When the Red Sox face the St. Louis Cardinals this week, it will be the first time the teams have played each other at Fenway Park since the 2013 World Series. The last time they faced each other at Fenway in a non-playoff game was in June 2008.
The teams have a storied history that includes four World Series. But it’s not just the Red Sox and Cardinals that have a competitive past, but Boston and St. Louis. The Red Sox, Patriots, Celtics, and Bruins all have won championships by beating teams from St. Louis.
In the 10 times that Boston teams have faced off against St. Louis teams with championships on the line, the Boston teams were victorious seven times: The Red Sox beat the Cardinals to win the World Series in 2004 and 2013; the Patriots beat the Rams to win the Super Bowl in 2002; the Bruins won the Stanley Cup by defeating the Blues in 1970; and the Celtics beat the St. Louis Hawks in the NBA Finals in 1957, 1960, and 1961.
This is impressive, considering St. Louis no longer has football or basketball teams. But it’s also noteworthy because no other pairing of cities has this relationship. To appreciate the rarity of this, let’s start with some data.
Boston is one of six cities that has won at least one championship in football, baseball, hockey, and basketball:
Now, let’s consider the cities that have played each other. Only a handful have faced each other in championship-deciding games in more than two sports. Boston and St. Louis are one of only two pairs that have faced each other in all four sports. The other pair is Philadelphia and Chicago.
But Boston is the only city that has defeated the same city at least once in each sport. Chicago and Philadelphia have played each other in the World Series, the Stanley Cup Finals, the NBA Finals, and the pre-Super Bowl NFL championship game. But Philadelphia has beaten Chicago in only three of the four sports. When the Flyers faced the Blackhawks in the Stanley Cup Finals in 2010, Chicago won the series, 4-2.
But there’s more that Boston sports fans can brag about: No city’s sports teams have beaten St. Louis teams to win championships more than Boston teams.
St. Louis has given Boston 7 of its 37 championships, but Los Angeles has given Boston the most, thanks to the Celtics-Lakers rivalry.
Lest St. Louis fans feel bad, when it comes to overall World Series championships, St. Louis has won more than Boston.
New York has more, which is not surprising, given the number of teams to call the city home over the years. But that’s where fans from both St. Louis and Boston can find common ground: resentment.