Red Sox Nation is rudely awakened from the Impossible Dream
This one is perhaps not as heartbreaking as some of the others on the list, especially given the expectations Red Sox fans had heading into the 1967 season, but it still deserves to be on here. After going twenty-one years without a pennant, the Red Sox had a fantastic season in 1967 that came down to the wire before they won the American League and made it back to the World Series.
Facing them were the National League champion St. Louis Cardinals, winners of 101 games and the World Series just three years prior. Leading up to 1968 which would become known as The Year of the Pitcher, the ’67 World Series was dominated by pitching. Boston’s Jim Lonborg put up a valiant effort, winning Games Two and Five by throwing two complete games and only giving up one run total.
But it was Hall of Famer Bob Gibson of the Cardinals who completely dominated the Red Sox. He threw three complete games (Games One, Four, and Seven) while only giving up a total of three runs the entire series. This despite the fact that Triple Crown winner Carl Yastrzemski hit .400 in the World Series with 3 home runs, 5 RBI, a whopping .500 OBP and a 1.340 OPS. Lonborg did his best, going 2-1 in the series, but it just wasn’t enough.
The Red Sox were down three games to one after the first four but then won the next two to force a deciding seventh game. In that final game, Gibson and Lonborg finally faced each other, but Lonborg was going on two days rest while Gibson was pitching on three. It wasn’t close as the Cardinals built a 4-1 lead after five innings and ended up winning the game 7-2 to defeat the Red Sox.
The Red Sox seemed like a team of destiny in 1967 and the Impossible Dream almost became a reality, but the Cardinals scuppered that and broke the hearts of Red Sox fans. It would be eight years before they’d return to the World Series.