BOSTON (CBS) — It’s hard to believe, but it’s been 10 whole years since a group of self-proclaimed idiots forever changed Red Sox history.
The 2004 team rose from the dead to beat the Yankees before sweeping the Cardinals to secure the first Red Sox World Series championship in 86 years, and that team was honored at Fenway Park prior to Wednesday night’s game.
The team promised that Manny Ramirez, Pedro Martinez, Kevin Millar, Johnny Damon, Gabe Kapler, Orlando Cabrera, Keith Foulke, Derek Lowe, Jason Varitek, Tim Wakefield, Trot Nixon and — of course — David Ortiz would be in attendance for the event.
Members of the team sat on top of the home dugout in a panel for season-ticket holders led by WBZ-TV’s Dan Roche during the afternoon.
Just before game-time, Shonda Schilling, wife to former Red Sox pitcher Curt, tweeted out that they were headed to the park. Schilling received thunderous applause as he walked to the mound alongside his son. Schilling has been battling cancer for the last several months.
As the ’04 “idiots” lined up around Manny Ramirez to throw out the first pitch, Johnny Damon intercepted it before it reached Jason Varitek, diving into the grass.
It’s not the first celebration of the group that dubbed itself “the greatest Red Sox team ever assembled” back in October 2004. In the miserable 2012 Bobby Valentine season, the Red Sox honored the eighth anniversary of the championship team in an effort to give fans something to be excited about. Last year during the World Series, the team welcomed Pedro, Lowe, Varitek, Mike Timlin and Nixon to the mound to throw the ceremonial first pitch.
“To me it was a parade. Since ’04, every time I see one of these guys, it’s parade time,” Martinez said that night last October.
Lowe, who left the Sox after ’04 and went on to play for five more teams, said last October that there’s no place quite like Boston.
“Once you leave and you miss this, you know,” Lowe said. “How many other World Series teams have a bunch of guys like us come back and talking to you? You kind of get forgotten and you just move on down the road. And I think that’s one thing that’s always been a very special place about this city.”
It was special for that 2004 group, of course, because of the remarkable comeback from being down 3-0 to the Yankees. But there was Dave Roberts’ steal, David Ortiz’s walk-offs, Schilling’s bloody sock and Damon’s grand slam to keep the season alive. Then in the World Series, a wild Game 1 win, stellar outings by Curt Schilling, Martinez and Lowe in Games 2-4 sealed the championship, accomplishing what many believed for decades to be impossible.
Now, the Sox own three championships in the past 10 years, and the group that made it all possible received their rightful thanks at Fenway Park on Wednesday.
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