Boston Red Sox

Originally the Boston Americans, founded in 1901, the Red Sox won the first World Series in 1903. Playing its games from 1912 to the present at tiny and quirky Fenway Park, with its 37-foot high wall in left field called "The Green Monster" and other unique features, the Red Sox are woven deeply into the fabric of New England, the capital of a fandom referred to as "Red Sox Nation," because of its widespread reach. From 1978-2003, the Red Sox's decades-long inability to win the World Series -- often at the hands of the New York Yankees, often in improbable and heartbreaking ways -- became the primary identity of the franchise, summed up as "The Curse of the Bambino," a reference to the sale of Babe Ruth to the New York club. But the fortunes of the franchise changed in stunning fashion in 2004. Again facing the Yankees in the ALCS, the Red Sox lost the first three games, losing Game 3 at Fenway 19-8. But in the ninth inning of Game 4, Dave Roberts stole second base off closer Mariano Rivera, then scored the tying run. David Ortiz got the first of two straight walk-off hits in the 12th inning with a two-run homer. He repeated the feat later that same day in Game 5 with a single in the 14th inning. In Game 6, Curt Schilling pitched with a sutured right ankle, blood oozing through his sock, but earned the victory, forcing a Game 7 that the Red Sox won easily. It was the first time in baseball history a team won a series after trailing 0-3. The Red Sox then swept St. Louis in the World Series, its first title in 86 years. The Red Sox would win again in 2007, recovering from a 3-1 deficit to Cleveland in the ALCS, then sweeping Colorado for the title.