2004 Boston Red Sox World Series Baseball Gemstone Championship Ring
The 2004 World Series, the 100th World Series, featured the American League (AL) champions Boston Red Sox against the National League (NL) champions St. Louis Cardinals. The Red Sox defeated the Cardinals by four games to none in the best-of-seven series, played at Fenway Park and Busch Memorial Stadium. The series was played from October 23–27, 2004, broadcast on Fox, and watched by an average of just under 25.5 million viewers.
The Cardinals earned their berth into the playoffs by winning the National League Central, and had the best win–loss record in the National League. The Red Sox won the American League wild card to earn theirs. The Cardinals reached the World Series by defeating the Los Angeles Dodgers in the best-of-five National League Division Series and the Houston Astros in the best-of-seven Championship Series (NLCS). The Red Sox defeated the Anaheim Angels in the American League Division Series. After being down three games to none to the New York Yankees, they came back to win the 2004 American League Championship Series (ALCS) and advanced to their first World Series since 1986. The Cardinals made their first appearance in the World Series since 1987. The Red Sox won the World Series for the first time since 1918, which ended the "Curse of the Bambino", a curse that was supposed to have been inflicted on the team when Babe Ruth was sold to the Yankees in 1919. With the New England Patriots winning Super Bowl XXXVIII, the World Series made Boston the first city to have Super Bowl and World Series championship teams in the same year (2004) since Pittsburgh in 1979.
Mark Bellhorn helped the Red Sox win Game 1 with a home run, while starter Curt Schilling led the team to a Game two victory by pitching six innings and allowing just one run. The Red Sox won the first two games despite committing four errors in each. The Red Sox won Game three, aided by seven shutout innings by Pedro Martínez. A home run by Johnny Damon in the first inning helped to win Game four for the Red Sox to secure the series. The Cardinals did not lead in any of the games in the series. Manny Ramírez was named the series' Most Valuable Player (MVP). When each team next played in a World Series, both won their respective series—the Cardinals in 2006 (two years later) and the Red Sox in 2007. When the Cardinals won, Tony La Russa joined Sparky Anderson as the only men to have managed World Series championship teams in both leagues, a feat he failed to achieve in 2004. The Red Sox and Cardinals faced each other again in the 2013 World Series, which the Red Sox also won.