CHARLOTTE, NC: When the Dodgers and Red Sox take the field at Fenway Park in Boston tonight, it will be the 113th renewal of the World Series. It will also be the first time the two opponents have met in a series since 1916 when the Dodgers played in Brooklyn and were known as the Robins.
With that bit of enticing background, here are some other trivialities about the two storied franchises who square off tonight.
The Championship of the United States
There was actually no such thing as a “World Series” until the turn of the 20th century primarily because Major League Baseball (MLB) does not recognize 19th-century championships as the modern era of baseball.
The Association of Professional Base Ball Players existed from 1871-1875 with the American Association being formed in 1882 as a second major league. In 1876 the National League was founded and the professional baseball championship was awarded to the team with the best record at season’s end.
Between 1884 and 1890, a disorganized series of baseball “tournaments” were held ranging anywhere from 3 games in 1884 to as many as 15 in 1887. In that year, Detroit beat St. Louis ten games to five. In 1885 and 1890 each team won three games with one tie so those series ended in a draw.
During those early years, the games were known as “The Championship of the United States”, and the “World’s Championship Series” as well as the “World’s Series.”
The first World Series – Boston Americans vs Pittsburgh Pirates
Today, however, many authorities officially regard 1903 as the first true World Series, which was won by the Boston Americans (now the Red Sox) over the Pittsburgh Pirates, 5 games to 3.
The New York Yankees have appeared in 40 of the World Series to date, winning 27 of them, by far the most championships of any franchise. Sadly for fans in San Diego, Tampa Bay, Milwaukee and Colorado, their teams have never won a Series.
Even worse, the Washington Nationals (formerly the Montreal Expos) have never even appeared in baseball’s championship.
Every championship game, be it the World Series, Super Bowl or Stanley Cup always brings intriguing sidebar stories that adds flavor to the competition.
The Curse of the Bambino
This year, both managers Alex Cora of the Red Sox and Dave Roberts of the Dodgers were members of the 2004 championship team that ended more than 8 decades of frustration in Boston when they swept St. Louis in four games to end the dreaded “Curse of the Bambino.”
The so-called “curse” was derived when the Red Sox sold Babe Ruth to the Yankees in 1919 and did not win a title again for 86 years.
Perhaps more interesting, and lesser known, is that 2018 represents the 100th anniversary of Boston’s third and last World Series championship with Babe Ruth on their roster.
Two years earlier, Ruth, who was a pitcher back then, threw a 14-inning complete game victory in Game 2 against, who else, the forerunner to today’s Dodgers.
Dave Roberts stealing for the win
In 2004, Dave Roberts’ stolen base in Game 4 of the American League Championship may be the most famous stolen base in history.
Roberts took second against Yankees ace closer Mariano Rivera knowing that a single would tie the game and that chances of getting two hits off him was virtually impossible.
The Red Sox went on to become the first team in history to rally from a 3 game to 0 deficit to win a postseason championship.
The 2,588 miles and other baseball stats
Los Angeles and Boston are 2,588 miles apart, making the distance between the Dodgers and the Red Sox in this world Series. This makes them the furthest apart teams in baseball history.
Fenway Park is the oldest venue in the Major Leagues opening in 1912, but oddly enough Dodger Stadium is the third oldest with an inaugural date of 1962. Wrigley Field in Chicago is second.
This meeting will be the first visit to Fenway for the Dodgers since 2010 when Los Angeles took two out of three from Boston. During inter-league play, Boston has had an exceptional record in recent years. However their post-season record in the three championship seasons of 2004, 2007 and 2013 is a whopping 12-2.
Alex Cora is the third first season manager since 1961, when the MLB expanded, to take a team to the World Series. Both Ralph Houk with the Yankees and Bob Brenly of the Arizona Diamondbacks went on to win the trophy.
Boston’s three other teams that won over 100 games in the regular season also won the World Series except for 1946, which was the only time Ted Williams ever played in the Fall Classic.
Players to watch in the 2018 Boston vs Dodgers World Series Games
Boston’s closer, Craig Kimbrel, has not fared well in this post-season because it was discovered that he was tipping his pitches by the position of his glove. The Sox believe they have corrected the problem, but it is something to be on the lookout for in the upcoming games.
If you have ever seen the iconic image of Kirk Gibson rounding first base after hitting a home run in the 1988 World Series, you may also recall that that was the last time the Dodgers took all the marbles. The 30 year drought almost ended last year in a 7 game series against Houston, but the Dodgers came up one game short.
For controversy lovers, keep an eye on Manny Machado the Dodger shortstop who has a way of getting under the skin of opponents. Boston knows about his antics because Machado was with Baltimore until he was traded at mid-season, however his presence could provide plenty of tension.
As for star power, the Dodgers have Magic Johnson and Billie Jean King as members of their ownership team while Ashton Kuther, Will Ferrell and Jennifer Lopez are huge fans. Boston claims Matt Damon, Ben Affleck, Mark Wahlberg, Stephen King and comedian Stephen Wright among its celebrity supporters.
First pitch shortly after 8 pm eastern time.
About the Author:
Bob Taylor is a veteran writer who has traveled throughout the world. Taylor is an award winning television producer/reporter/anchor who is now focusing on writing about international events, people and cultures around the globe.
Taylor is founder of The Magellan Travel Club (www.MagellanTravelClub.com)
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