October 30th is widely known as simply the day before Halloween. People finalize their costumes and get ready to go out the next night. But this day is also known for a few other things. Henry Winkler, aka ‘The Fonz” was born on this day. Also born on this day was John Adams, the second President of the United States. Also on this day, “The Perfect Storm” hit the North Atlantic. The storm inspired a book and a movie about the ship Andrea Gail. But as a Boston sports fan, I’ll remember this day as the day the Red Sox won their third world series in a span of nine years.
In 2013, the Boston Red Sox finished off an unexpected World Series run by defeating the St. Louis Cardinals four games to two. A year after going 69-93, a year full of turmoil in Bobby Valentine’s first and only year in Boston, the Sox turned it all around by going 97-65. After cleaning house by trading Adrian Gonzalez, Carl Crawford and Josh Beckett late in the last season and firing Bobby V. The Sox completely changed the culture by hiring former pitching coach John Farrell as manager and acquiring many key players in the offseason such as Jonny Gomes, Shane Victorino, Mike Napoli and Koji Uehara. The team brought in professional players who care more about the team than personal gain, and the results were incredible. Gomes and Napoli were known for their Duck Dynasty like beards. Victorino, albeit injured provided some big time hits, including a go ahead grand slam against the Tigers in game six of the ALCS. The only grand slam that outdid that one was David Ortiz’s game tying grand slam in game two, where outfielder Torii Hunter famously flipped over the wall in right field. And as for Koji, he was lights out in the bullpen. With these new key players, the recipe was there for a championship team.
The World Series started with Boston dominating 8-1 behind a strong outing from Jon Lester and a strong start by the Boston bats. The Cardinals took games two and three to take a 2-1 series lead. Boston won game four as Koji Uehara picked off Kolten Wong to end the game. Jon Lester once again dominated in game five which brought the Red Sox one win away from another World Series title. On this day two years ago, in game six, the Red Sox offense got out to another fast start and John Lackey pitched dominantly. In the ninth inning, closer Koji Uehara struck out Matt Carpenter to end the game and Red Sox celebrated a World Series in Fenway for the first time in 95 years.
The story of the 2013 Red Sox could not be completed without mentioning the Boston Marathon Bombings. The Sox rallied behind the city, and the city rallied behind the Red Sox. David Ortiz’s “This is our f’ing city” speech fired the people of Boston up and Daniel Nava’s home run later in the game gave the city a feeling of healing. The Boston Strong message carried with the team throughout the season, as a Boston 617 jersey hung up in the dugout every game. The final out call by Dave O’Brien even mentioned the Boston Strong movement — “The 2013 Boston Red Sox are world champions, and Boston Strong!” During the championship parade, the Red Sox laid out the Boston 617 shirt over the trophy on the marathon finish line, another sign that the city had healed and was Boston Strong.