Curse of the Bambino

From BR Bullpen

The Curse of the Bambino was supposedly a bad omen placed upon the Boston Red Sox after the team sold Babe Ruth to the New York Yankees after the 1919 season. The "Curse" was used to explain the lack of a World Series win by the Red Sox, for an 86-year period from 1918 until 2004. It is one of several "curses" said to inhabit the world of Major League Baseball, including the Curse of the Billy Goat which supposedly affected the Chicago Cubs for decades.

History and Reversal[edit]

Prior to the sale, the Red Sox had been one of the most successful teams in the Majors, having won the first modern World Series, in 1903, and a total of five titles before selling Ruth; however after the sale, the New York Yankees became one of the most successful franchises in the Majors (and also one of the most successful teams in all of North American professional sports), while the Red Sox would not win another World Series in the 20th century, even though they came agonizingly close in 1946, 1967, 1975 and especially 1986.

The "Curse" is said to have ended when the Red Sox beat the Yankees in the 2004 ALCS after originally trailing three games to none, leading to their victory in the 2004 World Series in a sweep of the St. Louis Cardinals.

Over the years, Red Sox fans attempted to break the dreaded Curse using several methods. The Curse was also mentioned in Ken Burns' Baseball documentary; a former manager suggested the team exhume Ruth and bring the body back to Fenway Park in order to apologize for having traded him to the Yankees.

The World of Entertainment Responds[edit]

The Curse has been featured on many websites, and in television programs and movies. Ben Affleck narrated an HBO special detailing the history of the Curse [1], and the Curse features prominently in the 2005 film Fever Pitch.

The Curse was also made into a musical in 2001, premiering at Boston's Lyric Stage. Interestingly, the musical was produced again in 2004 and 2007, both years in which the Red Sox won the Championship. [2]


Further Reading[edit]

  • Anthony Castrovince: "The ‘Curse of the Bambino,' explained",, December 25, 2021. [3]
  • Dan Shaughnessy: The Curse of the Bambino, Dutton, Penguin Books, New York, NY, 1990. ISBN 978-0525248873