2004 was a season that will live on forever in the minds of Boston Red Sox fans. After a 98-win regular season -- the most victories posted by the club since 1978 -- the Boston Red Sox, led by stellar performances from Manny Ramirez, David Ortiz, Johnny Damon, Pedro Martinez and newly acquired Curt Schilling, went into the postseason as the American League Wild Card entry. They swept the Angels in the Division Series. The Boston Red Sox were nearly swept out of the American League Championship Series, trailing the Yankees, 3-0, in the best-of-seven series. But that was when they officially became historymakers, becoming the first team in Major League Baseball history to recover from a 3-0 deficit. After thumping the Yankees in seven games, the Boston Red Sox swept the Cardinals for their first World Series championship in 86 years. Ramirez was named MVP of the 2004 World Series.
It's tough to follow a dream season, but the Boston Red Sox did their best in 2005. Retooling in the offseason by bringing in veteran starters David Wells and Matt Clement, the Boston Red Sox were primed to repeat as world champs. After a stop-and-start first two months, the Boston Red Sox reclaimed first place in the American League East on June 24, and held the top spot for most of the second half of the season. David Ortiz was the lynchpin of the offense, putting together a season (.300, 47 HR, 147 RBIs) that would see him finish second in American League MVP voting. Outfielder Manny Ramirez threw together another stellar year, hitting 45 home runs and driving in 144. After hobbling into the playoffs in the final weekend, a banged-up Boston Red Sox pitching staff couldn't hold off the eventual World Series-winning White Sox, and the Boston Red Sox fell in an AL Division Series sweep.