Boston Red Sox Memories: The unsung heroes of the 2013 World Series

ST LOUIS, MO - OCTOBER 27: Jonny Gomes #5 of the Boston Red Sox runs the bases after hitting a three run home run to left field against Seth Maness #61 of the St. Louis Cardinals in the sixth inning during Game Four of the 2013 World Series at Busch Stadium on October 27, 2013 in St Louis, Missouri. (Photo by Rob Carr/Getty Images)
ST LOUIS, MO - OCTOBER 27: Jonny Gomes #5 of the Boston Red Sox runs the bases after hitting a three run home run to left field against Seth Maness #61 of the St. Louis Cardinals in the sixth inning during Game Four of the 2013 World Series at Busch Stadium on October 27, 2013 in St Louis, Missouri. (Photo by Rob Carr/Getty Images) /
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For the third time since 2004, the Boston Red Sox were in the Fall Classic. This time though, there was far more than the Commissioner’s Trophy on the line.

Here we are again my friends, the Red Sox are back in the World Series and they’re standing across from a familiar foe. In a rematch of the 2004 Series, Boston and the St. Louis Cardinals would duel it out for the Commissioner’s Trophy once again.

This time things were different, in the meantime, the Cardinals added the highest piece of silverware to their cabinets and had a new level of fight. In their first clash, the Red Sox steamrolled St. Louis on their way to burying the Curse of the Bambino with a 4-0 sweep. The Cardinals hadn’t forgotten their last run-in with Boston and were ready to make it a challenge for the Sox.

When all was said and done it would again be the Red Sox celebrating with the champagne and beer bash as they vanquished their foes 4-2. Anyone and everyone that follows this team will tell you that 2013 was the year of David Ortiz, and they’re 100% correct.

Big Papi became the unanimous leader of the team and the city as a whole in the wake of the Boston Marathon bombings. In the World Series, he would post an astronomical .688/.760/1.188/1.948 line with two homers, six RBI, and eight walks. Oh yeah, he only struck out once in 16 at-bats, ONCE. He would walk away as the World Series MVP and I don’t think there was even a question about who should win it.

So, his efforts were very much praised in 2013 which would eliminate him from contention for this award. I’ll be shining more light on Papi when I look at my biggest moment of 2013, and we all know what moment I’m talking about. With Ortiz out of the running, I had to scroll up and down the roster to see exactly what stood out, and two players jumped off the screen.

Much like with 2007, I’m paying my attention towards a pitcher and a platoon player that rose to the biggest occasion. For 2013, my unsung heroes of the Red Sox were John Lackey and Jonny Gomes. Each saw their moment to shine in the spotlight and came through huge for Boston with the lights on the brightest.

Let’s start with Gomes and take a look at how we got to this point. The outfielder is the dictionary definition of a journeyman as he had been on four teams prior to landing in Boston, and he’d play with two more after.

All in all, he spent 13 seasons in the Majors between Tampa, Cincinnati, Washington, Oakland, Boston, Atlanta, and Kansas City. His highest level of success would come during his year and a half with the Sox.

Now, his World Series as a whole was not one that will be talked about for generations, but he did have one of the biggest hits in that year’s Fall Classic. It was Game Four of the Series and St. Louis had the 2-1 advantage. Late in the game, it was all knotted up 1-1 until the big man stepped to the plate. At the top of the sixth, Gomes came to the plate with runners on and made the absolute most of the at-bat.

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Boston’s left fielder would send the ball to the freakin’ moon and put the Red Sox up 4-1 in a game they’d eventually win 4-2. This hit would bring the series level at two-all and would begin Boston’s three-game win-streak that’d lead to the Commissioner’s Trophy. With a team that was full of heroes and superstars, it was one of the least likely that did the most. His homer sparked the Red Sox to not only a series comeback but they never looked back.

Now let’s take a look at Lackey and what he did for the Red Sox in the World Series. The righty went 1-1 through three starts and finished with a 2.57 ERA. He’d toss 14 innings while striking out 11 and walking just three. His time in Boston was a mixed bag of successes and failures but he came through when it mattered.

In October of 2013, Lackey would only be outdone by Jon Lester who was absolutely off the charts that fall. The right-hander wouldn’t be long for Boston as he’d be traded, ironically, to St. Louis midway through 2014. But his efforts on the staff can’t go unnoticed and should be talked about as Boston couldn’t have won without him.

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The Red Sox would be World Champions for the third time in the span of a decade after not raising the trophy for nearly a century. We will always remember the titans that allowed these accomplishments to happen but we must also give thanks to the mortals that stepped up. For without them no team is complete and no championship can be won.