The Boston Red Sox earned their third World Series title in 10 years Wednesday with a 6–1 victory over the St. Louis Cardinals, the first time the Red Sox had clinched a World Series at Fenway Park in Boston since Babe Ruth led the team in 1918.
This year’s championship was particularly sweet for Boston fans. On April 15, two pressure-cooker bombs exploded near the finish line during the Boston Marathon. Three people were killed and an estimated 264 were injured. The tragedy rallied the Boston community and Red Sox fans alike.
“There’s I think a civil responsibility that we have wearing this uniform, particularly here in Boston,” Red Sox manager John Farrell said in the team’s post-game press conference. “And it became a connection initially, the way our guys reached out to individuals or to hospital visits. And it continued to build throughout the course of the season. I think our fans, they got to a point where they appreciated the way we played the game, how they cared for one another. And in return, they gave these guys an incredible amount of energy to thrive on in this ballpark.”
Following the game six victory that sealed the championship season, Boston designated hitter and World Series MVP David Ortiz took to the field to address the fans.
“This is for you, Boston. You guys deserve it,” Ortiz said to cheers. “We’ve been through a lot this year, and this is for all of you and all those families who struggled.”
Ortiz won the MVP after hitting an amazing .688 (11/16) in the fall classic. He ended the series with two home runs, six RBIs and eight walks. His .760 on-base percentage was the second-highest in World Series history.
After a dismal 2012 campaign that saw Boston end the season as one of the worst teams in baseball, Red Sox management knew they would need to make some significant adjustments in order to contend the following year. After revamping the team’s lineup and bringing in new manager John Farrell, the Red Sox became the second team in MLB history to win a championship the year after finishing last in their division.
“When the fireworks went off at the presentation of the trophy out there, when the ballpark was filled with smoke, it was completely surreal,” Farrell said. “To be in this position, given where we’ve come from, reflecting back a year ago at this time, there’s been a lot that’s happened in 13 months.”
The Red Sox beat a Cardinals team that has seen a lot of success lately. St. Louis was trying to win its second title in three seasons, but were unable to find the offense needed to take the series to a seventh game.
“There were some frustrated guys in there, but overall you can’t ask us to go about it any better than how our guys did,” Cardinals manager Mike Matheny said to reporters gathered after the game. “Not too many people expected us to do what we did.”
Despite the loss, the future looks bright for the Cardinals. The St. Louis pitching staff featured many young pitchers who held their own against an experienced Boston team. One pitcher in particular, Michael Wacha, was 4–0 in his postseason career before game six. In the end, the pressure at Fenway was too much for the rookie to handle. He gave up six runs, five hits and four walks in 3 2/3 innings, the shortest start of his career.
“I just made too many mistakes,” he told the Associated Press. “It doesn’t matter how hard you’re throwing if you can’t locate it.”
The 2013 World Series saw some incredible finishes for both teams. The Cardinals won game three after a controversial obstruction call at third base allowed Allen Craig to score the game-winning run. Game four ended with Red Sox pitcher Koji Uehara picking off the Cardinals Kolten Wong at first base. St. Louis held Boston to just a .211 batting average which was the lowest for a World Series champion in 39 years.
The two teams came into the postseason tied for the best record in baseball, but in the end, the title belonged to Boston.
“We’ve dealt with a lot. But our team came together, and we stuck by each other,” Red Sox second basemen Dustin Pedroia told the Associated Press. “What a great feeling.”