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Story

Every team wants to end the season on a winning streak -- especially if the last game clinches the 2004 World Series. The 2004 Boston Red Sox did just that. A rough and tumble aggregation, the Sox shucked the "Curse of the Bambino" and steamrolled to the world championship, winning their last eight games.

After finishing a strong second in the American League East to the Yankees, wildcard Boston wiped out West champ Anaheim in a three-game ALDS. Meanwhile, the Yankees won their ALDS in four games against Minnesota, the Central champions, who despite good starts from Cy Young winner Johan Santana twice blew leads in the late innings. Ruben Sierra delivered a key pinch homer in Game Four to break the Twins' backs.

While the nation anticipated a classic Red Sox/Yankees ALCS, the first three games were all New York. After taking 10-7 and 3-1 wins at home, the Yankees thoroughly embarrassed Boston, 19-8, in game three. When the Yanks went ahead 4-3 in game four, the Red Sox looked done.

But a ninth-inning rally, sparked by Dave Roberts's clutch stolen base, tied the fourth game, and David Ortiz won the contest with a 12th-inning homer. The next night, Boston again outlasted the Yankees, this time triumphing on Ortiz's 14th-inning single. Red Sox fans, deprived of a world title since Babe Ruth was dealt to the Yankees in 1919, rallied around a new slogan: Keep the Faith.

Back in New York, the Red Sox won Game Six behind Curt Schilling, who pitched seven strong innings despite a torn ankle tendon. With clear momentum, Boston wiped up New York 10-3 in game seven, completing perhaps the greatest postseason comeback in history. No major league team had ever won a postseason series after being down three games to none.

Some great performers watched the postseason on TV. Seattle finished last despite Ichiro Suzuki's .372 average and all-time record 262 hits. Barry Bonds took a staggering 232 walks and captured his seventh National League MVP Award, but the Giants finished second. Young arms Santana and Jake Peavy (of the Padres) served notice, while 40-year-old Randy Johnson authored a perfect game.

Roger Clemens won his seventh Cy Young Award, this one for Houston. Teammate Roy Oswalt's 20 wins propelled the Astros, who appeared dead in August before erupting in September. Wildcard Houston then took the Braves in a five-game NLDS.

In the NLCS, St. Louis (which had eliminated National League West champ Los Angeles) found holes in Houston's bullpen and eked out a league championship in seven tough games. Led by offensive bludgeons Albert Pujols, Scott Rolen, and Jim Edmonds, the Cardinals had finished 105-57.

Still high from their ALCS comeback, Boston took Game One of the 2004 World Series, breaking a 9-9 tie on Mark Bellhorn's eighth-inning homer. After winning Game Two 6-2 at Fenway, Boston then shut down the Redbirds 4-1 and 3-0 in St. Louis for a convincing four-game sweep. Rolen and Edmonds combined to go 1-for-30. It was almost too simple. The surprising sweep set New England into another frenzy of celebration.

Far from the Spotlight, the Montreal Expos ended their tenure in Canada after yet another frustrating season of low attendance and poor performance. Washington, D.C., was scheduled to welcome the club for 2005. One thing Washington didn't welcome was baseball's growing steroid scandal. Steroid revelations sullied the reputations of Mark McGwire, Jason Giambi, and Barry Bonds, with no end in sight.

2004 HEADLINES

Steroids Scandal Rocks the Game

Revelations of steroid use from former MVPs Jason Giambi, Mark McGwire, and Ken Caminiti (who died on October 10) led to rumors concerning other stars, including Barry Bonds and Gary Sheffield. Commissioner Bud Selig promised action, but some wondered whether the problem would ever be fixed.

Mariano Rivera Racks Up 53 Saves

Those who already felt that the Yankees' Mariano Rivera was the greatest closer in baseball history could point to his career-high 53 saves in 2004, a total that led the majors. Helping New York win an American League-best 101 games, the 34-year-old Rivera again used his trademark cut fastball to shatter bats, allowing just three home runs in 79 innings.

Vladimir Guerrero Garners MVP Award

Vladimir Guerrero moved to sunny California in 2004 and led the Angels' charge to the American League West title. Earning the American League MVP Award on the strength of a .337-39-126 performance, the 28-year-old Superstar topped the American League in runs (124), total bases (366), and outfield assists (13). He became the first Angels outfielder to start in the All-Star Game since Reggie Jackson in 1984.

Miguel Tejada Lets 'Em Fly in HR Derby

On July 12, 2004, the Orioles' Miguel Tejada belted a record 27 homers in the Home Run Derby, held in Houston prior to the All-Star Game. Tejada's Derby performance was just part of a stellar campaign in which he played in all 162 games and amassed a league-leading 150 RBI. He also ranked among the American League's top ten in homers, hits, doubles, total bases, and extra-base hits.

Johan Santana Rocks! Wins American League Cy Young

In his first year as a regular starter, Minnesota's Johan Santana posted ERAs of 5.40 in April 2004 and 5.79 in May. After that, he was utterly unhittable, not allowing more than two earned runs in 21 of his final 22 Starts. He was 5-0 in September, allowing just two runs overall. An easy Cy Young Award winner, the lefty went 20-6 and paced the American League in ERA (2.61) and strikeouts (265).

Curt Schilling Bleeds for Boston

Curt Schilling could have made a fortune on eBay selling his bloody red sock. In game six of the ALCS -- despite suffering from a torn ankle tendon that eventually required surgery -- Schilling pitched seven quality innings to earn a 4-2 victory over the rival Yankees. Schilling, who led the American League with 21 wins during the regular season, also won game two of the 2004 World Series.

David Ortiz Bashes the Big Hits

Red Sox designated hitter David Ortiz, who slugged .301 with 41 homers and 139 RBI in 2004, amassed 19 RBI and cracked three game-winning hits in the 2004 postseason. First, he won the clinching game three of the American League Division Series with a walk-off homer against Anaheim. He also ended game four of the ALCS against New York with a post-midnight homer.

High-Flying Derek Lowe Wins All Three Clinchers

The 2004 regular season was a struggle for Derek Lowe, who racked up a 5.42 ERA. In October, however, he came up big. With Boston's pitching staff in tatters, Lowe won all three clinchers. First, he triumphed in game three of the ALDS in relief. Then as a starter, he defeated the Yankees in game seven of the ALCS and wrapped up the 2004 World Series in game four.

Finally, Red Sox Fans Can Die Happy

"Cursed" since 1918, when Boston last won the World Series, Red Sox fans finally realized their dream in 2004. On October 30, more than three million fans attended a celebratory parade through Boston. Said Red Sox Chairman Tom Werner: "So many people in their 90s have come up to me and said, 'I just want to live long enough to see one championship before I die.' This is for them."

2004 HIGHLIGHTS

The 2004 baseball season was a big one for the Boston Red Sox who finally lifted the "Curse of the Bambino." The Red Sox had been without a World Series victory since 1918, making victory so much sweeter when they overcame the Cardinals.

•    Wildcard winner Boston sweeps a three-game ALDS from West champion Anaheim.
•    New York defeats pesky Minnesota in four ALDS games.
•    Boston falls behind three games to none in the ALCS before staging a shocking comeback, taking four straight from the Yankees.
•    The Red Sox finish with eight straight wins, as they sweep St. Louis in four games to win the 2004 World Series.
•    Boston's Manny Ramirez is named 2004 World Series MVP after hitting .412 with four RBI.
•    Curt Schilling of Boston starts and wins game two of the 2004 World Series despite pitching with a torn tendon in his right ankle.
•    Boston's David Ortiz drives in 19 runs in the postseason.
•    Anaheim's Vladimir Guerrero is named 2004 American League MVP.
•    Guerrero bats .337 with 39 home runs and tops the American League in runs (124) and total bases (366).
•    Twins lefty Johan Santana (20-6) is the American League Cy Young Award winner, garnering all 28 first-place votes.
•    Santana's league-leading 2.61 ERA is more than two runs below the American League's average. He also leads the junior loop with 265 strikeouts.
•    Ichiro Suzuki of Seattle sets an all-time major league record with 262 hits, breaking George Sisler's mark of 257.
•    Suzuki's .372 average is the best in the junior circuit since 1980.
•    Miguel Tejada, in his first year as Baltimore's shortstop, knocks in 150 runs to pace the major leagues.
•    Tejada wins the Home Run Derby with a record 27 total homers.
•    Manny Ramirez tops the American League with 43 homers and a .613 SA.
•    Catcher Ivan Rodriguez signs with Detroit and hits .334 with 86 RBI.
•    Rodriguez wins his 11th Gold Glove, a record for catchers.
•    The Yankees' 101 wins are the most in the American League.
•    Baltimore's Melvin Mora hits .340 with 27 homers and paces the American League with a .419 OBP.
•    Brian Roberts of the Orioles hits .273 with just four homers, but he leads the American League with 50 doubles.
•    Tampa Bay's Carl Crawford emerges as one of the American League's most exciting players, leading in triples (19) and stolen bases (59).
•    Schilling leads the junior circuit with 21 wins.
•    Mariano Rivera of the Yanks saves 53 games, pacing the American League for the third time.
•    Boston trades superstar shortstop Nomar Garciaparra to the Cubs on July 31.
•    Rangers reliever Frank Francisco, involved in an argument with a fan, causes injuries when he throws a chair into the stands at Oakland on September 13.
•    Oakland shortstop Bobby Crosby (22 homers) is named 2004 American League ROTY.
•    The Indians rout the Yankees 22-0 on August 31.
•    The American League wins yet another All-Star Game, blowing out the National League 9-4 at Houston on July 13.
•    A long-suppressed steroids scandal rears its head throughout the season and after the World Series. Several superstar players, including Jason Giambi and Barry Bonds, are implicated.

Batting

TM G AB R H RBI AVG 2B 3B HR SB CS TB OBP SLG OPSLG GIDP SF SH
ANA 2217 5675 836 1603 783 .195 272 37 162 143 46 2435 .345 .299 .748 123 41 56
BAL 2278 5736 842 1614 803 .174 319 18 169 101 41 2476 .315 .258 .656 126 62 46
BOS 2417 5720 949 1613 912 .223 373 25 222 68 30 2702 .353 .362 .771 123 55 12
CHA 2245 5534 865 1481 823 .260 284 19 242 78 51 2529 .384 .433 .894 119 42 58
CLE 2287 5676 858 1565 820 .252 345 29 184 94 55 2520 .362 .378 .768 143 42 47
DET 2255 5623 827 1531 800 .202 284 54 201 86 50 2526 .368 .317 .761 110 43 50
KCA 2169 5538 720 1432 675 .185 261 29 150 67 48 2201 .331 .275 .665 130 38 40
MIN 2318 5623 780 1494 735 .202 310 24 191 116 46 2425 .358 .315 .762 130 40 46
NYA 2281 5527 897 1483 863 .203 281 20 242 84 33 2530 .342 .324 .738 157 50 37
OAK 2217 5728 793 1545 752 .181 336 15 189 47 22 2478 .358 .285 .719 142 43 25
SEA 2280 5722 698 1544 658 .212 276 20 136 110 42 2268 .358 .303 .705 131 48 46
TBA 2182 5483 714 1416 685 .199 278 46 145 132 42 2221 .326 .297 .668 97 56 35
TEX 2240 5615 860 1492 825 .189 323 34 227 69 36 2564 .337 .300 .713 91 57 23
TOR 2194 5531 719 1438 680 .173 290 34 145 58 31 2231 .360 .267 .737 139 42 20

Pitching

Team G W L IP SO BB BF H HR ERA ER R GC SH SV WP BK
ANA 505 92 70 1453 1164 502 6246 1476 170 78.430 692 734 2 2 50 61 7
BAL 614 78 84 1457 1090 687 6459 1488 159 141.490 761 830 8 4 27 68 9
BOS 599 98 64 1454 1132 447 6222 1430 159 129.850 676 768 4 1 36 39 1
CHA 561 83 79 1432 1013 527 6189 1505 224 124.450 782 831 8 2 34 43 3
CLE 641 80 82 1466 1115 579 6450 1553 201 206.730 785 857 8 3 32 43 6
DET 594 72 90 1441 995 530 6296 1542 190 92.740 788 844 7 4 35 71 6
KCA 571 58 104 1419 887 518 6320 1638 208 149.240 815 905 6 2 25 60 10
MIN 597 92 70 1475 1123 431 6269 1523 167 132.510 663 715 4 4 48 45 1
NYA 598 101 61 1445 1058 445 6240 1532 182 127.420 752 808 1 0 59 57 4
OAK 576 91 71 1474 1034 544 6313 1466 164 79.380 682 742 10 3 35 39 5
SEA 576 63 99 1462 1036 575 6389 1498 212 132.720 772 823 7 2 28 45 7
TBA 562 70 91 1416 923 580 6261 1459 192 136.210 759 842 3 0 35 55 7
TEX 630 89 73 1440 979 547 6345 1536 182 167.630 727 794 5 2 52 34 11
TOR 592 67 94 1422 956 608 6281 1505 181 178.630 778 823 6 4 37 60 11

Fielding

Team ID G TC PO A E Fld% InOuts SB CS CS% PB
ANA 2791 7126 5473 1544 109 .984 17450 87 44 0 11
BAL 2776 7264 5439 1707 118 .967 17465 82 39 2.00 14
BOS 3015 7156 5348 1669 139 .976 17420 123 31 0 18
CHA 2733 7157 5333 1706 118 .967 17190 90 48 0 13
CLE 2780 7309 5479 1708 122 .964 17600 117 40 0 15
DET 2779 7313 5392 1745 176 .963 17279 71 41 1.00 9
KCA 2690 7235 5409 1670 156 .967 17039 84 35 0 16
MIN 2781 7292 5498 1679 115 .970 17710 73 44 0 6
NYA 2781 7094 5380 1598 116 .951 17323 90 32 0 11
OAK 2712 7371 5429 1836 106 .972 17658 74 49 1.00 14
SEA 2739 7205 5585 1504 116 .961 17513 64 38 2.00 11
TBA 2681 7120 5420 1559 141 .961 17003 67 32 0 8
TEX 2791 7137 5381 1630 126 .973 17280 71 39 0 16
TOR 2682 7072 5306 1665 101 .965 17057 91 41 0 10

West

team W L Att Rk SOP
Anaheim Angels 92 70 3375677 1 1164
Oakland Athletics 91 71 2201516 2 1034
Texas Rangers 89 73 2513685 3 979
Seattle Mariners 63 99 2940731 4 1036

Central

team W L Att Rk SOP
Minnesota Twins 92 70 1911490 1 1123
Chicago White Sox 83 79 1930537 2 1013
Cleveland Indians 80 82 1814401 3 1115
Detroit Tigers 72 90 1917004 4 995
Kansas City Royals 58 104 1661478 5 887

East

team W L Att Rk SOP
New York Yankees 101 61 3775292 1 1058
Boston Red Sox 98 64 2837294 2 1132
Baltimore Orioles 78 84 2744018 3 1090
Tampa Bay Devil Rays 70 91 1274911 4 923
Toronto Blue Jays 67 94 1900041 5 956

Awards

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Tagged:
2004 World Series, Albert Pujols, Babe Ruth, Barry Bonds, Bobby Crosby, Boston Red Sox, Brian Roberts, Bud Selig, Carl Crawford, Curt Schilling, Dave Roberts, David Ortiz, Derek Lowe, Frank Francisco, Gary Sheffield, Ichiro Suzuki, Ivan Rodriguez, Jake Peavy, Jason Giambi, Jim Edmonds, Johan Santana, Ken Caminiti, Manny Ramirez, Mariano Rivera, Mark Bellhorn, Mark McGwire, Melvin Mora, Minnesota Twins, Montreal Expos, New York Yankees, Nomar Garciaparra, Reggie Jackson, Roger Clemens, Roy Oswalt, Ruben Sierra, Scott Rolen, Tom Werner, Vladimir Guerrero

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