ST. LOUIS — The Boston Red Sox — yes, the Boston Red Sox! — are World Series champions at long, long last. No more curse and no doubt about it. Ridiculed and reviled through decades of defeat, the Red Sox didn't just beat the St. Louis Cardinals, owners of the best record in baseball, they swept them for their first crown since 1918. Johnny Damon homered on the fourth pitch of the game, Derek Lowe made it stand up and the Red Sox won 3-0 Wednesday night, wrapping up a Series in which they never trailed.
Only 10 nights earlier, the Red Sox were just three outs from getting swept by the New York Yankees in the AL championship series before becoming the first team in baseball postseason history to overcome a 3-0 deficit.
It was Boston's sixth championship, but the only first in 86 long, seemingly agonizing years.
The Red Sox made it look easy. Gone was the heartbreak of four Game 7 losses since their last title, a drought — some insist it was a curse that really began after they sold superstar Babe Ruth to the much-reviled Yankees in 1920.
"I'm so happy. I'm happy for the fans in Boston, I'm happy for Johnny Pesky, for Bill Buckner, for Bob Stanley and Calvin Schiraldi and all the great Red Sox players who can now be remembered for the great players that they were," pitcher Curt Schilling said.
Schilling got himself traded from Arizona to Boston last November, eager to beat the Yankees and put the Red Sox in the World Series for the first time since 1986.
The win ensured him an extra $15 million US in a contract he negotiated himself.
"We wanted to do it so bad for the city of Boston," first baseman Kevin Millar said. "Rip up those '1918' posters right now!"
Damon's leadoff homer off starter Jason Marquis and Trot Nixon's two-out, two-run double on a 3-0 pitch were all Lowe needed. Lowe blanked the Cards on a mere three hits for seven innings. Even before Doug Mientkiewicz caught Foulke's toss on Edgar Renteria's grounder for the last out, the Red Sox were rushing out of the dugout.
The Sox get to raise the World Series banner April 11 at Fenway Park, with the hated Yankees in town forced to watch. But 18 Boston players are potential free agents, including Pedro Martinez and Lowe.
The Vancouver Province, October 28, 2004.