A year ago, the Red Sox were far from beloved in Boston after coming off a 69-win season that was the franchise’s worst since 1965.
Fast forward a year, and the Red Sox have restored the franchise’s luster after winning the World Series -- the team’s third in 10 seasons.
Look back on the many players whose contributions helped put the Red Sox back in the winners’ circle:
Ellsbury, reportedly playing with a fractured hand, was a major catalyst in the ALDS win over the Rays. He hit .500 (9 for 18) with two doubles and four stolen bases. He swiped six bags total in the playoffs.
Pedroia, playing with a torn thumb ligament all season, had a relatively quiet October but provided the status quo: sharp defensive plays and his trademark fiery passion. His seven RBIs were third on the team.
“Cooperstown,” as his teammates took to calling him, authored yet another chapter in the story of his postseason heroics. The most iconic of the World Series MVP’s long balls actually came in the ALCS, when his Game 2 grand slam tied the contest at 5-5 in the eighth inning and sent Torii Hunter flipping into the bullpen.
Napoli was a force in his first season with the Sox, and that was true in the playoffs, too. His solo shot off Justin Verlander in Game 3 of the ALCS proved to be the difference, and he set the tone with a three-run double in the first inning of the World Series.
The enigmatic Gomes, platooned with Daniel Nava much of the season, played in all but one game of the postseason. His only homer of the month was a big one: a three-run shot in Game 4 of the World Series, the eventual game-winner.
Playing hurt — and even missing a pair of World Series games — Victorino provided dramatics in the form of a game-winning grand slam over the Monster in the decisive Game 6 of the ALCS, then four more RBIs in Game 6 of the World Series.
The 21-year-old phenom was an absolute spark plug through the first two rounds: 3 for 6 (all doubles) with five walks and seven runs. Bogaerts, an August call-up, manned third base and hit .238 in the World Series.
Despite Drew’s struggles at the plate, John Farrell kept J.D.’s younger brother in the lineup for his defensive prowess. It paid off in Game 6 of the World Series when Drew’s solo homer into the Sox bullpen helped solidify the clincher.
Playing in his first Fall Classic after a dozen years in the bigs, Ross started four World Series contests and collected the eventual game-winning RBI in Game 5. He also was on the receiving end of the final out when Koji Uehara struck out Matt Carpenter.
The free-agent-to-be is the owner of arguably the most overshadowed postseason moment: a walkoff single in Game 2 of the ALCS to knot the series at one. His regular season included career highs in doubles (40) and slugging percentage (.466).
Middlebrooks’s up-and-down year ended with him being supplanted by Xander Bogaerts in the World Series, but his 17 regular-season homers stood as the third-highest total on the team.
Despite having the eighth-best outfielder OBP in the majors, Nava struggled to get playing time in the postseason, his first as a major leaguer. He drove in a pair of runs in Game 3 of the World Series and twice filled in for an injured Shane Victorino.
Carp, a potent bat off the bench, will be best remembered for a pinch-hit, 10th-inning grand slam against the Rays Sept. 11 for a 7-3 Sox win. With runners in scoring position, he hit .333 with a .579 slugging percentage.
Lester regained the “ace” label when his dominant second half culminated in 15⅓ World Series innings, in which he gave up just one run. He owns a career 2.11 ERA 1.04 WHIP across 13 postseason games (76⅔ innings).
The final stop on the well-documented John Lackey Comeback Tour came in the clinching game of the World Series. He tossed 6⅔ innings of one-run ball before tipping his cap to an electric crowd chanting his name upon his exit.
Battling a fatigued arm, Buchholz did not allow an earned run in four World Series innings. The Red Sox won three of the four games he started in the postseason, including the ALCS finale.
Peavy, in the playoffs for the first time since 2006, spun an abbreviated gem against the Rays in the ALDS clincher: one run in 5⅔ innings on just 74 pitches. He was poised to be the Game 7 starter had the World Series gone that far.
Doubront was the odd man out of the rotation in the playoffs but made the most out of his relief opportunities. He was nearly perfect for 2⅔ innings in a World Series Game 4 victory to pick up the win.
One of the Sox’ victims in the 2007 Fall Classic, Morales was on the right side this time around as a lefty option out of the pen. His injury-plagued season limited him to 20 games, plus three in the postseason.
Breslow’s transformation into an elite set-up man led to eight scoreless October outings out of a possible 10. From July 22 through the end of the regular season, he allowed just one run in 25⅔ innings.
The grizzled veteran righthander pitched only an inning per series in the playoffs, but that was fine by him. It all ended up giving him his first World Series title after 16 years in the majors.
Tazawa allowed just one earned run in 7⅓ postseason innings, and in the ALCS, he retired Detroit slugger Miguel Cabrera thrice — one strikeout, one double play, and one groundout. He finished the playoffs with six holds.
From closer-by-default to big-time fan favorite, Uehara garnered ALCS MVP honors by recording three saves and a win. He allowed one run in 13⅔ innings spanning 13 postseason appearances.
Workman, who started the season with Double A Portland, emerged as a late-inning option down the stretch. He did not allow an earned run in 8⅔ postseason innings, including 1⅔ in Game 6 of the ALCS, paving the way for a Sox comeback.
A base-stealing specialist, Berry joined the Sox Aug. 27 after playing in the 2012 World Series with Detroit. He stole three bases in the regular season and three more in the playoffs, all without getting caught.
Jackie Bradley, Jr.
Bradley parlayed an impressive spring training into an Opening Day start at Yankee Stadium, during which he drew three walks. Widely commended for his defensive abilities, he rode the Boston-Pawtucket shuttle most of the season.
Iglesias’s Gold Glove-caliber defense and uncanny knack for hitting the ball through holes had many calling for him to start on the left side of the infield in the first half. The Sox traded him in late July in the three-way deal that brought Jake Peavy to Boston.
While David Ross was lost to a pair of concussions, Lavarnway filled in admirably as the backup backstop. He posted a .429 slugging percentage and averaged nearly a hit per game over his 25 appearances.
Miller was a top lefthanded relief specialist until foot surgery ended his season at the beginning of July. He struck out 48 batters in 30⅔ innings, mostly with a fastball sitting at 96 m.p.h. and a slider that averaged 86.
Hanrahan started the season as the Sox’ closer but after two stints on the disabled list, he underwent Tommy John surgery in mid-May. He tallied four saves in six chances while walking more batters (six) than he struck out (five).
The set-up man turned closer turned mop-up reliever saw his season end after 30 games because of shoulder surgery. Bailey converted just eight of his 13 save opportunities, but he did average 12.2 strikeouts per nine innings.
Mostly a first baseman by trade, Snyder was forced into action at third when Will Middlebrooks got hurt. On July 2, his three RBIs were the difference in a 4-1 win over the Padres.
Holt came to the Sox from the Pirates in the Joel Hanrahan deal as a utility infielder, but the 25-year-old rookie played mostly third base. For a time, he and Brandon Snyder platooned at the hot corner before Will Middlebrooks returned in mid-August.
The veteran defensive specialist and Massachusetts offseason resident joined the Sox Aug. 1, and although he played in only six games, he was heralded for his role as a mentor to the other infielders, particularly Xander Bogaerts.
One of the jewels in the August 2012 Dodgers-Sox trade, Webster made his major league debut in April and won his first game in July. He battled command issues on and off in the majors and with Triple A Pawtucket.
When Andrew Miller went down, the Sox acquired Thornton from the White Sox for a minor leaguer. Opposing batters hit the southpaw at a .349 clip in his 15⅓ regular-season innings, and Felix Doubront beat him out for the final roster postseason spot.
Britton was another player who started 2013 with Double A Portland before transitioning to the bullpen to help the major league team. He recorded the win, his first in the bigs, in a 15-inning victory over Seattle July 31.
Wilson’s first season in the majors was cut short by a thumb injury that never quite healed. He pitched in 26 games through mid-July, and did manage to pitch for Pawtucket in the playoffs on a rehab assignment.
Correction: Because of an editing error, in an earlier edition Xander Bogaerts’ description repeated Daniel Nava’s information.