The Top 9 teams in Fenway history
Yes, there was that 86-year title drought, and the Red Sox have not finished off a World Series at Fenway Park in over 90 years, but it has housed some pretty special teams over its 100-year history.
In honor of the greatest hitter in team history, Ted Williams (what, you were thinking Craig Grebeck?), here are the top nine teams to have called Fenway Park home:
The 1912 version went 105-47, the finest record in team history, before winning the World Series with a two-run rally in the bottom of the 10th inning in Game 8 (there was one tie). Tris Speaker hit .383, Smoky Joe Wood went 34-5 and the club went 57-20 at home. Sheer dominance, no matter what year it was.
One of several Red Sox teams before 2004 that suffered a painful postseason exit (Johnny Pesky held the ball too long on a relay, allowing…ah, you know the story). Nonetheless, the ’46 squad was loaded. In his first year back from the service, Ted Williams won the MVP behind a .342 average, 38 home runs and 123 RBI. Pesky batted .335 and Dom DiMaggio .316. Bobby Doerr drove in 116 runs and Rudy York 119, all part of the best offense in the league that spearheaded a 104-50 finish. The pitching staff was just as good — aside from strike years, no Red Sox team has allowed fewer runs in a season since World War II.
Many may put this team at the top of the list, or at least higher than third. This club had perhaps the most relentless offense in team history and guys named Curt and Pedro at the top of the rotation. It took time and some roster maneuvering for things to start clicking. It goes without saying that there was no quit in this bunch, which won 98 games and scored 517 runs at home, an average of well over six a game.
When you have two players finish with exactly 159 RBI and two pitchers win at least 23 games, you’ve got a pretty solid foundation. Williams won his second MVP, leading a team that went 54-21 after the All-Star break before the playoff loss.
Babe Ruth was 20 when this team steamrolled to a 101-50 record and an easy World Series win over the Phillies. He went 18-8 with a 2.44 ERA, which was actually higher than the overall team mark, and led the offense with four home runs. Again, it was a very different era, but the Sox were a juggernaut — they went 55-20 at Fenway that year.
The 2004 team was perhaps more beloved for its quirkiness and never-say-die attitude. The 2007 version didn’t need any of that stuff. It raced to a four-game division lead by the end of April, upped that to 10 1/2 games by the end of May and had plenty to hold off a late charge by the Yankees for the first AL East title since 1995. A phenomenal postseason featured two series sweeps and one memorable comeback in the ALCS. The lineup had the usual Red Sox thunder and Josh Beckett’s 20-7 season led a staff that topped the AL in team ERA and allowed 111 fewer runs than the ’04 team.
Only one team in Red Sox history has scored more runs than this bunch. Six players slugged at least 25 home runs and as a whole the club hit a team-record 238. Nomar Garciaparra and Pedro Martinez had their last great years in a Boston uniform, Trot Nixon had his finest season and Bill Mueller won the batting title. The pitching staff was rather lean after Pedro, something manager Grady Little took to heart.
We all know how this team’s season ended, but it was a wild ride to that point for a group loaded with star power. Jim Rice had his best season, as did fellow Hall of Famer Dennis Eckersley, at least as a starter. Bob Stanley was dominant in an Alfredo Aceves-like role, going 15-2 with 10 saves and a 2.60 ERA. For those who think this team didn’t have any fight, as it blew a 14-game lead over the Yankees, remember that the Sox were four games back in the loss column with 14 games to play. They rallied to force the one-game playoff and if it wasn’t for Bucky Dent, well…
They played in the most dramatic World Series of any team on this list, or perhaps any list, but even if they won it all that year this team would still sit near the bottom of our top 9. They had a typical top-ranked Red Sox offense, but the pitching was ordinary (three guys had 17 wins or more but all with ERAs of 3.95 or higher; the team ERA was ninth in the American League). Still, the most famous moment in Fenway Park history involves Carlton Fisk wishing one fair on that October night that Sean McGuire had to go see about a girl. That alone keeps the ’75 team firmly embedded in the hearts of New Englanders.