Wearing two pairs of Sox

In both Chicago and in Boston, the expression “Go Sox” will find plenty of supporters. Boston is my real home, and Chicago is my adopted home, so it felt appropriate to lay down some comparisons between the two.

It turns out both franchises have parallel patterns of success. In the 21st century, both teams have ended lengthy championship-less streaks. The Red Sox broke their 86-year Curse of the Bambino with a World Series victory in 2004. The White Sox snapped an 88-year streak the next year, ending almost nine decades of frustration that began with the Black Sox scandal in 1919.

Since their win in 2004, the Red Sox won a second World Series (in 2007) and lost once in the ALCS. The White Sox have tallied a single playoff win since their ‘05 championship and have had several middling seasons. This year’s Boston team has a chance to make its third World Series in 10 years, having beaten out the Tampa Bay Rays to make it to the 2013 ALCS.

This pattern of success is strangely similar to the record of the Sox (Soxes) in the first 13 years of the 20th century. From 1901-1913, the Red Sox won the World Series twice and made the de facto ALCS once (in 1904, when the New York Baseball Giants refused to play in the World Series). During that same time period, the White Sox had one World Championship and zero additional playoff wins.

Both aforementioned streaks topped 85 years, and both involved seedy folks screwing things up off the field. The Black Sox were undone by players who gambled, while the Red Sox were ruined by Harry F. Frazee (his middle initial isn’t really F; you know what it stands for). He decided to trade the greatest player in baseball for enough money to finance an infamous theatrical performance by the name of “No, No, Nanette”. Needless to say the show never really took off in Boston.

Both Sox teams have retired the number of catcher Carlton Fisk. In Boston he was No. 27 and in Chicago he wore No. 72. He is one of only eight players ever to have their number retired by two different teams.

White Sox fans can perhaps claim a bit more of a “lovable losers” identity, given the relative inability for their team to even make the playoffs during the rest of the 20th century, but again, neither franchise compares to the Cubs, who now have close to zero fans who were alive the last time they won the pennant.

On the other hand, Boston fans have had to live in the insufferable shadow of the New York Yankees, the winningest team in baseball history. During the first 15 years of World Series play, the Sox won five and the Yankees won zero. Between then and 2004, when the Sox reversed the Curse, the Yankees won 26 championships to the Sox’ zero.

If history continues to cycle, Red Sox fans are in for a great decade. In the 1910s, Boston won four titles. I wouldn’t mind similar output from this generation of Red Sox players. They certainly have facial hair that sets them back a few decades already.

Peter is a freshman in Media. He can be reached at [email protected] Follow him on Twitter @pbaileywells22.