It takes a team to win a World Series Championship, that much has always been clear.
Sometimes the players you sign in the offseason are the ones that carry you there, sometimes it's the ones that you acquire at the deadline, and sometimes it's just the ones that are already there. In the Boston Red Sox case -- more often than not, that is -- it's a little sprinkling of both.
When looking back at their four titles in the 21st century, the Red Sox have had a collection of players from each year. Some that you may remember, some that you may not. This story is not one of players who regressed with a World Series hangover, or ones who left/were traded after that season or even during that season (i.e. Nomar Garciaparra or Jon Lester).
Instead, these are players who were on the team, but were forgotten for one reason or another. Whether that is that they were known for their time with another team, that they were not far enough into their career to be remembered to be on that roster or that they played minor roles in that years' run.
2004 Red Sox -- Ellis Burks (DH)
When you think of the 2004 Red Sox, one of three things usually pop into people's heads.
1. Joe Buck's famous "back to Foulke" call
2. Joe Buck's in-famous game-tying call in game 4 of the ALCS of the Dave Roberts steal of second base, and subsequent scoring on an single by Bill Mueller
3. The sound of players hooting and hollering on the Yankee Stadium grass after they won the pennant despite being down 3-0 in the series.
Still gives me chills listening to all of those, just as someone who follows baseball.
What a lot of people don't remember though, is that Burks was still on this Red Sox team. In fact, it was the final year of his career. While his best season came in 1996 where he hit over .340, and played in over 150 games, he still gets credit for being on the team and still gets a World Series ring out of it - despite only playing 11 games, and mustering all of one home run.
Presumably, Burks wanted to come back to the team thata he made his debut with back in 1987 for one more ride and hope to bring pride to the city where he had some of the best years of his career in the late 1980s, early 1990s. It was an unfortunate end to such a storied career, but it opened the door for an even better designated hitter for Boston - David Ortiz.
Despite playing only 11 games though, Burks does still get credit for being on the team, and was honored on Opening Day in 2005 with a ring.
Honorable Mentions: Kevin Youkilis, Byung-Hyun Kim