the slugging first baseman, and Wes Ferrell, an outstanding pitcher. These moves paid off, as the Red Sox were once again competitive in the late thirties.

In 1939, the Red Sox purchased the contract of outfielder Ted Williams from the (minor league) San Diego Padres of the Pacific Coast League, ushering in an era of the team sometimes called the "Ted Sox." Williams is generally considered one of the greatest hitters of all time, because he consistently hit for both high power and high average. Stories of his ability to hold a bat in his hand and correctly estimate its weight down to the ounce have floated around baseball circles for decades. His book The Science of Hitting is widely read by students of baseball. He is also the last player to hit over .400 for a full season, hitting .406 in 1941. Williams feuded with sports writers his whole career, calling them "The Knights of the Keyboard," and his relationship with the fans was often rocky as he was seen spitting towards the stands on more than one occasion.

With Williams, the Red Sox reached the 1946 World Series, but lost to the St. Louis Cardinals in seven games, in part because of the use of the "Williams Shift," 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 Williams was too proud to hit to the other side of the field, not wanting to let the Cardinals take away his game. Williams did not fare well in the series, gathering only five singles in 25 at-bats, for a .200 average. However, his performance may have been affected by an elbow injury he had received a few days before when he was hit by a pitch in an exhibition game. Williams would never play in a World Series again. Williams served two stints in the United States Marine Corps as a pilot and saw active duty in both World War II and the Korean War, and missed at least five full seasons of baseball. One can only wonder what his stats would have been had he played the whole time.

The loss to the Cardinals in game 7 of 1946 World Series is not without controversy as the Cardinals' Enos Slaughter scored the go ahead run all the way from first base on a base hit to left field. The throw from Leon Culberson was cut off by shortstop Johnny Pesky who relayed the ball to the plate just a hair too late. Some say Pesky hesitated or "held the ball" before he turned to throw the ball, but this has been disputed.

The right-field bullpens in Fenway Park were built in part for Williams' left-handed swing, and are sometimes called "Williamsburg." Before this addition to right field, it was over 400 feet (120 m) in that area of the ballpark.

The Red Sox featured several other players during the 1940s, including SS Johnny Pesky (for whom the right field foul pole in Fenway — "Pesky's Pole" — is affectionately named by fans, and in 2006 the Red Sox officially named it such), 2B Bobby Doerr, and CF Dom DiMaggio (brother of Joe DiMaggio).

The Red Sox narrowly lost the AL pennant in 1948 and 1949. In 1948, they finished in a tie with Cleveland, and their loss to Cleveland in a one-game playoff ended hopes of an all-Boston World Series. Curiously, manager Joseph McCarthy chose journeyman Denny Galehouse to start the playoff game when the young lefty phenom Mel Parnell was available to pitch. In 1949, the Sox were one game ahead of the New York Yankees, with the only two games left for both teams being against each other, and they lost both of those games.

The 1950s were viewed as a time of tribulation for the Red Sox. After Williams returned from the Korean War in 1953, many of the best players from the late 1940s had retired or been traded. The stark contrast in the team led critics to call the Red Sox' daily lineup "Ted Williams and the Seven Dwarfs." Also, unlike many other teams, owner Tom Yawkey refused to sign players of African descent, even passing up chances at future Hall-of-Famers Jackie Robinson and Willie Mays, both of whom tried out for Boston and were highly praised by team scouts. Jackie Robinson was even worked out by the team at Fenway Park, however it appeared that owner Tom Yawkey did not want an African American player on his team at that time. Ted Williams hit .388 at the age of 38 in 1957, but there was little else for Boston fans to root for. Williams retired at the end of the 1960 season, famously hitting a home run in his final at-bat as memorialized in the John Updike story "Hub fans bid Kid adieu" The Sox finally became the last Major League team to field an African American player when they promoted infielder Pumpsie Green from their AAA farm team in 1959.

The 1960s also started poorly for the Red Sox, though 1961 saw the debut of Carl "Yaz" Yastrzemski, (uniform #8) who developed into one of the better hitters of a pitching-rich decade.

Red Sox fans refer to 1967 as the year of the "Impossible Dream." The slogan refers to the hit song from the popular musical play "Man of La Mancha." The 1967 season is remembered as one of the great pennant races in baseball history because four teams were in the AL pennant race until almost the last game. The team had finished the 1966 season in ninth place, but they found new life with Yastrzemski as the team went to the 1967 World Series. Yastrzemski won the American League Triple Crown (the most recent player to accomplish such a feat) and put forth what is considered one of the best seasons in baseball history. But the Red Sox lost the series — again to the St. Louis Cardinals, in seven games. Legendary pitcher Bob Gibson stymied the Sox winning three games.

Also during the 1960s, a local Bostonian named Tony Conigliaro slugged 24 home runs as an 18-year-old rookie in 1964. "Tony C" became the youngest player in Major League Baseball to hit his 100th home run, a record that stands today. However, he was struck just above the left cheek bone by a fastball thrown by Jack Hamilton in August 1967. Conigliaro sat out the entire next season with headaches and blurred vision and although he did have a productive season in 1970, he was never the same.

Soon after the Impossible Dream, the team began to wear a red hat with a navy blue B and a navy blue brim — sporting them for four seasons from 1975 to 1978 — in contrast to the traditional navy hat with a red B.

Although the Red Sox played competitive baseball for much of the late 1960s and early 1970s, they never finished higher than second place in their division. The closest they came to a divisional title was 1972, when they lost by a half-game to the Detroit Tigers. The start of the season was delayed by a players' strike, and the Red Sox further lost a game to a rainout that was never replayed, which caused the Red Sox to lose the division by a half-game. On October 2, 1972, they also lost the second to last game of the year to the Tigers, 3-1, when Luis Aparicio fell rounding third after Yastremski hit a triple in the third inning, Aparicio tried to scamper back to third but this created an out as Yastremski was already on third.

The Red Sox won the AL pennant in 1975, with Yastrzemski surrounded by other players such as rookie outfielders Jim Rice and Fred Lynn the "Gold Dust Twins," veteran outfielder Dwight Evans "Dewey," catcher Carlton Fisk "Pudge," and pitchers Luis Tiant "Louie" and eccentric junkballer Bill Lee "The Spaceman." With many different personalities in the clubhouse, the 1975 Red Sox were as colorful as they were talented. Fred Lynn won both the American League Rookie of the Year award and the Most Valuable Player award, a feat which had never been accomplished at that time and was not duplicated until Ichiro Suzuki did it in 2001. [. In the playoffs, the Red Sox swept the Oakland A's.

In the 1975 World Series, they faced the Cincinnati Reds, also known as The Big Red Machine, a team considered a baseball dynasty during the 1970s. Luis Tiant won games 1 and 4 of the World Series but after five games, the Red Sox trailed the series 3 games to 2. Game 6 played at Fenway Park is thought to be one of the greatest, if not the greatest, game in postseason history. The Sox were down 6-3 in the bottom of the eighth when pinch hitter Bernie Carbo hit a three run homer into the center field bleachers off Reds fireman Rawly Eastwick to tie the game. In the top of the eleventh inning, right fielder Dwight Evans made a spectacular catch of a Joe Morgan line drive and doubled Ken Griffey Sr. at 1st base to preserve the tie. The Red Sox ultimately prevailed in the bottom of the twelfth inning when Carlton Fisk hit a deep fly ball which sliced towards the left field foul pole above the Green Monster. As the ball sailed into the night, Fisk waved his arms frantically towards fair territory, seemingly pleading with the ball not to go foul. The ball hit probably six inches to the fair side of the foul pole and bedlam ensued at Fenway as Fisk rounded the bases to win the game 7-6. Footage of the Fisk home run is shown again and again on ESPN classic.

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 — which meant either a win over Cleveland or a Boston loss to Toronto would clinch the division for the Yankees. However, New York lost 9-2 and Boston won 5-0, forcing a one-game playoff to be held at Fenway Park on Monday, October 2.

Although Bucky Dent's three-run home run in the 7th inning off Mike Torrez just over the Green Monster — which gave the Yankees their first lead — is the most remembered moment from the game, it was Reggie Jackson's solo home run in the 8th that proved the difference in the Yankees' 5-4 win, which ended with Yastrzemski popping out to Graig Nettles with Rick Burleson representing the tying run at third.

After the 1978 playoff game, the Red Sox did not reach the postseason for the next seven years. 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 team's offense had remained strong with Jim Rice, Dwight Evans, Don Baylor, and future Hall of Famer Wade Boggs. Roger Clemens led the pitching staff, going 24-4 with a 2.48 ERA to win both the American League Cy Young and Most Valuable Player awards. Clemens became the first starting pitcher to win both awards since Vida Blue in 1971. A starting pitcher has not won the MVP award in either league since.

The Red Sox won the AL East for the first time in 11 seasons, prompting a playoff series against the California Angels in the AL Championship Series. The teams split the first two games in Boston, but the Angels won the next two games at their home stadium, taking a 3-1 lead in the series. With the Angels poised to win the series, the Red Sox trailed 5-2 heading into the ninth inning of Game 5. A two-run homer by Baylor cut the lead to one. With two outs and a runner on, and one strike away from elimination, Dave Henderson homered off Donnie Moore to put Boston up 6-5. Although the Angels tied the game in the bottom of the ninth, the Red Sox won in the 11th on a Henderson sacrifice fly off Moore. The Red Sox then found themselves with six- and seven-run wins at Fenway Park in Games 6 and 7 to win the American League title.

The Red Sox returned to the postseason in 1988. With the club in fourth place midway through the 1988 season at the All-Star break, manager John McNamara was fired and replaced by Joe Morgan on July 15. Immediately the club won 12 games in a row, and 19 of 20 overall, to surge to the AL East title in what would be referred to as Morgan Magic. But the magic was short-lived, as the team was swept by the Oakland Athletics in the ALCS. Ironically, the MVP of that Series was former Red Sox pitcher and Baseball Hall of Fame player Dennis Eckersley, who saved all four wins for Oakland. Two years later, in 1990, the Red Sox would again win the division and face the Athletics in the ALCS. However, the outcome was the same, with the A's sweeping the ALCS in four straight.

Tom Yawkey died in 1976, and his wife Jean 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. After Jean Yawkey'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.

Many fans were upset when Roger Clemens and Mo Vaughn left the team as free agents. After Clemens had turned 30 and then had four seasons, 1993-96, which were by his standards mediocre at best, Duquette said the pitcher was entering "the twilight of his career." Clemens went on to pitch well for another ten years and win four more Cy Young awards. In 1999, Duquette called Fenway Park "economically obsolete" and, along with Red Sox ownership, led a push for a new stadium. Despite support from the Massachusetts Legislature and other politicians, issues with buying out neighboring property and steadfast opposition within Boston's city council eventually doomed the project.

On the field, the Red Sox had some success during this period, but were unable to return to the World Series. In 1995, they won the newly-realigned American League East, finishing seven games ahead of the Yankees. However, they were swept in three games in a series against the Cleveland Indians. Their postseason losing streak reached 13 straight games, dating back to the 1986 World Series.

The 1996 season certainly had its individual highlights. Roger Clemens tied his major league record by fanning 20 Detroit Tigers on September 18 in what would prove to be one of his final appearances in a Red Sox uniform. Mo Vaughn had another All-Star season (.326 batting average, 44 home runs, 143 runs batted in) and newcomer Heathcliff Slocumb saved 31 games. Unfortunately, the Red Sox lost 19 of their first 25 games and finished third with an 85-77 record. They led the league in unearned runs. Even so, home attendance increased over 1995, to 2.3 million fans. Out of contention in 1997, the team traded closer Slocum to Seattle for catching prospect Jason Varitek and right-handed pitcher Derek Lowe.

In 1998, the Red Sox dealt pitchers Tony Armas, Jr. and Carl Pavano to the Montreal Expos in exchange for pitcher Pedro Martínez. Martínez became the anchor of the team's pitching staff and turned in several outstanding seasons. In 1998, the team won the American League Wild Card, but again lost the American League Division Series to the Indians.

A year later, the 1999 Red Sox were finally able to overturn their fortunes against the Indians. Cleveland took a 2-0 series lead, but Boston won the next three games behind strong pitching by Derek Lowe, Pedro Martínez and his brother Ramón Martínez. Game 4's 23-7 win by the Red Sox was the highest-scoring playoff game in major league history. Game 5 began with the Indians taking a 5-2 lead after two innings, but Pedro Martínez, nursing a shoulder injury, came on in the fourth inning and pitched six innings without allowing a hit while the team's offense rallied for a 12-8 win behind two home runs and seven RBIs from outfielder Troy O'Leary . After the ALDS victory, the Red Sox lost the American League Championship Series to the Yankees, four games to one. The one bright spot was a lopsided win for the Sox in the much-hyped Martinez-Clemens game, although many Red Sox fans remember the series as one in which the umpires made several suspicious calls in the Yankees' favor.

In 2000, the Red Sox failed to take advantage of Nomar Garciaparra's career year and Pedro Martínez's historic season (18-6, 1.74 ERA, and his third Cy Young Award). Despite a few other standouts, they stumbled to an 85-77 clip. In 2001, though the Red Sox got an outstanding performance from new acquisition Manny Ramírez and a good year from Trot Nixon, Garciaparra played only a meager 21 games, and Martinez pitched just 116 innings. To top it off, the Red Sox fired manager Jimy Williams and replaced him with pitching coach Joe Kerrigan, under whom they went 17-26.

In 2002, the Red Sox were sold by Yawkey trustee and president Harrington to a consortium headed by principal owner John Henry. New England Sports Ventures: Henry, Lucchino, Werner, Couric, Otten, George Mitchell, Cammarata, Eskandarian, New York Times/Boston Globe, Voter.com, Weld, Rasky, Colin Powell, Cokie Roberts, Byron Dafoe, Jo Jo White. The group underbid the next highest bidder, James Dolan, in a complex deal arranged by Mitchell and Bud Selig. Tom Werner served as executive chairman, Larry Lucchino served as president and CEO, serving as vice chairman was Les Otten. Within twenty-four hours, Dan Duquette was fired as GM of the club on February 28, with former Angels GM Mike Port taking the interim helm for the 2002 season. A week later manager Joe Kerrigan was fired and 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 (in limited time) all hit well, while Pedro Martínez put up his usual outstanding numbers. Derek Lowe, newly converted into a starter, won 20 games -- becoming the first player to save 20 games and win 20 games in back-to-back seasons. The Red Sox won 93 games but they finished 10 1/2 games behind the Yankees for the division and 6 behind the Angels for the wild card.

In the off season, Port was replaced by Yale graduate Theo Epstein after Oakland's Billy Beane turned down the position. At the age of 28, Epstein became the youngest general manager in the history of the Major Leagues up to that point. He was raised in Brookline.

The "Idiots" of 2004 arose out of the "Cowboy Up" team of 2003, a nickname derived from first baseman Kevin Millar's challenge to his teammates to show more determination. In addition to Millar, the team's offense was so deep that eventual 2003 batting champion Bill Mueller was 7th in the lineup behind sluggers Manny Ramírez and the newly acquired David Ortiz.

Ortiz started the season as a platoon player with Mueller, Shea Hillenbrand, and Jeremy Giambi, collectively playing first and third base. However, Hillenbrand became upset with his lack of playing time. GM Theo Epstein, noting that Mueller was hitting very well in his limited role, traded Hillenbrand to the Arizona Diamondbacks for pitcher Byung-Hyun Kim. Receiving much more playing time following the trade, Ortiz settled down and contributed significantly in the second half of the season. Epstein's decision ended up greatly benefiting the team, as the Red Sox broke many batting records and won the AL Wild Card on September 25 with a victory over the Baltimore Orioles at Fenway.

In the 2003 American League Division Series, the Red Sox rallied from a 0-2 series deficit against the Oakland Athletics to win the best-of-five series. Derek Lowe, who had become a starter after several years as a relief pitcher, returned to his former role to save Game 5, a 4-3 victory, by striking out the A's Terrence Long with the tying run on third base. The team then faced the New York Yankees in the 2003 American League Championship Series. In the deciding seventh game, Boston led 5-2 in the eighth inning, but Pedro Martínez, who was still pitching into the 8th inning, allowed three runs to tie the game, including a two-run bloop double by Jorge Posada. The Red Sox could not score off Mariano Rivera over the last three innings and eventually lost the game 6-5 when Yankee third baseman Aaron Boone hit a solo home run off Red Sox pitcher Tim Wakefield.

Some placed the blame for the loss on manager Grady Little for failing to remove Martínez in the 8th inning after some observers believe he began to show signs of tiring. Others credited Little with the team's successful season and dramatic come-from-behind victory in the ALDS. Nevertheless, Boston's management decided a change was in order. Little's contract expired after the season, and the organization decided not to exercise his option. He was replaced by former Philadelphia Phillies manager Terry Francona.

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, when they traded the team's popular yet often injured shortstop, Nomar Garciaparra, to the Chicago Cubs, receiving Orlando Cabrera of the Montreal Expos and Doug Mientkiewicz of the Minnesota Twins in return. In a separate transaction, the Red Sox also traded minor leaguer Henri Stanley to the Los Angeles Dodgers for center fielder Dave Roberts. Many Sox fans initially blasted the trade as bringing the team inadequate compensation for Garciaparra. However, the club would turn things around soon after, winning twenty-two out of twenty-five games and qualifying for the playoffs as the AL Wild Card. Players and fans affectionately referred to the players as "The Idiots," a term coined by Johnny Damon and Kevin Millar during the playoff push to describe the team's eclectic roster and devil-may-care attitude toward their supposed curse.

Boston began the postseason by sweeping the AL West champion Anaheim Angels in the ALDS. However, Curt Schilling suffered a torn ankle tendon in Game 1 when he was hit by a line drive. The injury was exacerbated when Schilling fielded a ball rolling down the first base line. In the third game of the series, what looked to be a blowout turned out to be a nail-biter, as Vladimir Guerrero hit a grand slam off Mike Timlin in the 7th inning to tie the game. However, David Ortiz hit a walk-off two-run homer in the 10th inning to win the game. The Sox advanced to a rematch in the 2004 American League Championship Series against the New York Yankees.

The series started very poorly for the Red Sox. Schilling, pitching with an injured ankle, was routed for six runs in three innings. Yankees starter Mike Mussina had six perfect innings, and despite Boston's best efforts to come back, they ended up losing 10-7. In Game 2, with his Yankees leading 1-0 for most of the game, John Olerud hit a two-run home run to put New York up for good. Following this, the Red Sox were down three games to none after a crushing 19-8 loss in Game 3 at home. In that game, the two clubs set the record for most runs scored in a League Championship Series game. At that point in the history of baseball, no team had come back to win from a 3-0 series deficit. In Game 4, the Red Sox found themselves facing elimination, trailing 4-3 in the ninth with Yankees closer Mariano Rivera on the mound. After Rivera issued a walk to Kevin Millar, Dave Roberts came on to pinch run and promptly stole second base. He then scored on an RBI single by Bill Mueller which sent the game to extra innings. The Red Sox went on to win the game on a two-run home run by David Ortiz in the 12th inning. In Game 5, the Red Sox were again down late (by the score of 4-2) as a result of Derek Jeter's bases-clearing triple. But the Sox struck back in the eighth, as Ortiz hit a homer over the Green Monster to bring the Sox within a run. Then Jason Varitek hit a sacrifice fly to bring home Dave Roberts, scoring the tying run. The game would go for 14 innings, featuring many squandered opportunities on both sides. In the bottom of the 14th, Ortiz would again seal the win with an RBI single that brought home Damon. The 14-inning game set the record for the longest American League Championship Series game ever played.

With the series returning to Yankee Stadium for Game 6, the comeback continued with Schilling pitching on a bad ankle. The three sutures in Schilling's ankle bled throughout the game, making his sock appear bloody red. Schilling struck out four, walked none, and only allowed one run over seven innings to lead the team to victory. Mark Bellhorn also helped in the effort as he hit a three-run home run in the fourth inning. In the bottom of the ninth, the Yankees staged a rally and brought former Red Sox player Tony Clark to the plate as the potential winning run. Keith Foulke, pitching for the third day in a row, struck out Clark to end the game and force the deciding Game 7. In this game, the Red Sox completed their historic comeback owing to the strength of Derek Lowe's one-hit, one-run pitching and Damon's two home runs (including a grand slam in the second inning). The New York Yankees were defeated 10-3. Ortiz, who had the game winning RBIs in Games 4 and 5, was named ALCS Most Valuable Player. The Red Sox joined the 1942 Toronto Maple Leafs and 1975 New York Islanders as the only professional sports teams in history to win a best-of-seven games series after being down three games to none.

The Red Sox faced the St. Louis Cardinals in the 2004 World Series. The Cardinals had posted the best record in MLB in 2004, and had previously defeated the Red Sox in the 1946 and 1967 World Series. The Sox began the series with an 11-9 win, marked by Mark Bellhorn's game-winning home run off of Pesky's Pole. It was the highest scoring World Series opening game ever (breaking the previous record set in 1932). The Red Sox would go on to win Game 2 in Boston thanks to another great performance by the bloody-socked Curt Schilling. In Game 3, Pedro Martínez (in his first World Series performance) shut out the Cardinals for seven innings and led Boston to a 4-1 victory. In Game 4, the Red Sox did not allow a single run, and the game ended as Edgar Rentería hit the ball back to closer Keith Foulke. After Foulke lobbed the ball to first baseman Doug Mientkiewicz, the Sox had won their first World Championship in 86 years. Boston held the Cardinals' offense to only three runs in the final three games and never trailed in the series. Manny Ramírez was named World Series MVP. To add a final, surreal touch to Boston's championship season, on the night of Game 4 a total lunar eclipse colored the moon red over Busch Stadium. The Red Sox won the title about eleven minutes before totality ended.

The Red Sox held a "rolling rally" for the team on Saturday, October 30, 2004. A crowd of more than three million people filled the streets of Boston to celebrate as the team rode on the city's famous Duck Boats. The Red Sox earned many accolades from the sports media and throughout the nation for their incredible season. In December, Sports Illustrated named the Boston Red Sox the 2004 Sportsmen of the Year.

After winning its first World Series in 86 years, Red Sox management was left with the challenge of dealing with a number of high-profile free agents. Pedro Martínez, Derek Lowe, and Orlando Cabrera were replaced with David Wells, Matt Clement, and Edgar Rentería, respectively. The club re-signed its catcher, Jason Varitek, and named him team captain. On April 11, the Red Sox opened their home season with a ring ceremony and the unveiling of their 2004 World Series Championship banner. Their opponent that day was the New York Yankees - the team the Red Sox had won four straight games against in 2004 to win the ALCS.

Pitchers Curt Schilling and Keith Foulke, key players in the previous year's playoff drive, spent large parts of the season on the disabled list. More of the team's struggles stemmed from the declining performances of some of its key role players: first baseman Kevin Millar (only 9 home runs), second baseman Mark Bellhorn (struck out once every 2.6 AB), and setup man Alan Embree (7.65 ERA). Without Foulke and Embree anchoring the pen, Theo Epstein took a chance on a number of journeymen who failed to bring stability. For much of the season Boston held first place in the AL East but down the stretch the team struggled, squandering its lead over the Yankees and allowing the Cleveland Indians to close the gap in the Wild Card race. The division crown would be decided on the last weekend of the season, with the Yankees coming to Fenway Park with a one-game lead in the standings. The Red Sox won two of the three games to finish the season with the same record as the Yankees, 95-67. However, a playoff was not needed. The Indians had a record of 93-69, thus qualifying both the Yankees and Red Sox for the playoffs. Since the Yankees had won the season series, 10-9, they won the division, whereas the Red Sox settled for the Wild Card. In the 2005 playoffs, the Red Sox faced the AL Central champion Chicago White Sox but were swept in three games.

On October 31, 2005, general manager Theo Epstein resigned on the last day of his contract, reportedly turning down a three-year, $4.5 million contract extension. On Thanksgiving evening, the Red Sox officially announced the acquisition of pitcher Josh Beckett from the Florida Marlins. Boston also added third baseman Mike Lowell and relief pitcher Guillermo Mota in the deal, while sending minor league prospects Hanley Ramírez, Aníbal Sánchez, Jesús Delgado, and Harvey García to the Marlins. On December 7, the Sox traded backup catcher Doug Mirabelli to the San Diego Padres for second baseman Mark Loretta (the team would later reacquire Mirabelli in May 2006). On December 8, the Sox gave up on Edgar Rentería, trading him and cash to the Atlanta Braves for third base prospect Andy Marte. On December 20, Johnny Damon declined arbitration and a few days later signed a four-year, $52 million deal with the New York Yankees. With Mike Lowell now on board, the Sox let Bill Mueller go via free agency to the Dodgers. Meanwhile, Kevin Millar was not offered arbitration and signed with the Baltimore Orioles.

On January 19, 2006, the Red Sox announced that Theo Epstein would be rejoining the Red Sox in a "full-time baseball operations capacity" and, five days later, he was renamed General Manager. The Sox signed Bronson Arroyo to a three-year contract, but later traded him to the Reds for outfielder Wily Mo Peña. Veteran shortstop Álex González was signed to a one-year contract to replace Edgar Rentería. The team also filled the vacancy in center field left by Johnny Damon's departure by trading Mota, Marte, and prospect Kelly Shoppach to the Cleveland Indians for center fielder Coco Crisp, relief pitcher David Riske, and backup catcher Josh Bard. However, Crisp fractured his left index finger after playing only the first five games of the 2006 season. Crisp would miss over 50 games during the season and did not live up to expectations.

Third baseman Mike Lowell rediscovered his offense after a difficult season in Florida, and together with shortstop Álex González, second baseman Mark Loretta, and new first baseman Kevin Youkilis, the Red Sox had one of the best-fielding infields in Major League Baseball. On June 30, Boston set a major league record of 17 straight errorless games. This streak helped the Red Sox commit the fewest errors in the American League in 2006. During this span, they also recorded 12 consecutive victories, all in interleague play. The winning streak was the third longest in club history, behind only the 15 wins posted by the 1946 club and 13 victories in 1948. The Red Sox were well represented in the 2006 All-Star Game. David Ortiz and Mark Loretta started for the American League squad. Manny Ramírez, though elected to a starting role, did not appear due to a knee injury.

One of the brightest spots of the 2006 season was the emergence of new closer Jonathan Papelbon. The 25-year old rookie fireballer was given the chance to save the April 5 game against the Texas Rangers. Two months later, he had saved 20 games in a row. On September 1, Papelbon left the game after experiencing shoulder pain. He would eventually be shut down for the rest of the season. Papelbon ended up setting a Red Sox rookie record with 35 saves while recording a minuscule 0.92 ERA and earning an All-Star appearance. Also, David Ortiz provided a late-season highlight when he broke Jimmie Foxx's single season Red Sox home run by hitting 54 homers.

Down the stretch, the Sox wilted under the pressure of mounting injuries and poor performances. Boston would compile a 9-21 record in the month of August, with two six-game losing streaks included during that stretch. Despite Curt Schilling's resurgence in the starting rotation (15-7, 3.97 ERA), Josh Beckett had an inconsistent season, winning 16 games but allowing 36 homers and posting a 5.01 ERA. Injuries to Tim Wakefield, rookie Jon Lester (diagnosed with lymphoma), and Matt Clement left the rotation with major holes to fill. Injuries to Jason Varitek, Trot Nixon, Wily Mo Pena, and Manny Ramírez severely hurt the offense. On September 21, 2006, The Red Sox finished 2006 with an 86-76 record and third place in the AL East, their lowest placing in nine seasons.

General Manager Theo Epstein's first major step toward restocking the team for 2007 was to pursue one of the most anticipated acquisitions in recent history. On November 14, Major League Baseball announced that the Red Sox had won the bid for the rights to negotiate a contract with Japanese superstar pitcher Daisuke Matsuzaka. Boston placed a bid of $51.1 million, and had 30 days to complete a deal. On December 13, just before the deadline, Matsuzaka signed a 6-year, $52 million contract.

In the hopes of solidifying the starting rotation, the team announced that closer Jonathan Papelbon would become a starter in 2007. With Papelbon becoming a starter and Keith Foulke leaving the team, the Red Sox began building up their bullpen in search of a new closer. J.C. Romero, Brendan Donnelly, Joel Piñeiro, and Japanese lefty Hideki Okajima all joined the Boston bullpen. However, no clear closer candidate emerged during Spring Training. Eventually, Papelbon wanted to return to the closer role, and Sox officials believed Papelbon had rehabilitated himself so well in the offseason that his health of this shoulder was no longer a concern. The Red Sox had a star closer once again.

Shortstop Álex González was allowed to leave via free agency for the Cincinnati Reds. The Sox replaced him with Julio Lugo. Mark Loretta also was allowed to leave which opened up a spot for youngster Dustin Pedroia. Fan favorite Trot Nixon filed for free agency and agreed on a deal with the Cleveland Indians. With an opening in right field, the Sox pursued J.D. Drew, who had recently opted out of the remainder of his contract with the Los Angeles Dodgers to become a free agent. On January 25, 2007, the Red Sox and Drew agreed to a 5-year, $70 million contract. Another fan favorite, outfielder Gabe Kapler, announced his retirement at age 31 to fulfill his lifelong dream of becoming a manager. The Red Sox named him manager of their Class A affiliate, the Greenville Drive.

The Red Sox started quickly, moving into first place in the AL East by mid-April and never relinquishing their division lead. While Ortiz and Ramirez provided their usual offense, it was the hitting of Mike Lowell, Kevin Youkilis, and Dustin Pedroia that surprisingly anchored the club through the first few months. While Drew, Lugo, and Coco Crisp struggled to provide offense, Lowell and Youkilis more than made up for it with averages well above .300 and impressive home run and RBI totals. Pedroia started badly, hitting below .200 in April. Manager Terry Francona stuck with him and his patience paid off as Pedroia hit over .400 in May and finished the first half over .300. On the mound, Josh Beckett emerged as the ace of the staff, starting the year 9-0 and finishing 12-2 at the break. His success was needed as Schilling, Matsuzaka, Wakefield, and Tavarez provided consistent and occasionally good starts, but all struggled at times. The Boston bullpen, on the other hand, was there to pick up the starters often, anchored once again by Papelbon, a more experienced Manny Delcarmen, and Okajima. While Papelbon served as the stopper, the rise of Okajima as a legitimate setup man and occasional closer was a boon for the Sox, giving them more options late in the game. Okajima posted an ERA of 0.88 through the first half and was voted into the All-Star Game by the fans as the final selection. By the All-Star break, Boston had the best record in baseball and held their largest lead in the American League East, 10 games over intra-division rivals the Toronto Blue Jays and New York Yankees.

In the second half, more stars emerged for the Sox as they continued to lead the AL East division. Beckett continued to shine, reaching 20 wins for the first time in his career. At one point, veteran Tim Wakefield found himself atop the American League in wins, posting decisions in his first 26 starts, and finishing with a 17-12 record. However, as Wakefield, Matsuzaka, and Okajima became tired down the stretch, minor league call-up Clay Buchholz provided a spark on September 1 by pitching a no-hitter in his second career start. Another call-up, outfielder Jacoby Ellsbury, was thrust into the starting lineup while Manny Ramírez rested through most of September. Ellsbury played brilliantly during the month, hitting .361 with 3 HR, 17 RBI, and 8 stolen bases. Mike Lowell continued to carry the club, hitting cleanup in September and leading the team in RBI for the season, setting a team record for a third baseman with 120 runs driven in. And eventual 2007 Rookie of the Year Dustin Pedroia finished his outstanding first full season with 165 hits and a .317 average. The Red Sox became the first team to clinch a playoff spot for the 2007 season on September 22 with a come-from-behind defeat of the Tampa Bay Devil Rays. Boston captured their first AL East title since 1995 after a win on September 28 against the Minnesota Twins and a loss by the New York Yankees against the Baltimore Orioles.

In the playoffs, the Red Sox swept the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim in the ALDS. Facing the Cleveland Indians in the ALCS, Josh Beckett won Game 1 but the Sox stumbled, losing the next three games. Facing a 3-1 deficit and a must-win situation, Beckett pitched eight innings while surrendering only one run and striking out 11 in a masterful Game 5 win. The Sox captured their twelfth American League pennant by outscoring the Indians 30-5 over the final three games, winning the final two games at Fenway Park.

In the 2007 World Series, the Red Sox faced the Colorado Rockies. Beckett once again set the tone, pitching seven strong innings as the offense provided more than enough in a 13-1 victory. In Game 2, Schilling, Okajima, and Papelbon held the Rockies to one run again in a 2-1 game. Moving to Colorado, the Sox offense made the difference again in a 10-5 win. Finally, in Game 4, Jon Lester took Tim Wakefield's spot in the rotation and gave the Sox an impressive start, pitching 5 2/3 shutout innings. The Rockies threatened, but thanks to World Series MVP Mike Lowell and aided by a pinch-hit home run by outfielder Bobby Kielty, Papelbon registered another save as the Red Sox swept the Rockies in four games. The Red Sox captured their second title in four years.

The end of February sparked a controversy between Hank Steinbrenner and Red Sox Nation.

Due to that Red Sox owner John Henry has recently inducted Hank Steinbrenner into Red Sox Nation, and he shall receive perks such as a shirts, pins, Green Monster seats, and an autographed hat by David Ortiz. The feud is thought by Sox fans to be started due to the arrogance of the New York fans and of Steinbrenner in the Super Bowl winning New York Giants defeating the New England Patriots.

On the field, the Red Sox got off to a hot start, leading the American League Eastern Division for the first two months. In the process, Manny would continue to be Manny by high-fiving a Red Sox fan in Baltimore while making a catch. Later that month in the same place, Manny Ramirez would hit his 500th career home run. Despite the positive progress, David Ortiz would be injured on May 31. As a result, the usually quiet J. D. Drew stepped up by reinventing his image. He would hit .337 with 27 RBI in June 2008. Another part of the Red Sox' reinvention occurred in an early June game against the Tampa Bay Rays where pitcher James Shields hit Coco Crisp, resulting in Crisp going straight to Shields. Shortly after, both benches cleared out in a brawl. In July, the defending champions would send seven All-Stars to the game at the hated Yankee Stadium, Dustin Pedroia, David Ortiz, J. D. Drew, Manny Ramirez, Jonathan Papelbon, Jason Varitek, and Kevin Youkilis, with Ramirez, Youkilis, and Pedroia named starters to Francona's American League squad. In the 2008 Major League Baseball All-Star Game at Yankee Stadium, J. D. Drew would hit a two-run home run in the seventh inning. He would earn All-Star Game MVP honors due to his stellar performance.

The Red Sox would catch the Tampa Bay Rays during the summer as the Rays began to decline slightly. While the pennant race caught fire, Manny Ramirez did not want any part of it since the Red Sox did not offer him a sufficient contract for the 2009 season. As a result, Manny Ramirez would go to the Los Angeles Dodgers in a three-way trade involving the Pittsburgh Pirates. The trade brought Jason Bay to the Red Sox. In September, the Rays would hold on to win the Eastern Division title with a 97-65 record. As for Boston, they would win 95 games with a Wildcard berth. After defeating the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim in the ALDS once again, they would lose to the hated Rays in a seven-game ALCS.

After losing to the Tampa Bay Rays in the ALCS, the Red Sox would debut new road uniforms similar to their old 1986 road uniforms. The offseason had the Red Sox sign Rocco Baldelli, John Smoltz, and Brad Penny.

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Josh Beckett

Joshua Patrick Beckett (born May 15, 1980 in Spring, Texas) is a Major League Baseball right-handed starting pitcher for the Boston Red Sox. During his career in the playoffs, he won the 2003 World Series MVP Award with the Florida Marlins, and received the 2007 ALCS MVP award with the Red Sox.

A native of Spring, Texas, Beckett was discovered by Florida Marlins scout Bob Laurie, who also discovered Jason Stokes. Beckett had signed a letter of intent to play with the Texas A&M Aggies but went pro. Beckett spent most of his early years with the Marlins as a member of the team's young staff, but injuries (most frequently blister problems) limited him to only 99 starts (102 appearances) from 2002 to 2005.

Beckett's major league debut was on September 4th, 2001 against the Chicago Cubs, in which he gave up one hit over six shutout innings. He finished 2001 with four games started, a 2-2 record, and an ERA of 1.50.

Beckett achieved fame in the 2003 postseason by winning the World Series MVP Award with two great performances on only three days' rest. Teamed up with catcher Iván Rodríguez, he helped the Marlins win the World Series over the New York Yankees. During Game 6 in Yankee Stadium, Beckett shut out the Yankees in a complete game, striking out 9 batters and clinching the series by making the tag for the final out.

In a deal that was made official on Thanksgiving Day, 2005, Beckett was traded to the Red Sox along with third baseman Mike Lowell and relief pitcher Guillermo Mota for minor league prospects shortstop Hanley Ramírez and pitchers Aníbal Sánchez, Jesús Delgado and Harvey García. Beckett and Lowell were among a prominent list of veterans the Marlins traded in what was organizationally termed a market correction.

Josh Beckett became the first Red Sox pitcher to hit a home run in 35 years — since the advent of the designated hitter rule — when he took Phillies' pitcher Brett Myers deep during an interleague game on May 20, 2006. On July 18, 2006, Beckett signed a three-year, $30 million contract extension with a $10 million club option for 2010. Beckett completed his first season with the Boston Red Sox with a record of 16–11 and a 5.01 ERA. In 204.2 IP, he gave up 191 hits and struck out 158 batters while walking 74. Beckett allowed 36 home runs, tied for second most in the majors.

At the start of the 2007 season, Beckett adjusted to throwing more breaking pitches and fewer fastballs. At the same time, he learned to locate his pitches rather than simply get strikes by power. He reduced his walks and home runs allowed by nearly half, contributing to his success in 2007. Beckett became one of six Boston Red Sox pitchers in history to win their first 7 starts. George Winter and Mickey Harris both won their first 7 starts in a particular season, and Babe Ruth, Dave Ferriss and Roger Moret all won their first 8 starts in a particular season. After a strong first half, posting a 12–2 record with a 3.44 ERA, he was selected to the American League team in the 2007 MLB All-Star Game. Beckett earned the victory in the game after pitching two innings, giving up only one hit, and striking out two. Beckett became the first pitcher to win 20 games in a season since 2005, finishing the season with a record of 20–7, a 3.27 ERA, 194 strikeouts, a 1.14 WHIP, and only 40 walks and 17 home runs allowed. Beckett's 2–0 record and 1.93 ERA against the Cleveland Indians in the ALCS earned him the 2007 ALCS MVP Award, and he started and won the first game of the 2007 World Series against the Colorado Rockies, pitching 7 innings, allowing 1 run on 6 hits, and striking out 9 batters. Boston would go on to sweep the Rockies in the series.

On May 8, 2008 Beckett recorded his 1,000th career strikeout, when Brandon Inge of the Detroit Tigers struck out swinging in the seventh inning.

Although Beckett is a power pitcher, his control is typical of a finesse pitcher. His primary pitch is a tailing four-seam fastball, which he throws 94-97 mph. Beckett complements this with a 91-94 mph two-seam fastball, a deceptive 86-90 mph changeup, and a 75-79 mph 11-5 curveball. He also infrequently throws a 92-94 mph cutter. Beckett frustrates hitters by painting the corners and changing speeds, which is somewhat atypical of power pitching. His combination of elite pitches, excellent control, and deception has made him one of the best pitchers in recent years.

Beckett has been linked to model/sportcaster Leeann Tweeden, country singer Danielle Peck and Whitney Hayes, the younger sister of his personal trainer Randon Hayes. On October 18, 2007, Peck was invited by the Cleveland Indians to sing the National Anthem prior to game-5 of the American League Championship Series between the Red Sox and Indians. Beckett was the starting pitcher in that game, and some Red Sox fans theorized that her invitation was an attempt by the Indians organization to distract Beckett. The Indians denied this claim. It did not seem to affect Beckett, as he beat the Indians with eight innings pitched, five hits, one walk, one earned run, and eleven strikeouts. In a postgame interview with Beckett, when asked if he was affected by Peck's presence, Beckett replied "I don't get paid to make those fuckin' decisions...She's a friend of mine. It doesn't bother me at all. Thanks for flyin' one of my friends to the game so she could watch it for free." Beckett was also linked at one time to actress Alyssa Milano but she has stated in her baseball blog that she and Beckett never dated..

Beckett has become good friends with NASCAR driver Jamie McMurray since meeting him during spring training in Florida in 2007. John W. Henry of the Fenway Sports Group co-owns Roush Fenway Racing for whom McMurray drives.

Beckett has a home in San Antonio and is a fan of the San Antonio Spurs. He is also a fan of the Texas A&M Aggies as he committed to the University under then-Aggie head coach Mark Johnson before being drafted; he is still often seen at Texas A&M football games.

Beckett is an avid deer hunter and has been since childhood. He was the 2002 winner of the Muy Grande Deer Contest for bringing down the largest buck during the Texas deer hunting season. After the Marlins' World Series win he appeared in advertisements for the National Rifle Association. He owns Herradura Ranch, a 7000-acre deer-hunting ranch outside of Cotulla, Texas .

Beckett can be seen in the front row in the audience in Chappelle's Show Season 2 Episode 5, along with good friend and former Florida Marlins teammate Dontrelle Willis, to celebrate their 2003 World Series Championship.

Beckett holds an annual celebrity bowling tournament dubbed the Beckett Bowl. Money raised from the event goes to help improve the lives of disadvantaged children.

Josh owns an impressive collection of baseball cards that numbers more than 10,000.

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Boston Red Sox

RedSoxPrimary HangingSocks.svg

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 (for whom the right field foul pole in Fenway is named "Pesky's Pole)," 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, they finished in a tie with Cleveland, and their loss to Cleveland in a one-game playoff ended hopes of an all-Boston World Series. Curiously, manager Joseph McCarthy chose journeyman Denny Galehouse to start the playoff game when the young lefty phenom Mel Parnell was available to pitch. In 1949, the 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 ALCS, 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. Footage of the Fisk home run is shown again and again on ESPN classic.

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 1990, the Red Sox would again win the division and face the Athletics in the ALCS. However, the outcome was the same, with the A's sweeping the ALCS in four straight.

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.

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.

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. 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.

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.

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 day 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. On April 15, 2007, the 60th anniversary of Robinson's major league debut, Major League Baseball invited players to wear the number 42 the day in commemoration of Robinson, players Coco Crisp (CF), David Ortiz (DH), and DeMarlo Hale (Coach) all wore 42. Given the same opportunity on April 15, 2008 Crisp, Ortiz and Hale again wore #42 for one game.

Until the late 1990s, the numbers originally hung on the right-field facade in the order in which they were retired: 9-4-1-8. It was pointed out that the numbers, when read as a date (9/4/18), marked the eve of the first game of the 1918 World Series, the last championship series that the Red Sox won before 2004. After the facade was repainted, the numbers were rearranged in numerical order.

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.

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2007 Boston Red Sox season

The Boston Red Sox' 2007 season began with the Boston, Massachusetts-based Major League Baseball team trying to rebound after a disappointing 2006 season, in which they finished third in the American League East behind the New York Yankees and the Toronto Blue Jays, and missed the postseason for the first time since 2002. They rebounded from the disappointment of 2006 by posting the best record in the league, winning the American League East division with a lead they never relinquished since April 18, and winning the American League Pennant. Advancing to the World Series, the Red Sox beat the Rockies in four straight games, winning their second Championship in four years.

On November 14, 2006, Major League Baseball announced that the Red Sox had competed for the rights to negotiate a contract with Japanese pitcher Daisuke Matsuzaka. Boston won with a bid of $51.1 million and had 30 days to complete a deal. On December 13, 2006, the day before the deadline, Matsuzaka signed a six-year contract worth $52 million.

It was initially announced that closer Jonathan Papelbon would become a starter in 2007, partially to protect his arm from the injury that sidelined him for the final month of his rookie season. With Papelbon planned to be a starter and Keith Foulke declining arbitration and leaving the team, the Red Sox began building up their bullpen in search of a new closer. Left-handed pitchers Hideki Okajima and J.C. Romero and right-handed pitcher Joel Piñeiro were signed as free agents. Brendan Donnelly was acquired from the Los Angeles Angels in a trade for pitcher Phil Seibel.

However, there was no clear candidate for the closer role. Papelbon wanted to re-fill that spot, and team officials believed he had rehabilitated himself so well in the offseason that his health of this shoulder was no longer a concern, and allowed him to return to the bullpen.

The Red Sox lost free agent Álex González to the Cincinnati Reds (leading the Red Sox to sign Julio Lugo) and Mark Loretta to the Houston Astros (allowing Dustin Pedroia to become the team's starting second baseman). Trot Nixon, also a free agent, signed with the Cleveland Indians, creating the need for a right fielder. The Red Sox pursued J.D. Drew, who had recently opted out of the remainder of his contract with the Los Angeles Dodgers to become a free agent. However, the Red Sox medical staff had concerns about Drew's previously injured shoulder. On January 25, 2007, the Red Sox and Drew agreed to a 5-year deal worth $70 million.

Outfielder Gabe Kapler, age 31, announced his retirement to fulfill his life long dream of becoming a coach. The Red Sox named him manager of their single-A affiliate, the Greenville Drive.

At the end of spring training of 2007, the Red Sox traded minor league veteran catcher Alberto Castillo for Baltimore Orioles outfielder Cory Keylor.

A bright green, with "Red Sox" in white letters outlined in red across the front was worn on April 20, 2007 to honor former Boston Celtics coach, general manager and president Red Auerbach, who passed away during the previous off-season.

The Red Sox not only won the AL East Division for the first time in 12 years, but clinched the best record in the American League—and all of baseball. While their 96-66 record was the same as that of the Cleveland Indians, the Red Sox held the season series tiebreaker for American League home-field advantage, having bested the Tribe 5 games to 2. Thus, the wild card New York Yankees were sent to Cleveland while the Sox would host the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim.

Josh Beckett started the series with a complete-game shutout in Game 1, resuming his dominance of the postseason after a three-season absence. Although Kevin Youkilis would hit a solo home run in the first inning that would prove to be all the offense Beckett needed, David Ortiz would provide additional support with a two-run homer in the third to cap off a 4-0 Game 1 victory. Game 2 was much closer, with Daisuke Matsuzaka and Kelvim Escobar each surrendering three runs by the time the fifth inning was done. In the bottom of the ninth, after a Julio Lugo single and David Ortiz's playoff record-tying fourth walk of the night (this time, intentional), Manny Ramírez ended the game with a towering home run that left Fenway Park over the Green Monster. With a 6-3 Game 2 win, the Red Sox would go to Angel Stadium of Anaheim with a 2-0 series lead.

In Game 3, Curt Schilling brought back the dominant pitching, scattering six hits and striking out four in seven innings of shutout work. He had plenty of run support as well, with Ortiz and Ramírez hitting back-to-back solo home runs in the fourth, and a progression of hits that scored seven more in the eighth inning. Eric Gagné gave up the only run, giving up a ground-rule double to Maicer Izturis in the bottom of the ninth, then advancing Izturis to third on a wild pitch before giving up a sacrifice fly to Howie Kendrick that scored Izturis. After that, a strikeout and a flyout ended the game with a 9-1 Red Sox victory to clinch a series sweep.

The Red Sox sweep was one of three Division Series sweeps in the 2007 post-season. Only one series would go more than three—the Indians beat the Yankees in four games.

In Game 1, Travis Hafner got the first run on Josh Beckett with a solo home run in the first inning. Manny Ramírez answered back, driving in Kevin Youkilis with a single in the bottom of the first. After that, Beckett would settle in, while Indians starter C.C. Sabathia would fall apart. In the bottom of the third, he would give up a ground-rule double to Julio Lugo, then after a bunt groundout for Dustin Pedroia, he walked Kevin Youkilis, hit David Ortiz, and walked Manny Ramírez to give up the lead. Then he gave up a double to Mike Lowell that scored Youkilis and Ortiz. After Bobby Kielty was walked, Jason Varitek hit a groundout that could not be turned into a double-play, scoring Ramírez. The Sox would tack five more on, and win Game 1, 10-3.

Game 2 was a slugfest, with Curt Schilling and Fausto Carmona both failing to make it out of the fifth inning, and a 6-6 tie after six innings. The game drew into extra frames, but the Red Sox bullpen got hammered in the top of the eleventh, with Eric Gagné, Javier Lopez and Jon Lester giving up seven runs. The Red Sox failed to answer back, and lost Game 2, 13-6. The series was even headed to Cleveland.

In Game 3, Daisuke Matsuzaka gave up 4 runs, and Jason Varitek provided the only Red Sox offense with a two-run homer in the seventh, as the Indians took the Jacobs Field opener, 4-2, for a 2-1 series lead. Game 4 did not start much better for the Red Sox, with a seven-run fifth inning that saw Manny Delcarmen allow four runs (two charged to starter Tim Wakefield). In the top of the sixth, the Sox showed some life with back-to-back-to-back solo home runs by Kevin Youkilis, David Ortiz and Manny Ramírez. That would be all the Sox offense, as they fell, 7-3, to end up in a 3-1 ALCS hole once again.

Once more, the Red Sox faced ALCS elimination. But one person who was not panicking was Manny Ramírez. In his typical "Manny Being Manny" attitude, Ramirez told reporters that if the Red Sox were eliminated, it wouldn't be "the end of the world." His comments seemed laissez faire at the time, as many members of the Boston media chose to interpret them as meaning that Manny would not put forth his best effort in the games to come and would thus disrupt his team's ability to compete. Fate would prove them wrong though. With Josh Beckett on the mound again for Game 5, the Red Sox dominated, with Kevin Youkilis driving in three and David Ortiz driving in two to power a 7-1 Red Sox victory to force the ALCS back to Fenway Park.

The Red Sox were hardly finished. In Game 6, Curt Schilling redeemed himself, giving up two runs in seven innings, while J.D. Drew hammered a grand slam in the first inning, and the Sox tacked on six more in the third, leading to a 12-2 victory. Eric Gagné finished the game by pitching a perfect 9th inning. Game 7 gave Daisuke Matsuzaka his chance at redemption, and he did not disappoint, giving up 2 runs in five innings, while Hideki Okajima and Jonathan Papelbon each pitched two scoreless innings. The Sox hammered out a run in each of the first three innings, then exploded with a Dustin Pedroia two-run homer in the seventh, and six more runs—including another two-run homer by Kevin Youkilis—in the eighth. With an 11-2 Game 7 victory, the Red Sox came back once again from elimination, bringing them to their second World Series in four years.

At first, the World Series would seem like a tough task. After going the distance with the Indians, the Red Sox had to face the red-hot Colorado Rockies, who had just finished a 21-of-22 run that included forcing and winning a Wild Card one-game playoff with the San Diego Padres, then sweeping the Philadelphia Phillies in the NLDS and the Arizona Diamondbacks in the NLCS. The Red Sox were counting on their historically-dominant postseason pitching and the possibility that 8 days off would leave the Rox rusty.

Game 1 proved, once more, to be a domination. Josh Beckett gave up just one run in seven innings of work while striking out nine, while Rockies starter Jeff Francis gave up a home run on his second pitch to Dustin Pedroia in the bottom of the first, and a total of six runs in four innings. It got worse from there, as the Red Sox hammered reliever Franklin Morales for seven runs in the fifth inning. The Red Sox took Game 1, 13-1.

In Game 2, Curt Schilling gave up one run in 5 1/3 innings, and Hideki Okajima and Jonathan Papelbon finished the game flawlessly. This time, the dominance was necessary, as the Red Sox scored two times, with Jason Varitek driving in Mike Lowell in the fourth, then Lowell driving in Manny Ramírez in the fifth for their only offense of the game. With a 2-1 Game 2 win, the Red Sox went to Coors Field in Denver with the advantage, hoping the rarefied air would not affect them too much.

Game 3 would begin with another dominating offensive performance. Boston struck first, with six runs in the third inning that would knock out Rox starter Josh Fogg. Mike Lowell and pitcher Daisuke Matsuzaka each had two RBIs, and Manny Ramírez was called out at home on a controversial, but ultimately correct, tagout call. The Rockies would try to come back, bringing in five runs, including a Matt Holliday home run. But the Sox would put it away, with rookies Dustin Pedroia and Jacoby Ellsbury combining to drive in three in the eighth inning, and Mike Lowell scoring the final Sox run in the ninth to seal a 10-5 win that put the Red Sox one game away from their second World Series Championship in four years.

Game 4 gave Jon Lester his shot at redemption, with a back injury to Tim Wakefield giving him the start. He was scoreless in 5 2/3 innings, with Mike Lowell scoring two runs and Jacoby Ellsbury scoring one in support. In the eighth inning, Bobby Kielty hit a pinch-hit home run to put an end to the Sox's scoring. Hideki Okajima almost gave the game up, allowing two runs in the eighth before Jonathan Papelbon came in to save the game in 1 2/3 innings. The Red Sox celebrated a 4-3 win and a four-game World Series sweep at Coors Field. Mike Lowell, with his .400 average and six runs scored, was named the MVP of the World Series.

Two days later, on October 30, the Red Sox were the guests of honor in a Rolling Rally through Boston, after which the team began to lay their plans for the 2008 season.

During the course of the 2007 season, the Red Sox were helped out and sometimes carried by rookies. Three rookies stick out in particular. Dustin Pedroia, Jacoby Ellsbury, and Clay Buchholz all had their moments and left their mark of this season in Red Sox history.

Dustin Pedroia began the season as the Red Sox starting second baseman. Pedroia, 24, struggled in April only batting .182, with 10 hits in 55 at-bats. Although he struggled in the first month, Pedroia heated up batting an outstanding .415 in the month of May. Pedroia was honored as American League Rookie of the Month for the month of May. Pedroia continued this hot hitting for the remainder of the season. Pedroia also excelled his play in the postseason by 2 HR and driving in 10 runs in 14 games to help the Red Sox win the World Series. Pedroia ended batting .317 which ranked 10th among all American League players. Pedroia also finished with 8 home runs and 50 runs batted in. Pedroia won the American League Rookie of the Year award. Pedroia was not the only rookie position player to make an impact this season. Jacoby Ellsbury, 24, made his MLB debut on June 30. Instantly Ellsbury succeeded. In only 33 games and 116 at-bats, Ellsbury hit .353, had 3 home runs, and had 41 hits. Jacoby also showed off his versatility by stealing 9 bases without getting caught. Ellsbury also had a terrific postseason. Ellsbury replaced center fielder Coco Crisp in Game 6 of the ALCS against the Indians. He did not heat up until Game 3 of the World Series where had 4 hits and 2 doubles. Ellsbury batting an amazing .438 in the 4-game sweep of the Colorado Rockies.

The Boston Red Sox also had one incredible rookie pitcher named Clay Buchholz. Buchholz, 23, made his MLB debut on August 17. In his first start against the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim at Fenway Park, Buchholz pitched 6 innings, allowing 3 earned runs, while striking out 5 batters. However, it was not until his second Major League start before Clay Buchholz became a household name throughout Red Sox Nation. On September 1 against the Baltimore Orioles at Fenway Park, Buchholz pitched a no-hitter. He struck out 9 Orioles including Oriole right fielder Nick Markakis on a curveball to complete this outstanding feat. Buchholz became the second rookie in Major League history to pitch a no-hitter. Buchholz pitched in 4 games with the Red Sox. He was 3-1 with a 1.59 ERA and 22 strikeouts. Despite his success in the regular season, Buchholz was left off the Red Sox postseason roster due to what Red Sox management determined was a fatigued arm. He is expected to be a big part of the future of the Red Sox.

The season got off to a wonderful start in April. On April 22, 2007, in a game against the New York Yankees, the Red Sox hit four consecutive home runs for the first time in franchise history (and the fifth time in major league history), when Manny Ramírez, J.D. Drew, Mike Lowell, and Jason Varitek all hit home runs off Yankees pitcher Chase Wright. Drew also hit the second of four consecutive home runs the last time this happened, when the Los Angeles Dodgers did it against the San Diego Padres on September 18, 2006. That series was also the first series since the 1990 season that the Red Sox swept the Yankees in a three-game series at Fenway.

Six members of the Red Sox were chosen to play in the season's all-star game. David Ortiz was elected to start at first base by the fans, third basemen Mike Lowell and outfielder Manny Ramírez were chosen by their fellow players as reserves. Pitchers Josh Beckett and Jonathan Papelbon made the initial team, and reliever Hideki Okajima was voted in by the fans as the winner of the 32nd-man internet vote. It was the first time the Red Sox had more than two pitchers make the all-star team. Josh Beckett was credited with the win for the American League.

On September 1, 2007, against the Baltimore Orioles, rookie pitcher Clay Buchholz threw a no hitter on his second major league start. He was the first rookie in Red Sox history to throw a no hitter, as well as the 17th pitcher in Red Sox history to throw one. He got nine strikeouts and gave up three walks and hit one batter.

Julio Lugo and Coco Crisp became the first pair of Red Sox players to have at least 25 stolen bases since Tris Speaker and Hal Janvrin in 1914.

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Home run

Barry Bonds (right) holds the officially recognized single-season and all-time home run records in Major League Baseball

In baseball, a home run (abbreviated HR) is scored when the ball is hit in such a way that the batter is able to circle all the bases, ending at home plate and scoring runs for himself and each runner who was already on base, with no errors by the defensive team on the play. In modern baseball, the feat is typically achieved by hitting the ball over the outfield fence between the foul poles (or making contact with either foul pole) without first touching the ground or outfield fence, resulting in an automatic home run. Circling the bases while the ball is in play on the field, an "inside-the-park" home run, is rare in modern baseball.

When a home run is scored, the batter is also credited with a hit and a run scored, and an RBI for each runner that scores, including himself. Likewise, the pitcher is recorded as having given up a hit, a run for each runner that scores including the batter, and an earned run each for the batter and for all baserunners who did not initially reach base on error, except for the runs scored by any runners who reached base while facing an earlier pitcher are charged to that pitcher.

The most common type of home run involves hitting the ball over the outfield fence, in flight, in fair territory, i.e., out of the playing field, without it being caught or deflected back by an outfielder into the playing field. This is sometimes called a home run "out of the ballpark", although that term is frequently used to indicate a blow that completely clears any outfield seating.

A home run accomplished in any of the above manners is an automatic home run. The ball is considered dead, and the batter and any preceding runners cannot be put out at any time while running the bases. However, if one or more runners fail to touch a base or one runner passes another before reaching home plate, that runner or runners can be called out on appeal.

An automatic home run counts for the same number of runs whether it cleared the fence by 1-foot or by 200 feet, but the more impressive a home run's distance is, the more superlatives and colorful adjectives are likely to be applied to it by the media: "tattooed", "hammered", "drilled", "towering", "tape measure", "in orbit", etc.

An inside-the-park home run occurs when a batter hits the ball into play and is able to circle the bases before the fielders can put him out. Unlike with an outside-the-park home run, the batter-runner and all preceding runners are liable to be put out by the defensive team at any time while running the bases.

In the early days of baseball, outfields were relatively much more spacious, reducing the likelihood of an over-the-fence home run, while increasing the likelihood of an inside-the-park home run, as a ball getting past an outfielder typically had more distance that it could roll before a fielder could track it down.

With outfields much less spacious and more uniformly designed than in the game's early days, inside-the-park home runs are now a rarity. They are usually the result of a ball being hit by a fast runner, coupled with an outfielder either misjudging the flight of the ball (e.g., diving and missing) or the ball taking an unexpected bounce, either way sending the ball into open space in the outfield and thereby allowing the batter-runner to circle the bases before the defensive team can put him out.

If any defensive play on an inside-the-park home run is labeled an error by the official scorer, a home run is not scored; instead, it is scored as a single, double, etc., and the batter-runner and any applicable preceding runners are said to have taken all additional bases on error. All runs scored on such a play, however, still count.

An example of a diving miss was committed by Torii Hunter of the Minnesota Twins in Game 2 of the 2006 ALDS vs. the Oakland Athletics at the Metrodome. He came in on a fly ball hit by Mark Kotsay, dove and completely missed the ball. It rolled behind him toward the center field area, with a fence 408 feet (124 m) from home plate, while Kotsay dashed around the bases.

An example of an unexpected bounce occurred during the 2007 Major League Baseball All-Star Game on July 10, 2007. Ichiro Suzuki of the American League team hit a fly ball off the right-center field wall, which caromed in the opposite direction from where National League right fielder Ken Griffey, Jr. was expecting it to go. By the time the ball was relayed, Ichiro had already crossed the plate standing up. This was the first inside-the-park home run in All-Star Game history, and led to Ichiro being named the game's MVP.

The most famous post-season inside the park home run was probably the one hit by Mule Haas of the Philadelphia Athletics in Game 4 of the 1929 World Series at Shibe Park in Philadelphia. In the eighth inning, the Chicago Cubs led 8-0 and were six outs away from bringing the Series to a 2-2 tie, until disaster struck. The late afternoon, autumn sun angle at Shibe tended to be almost directly in the eyes of the center fielder. This fact, along with a center field corner that was about 470 feet (143 m) from home plate, caught up to Cubs center fielder Hack Wilson, who lost Haas' fly ball in the sun. It sailed past Wilson, allowing Haas to round the bases while the short and chunky Wilson futilely chased after it. This punctuated a 10-run inning that effectively doomed the Cubs in that Series.

These types of home runs are characterized by the specific game situation in which they occur, and can theoretically occur on either an outside-the-park or inside-the-park home run.

Home runs are often characterized by the number of runners on base at the time, if any. A home run hit with the bases empty is seldom called a "one-run homer", but rather a "solo" homer. With one or two runners on base, the home runs are usually called "two-run homers" or "three-run homers". The term "four-run homer" is seldom used. Instead, it is nearly always called a "grand slam".

A grand slam occurs when the bases are "loaded" (that is, there are base runners standing at first, second, and third base) and the batter hits a home run. According to The Dickson Baseball Dictionary, the term originated in the card game of contract bridge. An inside-the-park grand slam is a grand slam without the ball leaving the field, and it is very rare, due to the relative rarity of loading the bases along with the significant rarity (nowadays) of inside-the-park home runs.

On July 25, 1956 Roberto Clemente became the only MLB player to have ever scored a walk-off inside-the-park grand slam in a 9-8 Pittsburgh Pirates win over the Chicago Cubs, at Forbes Field.

A walk-off home run is a home run hit by the home team in the bottom of the ninth inning, any extra inning, or other scheduled final inning, which gives the home team the lead and thereby ends the game. The term is attributed to Hall of Fame relief pitcher Dennis Eckersley, so named because after the run is scored, the players can "walk off" the field. The name initially meant that the pitcher walked off the field with his head hung in shame, but changed over time to mean that the batter, by necessity of the home team, would walk off the field to the cheers of the crowd. An ultimate grand slam is a specific type of walk-off home run (see grand slam above). This type of home run is also called "sayonara home run," "sayonara" meaning "good-bye" in Japanese.

Two World Series have ended via the "walk-off" home run. The first was the 1960 World Series when Bill Mazeroski of the Pittsburgh Pirates hit a 9th inning solo home run in the 7th game of the series off New York Yankees pitcher Ralph Terry to give the Pirates the World Championship. The second time was the 1993 World Series when Joe Carter of the Toronto Blue Jays hit a 9th inning 3-run home run off Philadelphia Phillies pitcher Mitch Williams in Game 6 of the series.

Such a home run can also be called a "sudden death" or "sudden victory" home run. That usage has lessened as "walk-off home run" has gained favor. Along with Mazeroski's 1960 shot, the most famous walk-off or sudden-death homer would probably be the "Shot Heard 'Round the World" hit by Bobby Thomson to win the 1951 National League pennant for the New York Giants.

The term "back-to-back" is a colloquialism for "consecutive", specifically referring to two like events occurring consecutively. One example "back-to-back" in general is winning two consecutive championships.

In baseball, back-to-back can refer to two consecutive players hitting a home run, or it could refer to an individual hitting home runs in two consecutive at bats. The former usage is probably more common.

When two consecutive batters each hit a home run, this is described as back-to-back home runs. It is still considered back-to-back even if both batters hit their home runs off of different pitchers. A third batter hitting a home run is commonly referred to as back-to-back-to-back, although at that point the anatomical analogy no longer works. Four home runs in a row by consecutive batters has only occurred six times in the history of Major League Baseball. Following convention, this is called back-to-back-to-back-to-back. The most recent occurrence was on August 14, 2008, when the Chicago White Sox hit four in a row against the Kansas City Royals in U.S. Cellular Field as Jim Thome, Paul Konerko, Alexei Ramirez and Juan Uribe homered off pitchers Joel Peralta (the first three) and Robinson Tejada. Two pitchers have surrendered back-to-back-to-back-to-back home runs; Paul Foytack on July 31, 1963, and Chase Wright on April 22, 2007.

Come-from-behind back-to-back-to-back-to-back home runs occurred on April 22, 2007 and September 18, 2006. On April 22, 2007 the Boston Red Sox were trailing the New York Yankees 3-0 when Manny Ramirez, J.D. Drew, Mike Lowell and Jason Varitek hit back-to-back-to-back-to-back Home Runs to put them up 4-3. They eventually went on to win the game 7-6 after a 3 Run Home Run by Mike Lowell in the bottom of the 7th inning. On September 18, 2006 trailing 9-5 to the San Diego Padres in the 9th inning, Jeff Kent, J.D. Drew, Russell Martin, and Marlon Anderson of the Los Angeles Dodgers hit back-to-back-to-back-to-back home runs to tie the game (The Dodgers won the game in the 10th, off a walk off home run by Nomar Garciaparra).

J.D. Drew has been part of 2 different sets of Back to Back to Back to Back Home Runs.

Simple back-to-back home runs are a relatively frequent occurrence. If a pitcher gives up a homer, he might have his concentration broken, and might alter his normal approach in an attempt to "make up for it" by striking out the next batter with some fastballs. Sometimes the next batter will be expecting that, and will capitalize on it. A notable back-to-back home run of that type in World Series play involved "Babe Ruth's called shot" in 1932, which was accompanied by various Ruthian theatrics, yet the pitcher, Charlie Root, was allowed to stay in the game. He delivered just one more pitch, which Lou Gehrig drilled out of the park for a back-to-back shot, after which Root was removed from the game.

In Game 3 of the 1976 NLCS, George Foster and Johnny Bench hit back-to-back homers in the last of the ninth off Ron Reed to tie the game. The Series-winning run was scored later in the inning.

Another notable pair of back-to-back home runs occurred on September 14, 1990, when Ken Griffey, Sr. and Ken Griffey, Jr. hit back-to-back home runs, off Kirk McCaskill, the only father-and-son duo to do so in Major League history.

Likewise, individuals hitting home runs in consecutive at bats is not unusual, but three or more is rare. The record for consecutive home runs by a batter under any circumstances is 4.

Of the fifteen players (through 2006) who have hit 4 in one game, six have hit them consecutively. 28 other batters have hit four consecutive across two games.

Bases on balls do not count as at-bats, and Ted Williams holds the record for consecutive home runs across the most games, 4 in four games played, during September 17-22, 1957, for the Red Sox. Williams hit a pinch-hit homer on the 17th; walked as a pinch-hitter on the 18th; there was no game on the 19th; hit another pinch-homer on the 20th; homered and then was lifted for a pinch-runner after at least one walk, on the 21st; and homered after at least one walk on the 22nd. All in all, he had 4 walks interspersed among his 4 homers.

In World Series play, Reggie Jackson was the most recent to hit a record three in one Series game, the final game in 1977. Those were consecutive in his first three at bats. He had also hit one in his last at bat the previous game, so he owns the record for consecutive homers across two Series games, which again is 4.

Nomar Garciaparra holds the record for consecutive home runs in the shortest time in terms of innings: 3 homers in 2 innings, on July 23, 2002, for the Boston Red Sox.

An offshoot of hitting for the cycle, a "home run cycle" is where a player hits a solo, 2-run, 3-run, and grand slam home run all in one game. This is an extremely rare feat, as it requires the batter to not only hit four home runs in a game (which itself has only occurred 15 times in the Major Leagues), but also to hit those home runs with the specific number of runners already on base. Although it is a rare accomplishment, it is largely dependent on circumstances outside the player's control, such as his preceding teammates' ability to get on base, as well as the order in which he comes to bat in any particular inning.

Though multiple home run cycles have been recorded in collegiate baseball, the only home run cycle in a professional baseball game belongs to Tyrone Horne, who stroked four long balls for the minor league, Double-A Arkansas Travelers in a game against the San Antonio Missions on July 27, 1998. Brian Sprout, a former St. Olaf College Ole, Division III All-American and former minor leaguer, once hit for the home run cycle in order. In a game back in 2002 against Augsburg College, Brian hit a solo, 2-run homer, 3 run homer and grand slam in 4 consecutive at bats. This is the only time in history that such a feat was accomplished. A major league player has come close to hitting for the home run cycle twice. The first was on April 26, 2005 when Alex Rodriguez of the New York Yankees hit 3 home runs off Los Angeles Angels pitcher Bartolo Colón. Rodriguez hit a 3-run home run, 2-run home run, and a grand slam in the first, third, and fourth innings, respectively. He later, in the bottom of the eighth inning, just missed a solo home run, lining out to Jeff DaVanon in deep center field. The second was on May 16, 2008 when Jayson Werth of the Philadelphia Phillies hit 3 home runs off Toronto Blue Jays pitchers David Purcey and Jesse Litsch. Werth hit a 3-run home run, a grand slam, and a solo home run in the second, third, and fifth innings, respectively.

In the early days of the game, when the ball was less lively and the ballparks generally had very large outfields, most home runs were of the inside-the-park variety. The first home run ever hit in the National League was by Ross Barnes of the Chicago White Stockings (now known as the Chicago Cubs), in 1876. The home "run" was literally descriptive. Home runs over the fence were rare, and only in ballparks where a fence was fairly close. Hitters were discouraged from trying to hit home runs, with the conventional wisdom being that if they tried to do so they would simply fly out. This was a serious concern in the 19th century, because in baseball's early days a ball caught after one bounce was still an out. The emphasis was on place-hitting and what is now called "manufacturing runs" or "small ball".

The home run's place in baseball changed dramatically when the live-ball era began after World War I. First, the materials and manufacturing processes improved significantly, making the ball somewhat more lively. Batters such as Babe Ruth and Rogers Hornsby took full advantage of rules changes that were instituted during the 1920s, particularly prohibition of the spitball, and the requirement that balls be replaced when worn or dirty. Along with the baseball being easier to see and capable of being hit farther, as the game's popularity boomed more outfield seating was built, shrinking the size of the outfield and increasing the chances of a long fly ball resulting in a home run. The teams with the sluggers, typified by the New York Yankees, became the championship teams, and other teams had to change their focus from the "inside game" to the "power game" in order to keep up.

Prior to 1931, a ball that bounced over an outfield fence during a major league game was considered a home run. The rule was changed to require the ball to clear the fence on the fly, and balls that reached the seats on a bounce became ground rule doubles in most parks. A carryover of the old rule is that if a player deflects a ball over the outfield fence without it touching the ground, it is a home run.

Also, until approximately that time, the ball had to not only go over the fence in fair territory, but to land in the bleachers in fair territory or to still be visibly fair when disappearing behind a wall. The rule stipulated "fair when last seen" by the umpires. Photos from that era in ballparks, such as the Polo Grounds and Yankee Stadium, show ropes strung from the foul poles to the back of the bleachers, or a second "foul pole" at the back of the bleachers, in a straight line with the foul line, as a visual aid for the umpire. Ballparks still use a visual aid much like the ropes; a net or screen attached to the foul poles on the fair side has replaced ropes. As with American football, where a touchdown once required a literal "touch down" of the ball in the end zone but now only requires the "breaking of the plane" of the goal line, in baseball the ball need only "break the plane" of the fence in fair territory (unless the balls is caught by a player who is in play, in which case the batter is called out).

Babe Ruth's 60th home run in 1927 was somewhat controversial, because it landed barely in fair territory in the stands down the right field line. Ruth lost a number of home runs in his career due to the when-last-seen rule. Bill Jenkinson, in The Year Babe Ruth Hit 104 Home Runs, estimates that Ruth lost at least 50 and as many as 78 in his career due to this rule.

Further, the rules once stipulated that an over-the-fence home run in a sudden-victory situation would only count for as many bases as was necessary to "force" the winning run home. For example, if a team trailed by two runs with the bases loaded, and the batter hit a fair ball over the fence, it only counted as a triple, because the runner immediately ahead of him had technically already scored the game-winning run. That rule was changed in the 1920s as home runs became increasingly frequent and popular. Babe Ruth's career total of 714 would have been one higher had that rule not been in effect in the early part of his career.

The all-time, verified professional baseball record for home runs is held by Sadaharu Oh, a former player and manager of the Yomiuri Giants and current manager of the Fukuoka Softbank Hawks in Japan's league which is called Nippon Professional Baseball. Oh holds the all-time home run world record, having hit 868 home runs in his career.

In Major League Baseball, the record is 762, held by Barry Bonds, who broke Hank Aaron's record on August 7, 2007, when he hit his 756th home run at AT&T Park. Only five other major league players have hit as many as 600: Hank Aaron (755), Babe Ruth (714), Willie Mays (660), Ken Griffey, Jr. (611 and counting) and Sammy Sosa (609). The single season record is 73, set by Barry Bonds in 2001.

Negro League slugger Josh Gibson's Baseball Hall of Fame plaque says he hit "almost 800" home runs in his career. The Guinness Book of World Records lists Gibson's lifetime home run total at 800. Gibson's true total is not known, in part due to inconsistent record keeping in the Negro Leagues. The 1993 edition of the MacMillan Baseball Encyclopedia attempted to compile a set of Negro League records, and subsequent work has expanded on that effort. Those records demonstrate that Gibson and Ruth were of comparable power. The 1993 book had Gibson hitting 146 home runs in the 501 "official" Negro League games they were able to account for in his 17-year career, about 1 homer every 3.4 games. Babe Ruth, in 22 seasons (several of them in the dead-ball era), hit 714 in 2503 games, or 1 homer every 3.5 games. The large gap in the numbers for Gibson reflect the fact that Negro League clubs played relatively far fewer league games and many more "barnstorming" or exhibition games during the course of a season, than did the major league clubs of that era.

Other legendary home run hitters include Jimmie Foxx, Mel Ott, Ted Williams, Mickey Mantle (who on September 10, 1960, mythically hit "the longest home run ever" at an estimated distance of 643 feet (196 m), although this was measured after the ball stopped rolling), Reggie Jackson, Harmon Killebrew, Ernie Banks, Mike Schmidt, Dave Kingman, Sammy Sosa (who has hit 60 or more home runs in a season 3 times but has never led the league in that category), Mark McGwire, Ken Griffey, Jr. and Eddie Mathews. The longest verifiable home run distance is about 575 feet (175 m), by Babe Ruth, to straightaway center field at Tiger Stadium (then called Navin Field and prior to the double-deck), which landed nearly across the intersection of Trumbull and Cherry.

The location of where Hank Aaron's record 755th home run landed has been monumented in Milwaukee. The hallowed spot sits outside Miller Park, where the Milwaukee Brewers currently play. Similarly, the point where Aaron's 715th homer landed, upon breaking Ruth's career record in 1974, is marked in the Turner Field parking lot.

Slang terms for home runs include: big fly, blast, bomb, circuit clout, dinger, ding-dong, dong, four-bagger, four-base knock, funk blast, goner, gopher ball, homer, jack, long ball, moonshot, quadruple, round-tripper, shot, slam, swat, tape-measure shot, tater, and wallop. The act of hitting a home run can be called going deep or going yard or going home; additionally, with men on base, it can be called clearing the table. A comparatively long home run can be described as Ruthian, named after Babe Ruth's legendary drives. The act of attempting to hit a home run, whether successful or not, can also be termed swinging for the fences. A game with many home runs in it can be referred to as a slugfest or home run derby. A player who hits a home run is said to have "dialed 8", from the practice of having to dial 8 from a hotel room telephone to dial long distance. A grand slam is often referred to as a grand salami or simply, a salami.

This includes only the home runs that broke a record set in a previous year, not home runs that extended a record within the same year.

On August 28, 2008, instant replay review became available in MLB for reviewing calls in accordance with the above proposal. It was first utilized on September 3, 2008 in a game between the New York Yankees and the Tampa Bay Rays at Tropicana Field. Alex Rodriguez of the Yankees hit what appeared to be a home run, but the ball hit a catwalk behind the foul pole. It was at first called a home run, until Tampa Bay manager Joe Maddon argued the call, and the umpires decided to review the play. After 2 minutes and 15 seconds, the umpires came back and ruled it a home run.

About two weeks later, on September 19, also at Tropicana Field, a boundary call was overturned for the first time. In this case, Carlos Peña of the Rays was given a ground rule double in a game against the Minnesota Twins after an umpire believed a fan reached into the field of play to catch a fly ball in right field. The umpires reviewed the play, determined the fan did not reach over the fence, and reversed the call, awarding Peña a home run.

Aside from the two aforementioned reviews at Tampa Bay, replay was used four more times in the 2008 MLB regular season: twice at Houston, once at Seattle, and once at San Francisco. The San Francisco incident is perhaps the most unusual. Bengie Molina, the Giants' Catcher, hit what was first called as a double. Molina then was replaced in the game by a pinch-runner before the umpires re-evaluated the call and ruled it a home run. In this instance though, Molina was not allowed to return to the game to complete the run, as he had already been replaced. Molina was credited with the home run, and two RBIs, but not for the run scored which went to the pinch-runner instead.

Most home runs in a doubleheader: Stan Musial hit 5 on May 2, 1954. Nate Colbert equalled the feat on August 1, 1972.

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Source : Wikipedia