The history of the Boston Red Sox can be summarized in two words: “But then ...”
With two wins in St. Louis, the Red Sox have now taken a 3-2 lead in the World Series. All they need to do now is win one of two games in Fenway Park — win tonight or tomorrow night — and the World Series title is theirs.
Red Sox fans are soaring. Confidence, at a low ebb when the hometown team went down 2-1, is high. It’s a lock, a virtual guarantee. Put the champagne on ice.
Not so fast, Red Sox fans. Remember your history.
The Red Sox were the dominant team of the first part of the 20th century, winning World Series titles in 1903, 1912, 1915, 1916 and 1918. But then, owner Harry Frazee sold off the team’s stars — including the immortal Babe Ruth. Some 28 years would pass before the Red Sox had another chance at a World Series.
In 1946, the Red Sox returned to the World Series to face the St. Louis Cardinals. But then, Ted Williams, the greatest hitter in baseball, inexplicably tallied just five singles and the Sox lost in seven games.
In 1967, the Red Sox put together the “Impossible Dream” team that included Carl Yastrzemski, Tony Conigliaro and Jim Lonborg. But then, Conligiaro was hit by a pitch in August, suffering a dreadful injury. And in the World Series, again against the Cardinals, the Sox ran into a buzzsaw named Bob Gibson, a pitcher so dominant that baseball eventually lowered the pitcher’s mound and tightened the strike zone to take away his “unfair advantage.”
In 1975, Carlton Fisk’s 12th inning home run, one of the most dramatic moments in baseball history, led the Red Sox to victory in Game 6 of the World Series. But then, Cincinnati’s “Big Red Machine” was too much for the Sox in Game 7 and another series was lost.