Closing The Books On 2014

As 2014 draws to a close, we look forward as always to another season of Boston Red Sox baseball, hopefully ending as it did in 2013 with another World Series title for the local nine.

The 2014 Red Sox baseball season was one of disappointment as Boston was unable to repeat as World Series champions and finished last in the American League East for the second time in three seasons. Even so, as this year draws to a close, we look forward as always to another season of baseball, hopefully ending as it did in 2013 with another World Series title for the local nine.

Some dates to mark down on your calendar:

12 February: Truck Day
20 February: Pitchers and catchers report to Fort Myers
25 February: All players report to Fort Myers
05 March: First official spring training game (versus Minnesota)
06 March: First spring training game at JetBlue Park (versus Miami)
06 April: Opening Day versus Philadelphia at Citizens Bank Park
10 April: First game versus New York at Yankee Stadium
13 April: Opening Day at Fenway Park (versus Washington)
01 May: First game versus New York at Fenway Park

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Did You Know? – Best Southpaws In Red Sox History

There is little doubt that Jon Lester, in his eight-plus seasons with the Red Sox, was an invaluable contributor to its recent success. So how does he compare with others southpaws who have pitched for this franchise?

With the trade of Jon Lester to Oakland this past week, so departs one of the best left-handed starting pitchers in Red Sox team history, with 110 wins, a no-hitter, and two World Series championships to his credit. Among southpaws in team history, his 110 wins is second-most behind the legendary Mel Parnell and his 1386 strikeouts leads all others.

There is no question from anyone who has watched him over his eight-plus seasons with Boston that he has been an invaluable contributor to its recent success and there’s a possibility that we have not seen him pitch for the last time in a Red Sox uniform. So how does he compare to others greats who have pitched for this franchise?

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Book Review – Don’t Let Us Win Tonight

If you are going to recap one of the greatest seasons in Boston Red Sox history and one of the most improbable comebacks in baseball history, why not get the story straight from the people who experienced it firsthand?

Don't Let Us Win Tonight
Don’t Let Us Win Tonight, written by Allan Wood and Bill Nowlin

If you are going to recap one of the greatest seasons in Boston Red Sox history and one of the most improbable comebacks in baseball history, why rehash box scores and the play-by-play that are easily found through an Internet search? Why not get the story straight from the people who experienced it firsthand?

This is the heart of Don’t Let Us Win Tonight, authored by Allan Wood and Bill Nowlin. While the authors set the stage in bringing us back ten years to that magical 2004 postseason, the story unfolds through the words of the players, the manager, the front office, the medical staff, the opposition, and even the bat boy. Nearly every moment is captured, beginning with a quick summary of the season, followed by a recap of each postseason game, and finally to the championship parade that wove through the streets of Boston at the end.

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One Last Hurrah

For one final time, we will look back and salute what was an amazing accomplishment by the Boston Red Sox in 2013.

Does anyone recall what happened at last year’s Opening Day ceremonies at Fenway Park? Neither do I…

The only thing that might be memorable from that day were two things: one, the Red Sox won 3-1 over the Orioles, extending their home opener win streak to nine, and two, it proved to be the last game in the consecutive sellout streak. The next night, the streak ended at 820 games, which included postseason games at Fenway Park.

Today, that does not matter. After taking two-of-three in Baltimore, Boston returns to its home field for a celebration that should match or perhaps surpass the celebrations held at the home openers in 2005 and 2008. After the defending World Series champions were showcased at the White House earlier this week, now comes what should be the final mention of last year’s success: a pregame ceremony complete with all the trimmings (gold, to be specific) and the presentation of rings to players and team personnel.

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Did You Know? – David Ortiz and the Silver Slugger Award

Majestic David Ortiz Boston Red Sox 2013 MLB World Series Champions Batting Practice Performance Jersey - Red/Navy Blue
Majestic David Ortiz Boston Red Sox 2013 MLB World Series Champions Batting Practice Performance Jersey – Red/Navy Blue

Last week, David Ortiz of the Boston Red Sox was named as the recipient of the 2013 Silver Slugger Award for the designated hitter position. It marked the sixth time in the past ten seasons that “Big Papi” has won the award, and the second time in the past three seasons. It extended his record for the most awards at that position, ahead of former players Paul Molitor and Edgar Martinez; his six awards also ties him with Red Sox legends Wade Boggs and Manny Ramirez for the most in team history.

Never was Big Papi’s offensive production more apparent and more valuable this season than in the Fall Classic, when he batted .688 (11-for-16) with two home runs, six RBI, seven runs scored, a .760 on-base percentage, and a 1.188 slugging percentage while making just five outs in six World Series games. He also tied a series record by reaching base in nine straight appearances, which helped him to easily walk away with the 2013 World Series MVP award.

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2013 Boston Red Sox Are World Series Champions!

Majestic Boston Red Sox 2013 MLB World Series Champions World Domination Clubhouse Locker Room T-Shirt - Gray
Majestic Boston Red Sox 2013 MLB World Series Champions World Domination Clubhouse Locker Room T-Shirt – Gray

For the eighth time in team history and the third time in the past ten seasons, the Boston Red Sox are the world champions of baseball, winning the 2013 World Series championship thanks to a 6-1 win in Game Six.  David Ortiz was named the series MVP after batting .688 / .760 / 1.188 with 11 hits, including two home runs at six RBI. Down 2-1 after three games, Boston won three straight to close the series and clinch a world championship at Fenway Park for the first time since 1918, when the Red Sox beat the Chicago Cubs four games to two, with Carl Mays earning the win.

John Lackey picked up the win for Boston in the final game and became the first pitcher in league history to win the clinching game of a World Series twice, having done it once before in Game Seven of the 2002 World Series for the Anaheim Angels.  The Red Sox also became the first time to win three World Series in the 21st century.

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2013 World Series Begins Wednesday on FOX

The Boston Red Sox, winners of the American League pennant, and the St. Louis Cardinals, winners of the National League pennant, who have met three times before in postseason history, are set to kick off the 2013 World Series Wednesday night at Fenway ParkTickets are available and all games will be broadcast on the FOX Network.

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Did You Know? – Highest Season Win Totals in Red Sox Franchise History

Majestic Boston Red Sox 2013 AL East Division Champions Clubhouse Locker Room T-Shirt - Gray
Majestic Boston Red Sox 2013 AL East Division Champions Clubhouse Locker Room T-Shirt – Gray

With Boston’s 15-5 win Wednesday night in Colorado, the Red Sox now stand at 96-63 with three games to play this season.  The 96 wins matches the same number of games won by the 2007 world championship team. This is made even more remarkable given that the team won just 69 games last season, its worst season since 1965, when Boston limped to a record of 62-100.

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Today In History – Fenway Park Officially Debuts

20 April 1912 – On this day one hundred years ago, the Boston Red Sox played their first game at Fenway Park, defeating the New York Highlanders (later to be named the Yankees) 7-6 in 11 innings.  It is often noted that the opening was overshadowed in Boston by a much bigger news story at the time: the recent sinking of the RMS Titanic, a British passenger ship, in the North Atlantic Ocean five days earlier.

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Today In History – Bill Carrigan Is Born

22 October 1883 – On this day one hundred twenty-five years ago, former Boston Red Sox player-manager William Francis Carrigan, better known as Bill Carrigan or “Rough” Carrigan, is born in Lewiston, ME. Carrigan spent ten years in professional baseball as a catcher for Boston between 1906 and 1916; in that span, he caught three no-hitters and played for three world championship teams, two of which he managed. He is the only manager in franchise history to lead Boston teams to back-to-back world championships and the only manager other than current skipper Terry Francona to win more than one World Series at the helm of the Red Sox.

Carrigan started his career as a platoon catcher for Boston in July of 1906 and caught a career-high 110 games in 1910. Never an offensive threat, he collected just over 500 hits and batted only .257 in his career. Midway through the 1913 season, he was asked to replace Jack Stahl as manager of the then-defending world champion Red Sox after it was turned down by Fielder Jones, who had guided the 1906 Chicago White Sox to a World Series title; like his predecessor, Carrigan assumed his position as player-manager. After a second-place finish in his first full season at the helm in 1914, he guided the team to a 101-50 record and the American League pennant before leading his team to a 4-1 World Series win over the Philadelphia Phillies. The following season, his team finished 91-63 and won its second straight World Series title over the Brooklyn Robins. Following that season, he retired from baseball, returned to his hometown of Lewiston, and began a second career in the banking business. In 538 games, he had compiled a 322-216 record as manager for a .599 winning percentage.

Ten years later, the Red Sox convinced Carrigan to manage the club once again, but fortunes had changed dramatically at that point for the once-proud club; the franchise had not enjoyed a winning season since its last championship in 1918 and the celebrated skipper could do nothing to reverse its fortunes given the lack of talent at his disposal. Three straight seasons that averaged 95 losses convinced Carrigan to permanently retire from baseball after the 1929 season, and he returned to Lewiston to spend the rest of his life, passing away in 1969 at the age of 85. In 2004, the Red Sox posthumously honored the former manager with induction into the team’s Hall of Fame.