Hackett: Why you should savor each of these Red Sox World Series trophies

Jim Hackett
November 01, 2018 - 11:13 am

USA Today Sports

Damage done.

One hundred and 19 wins and three tough postseason opponents left behind both bested and beaten down, while this century’s fourth World Series championship parade rolled through the streets of Boston on Wednesday. Your Boston Red Sox have now entered rare space, winning four championships in 15 seasons in the modern era. Pretty special. Unsurprisingly, the Twittersphere was ripe with questions and opinions on which championship team is better over the last few days.  The truth is each of these championship teams is special, different but special and the meaning behind each one is very unique. 

In 2004 generations of Red Sox fans lives changed forever. The quest for a championship after an 86-year drought created lifelong obsessions, superstitions, heart failure, passion and a yearning that felt deeper for the fans than it ever did for the players over so many decades. Perhaps like you, I have relatives, friends, parents of friends and acquaintances who never got to experience the feeling of shock, emotional freedom, euphoria and glory that came with the 2004 Red Sox championship and others who just barely lived to experience it.  

In 2004 as the events of what I had just seen and felt started to kick in I literally wept in my hands. The doorbell rang at whatever hour it was with my friend Scott at the door with a bottle of champagne. Tears of joy and exuberance lasted for days as the exorcism of playoff demons, ghosts and goblins was celebrated long and hard despite many long and sleepless nights. In the final game of the ALCS, you physically heard the curse shatter when Mark Belhorn crushed the foul pole in Yankee stadium. While during the ninth inning of Game 4 of the World Series, you held onto your seat tightly as that ball left Keith Foulke’s hand seemingly in slow motion to finally clinch it all. Eighty-six years and a fan base forever changed.

That 2004 title was all about a lifelong quest finally being fulfilled and all of the emotions that come with it. 

In 2007, the celebration came with steady confidence and reaffirmation. No tears, just a confident grin with a fist pump and high five to my friend Steve after a long day of tailgating in Foxboro at the Pats game. This 2007 team was important in the championship history of the Red Sox though for several reasons, the top one for me being that the Red Sox championship ways were now most assuredly no fluke.

Many of the names had changed but several of the usual suspects from 2004 remained, including Big Papi, Curt Schilling, Jason Varitek, Tim Wakefield, Mike Timlin and Manny Ramirez. This team was stacked and had enough of the original championship core to overcome a 3-1 series deficit on enemy turf during the ALCS. The 2007 ace Josh Beckett dominated a Game 5 victory in the ALCS and though still down 3 games to 2, most Red Sox fans felt confident that the trip home to Boston would prove successful. It was and the Colorado Rockies were disposed of in short order in the World Series thereafter. That 2007 championship proved that the Red Sox as an organization were for real. 

The lovable 2013 Red Sox were a wildly pleasant surprise. Once the glory days of the Francona-led Red Sox passed, the reset button needed to be hit and it was. Out with the toxic and ill-equipped short-term manager Bobby Valentine and in came an energizing group of players including Johnny Gomes, Shane Victorino, Mike Napoli and Koji Uehara that all picked a great time to have career years. This team still had some championship ballplayers at its core with an agelessly powerful, clutch and productive David Ortiz, a resurgent Dustin Pedroia and a tough and resilient starter named John Lester who was now entering his prime. 

After the tragedy of the Boston Marathon bombings, this team captured that moment with effortless, genuine and authentic desire. They became as goal focused as any team ever has or could and made it their mission to heel a city in mourning. This ball club proved beyond a shadow of a doubt that the sum of the parts and having the right mix can really override what the experts and prognosticators say. This team galvanized a city and made baseball fun again in this city. 

Game 6 of the 2013 World Series was like a coronation. From the fifth inning on it was no contest and Red Sox fans (me included) were celebrating in the stands for four innings straight. It was a perfect ending to what was a true fairytale season. This team had grit, focus, determination and plenty of talent that often gets overlooked. However, there was a good reason for that as their makeup and the fuel that galvanized them is the better story. The 2013 title proved that sometimes, it’s the intangibles that matter most.

To the current day.

So much can be said of the 2018 Red Sox. To me, the main themes of this team are redemption, promises realized and goals achieved all driven by great leadership. Alex Cora was the missing piece. Once that piece of the puzzle got plugged into the board the picture was complete. All they had to do was go and do it and do it they did. One hundred and 19 wins and a World Series championship. David Price changed his postseason narrative forever. He spiked the ball in the face of a great many naysayers (me included) and found his way in October with three brilliant postseason starts. He was the MVP of the World Series in my mind, as great as Steve Pearce was. Regardless, whether it was Price finding his way, or the new found October confidence of a much maligned bullpen this team had the talent to achieve the ultimate goal and found the confidence and belief to do it from their manager, whom to me started chipping away at that from the moment he was hired. BIG stick tap to Cora who knew what he had and knew exactly how to get the best out of them. Redemption, achievement, belief and leadership, that’s what the 2018 championship team was about.

My advice, is find a way to enjoy all four because each was special in their own way.

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