The Red Sox franchise is one of the most storied in all of baseball. Boston won the very first World Series in 1903, defeating Pittsburgh five games to three in a best-of-nine series format. The franchise went on to capture four more World Series titles during the next 15 years, led by stars such as a young Babe Ruth, Tris Speaker, and Cy Young. Ruth was sold to the archrival New York Yankees before the 1920 season, however, a transaction that marked the beginning of the Yankees' rise to become the most dominant sports franchise of the 20th century.
Boston outfielder Ted Williams was one of the top players in baseball in the 1940s and 1950s, twice winning the Triple Crown (leading the league in batting average, runs batted in, and home runs). But despite the presence of Williams and other Hall of Famers such as Jimmie Foxx, Bobby Doerr, Joe Cronin, and Lefty Grove, Boston was unable to capture a championship during this era.
The Red Sox also featured great players in the 1960s, 1970s, and 1980s, such as Carl Yastrzemski, Carlton Fisk, Fred Lynn, Jim Rice, Luis Tiant, Dwight Evans, Wade Boggs, and Roger Clemens. These stars repeatedly took Boston to the brink of a title, only to lose in the seventh game of the World Series each time (in 1967, 1975, and 1986). The 1986 loss was particularly infamous, as the Red Sox were one out away from winning the World Series over the New York Mets only to watch the game and the championship slip away.
In 2003 Boston lost the seventh game of the American League Championship Series (ALCS) to the Yankees in extra innings. In the 2004 ALCS, the Red Sox were on the brink of another defeat at the hands of New York...