Boston Red Sox have history with both World Series teams

As the Indians get set to face the Cubs in Game 7 of the World Series, we are reminded of how their postseason histories intertwine with the Boston Red Sox.

Is there anything more thrilling that Game 7 of the World Series? It’s winner take all, with the stakes higher than any in recent history given that each team is desperately attempting to end a prolonged championship drought. Boston Red Sox fans know a thing or two about the misery of going decades without a title, but this franchise has managed to reverse their fortunes in the 21st century – something both the Cleveland Indians and Chicago Cubs aim to do tonight.

At the end of the night, one of these fan bases will feel the euphoria that Red Sox fans felt in 2004, but that’s not the only thing this franchise has in common with the pair of teams meeting in this year’s World Series.

We know about the players and personnel on both sides that have ties to the Red Sox organization. There’s Theo and Tito, Mike Napoli and Jon Lester, Andrew Miller and David Ross, just to name a few. Beyond those actually taking part in this series, the franchises themselves have history intertwined with the city of Boston.

The Indians last won a World Series in 1948, but do you recall how they got there? That season, Cleveland finished the regular season in a tie with the Red Sox at 96-58, resulting in one-game tie-breaker. The Tribe beat Ted Williams and the Sox 8-3 behind a complete game effort from rookie pitcher Gene Bearden to advance to the World Series. Keep in mind the postseason format was vastly different in those days, with no Division or League Championship series. Finishing the regular season with the best record in your league was all it took to win the pennant and punch your ticket to the Fall Classic, but that year required Cleveland to win a one-game playoff against the Red Sox.

The Indians would go on to defeat the Boston Braves in the World Series. Yes, Cleveland had to get through not one, but two Boston based teams to win their last title. This time they only had to get through one, having already swept Boston in the ALDS, but it’s fitting that their opponent in the World Series is loaded with former Red Sox players.

The only franchise in baseball that could scoff at Boston’s misery while the Curse of the Bambino haunted this franchise is the Cubs, who have waited over a century to celebrate a championship. Chicago last won the World Series in 1908, when they defeated the Detroit Tigers for the second consecutive year.

A decade later the Cubs would meet the Red Sox for the first and only time in the World Series, which Boston won 4-1. You might recall the significance of that title in 1918, as it would be the last championship they would win for another 86 years.

The Red Sox have turned things around, winning three titles since 2004. Any Boston fan that isn’t yet old enough to drive a car knows nothing of the suffering of a long championship drought, making older fans roll their eyes when they hear youngsters complain that this team hasn’t won anything in three whole years.

Great, now I feel old. Excuse me while I go yell at some kids to get off my lawn.

Meanwhile, fans of the Indians and Cubs want to feel what we once felt – the relief of ending a drought, removing the heavy burden of losing from their collective shoulders. One of these teams will do that tonight, while we will sit back, nod and know exactly how they feel.

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