Boston and St. Louis have a long history in championship play
The sports rivalry between Boston and St. Louis goes way back and includes matchups in all four major American professional sports, and another installment is under way with the Bruins facing the Blues in the Stanley Cup Final.
Here’s a look at the 10 previous times representatives of the cities have met for a pro sports championship.
1946 World Series: Red Sox vs. Cardinals
The 1946 season saw Ted Williams return to the Red Sox after serving in the Navy and Marines during World War II. Williams won the MVP award that year after batting .342 with 38 home runs and 123 RBIs.
The Red Sox went 104-50 and won the American League pennant for the first time since 1918, finishing 12 games ahead of the second-place Detroit Tigers. The Cardinals and Brooklyn Dodgers tied for the National League pennant at 96-58, and St. Louis won a best-of-three playoff by taking the first two games.
In the World Series, the Red Sox took Game 1 with a 3-2 victory in Sportsman’s Park, coming back to tie the game in the top of the ninth and winning after a 10th-inning home run by Rudy York. Game 2 saw the Cardinals tie the series with a 3-0 shutout. When the Series shifted to Fenway Park for Game 3, the Sox had a shutout of their own, beating St. Louis, 4-0, to take a 2-1 series lead. The Cardinals stormed back in Game 4, however, clobbering the Red Sox, 12-3. Game 5 saw the Sox come within one win of the World Series title after a 6-3 win.
After returning to St. Louis, the Cardinals tied the series, 3-3, with a Game 6 win that forced a Game 7. In Game 7, the Red Sox rallied from down two runs in the eighth to tie the game, 3-3, but the now-famous “mad dash’’ of Enos Slaughter in the bottom of the eighth — along with a supposed hesitation by shortstop Johnny Pesky on the relay — gave the Cardinals a 4-3 lead, and they shut down the Sox in the ninth to win the World Series.
1957 NBA Finals: Celtics vs. Hawks
The Hawks had a relatively brief but successful run in the 18 years they spent in St. Louis. In 1956-57, the team made what would turn out to be one of the biggest trades in NBA history, as they acquired Cliff Hagan and Ed Macauley from the Celtics. The price? Second overall draft pick and future Celtics legend Bill Russell.
That season, the Hawks finished just 34-38, but won the Western Division on a tiebreaker, sending them to the division finals, in which they swept the Minneapolis Lakers in three games.
In the NBA Finals, the Hawks took Game 1 in Boston, and held a 2-1 advantage going into Game 4. The Celtics would win the next two to go up, 3-2, but the Hawks won Game 6 to force a Game 7 in Boston.
The game would be a tight match, but the Celtics came away with a 2-point win in double overtime to win their first NBA Championship.
1958 NBA Finals: Celtics vs. Hawks
After their NBA Finals appearance the previous season, the Hawks won the Western Division easily in 1957-58. The Hawks went on to beat the Detroit Pistons in five games to win the Western Conference title and set up an NBA Finals rematch with the Celtics.
In the Finals, the Hawks won Game 1 again and came home to take Game 3 for a 2-1 lead in the series, a game in which the Celtics lost Bill Russell to an ankle injury. The Celtics took Game 4 to send the series back to Boston tied, but the Hawks won Game 5 to come home and have a chance to win the Finals. The Hawks’ Bob Pettit scored 50 points in a 110-109 win in Game 6, giving them their first NBA title.
1960 NBA Finals: Celtics vs. Hawks
The Hawks rebounded from a tough 1958-59 season to win their fourth straight Western Division title in 1959-60 with a record of 46-29. St. Louis played a tough seven-game series in the Western Conference finals against the Minneapolis Lakers, but advanced with a 21-point win in Game 7 for their fourth trip to the NBA Finals in three seasons.
Facing the Celtics again, the Hawks battled hard, alternating wins with the Celtics and forcing a Game 7. The Celtics, behind Bill Russell’s 18 second-quarter points, would go on to handily beat the Hawks for the NBA championship.
1961 NBA Finals: Celtics vs. Hawks
The Hawks won the Western Division by 15 games with a record of 51-28. Facing the now-Los Angeles Lakers in the division finals, the Hawks fell behind, 3-2, and needed a Game 6 win in Los Angeles to force a Game 7 at home. They were able to capture their fourth Western title in five years with a 2-point Game 7 win.
This NBA Finals against the Celtics would not be as close as the previous ones, as Bob Cousy and the Celtics won all but Game 3 en route to an easy 4-1 series win for their fourth NBA title in five seasons. This would be the last time the Hawks would reach the Finals; they spent seven more seasons in St. Louis before moving to Atlanta in 1968, where the franchise still exists today.
1967 World Series: Red Sox vs. Cardinals
The 1967 Red Sox season is remembered as the “Impossible Dream.’’ The Red Sox had not had a winning record in almost 10 years, and were just two years removed from losing 100 games. Needless to say, not much was expected from them. But they proved everyone wrong, winning games in the most electric fashion, garnering the nickname “The Cardiac Kids.’’
Even a devastating injury to local hero Tony Conigliaro — he was hit in the temple by a pitch in August — could not stop the Red Sox as they rallied in an epic final month of the season that saw four teams gunning for the American League title. Carl Yastrzemski led the charge for Boston, winning the Triple Crown and AL MVP.
One game behind the Minnesota Twins with a two-game series against them remaining, the Red Sox swept the set and won the pennant, with Yastrzemski going 7 for 8 with 6 RBIs in the series. The Cardinals had a much easier path to the NL pennant, winning 101 games and finishing 10½ games ahead of the second-place San Francisco Giants.
In the World Series, Bob Gibson and the Cardinals won Game 1 in Boston, 2-1, but the Sox came back to tie the series with a 5-0 win in Game 2. The Cardinals took Games 3 and 4 when the series went to St. Louis to take a commanding 3-1 lead, but the Red Sox would not go down quietly. The Sox won Game 5, then broke a 4-4 tie in the seventh inning of Game 6 to win and force a Game 7.
But the “Impossible Dream’’ would fall just short, as the Cardinals went on to win Game 7 by a score of 7-2. Gibson, who won three complete games and allowed just three runs, was named World Series MVP.
1970 Stanley Cup Final: Bruins vs. Blues
After the 1967 NHL expansion, the six new teams were all placed in one division, meaning one of them would reach the Stanley Cup Final each season. In 1970, the St. Louis Blues would reach their third straight Final, facing the Big Bad Bruins. The Bruins had not reached the Final since 1958, but went 40-17-19 and finished second in the East Division.
The Bruins beat the New York Rangers, 4-2, and swept the Chicago Blackhawks, 4-0, to reach the Final. The Blues went 37-27-12 to win the West Division, defeating the Minnesota North Stars, 4-2, and Pittsburgh Penguins, 4-2, to win the West.
In the first three games of the Stanley Cup Final, it was clear who the better team was, with the Bruins winning Games 1-3 by scores of 6-1, 6-2, and 4-1. Game 4 in Boston was the only tightly contested match, with the teams taking a 3-3 tie into overtime.
Bobby Orr then scored the most famous goal in Bruins history, beating St. Louis goaltender Glenn Hall just as he was tripped by defenseman Noel Picard, raising his arms as he fell and appearing to “fly’’ through the air.
Orr was awarded the Conn Smythe Trophy as playoff MVP after compiling 9 goals and 11 assists in the playoffs. Phil Esposito led the team in scoring with 13 goals and 14 assists.
Super Bowl XXXVI: Patriots vs. Rams
When quarterback Drew Bledsoe suffered a severe injury in the second game of the 2001 season, the Patriots looked to be doomed because they were forced to play an unproven sophomore who had not even been a full-time starter in college: Tom Brady. At 1-3 after Week 4, the season still looked bleak for the Patriots, but Brady and the team rolled out 10 wins in their final 12 games, winning the AFC East and heading to the playoffs.
The Patriots defeated the Oakland Raiders in the now-famous (or infamous) “Tuck Rule Game,’’ before Bledsoe came back to lead the Patriots to an AFC Championship win on the road in Pittsburgh.
The St. Louis Rams had a similar season just two years before, when newly-signed franchise quarterback Trent Green suffered a torn ACL in the preseason, leaving the team in the hands of former grocery store employee Kurt Warner. Warner went on to lead the Rams as they became the “Greatest Show on Turf,’’ winning the NFL MVP and Super Bowl XXXIV over the Titans.
Rams running back Marshall Faulk won the MVP the next season, with Warner winning again in 2001 for rare back-to-back-to-back MVPs by one team. The Rams rolled through Green Bay and won by 5 points over Philadelphia in the NFC playoffs in 2001, and headed into the Super Bowl as heavy favorites to beat the Patriots.
The Rams took a 3-0 lead after the first quarter, but a 45-yard interception return for a touchdown by Ty Law gave the Patriots a 7-3 lead. Brady threw a touchdown pass to David Patten to give New England a 14-3 lead heading into halftime. The Patriots extended their lead to 17-3 entering the fourth quarter, but Warner led a strong fourth-quarter comeback, running in a touchdown and later throwing one to Ricky Proehl with 1:30 left to tie the game at 17.
With the ball deep in their own territory and a little over a minute to play, Brady led a 53-yard drive to get the Patriots in field goal range with seven seconds to play. Adam Vinatieri had no problem knocking home a 48-yard field goal to give the Patriots their first Super Bowl victory.
Brady was named Super Bowl MVP, and the Patriots would go on to win two more Super Bowls over the next three seasons.
2004 World Series: Red Sox vs. Cardinals
After becoming the first team in MLB history to come back from being down, 3-0, in a seven-game series in the ALCS against the Yankees, the Red Sox squared off against the Cardinals in the World Series. St. Louis had beaten the Los Angeles Dodgers and Houston Astros en route to its first NL pennant since 1985, while the Red Sox won their first pennant since 1986.
In Game 1 at Fenway Park, the Red Sox took a 4-0 lead in the first inning, expanding it to a 7-2 lead after three innings. The Cardinals stormed back, scoring three runs in the fourth and two in the sixth to tie the game at 7.
The Sox took the lead back with two runs in the bottom of the seventh, but the Cardinals answered with two of their own in the top of the eighth. Mark Bellhorn became an unlikely Red Sox hero in the bottom of the inning, hitting a two-run home run off the Pesky Pole to give the Sox an 11-9 lead. Keith Foulke shut the Cardinals down in the ninth to win Game 1.
In Game 2, the Sox took another early lead, but held on this time to win, 6-2, thanks to a stong performance by Curt Schilling, who was essentially pitching on one leg after severely injuring his ankle in the ALCS.
The series moved to St. Louis for Game 3, and the Sox built a four-run lead by the fifth inning, eventually winning, 4-1. In Game 4, the Sox took a 3-0 lead after three innings and never looked back, with Derek Lowe, Bronson Arroyo, Alan Embree, and Foulke shutting down the Cardinals to give the Red Sox their first World Series title in 86 years.
With his .412 batting average, one home run, and four RBIs in the series, Manny Ramirez became the first Red Sox player to be named World Series MVP.
2013 World Series: Red Sox vs. Cardinals
For the first time in 95 years, the Red Sox clinched the World Series at Fenway Park, topping the Cardinals in six games.
After the Boston Marathon bombings on April 13, David Ortiz took to the microphone ahead of an April 20 matchup against the Kansas City Royals and delivered a rallying cry for the city of Boston, a message that set the tone for the season. The Red Sox finished 97-65 in manager John Farrell’s first season, tied for the best record in MLB with the Cardinals.
At Fenway Park in Game 1, the Red Sox scored three runs in the first inning and two in the second. Starting pitcher Jon Lester went 7⅔ scoreless innings and the Red Sox built off their early lead to win, 8-1. The Cardinals took Game 2, sparked by a three-run seventh inning, then won Game 3 at home, taking a 2-1 series lead.
Game 4 started slow, but after a Dustin Pedroia single and an Ortiz walk, outfielder Jonny Gomes hit a three-run home run in the sixth inning, enough to secure a 4-1 win as closer Koji Uehara picked off pinch runner Kolten Wong to end the game. In Game 5, Lester allowed only one run, and the Red Sox’ three were enough to take a series lead.
In Game 6 in Boston, the Red Sox handed Cardinals rookie Michael Wacha his first career postseason loss, scoring three runs in the third and fourth innings. John Lackey pitched six scoreless innings and Uehara earned the final out.
Ortiz finished the series 11 for 16 for a .688 average — the second best in World Series history. Ortiz had two home runs and six RBIs to earn MVP honors.