Boston was a dominant team in the new league, defeating the Pittsburgh Pirates in the first World Series in 1903 and winning four more championships by 1918. However, they then went into one of the longest championship droughts in baseball history, called by some the “Curse of the Bambino” after its alleged beginning with the Red Sox’s sale of Babe Ruth to the rival Yankees in 1918, an 86-year wait before the team’s sixth World Championship in 2004.
However, the team’s history during that period was hardly one of futility, but was rather punctuated with some of the most memorable moments in World Series history, including Enos Slaughter’s “mad dash” in 1946, the “Impossible Dream” of 1967, Carlton Fisk’s home run in 1975, and Bill Buckner’s error in 1986. Red Sox history has also been marked by the team’s intense rivalry with the New York Yankees, arguably the fiercest and most historic in North American professional sports. Since 2003, the Red Sox have been perennial playoff contenders and have won two World Series, emerging as one of the most successful MLB teams of the last decade.
The Red Sox are consistently one of the top MLB teams in average road attendance, while the small capacity of Fenway Park prevents them from leading in overall attendance. Every home game since May 15, 2003 has been sold out an MLB record that has spanned over seven years.
The name Red Sox, chosen by owner John I. Taylor after the 1907 season, refers to the red hose in the team uniform beginning 1908. Sox had been previously adopted for the Chicago White Sox by newspapers needing a headline-friendly form of Stockings, as “Stockings Win!” in large type would not fit on a page. The Spanish language media sometime refers to the team as Medias Rojas for Red Socks.
The nickname was first used for a baseball team by the Cincinnati Red Stockings, who were members of the pioneering National Association of Base Ball Players. Managed by Harry Wright, Cincinnati adopted a uniform with white knickers and red stockings, and earned the famous nickname, a year or two before hiring the first fully professional team in 1869.
When the club folded after the 1870 season, Wright was hired to organize a new team in Boston, and he did, bringing three teammates and the “Red Stockings” nickname along (Most nicknames were then only nicknames, neither club names nor registered trademarks, so the migration was informal). The Boston Red Stockings won four championships in the five seasons of the new National Association, the first professional league.
When a new Cincinnati club was formed as a charter member of the National League in 1876, the “Red Stockings” nickname was commonly reserved for them once again, and the Boston team was referred to as the “Red Caps”. Other names were sometimes used before Boston officially adopted the nickname “Braves” in 1912; the club eventually left Boston for Milwaukee and is now playing in Atlanta, Georgia.