Happy anniversary to Dave Roberts and David Ortiz! 13 years ago today, the landscape of humanity changed for Red Sox fans around the world. After Kevin Millar drew a ninth-inning walk off of Yankees reliever Mariano Rivera in Game 4 of the ALCS, Red Sox manager Terry Francona sent in Dave Roberts to pinch-run for him. Rivera threw over to first-base precisely 250 times before the inevitable happened: Speedy Roberts successfully stole second base. It pissed off Jorge Posada so badly, a sight I’ll remember forever.
Even though that steal felt like a victory in itself, Boston was still losing 4-3. Red Sox third baseman and 2003 AL Batting Champ, Bill Mueller would step to the plate.
It wasn’t until the 12th inning, shortly after the 5-hour mark, when David Ortiz hit the biggest home run in Boston Red Sox history off of Paul Quantrill.
I can just remember jumping and running around my neighbor’s house, which was filled with a ton of Yankees fans, screaming and yelling “DAVID OR-MOTHERFUCKING-TIZ” over and over until I was reminded it was nearly 1:30 AM. I went home and couldn’t sleep a wink, and when I did fall asleep, it was the most peaceful slumber 16-year-old me had ever experienced.
We all know what happened next: the Sox went on to win the ALCS after being down 3 games to none, and their first World Series championship in 86 years just a week and a half later. So thank you so much, Papi. And thank you so much, Dave Roberts. And thank you so much, Kevin Millar. I’d like to give the BIGGEST thank-you to Mariano Rivera, because if the Red Sox didn’t own you as hard as they did, 2004 just wouldn’t have been the same.
Photo Credit: MLB.com