While many folks may recall the 2004 World Series, where the Red Sox swept the Cardinals in four games, a quick look into history shows that 2013's big game has more parallels to another time. Another era, when the curse of the Bambino still existed and the Red Sox were desperate for a win.
The 1967 World Series was a rematch of the 1946 World Series. What's truly eerie, though, is the similarity of the journey that both teams took to reach the finals in 1967 and 2013.
The Sox beat the Tigers to win the ALCS. The Cardinals beat the Dodgers to win the NLCS. The Cardinals were a dominant team that year, expected to win, delivering on all their goals en route to 101 wins. The Red Sox were considered a poor team at the start of 1967 and winning the ALCS was considered the "impossible dream".
The series was a scrappy one, and ended up being very close by the traditional numbers, as you can see below in the composite box score. St Louis won by scoring early, but Boston was always there keeping it close in the late innings. St. Louis won the series 4-3 in 7 games.
In 2013, the Cardinals were a known commodity -- expected to be great and ultimately delivering on their potential despite some tough opponents in the Pirates and Dodgers.
Team 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 R H E
St. Louis Cardinals 5 2 7 0 2 4 3 1 1 25 51 4
Boston Red Sox 0 1 2 4 1 2 8 1 2 21 48 4
The Red Sox, on the other hand, were widely maligned to begin the season. Words like "rebuilding year," "bridge year" and "what were they thinking signing him!" were often tossed around. But what do you know – just add a few beards to the equation and do we have the "impossible dream" v. 2.0?
The construction of each team from the different years is also remarkably similar. For the Cardinals, their 1967 young core of offensive players led the way. All stars Orlando Cepeda, Lou Brock and Tim McCarver were supplemented by aging, but still potent former stars Roger Maris and Curtis Flood. Combined with some excellent young pitching, both starters (22-year-old Steve Carlton) and relievers (19-year-old Ken Brett), St. Louis had enough firepower to win the series.
Could history repeat? This year's Cardinals team is similarly constructed. Despite losing mainstay Chris Carpenter, their young rotation is doing an excellent job, led by Michael Wacha and Adam Wainwright. Their bullpen is full of young arms doing a great job, like Trevor Rosenthal and Carlos Martinez. Their offense features a solid core -- Matt Carpenter, Yadier Molina, Allen Craig -- which has been aided by the signing of some older former all stars like Matt Holliday and Carlos Beltran.
The Red Sox have some similar parallels in roster construction. The 1967 squad featured Triple Crown winner Carl Yastrzemski (2013: David Ortiz?) and a group of solid pitchers led by Ace Jim Lonborg. The Red Sox pitching staff is very balanced this year, lacking a true ace, but you could argue their Lonborg is Clay Buccholz.
As much fun as it is to draw parallels, it's statistically silly to think that the 2013 World Series will end up anything like the 1967 version. (For one, pitchers don't start on one-day's rest anymore.) The game is very different now, but it can give you chills when you come across eerie similarities like this that make you wonder what if.
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