Was There More Than Just Coincidence Behind the Red Sox Losing Streak

They are perhaps the second most recognizable baseball team in America, some would say first, yet their archrivals the New York Yankees may have a slight edge over them in that department. Born in the last year of the nineteenth century, the Boston Red Sox are a team fraught with a past more colourful than the red "sox" that adorn their uniforms. A past tangled with big names and big secrets, huge wins and hard losses. It was on the hallowed green ground of Fenway Park that an unshakable myth surrounding one of the greatest players to ever pick up a bat, Babe Ruth, was first hatched.

The Sox began their career as a team with a string of impressive World Series wins; they took home the honour of this win five times between 1903-1918. Yet like a cracked baseball bat things just didn't seem to work right for the team after that year, and for the next eighty six consecutive years the team would not see another World Series win.No one wants to watch their team lose, and players start to get antsy if they continue to lose for years, let alone decades. After a while it almost seems natural that a scapegoat would be needed, someone to point the big foam finger at and blame for this unfortunate losing streak.

In 1990 Boston Globe writer Dan Shaughnessy was among the first to use the phrase that would instantly become synonymous with the blight that had surrounded the Sox for so long, "the curse of the Bambino".The Bambino (Italian for little child or baby) was George Herman Ruth's - better known as Babe Ruth's - most famous nickname, and so it seemed somehow eerily natural that the losing streak the Sox had been ridden with for so long would take on the name of one of the most prolific players to ever swing a bat.In 1918 (though the deal would not be finalized until 1920) the then owner of the Red Sox, Harry Frazee, sold Ruth to the Yankees, despite the fact that Babe had been with the team for three out of their five World Series wins. His team was in financial trouble, and Frazee, whose first love was actually the theatre, was in need of some cold hard cash. So in a move that many speculate he would go to regret forever, Frazee sold Babe Ruth. His loss was undoubtedly the Yankee's win.

For the next eighty six years the Sox would remain winless in the World Series. When they came desperately close to cinching a win in 1986, fans, players and owners were near their breaking point. The team had been loaded with great players that season including Wade Boggs and Roger Clemens, so when their eventual demise ensued again ? to none other than their archenemies the Yankees ? people seriously began to wonder if there was a curse hanging over the team. A curse that went back all the way to the time when Babe Ruth was signed away. It seemed to some that perhaps Ruth has taken the Sox 's ability to win a world series with him. And this thought alone sparked the expression "the curse of Bambino" - a phrase that would become overused by those who would blame the idea of a curse for the team's continual ills, and loathed by many who saw the continual loss as a result of the players' and Sox management's abilities, not a Major League urban legend.

Yet whether there was a baseball sized amount of truth to the fable or not, after eighty six long years without a world series win the Boston Red Sox finally returned the title to their team. In a 2004 game played during a total lunar eclipse against the St. Louis Cardinals, the Sox sweep the win in only four games, putting an end to the persistent rumours and shouts that the team was in fact cursed by the likes of the late, great Bambino himself.

Well, that is, if the Sox's newfound winning luck continues into this century.

.Though she cites Hockey as her favourite sport to watch, pro freelance writer Jessica Cander is keen on writing about sports in general, especially if there is a bit of mystery involved such as in this article where she looks at an urban legend surrounding the Boston Red Sox.

By: Jessica Cander


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