The Boston Red Sox had once again found themselves in the World Series, and much like 2004, there was a hero that many overlook when they remember 2007.
Welcome to the second part of our trip down Red Sox World Series memory lane! As you saw in chapter one, I looked at the 2004 Series and tried to shine a light on some guys that may not get as much credit for Boston’s win. I’ll be doing the same thing here with the 2007 Championship squad, but I took a bit of a detour.
Many would probably expect me to talk about David Ortiz or Manny Ramirez, but they’re two of the biggest name in the game, nice try. Then, of course, there’s the dynamic rookie duo of Dustin Pedroia and Jacoby Ellsbury who absolutely dominated the Rockies, but it’s not them either.
So, let’s have a drumroll and get on with the fun! For the 2007 World Series, I chose Bobby Kielty and Jon Lester as the unsung heroes of Boston’s second championship in four years. Their stories are vastly different and yet they were key factors in the Red Sox winning the Fall Classic that year. When all was said and done, they deserved their championship rings just as much as anyone else on the roster.
For Lester, the 2007 season was one of retribution and a comeback. Towards the end of the 2006 season, the lefty was shut down due to some back issues. After a battery of tests and examinations, it became known that Lester had a treatable case of lymphoma. His season would soon be over as he sought treatment to get himself healthy.
Eventually, the Lester family and Red Sox Nation received the good news that the cancer was in remission and he could begin working towards a comeback. That would come all come to fruition midway through the season as he made his Red Sox debut against the Indians. Fast forward to October and the southpaw would find himself on the biggest stage of ’em all.
Lester was tapped by Terry Francona to start game four and he rose to the incredible occasion. He’d toss 5.2 innings keeping the Rockies to just three hits and three walks, while also striking out a trio of batters. He’d finished the World Series with a 1-0 record and a perfect 0.00 ERA. If there were ever a more perfect comeback story I don’t want to hear it, this is it for me.
Now let’s get to the other half of this unsung duo and that’s my dude Bobby K. The veteran outfielder had played for Minnesota, Toronto, and Oakland prior to landing in Boston for his final season. Considering 2007 was the last time Kielty would play in the majors, playing a role in winning a championship is one hell of a way to go out.
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The outfielder signed with the Red Sox in August of 2007 and just a few months later, he’d be in the World Series. There’s a very specific reason he made the cut for me today and if ya don’t know why I’ll tell ya. The man had just one at-bat against Colorado…ONE, and he smacked a dinger that gave the Sox a 4-1 lead in game four.
Boston would eventually win the game 4-3, so you could say that it was Kielty’s homer that gave them the win. I’m sure that will get some pushback, but I’m the one doing the typing so that’s gonna be my narrative. Bobby would bounce around a few other teams but never made it out of the minors past the 2007 Fall Classic.
Lester’s illness and return to the game isn’t a story that goes untold and is one of the more heroic tales from the diamond. But when you look at that 2007 squad, his name falls down the list. As far as Kielty is concerned, his at-bat rarely gets mentioned outside of the World Series documentary released by the MLB.
However, if it weren’t for these two then that series could’ve gone very differently. Yeah, the Red Sox were up 3-0 and had very comfortably handled the Rockies to that point, but they still needed that ever-important clinching game. Both Jon Lester and Bobby Kielty saw that game four as their chance to immortalize their names and join the record books, and they seized it.