This is the best Red Sox team...ever.

BaseballJones

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Since the Aaron Boone homer in 2003...

Division Titles:
- Boston: 5
- New York: 6

ALCS Appearances:
- Boston: 5
- New York: 5

World Series Titles:
- Boston: 4
- New York: 1

Playoff Elimination of the Other Team:
- Boston: 2
- New York: 0

Boston is no longer, by any measure, the nail in this hammer-vs-nail rivalry.
 

bankshot1

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Good luck ranking "Greatest Ever" but I've posted earlier and elsewhere my eye test groups the '18 Sox easily with the '70 Orioles (my favorite non-Sox team ever) the '98 MFY, and the '75-76 Reds. That they saved their best baseball against the MFY, Astros and Dodgers and went 11-3 against great teams, and fucking dominated, has to cement them among the greatest ever,
 

The Filthy One

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Since the Aaron Boone homer in 2003...

Division Titles:
- Boston: 5
- New York: 6

ALCS Appearances:
- Boston: 5
- New York: 5

World Series Titles:
- Boston: 4
- New York: 1

Playoff Elimination of the Other Team:
- Boston: 2
- New York: 0

Boston is no longer, by any measure, the nail in this hammer-vs-nail rivalry.
I really hope this puts the nail (ha) in the coffin of the "Oh no, the Yankees will catch us and we'll somehow blow it" boogeyman. They are our rivals, and it will always be extra fun to beat them (and extra painful to lose to them), but they haven't been our daddies for a good long while now. I really hope I never read another panicked, fraught post about that team again.
 

Return of the Dewey

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I really hope this puts the nail (ha) in the coffin of the "Oh no, the Yankees will catch us and we'll somehow blow it" boogeyman. They are our rivals, and it will always be extra fun to beat them (and extra painful to lose to them), but they haven't been our daddies for a good long while now. I really hope I never read another panicked, fraught post about that team again.
Don't hold your breath...
 

bosockboy

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I really hope this puts the nail (ha) in the coffin of the "Oh no, the Yankees will catch us and we'll somehow blow it" boogeyman. They are our rivals, and it will always be extra fun to beat them (and extra painful to lose to them), but they haven't been our daddies for a good long while now. I really hope I never read another panicked, fraught post about that team again.
According to SemperFi, they are only 8 back in the loss column.
 

InstaFace

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I think we can easily conclude best Red Sox team of the 21st century and probably of any of our lifetimes as well, and there are many ways to come to that conclusion.

What I'm interested in is 2018 vs 1912. What measures are there, which translate reasonably well across eras, for us to compare those two?

By run differential, 1912 crushes (+255 to +229), and therefore Pyth too (.669 to .635), not to mention actual WPCT (.691 to .667). By 538's Elo, it's 2018 that's better (peak 1596 vs peak 1607, both in WS).

By bWAR:
2018: Bat 27.2, Pitch 29.4, Total 56.6
1912: Bat 29.4, Pitch 25.9, Total 55.3
(unadjusted fielding metrics like errors, Fld%, mostly favor 2018, RF favors 1912 4.02 to 2.67 but there are a lot more Ks and HRs today)

Dunno if there's more to go on, but I think that's the only comparison worth discussing. 2004 was under more pressure, faced more adversity and arguably showed more heart, not to mention meant more to us then and now, but I think 2018 would win any contest between them on the field.
 

The Racoon

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It has probably been discussed in one of the many threads here, but this team won home field advantage rather early in September and ended up playing 6 games at home and 8 games on the road in the playoffs... they didn't even need it.

Best team - no doubt!
 

BroodsSexton

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I think we can easily conclude best Red Sox team of the 21st century and probably of any of our lifetimes as well, and there are many ways to come to that conclusion.

What I'm interested in is 2018 vs 1912. What measures are there, which translate reasonably well across eras, for us to compare those two?

By run differential, 1912 crushes (+255 to +229), and therefore Pyth too (.669 to .635), not to mention actual WPCT (.691 to .667). By 538's Elo, it's 2018 that's better (peak 1596 vs peak 1607, both in WS).

By bWAR:
2018: Bat 27.2, Pitch 29.4, Total 56.6
1912: Bat 29.4, Pitch 25.9, Total 55.3
(unadjusted fielding metrics like errors, Fld%, mostly favor 2018, RF favors 1912 4.02 to 2.67 but there are a lot more Ks and HRs today)

Dunno if there's more to go on, but I think that's the only comparison worth discussing. 2004 was under more pressure, faced more adversity and arguably showed more heart, not to mention meant more to us then and now, but I think 2018 would win any contest between them on the field.
How can you compare them with 100 years of improvement in training, nutrition, analytics, and equipment? I don’t really think there’s any question 2018 is a better team. I guess if you’re doing a “pound for pound” analysis or something like relative to all the other teams of the day, but that’s not what has been discussed in this thread I don’t think.
 

DeadlySplitter

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the complete way they won various postseason games cements this thread's title as accurate for me.

that said, 2004 is pretty comparable
 

InstaFace

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Well, the teams they were competing against had the same context in terms of training, nutrition, analytics and equipment. Which is why Elo is good, because it mostly depends on a team's dominance relative to its peers over a contextually-relevant period of time.

Yeah, if you reanimated Zombie Tris Speaker and co and ran them out there they might get crushed, but the same could be said for the '27 Yankees, a team so dominant they became a byword for baseball dominance. You have to adjust for the era if you're going to make a comparison, but the game has stayed so constant in its rules (DH excepted, I suppose) that comparisons are at least somewhat meaningful.

And I think that's the only other team that has a claim to the title being discussed in this thread, so that's why I ask the question.
 

The Process

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This team was an absolute pleasure to watch all year. Whether or not they are the greatest I don't know but they were magic all year.
 

shaggydog2000

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Well, the teams they were competing against had the same context in terms of training, nutrition, analytics and equipment. Which is why Elo is good, because it mostly depends on a team's dominance relative to its peers over a contextually-relevant period of time.

Yeah, if you reanimated Zombie Tris Speaker and co and ran them out there they might get crushed, but the same could be said for the '27 Yankees, a team so dominant they became a byword for baseball dominance. You have to adjust for the era if you're going to make a comparison, but the game has stayed so constant in its rules (DH excepted, I suppose) that comparisons are at least somewhat meaningful.

And I think that's the only other team that has a claim to the title being discussed in this thread, so that's why I ask the question.
Zombie Tris Speaker would be slow, but relentless.
 

BroodsSexton

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Well, the teams they were competing against had the same context in terms of training, nutrition, analytics and equipment. Which is why Elo is good, because it mostly depends on a team's dominance relative to its peers over a contextually-relevant period of time.

Yeah, if you reanimated Zombie Tris Speaker and co and ran them out there they might get crushed, but the same could be said for the '27 Yankees, a team so dominant they became a byword for baseball dominance. You have to adjust for the era if you're going to make a comparison, but the game has stayed so constant in its rules (DH excepted, I suppose) that comparisons are at least somewhat meaningful.

And I think that's the only other team that has a claim to the title being discussed in this thread, so that's why I ask the question.
I just think it’s two different issues: which team is most dominant and which team is best. “Dominant” is a relative question that can be evaluated by comparative statistics. But it is only one factor in determining which is the “best” team. I would understand that question to be either an objective assessment of ability to win baseball games (in which case I’m pretty confident the athletes of today will likely have an across the board advantage against comparably successful teams from 100 years ago), or a more qualitative question that doesn’t lend itself as easily to objective resolution (and takes into account personality, narrative, etc.).

I don’t know much about the composition and collegiality of the personalities in 1912 or the campaign that year. But this is one kickass team, in addition to being relatively dominant, that is also objectively very good at pasting baseball teams and lost their best pitcher for most of the second half, along with their starting second baseman all year, and destroyed the presumptive competition in the postseason. Hard for me to imagine a better team.
 

JohntheBaptist

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The 2004 team was kind of like the brilliant person that doesn't entirely turn things on until they *absolutely* have to. 2007 and 2013 are baseball-geek teams that were just incredibly balanced and played really well together; no lighting in bottles, just great baseball. Real teams.

2018 is a better team than 2004 to me. They played better in the regular season, they played better in the playoffs.

2004 was likely more "entertaining" than the 2018 team, for many obvious reasons. They had these iconic veteran characters, the series were closer, more dramatic, seemed to follow some kind of pre-crafted script for our enjoyment. The firsts, the cathartic Yankee purge when the chips were down.

2018 was just dominant, efficient, smart, and deadly. No fucking around. Combining the brilliance of the 2004 team with the cohesive, single-organism team feel of 2007 and 2013.
 

BaseballJones

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2004 - The Season That Changed Everything
2007 - A really really tremendous team all around
2013 - A Magical Run
2018 - Best Red Sox Team Ever
 

Seels

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I know this adds nothing of substance, so apologies, but I feel like more than anything this is the payoff for living through those Sox teams of yesteryear. 04 is it's own device, truly, but this was the FU team this franchise needed. The undoubted best player, best pitcher, arguably best manager, and a complete disposal of two hundred win teams and an almost dynastic Dodgers team. There were things to not like about 07 and 13.

It's really cathartic watching stuff from the last week or two, and knowing that there was not really a point other than about 4 oclock Saturday morning the playoffs were in real jeopardy.
 

jose melendez

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This is easily the best Sox team of the last 100 years, but are they really the best ever? Not that it actually matters, but I do wonder sometime if we're selling the 1912 squad short. They had a batter ELO and a better winning percentage. Slightly worse team OPS+, slightly better team ERA+.

I'm not sure, and the eras are so different, but I think there's an argument to be made.
 

Devizier

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This is easily the best Sox team of the last 100 years, but are they really the best ever? Not that it actually matters, but I do wonder sometime if we're selling the 1912 squad short. They had a batter ELO and a better winning percentage. Slightly worse team OPS+, slightly better team ERA+.

I'm not sure, and the eras are so different, but I think there's an argument to be made.
Pre-integration disqualifies them in my book.
 

Red(s)HawksFan

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Best post-season run differentials in the wild card era...

2007 Red Sox +53
2018 Red Sox +33
2005 White Sox +33
2013 Red Sox +28
2001 D'Backs +28
1998 Yankees +28

Suppose the 19-8 loss in 2004 suppressed that team's differential (+21).
 

canderson

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I've long said the 2007 team has been my favorite. I have a mancrush on Jon Lester still to this day and that team was a steamroller all season. No real weaknesses and once the playoffs hit they just went off.

This team is superior to that team in every way I can imagine. I'd like to play the hypothetical "x team from x era" game and pit them in a 7 game series vs that 98 Yankee team. I'd put my money on Alex Cora and gang.

I don't want this ride to ever end.

Best. Team. Ever.
 

Al Zarilla

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It has probably been discussed in one of the many threads here, but this team won home field advantage rather early in September and ended up playing 6 games at home and 8 games on the road in the playoffs... they didn't even need it.

Best team - no doubt!
Maybe there are other intangibles to gaining home field advantage, maybe like a confidence thing. We are this good, we can get it done, home or road. True that he Sox W/L percentage this post season was not as good as on the road, small sample size for sure. 4-2 at home is still pretty good though.
 

JimD

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It's really cathartic watching stuff from the last week or two, and knowing that there was not really a point other than about 4 oclock Saturday morning the playoffs were in real jeopardy.
I think that sells this team a little short, though. Both of the Kimbrel meltdown games - Game 4 in both the ALDS and ALCS - were huge moments with the potential to alter those series, especially in the Division Series with a potential Game 5 looming as an elimination game. Yet Nunez, Pearce and Benintendi nutted up with absolutely huge plays in the biggest moments to preserve those wins. Even in what would prove to be a dominant postseason run like we just witnessed, there are moments where a different outcome could have changed the series calculus in a meaningful way. With the exception of the 13th inning on early Saturday morning, these Sox responded every time.
 

jose melendez

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The funny thing is I look on paper and it's not exactly clear to me how this team ended up being so much better than 2004. With Leon and Bradley, this team had real offensive holes that 2004 did not have, and going in to the post season it sure looked like the bullpen was a real problem.

But you can't argue with the results and the consistency, they were dominant throughout.
 

Sam Ray Not

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All-time winning pct. in the World Series (min. 30 games played)

1. Red Sox .628 (49-29)
2. Yankees .598 (134-90)
3. White Sox .567 (17-13)
4. Athletics .547 (41-34)
5. Orioles .538 (21-18)
6. Reds .510 (26-25)
7. Giants .500 (57-57)
8. Cardinals .492 (58-60)
9. Pirates .489 (23-24)
10. Senators/Twins .475 (19-21)
11. Indians .459 (17-20)
12. Braves .453 (24-29)
13. Tigers .423 (27-37)
14. Dodgers .419 (49-68)
15. Cubs .392 (23-36)
16. Phillies .378 (14-23)

Edit: thanks, ledsox. (Wikipedia sucks!)
 
Last edited:

DegenerateSoxFan

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One word encapsulates this year's crew: relentless.

2004 holds a special place in my heart for reasons that need no elaboration here, but this crew just kept coming and coming. If they were a boxer, not only would they lauded for their punches, but their ability to take a punch or three (their longest losing streak all year: https://www.baseball-reference.com/teams/BOS/2018-schedule-scores.html), like nobody else and come back faster than a bull mongoose. They rang up 108, then tore the collective hearts out of three excellent opponents. Definitely the best Red Sox team, as I understand the word "best" to mean, in my lifetime (born in '71, first really followed the team in '78).
 

bob burda

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The last thing on my "Sox fan bucket list" was to see them win 100 games, and be a completely dominant team just for a season. It was fine to be underdogs that won (2013), or to be a fine team that wins, but just once I wanted them to be a genuine 100 win team that just buried opponents mostly day after day, and in the playoffs too.

It is particularly gratifying to see the posts mentioning the '70 Orioles and having this group compare to them, since when I started out as a Sox fan, the Orioles of that exact era were the real enemy not the Yankees, and they were really good. They could beat you in every conceivable way, and they had that manager you knew was a step ahead of your manager, just like this Red Sox team. I think that Cora's use of metrics in combination with a keen sense of the moment (a pitcher's fatigue, a hitter who is "locked in," or a pitcher who "has it" that day) are very much like Weaver's, and he is out ahead of his peers in that same way, too.

I never would ask for 4 WS titles in my lifetime, nor a dynasty - but a dominant outfit like this one was still an item I wanted under the Xmas tree. They lived up to that in every sense. What a year.
 

Minneapolis Millers

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The funny thing is I look on paper and it's not exactly clear to me how this team ended up being so much better than 2004. With Leon and Bradley, this team had real offensive holes that 2004 did not have, and going in to the post season it sure looked like the bullpen was a real problem.

But you can't argue with the results and the consistency, they were dominant throughout.
I thought the same. 2004 had a better OPS+ and ERA +. But they didn't play D or run as well as 2018 and were less consistent.

Still love both teams.
 

Savin Hillbilly

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The funny thing is I look on paper and it's not exactly clear to me how this team ended up being so much better than 2004. With Leon and Bradley, this team had real offensive holes that 2004 did not have, and going in to the post season it sure looked like the bullpen was a real problem.
Some possibilities:

Bigger big bats. The best OPS+ on the 2004 roster was Manny's 152. The 2018 team had two guys who hit significantly better than that.
Baserunning. The second-most stolen bases on the 2004 team came from their starting catcher (10). They were easily the slowest of the four Henry-era championship rosters.
Defense. The 2018 Sox team was a mixed bag defensively, with problems at a couple of infield positions, but they were outstanding in the OF, fine at 1B and C, and at worst average overall. The 2004 team was defensively awful. They got slightly better with the arrival of Minky and O-Cab, but only slightly. They were average or worse (sometimes much worse) at nearly every position.
Pitching depth. The 2004 Red Sox got 68 starts, 59 relief appearances, and over 450 innings from 13 pitchers with a below average ERA+ for the year. For the 2018 Sox, those numbers were 13, 53, and 134 from 6 pitchers. The overall ERA+ numbers for the two staffs were almost identical, because the top three 2004 starters (Schilling, Pedro and Arroyo) were very very good. But there were more bad pitchers on the 2004 club.
 

ledsox

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All-time winning pct. in the World Series (min. 30 games played)

1. Red Sox .620 (45-28)
2. Yankees .598 (134-90)
3. White Sox .567 (17-13)
4. Athletics .547 (41-34)
5. Orioles .538 (21-18)
6. Reds .510 (26-25)
7. Giants .500 (57-57)
8. Cardinals .492 (58-60)
9. Pirates .489 (23-24)
10. Senators/Twins .475 (19-21)
11. Indians .459 (17-20)
12. Braves .453 (24-29)
13. Dodgers .429 (48-64)
14. Tigers .423 (27-37)
15. Cubs .392 (23-36)
16. Phillies .378 (14-23)
Did you leave out this year? I have Sox at 49-29 (.628)
 

drbretto

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Some possibilities:

Bigger big bats. The best OPS+ on the 2004 roster was Manny's 152. The 2018 team had two guys who hit significantly better than that.
Baserunning. The second-most stolen bases on the 2004 team came from their starting catcher (10). They were easily the slowest of the four Henry-era championship rosters.
Defense. The 2018 Sox team was a mixed bag defensively, with problems at a couple of infield positions, but they were outstanding in the OF, fine at 1B and C, and at worst average overall. The 2004 team was defensively awful. They got slightly better with the arrival of Minky and O-Cab, but only slightly. They were average or worse (sometimes much worse) at nearly every position.
Pitching depth. The 2004 Red Sox got 68 starts, 59 relief appearances, and over 450 innings from 13 pitchers with a below average ERA+ for the year. For the 2018 Sox, those numbers were 13, 53, and 134 from 6 pitchers. The overall ERA+ numbers for the two staffs were almost identical, because the top three 2004 starters (Schilling, Pedro and Arroyo) were very very good. But there were more bad pitchers on the 2004 club.

In a three true outcomes world, it really goes to show there's value in all the stuff we kinda take for granted. This team is the best because it's complete. They don't have a single glaring weak point. You got half the league all focused on the launch angle revolution like moths on a lamp while the Sox are looking at what everyone else forgot about.

This team isn't bad at anything. I was going to say it's bad at losing but they're so damn resilient, I kinda have to say they were actually fantastic at losing, too. But, they left no hole to exploit. With such a diverse group, one guy can have a rough game and someone else can pick them up. Mookie Betts can take the World Series off because the team doesn't rely on any one person for ssuccess. Cora can drop a "btw, Chris Sale isnt even pitching tomorrow" and we don't even panic cause we know Price's got us covered. It's like a fabric. Poke some holes in there and you can rip it quite easily, but patch up all the holes and it holds strong.
 

curly2

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Love the Baseball Reference page today. All the pics on the homepage are 2018 Red Sox (the images have changed during the day).

 

EllisTheRimMan

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In a three true outcomes world, it really goes to show there's value in all the stuff we kinda take for granted. This team is the best because it's complete. They don't have a single glaring weak point. You got half the league all focused on the launch angle revolution like moths on a lamp while the Sox are looking at what everyone else forgot about.

This team isn't bad at anything. I was going to say it's bad at losing but they're so damn resilient, I kinda have to say they were actually fantastic at losing, too. But, they left no hole to exploit. With such a diverse group, one guy can have a rough game and someone else can pick them up. Mookie Betts can take the World Series off because the team doesn't rely on any one person for ssuccess. Cora can drop a "btw, Chris Sale isnt even pitching tomorrow" and we don't even panic cause we know Price's got us covered. It's like a fabric. Poke some holes in there and you can rip it quite easily, but patch up all the holes and it holds strong.

That's why they were historically great. I'm really racking my brain as to why we aren't giving the 2007 team more debate in this discussion. We all know 2004 was once in a lifetime and the Yankees series epic. However, the 2007 team cruised and except for the hiccup in the ALCS (which allowed for some unlikely heroes) they steam rolled the competition from start to finish.
 

uilnslcoap

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The last thing on my "Sox fan bucket list" was to see them win 100 games, and be a completely dominant team just for a season. It was fine to be underdogs that won (2013), or to be a fine team that wins, but just once I wanted them to be a genuine 100 win team that just buried opponents mostly day after day, and in the playoffs too.

It is particularly gratifying to see the posts mentioning the '70 Orioles and having this group compare to them, since when I started out as a Sox fan, the Orioles of that exact era were the real enemy not the Yankees, and they were really good. They could beat you in every conceivable way, and they had that manager you knew was a step ahead of your manager, just like this Red Sox team. I think that Cora's use of metrics in combination with a keen sense of the moment (a pitcher's fatigue, a hitter who is "locked in," or a pitcher who "has it" that day) are very much like Weaver's, and he is out ahead of his peers in that same way, too.

I never would ask for 4 WS titles in my lifetime, nor a dynasty - but a dominant outfit like this one was still an item I wanted under the Xmas tree. They lived up to that in every sense. What a year.
Thanks for expressing this sentiment. I feel/felt the same way, wanted to see a Sox team that won 100+ and crushed the world. They're all special, championships. But this one meant a lot to me. Such a great team that just never stopped winning. Except when Cora took his foot off the gas in September, that logical bastard.
 

Al Zarilla

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Love the Baseball Reference page today. All the pics on the homepage are 2018 Red Sox (the images have changed during the day).

That’s great. I go to BBREF a lot and I always try to identify the players pictured. This morning, went there and thought, know that one, know that one, hey, wait a minute, they’re all Red Sox! Great sense of humor or being of the moment by them.
 

manny

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Jul 24, 2005
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Jeff Sullivan at FanGraphs wasn't looking at the question of "Best Red Sox team ever?" He was looking at "Best team ever." In his analysis, the 2018 Sox come up around the top 15-25% of all MLB teams since 1903. But if you check the chart at the bottom of the article, you'll see that by one measure, this Sox team was The Best Red Sox team ever.
https://www.fangraphs.com/blogs/the-2018-red-sox-in-historical-context/
Just to clarify, the 15-25% figure is for all champions, not all MLB teams. Would be interested how that changes if you looked at post-WWII only.