The St. Louis Cardinals and the Boston Red Sox have played four World Series against each other—1946, 1967, 2004, and 2013—and each team has now won two each. The Cards took the first two, but the Red Sox have demonstrated their success in the last decade by winning the last two. The Sox also beat the Colorado Rockies in 2007 for a third championship in only nine years.
It seems obvious that we really should think about the early twenty-first century Boston Red Sox as a dynasty. If a dynasty could be characterized as three World Series victories in a decade, and I recognize that there are differing definitions, then the Sox are comparable to the New York Yankees in the 1950s and early 1960s and again in the 1990s and first part of the 2000s, the Oakland A’s of the first half of the 1970s, the Cardinals of the 1940s, and the Brooklyn/Los Angeles Dodgers of the latter 1950s and early 1960s.
The Cardinals won both the 1946 and 1967 World Series against the Red Sox, with each going the full seven games. That first World Series between the two was a see-saw series. It was a difficult loss for the Red Sox, which would not play in the World Series again until 1967, when they lost again in a seven-game series to the Cardinals.
In many respects 1946 represented the culmination of several years of success for the Cardinals, but they would not return to postseason play until 1964, and it was the penultimate triumph for the Red Sox, who lost in the World Series in 1967, 1975, and 1986 before finally becoming a dynasty in the first decade of the twenty-first century. Both teams have been legendary in the MLB, the Cardinals for a tradition of excellence second only to the New York Yankees and the Red Sox for their failures in the postseason.
What seems to have changed since 2004 is that Red Sox failures in the postseason have become far fewer than ever before. Since 2003, when the Red Sox got into the playoffs for the first time since 1999, the team has made the postseason seven times with victories in the fall classic three of those times. Pretty impressive!
Not much less impressive are the Cardinals. The team has made the postseason seven times since 2003, played in four World Series, losing to the Red Sox in 2004 and 2013 while beating the Detroit Tigers in 2006 and the Texas Rangers in 2011.
As a diehard St. Louis Cardinals fan, I regret that this year’s World Series turned out the way it did, but I congratulate the Red Sox on their impressive victory. I am heartened by the prospect of a great season for the Cards in 2014, however, and I’m really looking forward to the maturing of that crop of young fireballers on the team. Wait til next year!