The 2013 Red Sox authored the single most improbable championship run I have ever seen. This Red Sox team was a squad filled with journeymen picked off the scrap heap, no names, and guys on one year deals hoping to revive their careers. Andrew Miller, Jake Peavy, Kohi Uehara, David Ross, Mike Napoli, Johnny Gomes, Shane Victorino etc.
The Red Sox were coming off a season in which they were 26 games out of first place and finished dead last in the AL East. They had just pulled the plug on the disaster that was the Bobby Valentine experiment after just one season so they were being led by their third manager in three seasons. So I can’t say I was expecting much from the 2013 team. Prior to the season, the front office signed a bunch of players that were essentially cast offs from other organizations in moves that at the time screamed Bridge Year. John Henry and Ben Cherington will tell you otherwise, but building a team like this was the definition of catching lightning in a bottle.
Except all of these forgotten has beens instantly bonded and banded together to quickly build a team chemistry that was rivaled probably only by the 2004 team.
I’ll never forget this quote from Jake Peavy.
“I’ve never been with a team that is as single-mindedly as focused to do everything they can do to be world champion,” Peavy said. “That’s not making any guarantees because you can’t do that. But we’re going to die trying.”
Every guy on that team felt like they were an underdog that had been written off. They all fueled off one other to individually have some of their best seasons and of course go on one of the most unlikely championship runs in baseball history.
Combine that with the emotional rollercoaster that was the Boston Marathon bombing and you had a team that became a rallying cry for a city in need of healing. Where 2004 had Cowboy Up, 2013 had Boston Strong and one of the greatest impromptu speeches from a Red Sox legend.
David Ortiz would go on to have an all-time performance in the World Series too, batting .688 with an absolutely ludicrous 1.948 OPS.
I was living just a mile down the road from Fenway in 2013 so I went to like 20 games that season so I feel an even deeper connection to this team. I still have the ticket stub on my wall from the best game I have ever attended: Game 2 of the 2013 ALCS vs the Detroit Tigers.
I also still have maybe the strangest piece of memorabilia in recent Red Sox history: ticket stubs for Game 7 of the World Series at Fenway Park.
I even have a giant framed picture of Jonny Gomes placing the World Series trophy and a Boston Strong jersey at the finish line of the Boston Marathon.
This team was bigger than sports.
The 2013 Red Sox also did what the 2004, 2007, and 2018 teams never got the chance to do; they closed it out at home. I’ll never forget Koji getting the final out and everyone at the bar tossing their $8 tallboys in the air before sprinting out onto Landsdowne Street to celebrate like drunk maniacs as fireworks erupted from the Green Monster.
Maybe they weren’t the best Red Sox team in franchise history, but I can’t say I’ve ever had more fun rooting for a team