Major League Baseball team; founded as an original member of the American League in 1901. Known for having the most fatalistic fans of any American sports team. Currently play in Fenway Park.

When Ban Johnson created the American League in 1901, he placed a franchise in Boston to challenge the slumping Boston National League team. For the first few years of the 20th century neither team had a nickname, but were referred to as the AL or NL Bostons. But the Americans, briefly known as the Pilgrims, then as the Red Sox, quickly distinguished themselves, winning the first World Series in 1903 and later won four more World Series in the 1910s. In 1912 they moved from their original home, the Huntington Avenue Grounds to the newly built Fenway Park, where they still play today.

Unfortunately for Boston, their title in 1918 would be their last. One of the heroes of the 1918 Red Sox was a young pitcher/outfielder named Babe Ruth. After the Red Sox failed to win the AL pennant in 1919, owner Harry Frazee sold Babe Ruth to the New York Yankees. As Babe Ruth won numerous championships with Yankees in the 20s and 30s, the Red Sox faltered, and never came close to challenging for a title until the mid-40s.

In 1939 a brash rookie from California made his debut in left field with the Red Sox, and quickly became the star of the team, leading the league in RBIs with 145. Ted Williams, considered by many to be the best pure hitter ever to play baseball, would define the Boston Red Sox from that year until his retirement in 1960. But the only chance "The Splendid Splinter" had in the World Series was in 1946, when the Red Sox lost the World Series in seven games to the St. Louis Cardinals.

In 1961, the Red Sox found an adequate replacement for Williams in left field in the person of Carl Yastrzemski. Like Williams, "Yaz" defined the Boston Red Sox during his 23-year tenure playing in front of the Green Monster. Yaz had twice as many chances as Williams to win the World Series, but lost two seventh games: in 1967 to the St. Louis Cardinals (just one year after the Red Sox narrowly avoided the worst record in baseball); and in 1975 to The Big Red Machine - the Cincinnati Reds.

In the late 70s and 80s the Red Sox continually challenged for first place but fell short at the end of the season, including losing a one game playoff to the Yankees in 1978 (see Bucky Dent). In 1986, however, led by a young pitching phenom named Roger Clemens, the Sox won the AL East and overcame a 3-1 deficit to win the AL Championship Series. The Red Sox again lost the World Series, though, again in seven games; the memorable moment came in Game 6 when a Bill Buckner error allowed the New York Mets to win the game and tie the series at three games apiece.

The 90s and 00s have been more of the same, as the Red Sox have occasionally made the playoffs, but have yet to make the World Series*. They've had the misfortune of being stuck in the same division as the New York Yankees, who, in addition to being the Red Sox' greatest rivals, have won the World Series four out of the last seven years.

Boston Red Sox awards:
The Red Sox' home since 1912, Fenway Park, has strongly favored hitters throughout its history; hence the Red Sox hitters have always been feared more than their pitchers. For example, Red Sox hitters have led the league in batting average 27 times, but their pitchers have led the league in wins just 12 times. The gap would be even wider had the Red Sox not had four of the best all-time pitchers on their team at some point: Cy Young, Lefty Grove, Roger Clemens, and Pedro Martinez.

Jimmie Foxx, 1938
Ted Williams, 1946, 1949
Jackie Jensen, 1958
Carl Yastrzemski, 1967
Jim Rice, 1978
Roger Clemens, 1986
Mo Vaughn, 1995

AL Cy Young:
Jim Lonborg, 1967
Roger Clemens, 1986-1987, 1991
Pedro Martinez, 1999-2000

AL Rookie of theYear:
Walt Dropo, 1950
Don Schwall, 1961
Carlton Fisk, 1972
Fred Lynn, 1975
Nomar Garciaparra, 1997

Retired Numbers:
1 - Bobby Doerr
4 - Joe Cronin
8 - Carl Yastrzemski
9 - Ted Williams
27 - Carlton Fisk

* - Editor's Note: The Red Sox won the AL pennant against their arch-nemeses the Yankees on October 20, 2004, qualifying them for the World Series for the first time since 1986. They were the first team to win a seven-game championship series after losing the first three games, and they did it to the Yankees. The Red Sox went on to defeat the St. Louis Cardinals in the World Series, to win their first title since 1918.

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