Credit where credit is due: who is responsible for the Red Sox success this century?

Lose Remerswaal

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20 years ago the Red Sox were an eighty time loser, suffering through “The Curse”. in the last twenty years they are a four time World Series champion, no other team has had more success.

if you had to credit ONE PERSON for the success of the team, who would it be?

I expect these replies, but I am sure there are more:

John Henry
Theo Epstein
Terry Francona
David Ortiz

but I am sure there are other ideas out there.

State your suggestions. State your case.
 

Marciano490

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Not to be contrarian, but because he deserves more love than he got and laid a ton of the foundation - but one time for my man Dan Duquette.
 

djbayko

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Being able to credit only ONE person for all of this century's success, isn't it necessarily limited to John Henry? He's created the environment in which all 4 championships were able to take place. The other guys on your list made great contributionst, but they had very little, if anything to do with multiple trophies. In terms of span, I guess David Ortiz is next in line. He had a more direct impact on winning games, especially given his repeated heroics in the playoffs, and only missed out on one World Series.
 

Lose Remerswaal

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Only one of those four has been here for all four
I was there for all four. So were most of us.

But just because JWH was there for all four, couldn’t someone who built the foundation and then moved on be more important than being there for the run. And there are certainly folks other than the ones I listed who can claim some responsibility. I was glad to see Duquette mentioned, I expect there will be other worthy names added.
 

drbretto

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I'm glad to see others mentioned as well, but we're talking about almost 20 years of sustained success. The Sox went from lovable losers to expected winners. And yeah, obviously that original base gets things started and a ton of people contributed. But ultimately, we have had a great run because we have had a great owner that wants to win. It all starts there.
 

Red(s)HawksFan

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Being able to credit only ONE person for all of this century's success, isn't it necessarily limited to John Henry? He's created the environment in which all 4 championships were able to take place. The other guys on your list made great contributionst, but they had very little, if anything to do with multiple trophies. In terms of span, I guess David Ortiz is next in line. He had a more direct impact on winning games, especially given his repeated heroics in the playoffs, and only missed out on one World Series.
This really is the only answer if we're limiting it to one person. None of the rest even contribute if not for John Henry. Name anyone else you want, but to a person, they'll trace back to Henry at the top. Theo was the architect to two titles, but it was Henry who hired him to do it. Ortiz was a big on-the-field piece for three titles and became a clubhouse leader and a Sox legend, but it was Theo who signed him off the scrap heap and it was Henry who hired Theo. Tito managed two champion teams, but it was Theo who hired him and Henry who hired him. It goes on and on like that.

Frankly, the only person who might have a case close to Henry's is Tom Werner. He may not have the final say as the majority stakeholder, but he was the head of the original group that was bidding for the team and brought Henry on board to help beat out the other contenders.
 

JimD

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John Henry is a good answer, but I'm leaning towards Theo - he took Dan Duquette's pieces and John Henry's money and built an enduring championship organization. He was directly responsible for two titles and his fingerprints were all over the third, and key members of the organization he put into place played a major role in the fourth and are today working towards retooling for future success. Not to take anything away from Henry but lots of owners have spent money and a few have hired good executives - executing a vision and a plan over multiple years, and leaving behind a legacy that others continue to strive to uphold, is much more rare.
 

moondog80

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1. Henry -- He clearly had a vision in mind when he tried to hire Beane and settled on Epstein.
2. Epstein -- Executed the plan, very much going against the grain, and stuck to his guns (remember the reaction to JD Drew?). Set the blueprint for other to follow.
3. Ortiz -- HOF-level leader on and off the field for three different WS teams.
4. Luchinno -- Not without his faults, but instrumental to many of the improvements in Fenway, which went a long way toward creating "Red Sox Nation".
 
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Salem's Lot

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It always starts with good ownership. John Henry hires good people, supports their baseball plan financially, then gets out of the way. He will then assess the situation and make management changes when needed. That’s all I ask of ownership in any sport.
 

Plympton91

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The only constant has been John Henry’s vision, willingness to spend, mostly spot on hiring decisions for senior leader positions in both baseball ops and other areas, and willingness to adapt to the market for talent, and willingness and ability to recognize and move on from sunk costs. So I’d give him the lions share of the credit for the sustained success. It’s his team, his legacy, his credit. He’s been the owner generations of Sox fans before us all wished for.
 

CodPiece XL

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Not to be contrarian, but because he deserves more love than he got and laid a ton of the foundation - but one time for my man Dan Duquette.
Maybe it's my preception ( it was a long time ago) but I always thought he got a bad rap from the Boston media and never got the credit he deserved. He loved talking baseball, he had a great sense of humor, he was always generous with his time, just not with the media. But there was that Steve Avery contract....
 

edoug

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Bud Selig, if it wasn't for him McCourt or Dolan might have gotten the team.
 
Jul 21, 2005
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I don't think he should be the top of the list but, if you're focused on the entirety of the success the team has had, Ben Cherington belongs in the top 5. He was with the sox from 1999-2015, so his tenure spanned three of the titles and the fourth was largely built from his drafts and trades. While his contribution to the 2004 is probably the slightest, he was co-GM in 2006 when he brought in Becket and Lowell. Maybe this trade doesn't look great when the returns are compared in hindsight, but there's no 2007 title without it. He was also responsible for pulling off the Punto trade in 2012 and putting the 2013 team together. I know that his free agents signings before the 2015 were an almost complete failure, but I think he has to get a significant amount of credit for his contribution to the 2018; that year the starters at all 3 outfield positions, 3b, ss, c, 2 starting pitchers and several bullpen pieces, all came into the organization at various points during his tenure.

He's not Henry, Theo, or Ortiz, but I think he gets as much credit as anyone else that's been mentioned.

As an aside, when looking at how long the members of '18 had been with the Sox I was astounded to find that Christian Vasquez was drafted back in 2008
 

redsox11507

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I don't think he should be the top of the list but, if you're focused on the entirety of the success the team has had, Ben Cherington belongs in the top 5. He was with the sox from 1999-2015, so his tenure spanned three of the titles and the fourth was largely built from his drafts and trades. While his contribution to the 2004 is probably the slightest, he was co-GM in 2006 when he brought in Becket and Lowell. Maybe this trade doesn't look great when the returns are compared in hindsight, but there's no 2007 title without it. He was also responsible for pulling off the Punto trade in 2012 and putting the 2013 team together. I know that his free agents signings before the 2015 were an almost complete failure, but I think he has to get a significant amount of credit for his contribution to the 2018; that year the starters at all 3 outfield positions, 3b, ss, c, 2 starting pitchers and several bullpen pieces, all came into the organization at various points during his tenure.

He's not Henry, Theo, or Ortiz, but I think he gets as much credit as anyone else that's been mentioned.

As an aside, when looking at how long the members of '18 had been with the Sox I was astounded to find that Christian Vasquez was drafted back in 2008
I'm currently reading Homegrown, and Speier seems pretty high on Cherington as well. Not only what you said, but Epstein put him in charge of the minor league system as farm director with oversight of the farm system and amateur draft. In that time, as well as his time as GM a pretty massive number of essential players to the team were drafted or signed as international amateurs. Arguably, changes in the player development process with respect to nutrition programs, sports psychology, etc. allowed more prospects to hit than would have otherwise as well.
 

lexrageorge

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I'll give Henry and Theo the most credit. Henry for being smart enough to hire Theo.

I get the sentiment for Duquette. He was directly responsible for quite a few players in the 2003 and 2004 teams, the former of which was one pitcher (and one manager) away from being a true powerhouse. The Duke had some notable failures, however, including the hiring and retaining of Joe Kerrigan as manager. After reading Pedro's book, I can't imagine anyone thinking highly of Kerrigan. And I have no problem with Henry realizing that Duquette had to go; the house needed to be cleaned as much as possible from the stench of the previous era, even if Duquette had nothing to do with it. Also, by 2002, the Sox farm system was barren, much like it is today, and that was supposed to be one of Duquette's strong points.


I don't think he should be the top of the list but, if you're focused on the entirety of the success the team has had, Ben Cherington belongs in the top 5. He was with the sox from 1999-2015, so his tenure spanned three of the titles and the fourth was largely built from his drafts and trades. While his contribution to the 2004 is probably the slightest, he was co-GM in 2006 when he brought in Becket and Lowell. Maybe this trade doesn't look great when the returns are compared in hindsight, but there's no 2007 title without it. He was also responsible for pulling off the Punto trade in 2012 and putting the 2013 team together. I know that his free agents signings before the 2015 were an almost complete failure, but I think he has to get a significant amount of credit for his contribution to the 2018; that year the starters at all 3 outfield positions, 3b, ss, c, 2 starting pitchers and several bullpen pieces, all came into the organization at various points during his tenure.

He's not Henry, Theo, or Ortiz, but I think he gets as much credit as anyone else that's been mentioned.

As an aside, when looking at how long the members of '18 had been with the Sox I was astounded to find that Christian Vasquez was drafted back in 2008
Cherington is a bit of unsung hero that operated mostly behind the scenes until he became GM. He caught lightning in bottle in 2013, but his drafts were instrumental in building the 2018 powerhouse, and that counts for something.

And the bolded is a classic example of why judging trades like that one in hindsight is erroneous. The greatest weakness of the 2005 Sox was starting pitching; Pedro was gone, Lowe was gone, Schilling was injured and aging. Becket was 26. Anibel Sanchez had a decent career, but he was a 21 year old that never pitched above AA, and that was for half a season. And after some BABIP-success in his rookie year with the Marlins, it would be another 6 years before he would become a reliable starter. Hanley turned into a good player, but we also got to see both the good and the bad of Hanley, and I'm not at all convinced he would have been a good fit here in Boston in his younger days. These were exactly the guys you trade, and Beckett was exactly the guy you trade for. Like you, I'll take the World Series trophy over the WAR/dollar championship any day.
 

Patek's 3 Dingers

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This thread is about the 21st century and there have been some mediocre to bad contracts which include Pablo, Castillo, Price, Hanley, Eovaldi, Crawford, Clement, Jenks, Lackey, Lugo, Renteria, and Matsuzaka. Their inability to develop starting pitching has continued into this century.

The Sale extension is looking like it will be a disaster and the trade for him included a player that cost the Sox $60M.

Obviously the Sox have been succesful since 2000, but it's not because they've had a Belichick-like genius pulling the strings. The Patriots success in the Socialist NFL is mindboggling.
 

lexrageorge

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This thread is about the 21st century and there have been some mediocre to bad contracts which include Pablo, Castillo, Price, Hanley, Eovaldi, Crawford, Clement, Jenks, Lackey, Lugo, Renteria, and Matsuzaka. Their inability to develop starting pitching has continued into this century.

The Sale extension is looking like it will be a disaster and the trade for him included a player that cost the Sox $60M.

Obviously the Sox have been succesful since 2000, but it's not because they've had a Belichick-like genius pulling the strings. The Patriots success in the Socialist NFL is mindboggling.
The Price contract and Sale trade won them a World Series. So did the trade for Eovaldi, and the signing of Dice-K, who wasn't as overpaid as people think, and the signing of Lackey. Clement got beaned in a freak accident, and then blew out his shoulder. Renteria didn't work out, but the Sox indirectly turned him into Coco Crisp, another key contributor in 2007.
 

RoDaddy

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One of the few times I might have been right was repeatedly pleading on previous forums like Dickie Thon that what the Sox needed more than any specific player to break the curse was "a rich owner". So John Henry
 

Mugsy's Jock

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My first instinct was Terry Francona.

He broke a long long cycle of inadequate Boston managers (including even those who won a lot) by being thoughtful, open to new ideas, media-friendly, player-friendly and brave. Lots of Red Sox teams had hugely talented rosters, but Tito was the one who finally got to the mountaintop, interestingly not by pumping more into the balloon, but letting a little out. I honestly can’t think of another manager I’d want to guide a team down 0-3 to the MFY.

I give Tito credit for creating an environment where Manny could excel, where Millar could do his not-to-be-underestimated leadership thing, and Pedroia and Papi could do both.

Francona was gone for the last two rings, but I believe he set the standard for what a good Red Sox manager can and should be. Cora obviously fit that model beautifully, and Farrell had big parts of it (humility, willingness to embrace new ideas...but managing the intensity not so much).

I still can’t explain Bobby V.
 
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Patek's 3 Dingers

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My first instinct was Terry Francona.

He broke a long long cycle of inadequate Boston managers (including even those who won a lot) by being thoughtful, open to new ideas, media-friendly, player-friendly and brave. Lots of Red Sox teams had hugely talented rosters, but Tito was the one who finally got to the mountaintop, interestingly not by pumping more into the balloon, but letting a little out. I honestly can’t think of another manager I’d want to guide a team down 0-3 to the MFY.

I give Tito credit for creating an environment where Manny could excel, where Millar could do his not-to-be-underestimated leadership thing, and Pedroia and Papi could do both.

Francona was gone for the last two rings, but I believe he set the standard for what a good Red Sox manager can and should be. Cora obviously fit that model beautifully, and Farrell had big parts of it (humility, willingness to embrace new ideas...but managing the intensity not so much).

I still can’t explain Bobby V.
Manny put up tremendous numbers with Cleveland and during his three years for the Sox, before Francona. The only environment he needed was within the batters box.
 
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It all comes back to the ownership group and a huge credit to Theo too.

There's a massive player and influence who has unfortunately not been credited here so far.

Curt Schilling signed after the frustrations of 2003 and brought a winning mentality and experience that we needed badly. His fingerprints are all over 2004 and even the hiring of his old skipper Tito.

Of course the 25+ heroes in uniform all contributed in a lot of ways but for me, Schilling was the pivotal one at that time.
 

Section30

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John Henry following the blueprint of find good management, allow time for development and then not meddling. It worked for the Red Sox and for Liverpool.
 

Mugsy's Jock

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There's a massive player and influence who has unfortunately not been credited here so far.

Curt Schilling signed after the frustrations of 2003 and brought a winning mentality and experience that we needed badly. His fingerprints are all over 2004 and even the hiring of his old skipper Tito.

Of course the 25+ heroes in uniform all contributed in a lot of ways but for me, Schilling was the pivotal one at that time.
It’s a good point — that signing was a turning point. But I definitely wouldn’t list Schilling as “the one” — while his signing with the Sox was definitely a very big deal, Theo and John Henry has an equal share of that event.

I thought about including him in the list of players Tito maximized in 2004, but a.) Schilling brought his own talent, and b.) I just couldn’t. He’s Curt Schilling.
 

Twalk

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Dave Roberts baby! Bookends to the run. The Steal in 2004 and his help managing the losers in 2018.. Kidding. Sort of.
 
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lexrageorge

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Dave Roberts baby! Bookend to the run. The Steal in 2004 and his help managing the losers in 2018.. Kidding. Sort of.
Dave Roberts is a bench player on an ALCS losing team unless Kevin Millar draws The Walk That Changed History.
 

lexrageorge

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Kevin Millar drew a meaningless walk unless Dave Roberts performs The Steal That Changed History.
There are 4 things that will never, ever get old, no matter how much time passes:

1.) Watching John Madden tell Tom Brady to take a knee against the Rams. (I'll add that Madden has done the mea culpa on that many times, so no disrespect intended, as I'm generally a fan).

2.) Sanderson to Orr (or watching compilations of Orr clips).

3.) Quoting the Ron Borges article after the Pats drafted Seymour and Light.

4.) Debating which was more important: The Walk, The Steal, or Billy Mueller's Single. What is not up for debate is that all 3 MUST be capitalized.
 
Jul 21, 2005
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It’s a good point — that signing was a turning point. But I definitely wouldn’t list Schilling as “the one” — while his signing with the Sox was definitely a very big deal, Theo and John Henry has an equal share of that event.

I thought about including him in the list of players Tito maximized in 2004, but a.) Schilling brought his own talent, and b.) I just couldn’t. He’s Curt Schilling.
Totally get that (I think ) and firstly, i did credit that it's entirely on ownership. However Schilling and Tito were interlinked. Tito arrived a week later and it was Schilling's influence.

He's not "the one". A World Series is perfect storm of so many parts coming together, but, all of the post-career baggage aside, he was "the" massive shift forward.
 

Red(s)HawksFan

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Totally get that (I think ) and firstly, i did credit that it's entirely on ownership. However Schilling and Tito were interlinked. Tito arrived a week later and it was Schilling's influence.

He's not "the one". A World Series is perfect storm of so many parts coming together, but, all of the post-career baggage aside, he was "the" massive shift forward.
Schilling and Francona had a history in Philadelphia, but I think it's a stretch and perhaps revisionist to say it was Schilling's influence that led to Francona's hiring. Francona's first interview was on 11/5/03. He was the second person Theo interviewed for the job. By all accounts, Tito exceeded expectations and was impressive in the interview process. By the time the Schilling deal came together around Thanksgiving, he was the leading candidate for the job. If anything, that they desired/planned to hire Francona may have had some influence on Schilling agreeing to the trade.

In any case, I don't think either acquisition was conditional on the other at all.
 

Hyde Park Factor

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There are 4 things that will never, ever get old, no matter how much time passes:

1.) Watching John Madden tell Tom Brady to take a knee against the Rams. (I'll add that Madden has done the mea culpa on that many times, so no disrespect intended, as I'm generally a fan).

2.) Sanderson to Orr (or watching compilations of Orr clips).

3.) Quoting the Ron Borges article after the Pats drafted Seymour and Light.

4.) Debating which was more important: The Walk, The Steal, or Billy Mueller's Single. What is not up for debate is that all 3 MUST be capitalized.

For me, the steal ranks slightly above the other two because everyone knew it was coming and Roberts still beat the throw.
 

The Gray Eagle

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All facts considered, the answer has to be me. From my Yankees voodoo doll in the 2004 postseason to my series of lucky hats and shirts, my efforts gave us the edge we needed to win it all each time.

You're welcome!
 

LoweTek

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I think Moneyball had a big influence. IIRC the Red Sox were one of the first teams with financial resources to adopt the OBP/OPS/go deep in the count approach to get into opponent's bullpens as soon as possible. Most teams did not spend a lot of resources on bullpen talent so bullpens tended to be weak until recent years. Of course now pretty much every team got it figured out and opponents started responding by throwing first pitch strikes which eventually changed the approach back to swing early and often. They also strengthened investment in long and middle relief.

I remember several really entertaining 6-8-10+ pitch at bats which wore opposing pitchers down. There was a Coco Crisp at bat in particular of I think 13 pitches a game turned on. I think they led the league in pitches per at bat and OBP or were close, kind of unprecedented prior. The combination of the approach coupled with financial resources seemed to work very well for a while.

I suppose credit for it should go to Theo. I was not aware of Tito being an advocate of the approach prior to his time with the Red Sox. But I can tell you plate discipline was not historically a Red Sox trait.