Tonight the Boston Red Sox have a chance to do something they haven’t done in 95 years; win a World Series championship in Fenway Park. Not since the championship of 1918 that marked both the end of a stretch of dominance early in the century and the beginning of 86 years of frustration that ended in 2004 have the Red Sox won it all in front of the Fenway Faithful. And it could happen on game six, a sometimes magical and other times tragic game in Red Sox history.
October 13, 1946: Cardinals 4, Red Sox 1
The Sox lost game six of the World Series to the Cardinals in an unthinkable by modern standards 1 hour and 56 minutes at Sportsman’s Park after being up 3 games to 2. The loss tied the series and set the stage for Enos Slaughter‘s mad dash from first to home on Harry Walker‘s hit and in which Sox shortstop Johnny Pesky was tagged with holding the ball. Pesky was either checking Walker at first or a bit in shock that Slaughter ran through the third base coach’s hold sign, dashing home with what would prove to be the winning run. The World Series loss snapped the Red Sox’s record of winning their first five postseason series, a feat that would not be matched until the Florida Marlins did it 57 years later in the 2003 World Series.
October 11, 1967: Red Sox 8, Cardinals 4
The Sox pressed a game seven after being down 3 games to 2 by thrashing the Cardinals on homers by Rico Petrocelli (2), Carl Yastrzemski and Reggie Smith in game six of the ’67 series. Their only problem in the series was Cardinal pitching machine Bob Gibson, who beat Boston three times in the series. Gibson gave up only three runs with one shut out in his three games against the Red Sox. The Impossible Dream team and season was stopped short of nirvana by too much Gibby.
Oct. 21 – 22, 1975: Red Sox 7, Cincinnati Reds 6
At 12:34 a.m. on Oct. 22, in what is generally considered the greatest baseball game ever played, Red Sox catcher Carlton Fisk smacked a solo home run that hit the foul pole in left field and cleared the Green Monster in the 12th inning of game six. I was 17 years old and quite simply lost my mind. Momentum so seemed to be in Boston’s favor, especially when on the following night (actually the same day), the Red Sox jumped out to a 3-0 lead, but eventually lost the game. Tony Perez hit a two-run homer in the top of the sixth on a slow, looping pitch by Red Sox starter Bill “Spaceman” Lee, and Pete Rose tied it in the seventh on an RBI single off reliever Roger Moret. Joe Morgan won the series for the Reds, 4-3, in the top of the ninth with a two-out RBI single off Jim Burton.
October 27, 1986: New York Mets 6, Red Sox 5
Bill Bucker’s error is infamous but a series of Red Sox gaffe’s had put them in a position with no margin for error.
The game was tied 3-3 after nine innings when Boston got two runs in the to of the 10th. Red Sox Manager McNamara made a number of huge mistakes that proved to be Boston’s undoing.
He left gamer but at that point gimpy (two bad ankles) Bucker at first base in the bottom of the 10th so that’d be on the field to celebrate Boston’s first World Series win since 1918 instead of replacing him with Dave Stapleton as he had usually done down the stretch. He also left in reliever Calvin Schiraldi for a third inning of work.
After getting two quick outs Schiraldi gave up three singles in a row to allow the Mets to score a run and put runners on second and third with the Sox just one out away from a World Series championship. Schiraldi gave way to Bob Stanley who got two strikes on Mookie Wilson before throwing a wild pitch that allowed Kevin Mitchell to score and tie the game. Three pitches later Wilson hit a slow roller down the first base line to Buckner. The rest is history.
Boston had another game to recover but the die was cast. After jumping out to a 3-0 lead they dropped the seventh game 8-5.
October 30, 2013: Red Sox, Cardinals