There are few franchises in the history of professional sports with the name recognition of the Boston Red Sox.
With its towering wall in left field known as the "Green Monster," Fenway Park is a veritable coliseum that has stood proudly as their home since 1912. While hunkered down in the Bleacher Bar, located underneath the center field seats and providing a one-of-a-kind view, fans will tell you about the team's triumphs, their not-so-great times, and of course, the ground ball from Game 6 of the 1986 World Series. Put simply, the Sox are one of the most enduring legacies in all of baseball.
With eight world championships thus far and more than 30 players in the Hall of Fame, the Red Sox are cheered on by fans from coast to coast and around the globe. Scholars dissect the feats performed by old-timers such as Cy Young and Babe Ruth, while younger fans eagerly discuss the exploits of modern-day players like Pedro Martinez and Manny Ramirez.
By 1918, Boston was working on its fourth World Series title in seven years. It was a grand time to be a Red Sox fan, but everything would change in 1920 when the team sold the rights of all-world talent Babe Ruth to the New York Yankees. After that, it didn't matter if they had the offensive brilliance of Ted Williams in the '40s or the impressive feats of Fred Lynn in the '70s, the Red Sox seemed destined to be forever saddled with the "Curse of the Bambino."
In the '80s, there was a glimmer of hope as hard-throwing right-hander Roger "The Rocket" Clemens fireballed his way into the history books, obliterating records set nearly one hundred years before. However, ask a Red Sox fan about their team in the '80s, and it all comes back to Game 6 of the '86 World Series and Bill Buckner's inability to field the grounder hit by New York Met Mookie Wilson. "The Bambino struck again," they'll tell you.
It wouldn't be until 1999 that Boston won a postseason series again, and even that season ended in heartbreak as the team was dispatched by their bitter rivals, the New York Yankees. While players such as Pedro Martinez and Nomar Garciaparra enjoyed tremendous personal accomplishments, Sox fans continued to wait for another title.
Then in 2004, the incredible happened. Down three games to none against New York in the American League Championship Series, the Red Sox became the first team ever to overcome such a deficit, winning four games in a row and punching their ticket to the Fall Classic. Their World Series opponent, the St. Louis Cardinals, proved to be no match, and for the first time in 86 years, Boston was called "the home of the world champion Red Sox."
Subsequent titles followed in 2007 and 2013. It may have taken nearly one hundred years, but the franchise is synonymous with excellence once again. It's been a long, arduous journey back to the top. Ask present-day Red Sox fans about the fabled curse, and they'll probably respond with a question of their own. "How you like them apples?"