View Full Version : The history of "The Curse of the Bambino"

yankoholics anonymous
03-23-00, 05:47 AM

The Curse of the Bambino

This is a story of bad trades, fielding mishaps, slumping stars and the joy of almost overcoming those conspiring forces. Because history has been so cruel to Red Sox fans, a nation offered such highs and such lows generation after generation, they are often equal parts pessimist and optimist. Maybe this is the year. That it hurts even worse.

Many point to the Curse of the Bambino as the root of eight-plus decades of frustration. CNNSI.com takes a tortuous trip back through time, where Red Sox glory is mixed with Yankees dominance in a tumultuous baseball history.

Curse of the Bambino Timeline
Used almost exclusively as a pitcher, George Herman Ruth compiles a 67-34 record with 413 strikeouts, three saves and a 2.07 ERA in 121 appearances with the Red Sox. In limited plate appearances -- 361 total at-bats during this span -- Ruth hits .299 with nine home runs and 68 strikeouts.

Ruth is pitches less frequently -- 13-7 in 20 appearances -- and bats more, to the tune of a career-high 317 at bats. His numbers at the plate are decent (.300 average, 66 RBIs, 50 runs, 11 home runs) but his value to the Red Sox in the World Series was still as a pitcher (see below).

Sept. 11, 1918 SI Flashback: A Bird's-Eye View in Beantown (fictional) http://www.cnnsi.com/features/cover/news/2000/03/22/babe_redsox/)
Boston wins the World Series over Chicago in six games. Ruth wins Games 1 and 4 and extends his Series scoreless-innings streak to 29 2/3, a mark that will stand for 43 years. Ruth's career World Series ERA is .087 in 31 1/3 innings pitched.

In 432 at bats, Ruth hits for a .322 average, knocks in 114 runs, walks 101 times, doubles 34 times and hits a then record 29 home runs. He also makes 17 appearances on the mound, where he goes 9-5 with one save and a 2.97 ERA.

Jan. 3, 1920
Red Sox owner and Broadway producer Harry Frazee sells first baseman-outfielder-pitcher Ruth -- who owned a career 17-5 record as a pitcher against the Yankees -- to the New York Yankees for $125,000 in cash and a $300,000 loan. Frazee uses the money to open the show, "No, No, Nannette."

July 17, 1920
As a member of the Yankees Ruth breaks the single-season home run record he set with the Red Sox with Nos. 30 and 31 against the Chicago White Sox.

In his first two seasons as an outfielder and first baseman with the Yankees, Ruth hits 109 home runs and averages .847 slugging percentage.

Oct. 15,1923
New York wins its first championship in the first World Series played at the brand-new Yankee Stadium (which will eventually be unofficially be christened "The House that Ruth Built"

The Red Sox finish last every year but two and, in 1932, lose 111 games. The Yankees win four titles during this span and Ruth sets a new home run record, with 60, in 1927. The record will stand for 34 years.

Ruth returns to the city of Boston to play his final season with the Braves. At 40 he bats .181 and hits six home runs. Playing for teams in Boston, Ruth hit 26 home runs. With the Yankees he hit 688.

The New York Yankees win 16 World Series titles. Boston's only brush with the World Series comes in 1946. Boston's playoffs disappointments are only beginning.

Oct. 15, 1946
In its first World Series appearance since 1918, Boston loses in seven games to the St. Louis Cardinals. Though many saw it differently, Boston shortstop Johnny Pesky is vilified for holding onto a relay throw as St. Louis's Enos Slaughter races home from first to score the series-winning run with two outs in the eighth inning. Ted Williams bats .200 with five singles in the series.

Oct. 12, 1967
One year removed from a ninth-place finish in 1966, "The Impossible Dream" Red Sox -- after winning the pennant on the last day of a magical season -- lose a seven-game World Series to Bob Gibson (three complete-game wins) and the St. Louis Cardinals.

March 22, 1972
Red Sox trade pitcher Sparky Lyle to the Yankees for first baseman Danny Cater. In a Yankees uniform, Lyle goes 57-40 with 141 saves. Cater plays three seasons in a Sox uniform -- 211 games -- and bats .262 with 14 home runs.

Oct. 21, 1975
One of the few great memories all Red Sox fans cherish: After unsung hero Bernie Carbo hits a three-run homer to tie this World Series game at 6-6, Carlton Fisk body-Englishes a walkoff home run in the bottom of the 12th to beat the Reds in Game 6.

Oct. 22, 1975
Boston coughs up a 3-0 lead in Game 7 to lose the World Series to the Big Red Machine.

Oct. 2, 1978 SI Flashback: The Greatest Game I Ever Saw http://www.cnnsi.com/features/cover/news/2000/03/22/yanks_redsox/
The Red Sox, who held a 14-game lead on the Yankees in late-July and trailed by 3 with eight to play, catch up to force this one-game playoff for the AL pennant. Down 2-0 in the seventh, Bucky Dent -- who was batting .140 in his previous 20 games and had only four home runs on the year -- takes a 1-1 Mike Torrez pitch barely over the Green Monster for a 3-2 lead. The Yankees go on to win the game 5-4 and, one series later, their 22nd championship title.

Oct. 25, 1986 SI Flashback: Good to the Very Last Out
Maybe you've seen it. "Slow roller down the " You know the rest. One strike away from their first World Series title, Bob Stanley, Calvin Schiraldi and Bill Buckner combine to blow a 5-3 lead in the 10th inning.

Oct. 27, 1986
Boston coughs up a 3-0 lead in Game 7 to lose the World Series to the Mets.

July 13, 1988
Joe Morgan replaces John McNamara as Sox manager after the All-Star break. Boston wins 19 of its next 20 and goes on to win the AL East title.

July 29, 1988 SI Flashback: The Deal of the Year

Boston trades Brady Anderson and Curt Schilling for righthander Mike Boddicker. Anderson is would hit 50 home runs in 1996 and is still a productive major league centerfielder, while Schilling remains one of the best power pitchers in baseball, with two 300-strikeout seasons and 99 career wins. Boddicker went 29-22 with the Red Sox and started only 18 games with Kansas City and Milwaukee after the 1991 season.

Sept. 9, 1988
Oakland sweeps Boston in the ALCS. Former Red Sox pitcher Dennis Eckersley saves all four games and earns the series MVP.

Aug. 31, 1990 SI Flashback: Trade Deficit

Boston trades the Double A Eastern League's leading hitter, Jeff Bagwell, to the Astros. For Bagwell -- a native New Englander who once dreamed of playing for the Red Sox and wondered in 1993 why then GM Lou Gorman hadn't been fired -- the Red Sox receive Larry Andersen.

Oct. 10, 1990
Umpire Terry Cooney ejects Roger Clemens in the second inning of Game 4 of the ALCS and Boston falls to the A's in anot

03-23-00, 05:47 AM

03-23-00, 06:59 AM
great stuff. You can understand the boston fan's fustration and "wait till next" year mentality.

[This message has been edited by nyy15 (edited March 23, 2000).]

03-23-00, 08:53 AM
And let's not forget Sports Illustrated picking the Redsux to win the east this year. We all know what they can do for careers, right? http://www.Bronx-Bombers.com/ubb/biggrin.gif

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03-23-00, 10:26 AM
great post ya! i might have to pass this along to my "little brother," the boston fan! it is a good read and outlines the "curse" well. no wonder they are all so bitter in boston!

bthl's #1 fan
pres. of the bthl fan club

"We're a great team. Nothing can change that. Nothing can change greatness."

[This message has been edited by yanksgirl24 (edited March 23, 2000).]

Bluesexy's daddy
03-23-00, 10:52 AM
Very Good Y A.....PERFECT!!!

Jim, can we make this a permanent post in the history section? It is missing a few crucial moments of misery in Boston's history (the tragic Canigliero story, and the catch that Ted Williams could not make come to mind) but it is pretty clear and well written.

I guess any article that fully detailed the last 82 years of misery in Boston would overload even the best modern computer equipment. Such a story would make Tolstoy's "War and Peace" look like a single colum newspaper article. Life probably isn't long enough to read the entire history of redsox failure.

Can we find a way to make Y A's greatest post yet, available on a permanent basis?

I can't imagine a baseball fan that would not find this pertinent.

Q: What do you call a mets fan with a 70 IQ after he drinks a bottle of cheap whiskey??

A: A redsox fan.

03-23-00, 10:25 PM
I don't feel bad for the Red Sox. They won 5 world championships. That's more than most major league clubs have. The bottom line is that they gave up the greatest player in baseball history, and they'll never live it down. At least they'll always have 1918.


03-24-00, 11:24 PM
Thanks Y.A. I never get tired of hearing it. Once a putz always a putz I guess. Any memorable songs from No No Nanette? Surely there must be one? Anybody?

Best GoYanks!

03-25-00, 02:14 PM
I would like a place for history only. I don't know my history facts that well and wanna learn all about my Yanks history. Oh I do know some, but I wanna be a Yankee lover from 1903 to the future, If that makes sense.

But keep the facts coming I love it....

Today. I consider myself the luckiest man on the face the Earth. -Lou Gehrig-