With the Red Sox and the Cardinals matched up against each other for the fourth time in World Series history, let's take a Box-Toppers look back to the last time they faced off, in the 2004 Fall Classic.
With nine years of separation, there aren't a lot of returning players from the previous Cards-Sox title bout—in fact, only two:
- Red Sox designated hitter David Ortiz.
- Cardinals catcher Yadier Molina.
Ortiz had 10.7 Box-Toppers points during the 2004 regular season, his best at the time and was Player of the Game in two postseason contests—once in Game 4 of the American League Championship Series against the Yankees and once in Game 1 of the World Series against the Cardinals. This season, Ortiz had 12.4 Box-Toppers points and has already been Player of the Game in Game 2 of the ALCS vs. the Tigers.
Molina was in his first year with the Cardinals in 2004 and had only 1.0 Box-Toppers point. He was playing behind then-starting catcher (now Cardinals manager) Mike Matheny. This season, Molina has 4.0 Box-Toppers points.
One other current Cardinal player did play a prominent role in 2004's postseason. Carlos Beltran, then of the Astros, was twice Player of the Game during the National League Division series, as the Astros defeated the Braves, three games to two. The Astros lost to the Cardinals in the NLCS, four games to three.
The 2004 postseason was also notable because it was the first and only time a team with a 3-0 game deficit in a best-of-seven series came back to win it 4-3. That was the Red Sox, beating the Yankees in the ALCS, sparked by Ortiz' Game 4 performance. Ortiz hit a walk-off, 12th-inning, two-run home run to beat the Yankees 6-4. The Sox then trailed that series three games to one.
The 2004 postseason was also notable because it was the first time the Red Sox had won the World Series since 1918—a span of 86 years. The Red Sox went on to sweep the Cardinals in the Fall Classic. Then-Cards stars like Albert Pujols, who contributed to St. Louis wins in the first two rounds of the postseason, were shut out from even once earning Box-Toppers Player of the Game honors during the World Series. However, Ortiz was joined by three other arguably legendary Red Sox as Player of the Game in the other three World Series victories:
- Game 1: Ortiz, who has 126.4 Box-Toppers points for his career, ranked 24th all-time (since 1995 when Box-Toppers record-keeping began).
- Game 2: Pitcher Curt Schilling, who had 21.0 Box-Toppers points in 2004 and has 194.1 since 1995, ranked third on the all-time (since 1995) list.
- Game 3: Pitcher Pedro Martinez, who had 17.1 Box-Toppers points in 2004 and has 244.8 since 1995, ranked second on the all-time (since 1995) list, behind only Randy Johnson (278.8).
- Game 4: Pitcher Derek Lowe, who had a career-low 1.0 Box-Toppers point in 2004, but has 91.5 for his career, ranked 82nd on the all-time list.
2004 League Division Series Box-Toppers results
Here are Box-Toppers Players of the Games for each of the league division series games played in 2004. Games are listed by day. The Red Sox beat the Angels 3-0. The Yankees beat the Twins 3-1. The Cardinals beat the Dodgers 3-1. The Astros beat the Braves 3-2.
|MLB||2.0||Red Sox||Manny Ramirez lf||5||2||2||3||0||1||0.0||0||0||0||0||0|
|NL||2.0||Cardinals||Larry Walker rf||4||2||2||2||0||2||0.0||0||0||0||0||0|
|2.0||Twins||0||0||0||0||0||0||Johan Santana (W, 1-0)||7.0||9||0||0||1||5|
|MLB||5.0||Astros||Carlos Beltran cf||3||3||3||2||0||0||0.0||0||0||0||0||0|
|AL||3.1||Red Sox||0||0||0||0||0||0||0||Keith Foulke (S, 1)||1.1||0||0||0||0||2|
|BAT||3.0||Yankees||Alex Rodriguez 3b||6||2||4||3||0||0||0.0||0||0||0||0||0|
|BAT||3.0||Cardinals||Edgar Renteria ss||4||3||3||1||0||0||0.0||0||0||0||0||0|
|MLB||4.0||`Red Sox||0||0||0||0||0||0||Bronson Arroyo||6.0||3||2||2||2||7|
|BAT||1.0||Yankees||Derek Jeter ss||5||0||3||3||0||0||0.0||0||0||0||0||0|
|MLB||7.0||Dodgers||0||0||0||0||0||0||Jose Lima (W, 1-0)||9.0||5||0||0||1||4|
|NL||3.0||Astros||0||0||0||0||0||0||Brad Lidge (S, 1)||1.0||0||0||0||0||2|
|BAT||2.0||Yankees||Ruben Sierra dh||4||1||2||3||1||0||0.0||0||0||0||0||0|
|MLB||3.0||Cardinals||Albert Pujols 1b||4||1||2||4||1||0||0.0||0||0||0||0||0|
|2.0||Braves||Adam LaRoche 1b||3||1||1||3||1||1||0.0||0||0||0||0||0|
|MLB||7.0||Astros||Carlos Beltran cf||5||3||4||5||0||0||0.0||0||0||0||0||0|
2004 League Championship Series Box-Toppers results
Here are Box-Toppers Players of the Games for each of the league championship series games played in 2004. The Red Sox beat the Yankees 4-3. The Cardinals beat the Astros 4-3.
|MLB||5.0||Yankees||Hideki Matsui lf||5||2||3||5||0||0||0.0||0||0||0||0||0|
|MLB||4.0||Yankees||0||0||0||0||0||0||0||Jon Lieber (W, 1-0)||7.0||3||1||1||1||3|
|NL||3.0||Cardinals||Albert Pujols 1b||3||2||2||2||2||1||0.0||0||0||0||0||0|
|MLB||3.0||Cardinals||Scott Rolen 3b||4||2||2||3||0||1||0.0||0||0||0||0||0|
|MLB||9.0||Yankees||Hideki Matsui lf||6||5||5||5||0||0||0.0||0||0||0||0||0|
|NL||5.0||Astros||0||0||0||0||0||0||0||Brad Lidge (S, 2)||2.0||1||0||0||1||5|
|MLB||4.0||Astros||Lance Berkman, RF||2||1||2||3||2||0|
|AL||2.0||Red Sox||David Ortiz, DH||5||1||2||4||1||1|
|AL||5.0||Red Sox||Tim Wakefield (W,1-0)||3.0||1||0||0||1||4|
|MLB||5.0||Red Sox||Curt Schilling (W,2-1)||7.0||4||1||1||0||4|
|MLB||5.0||Red Sox||Johnny Damon cf||6||2||3||6||0||0||0.0||0||0||0||0||0|
|NL||4.0||Cardinals||0||0||0||0||0||0||Julian Tavarez (W, 2-1)||2.0||0||0||0||0||2|
|MLB||4.0||Cardinals||0||0||0||0||0||0||Jeff Suppan (W, 2-1)||6.0||3||2||1||2||6|
2004 World Series Box-Toppers results
Here are Box-Toppers Players of the Games for each of the World Series games played in 2004. The Red Sox beat the Cardinals 4-0.
|MLB||4.0||Red Sox||David Ortiz, DH||3||1||2||4||2||0||0.0||0||0||0||0||0|
|MLB||4.0||Red Sox||0||0||0||0||0||0||Curt Schilling (W, 1-0)||6.0||4||1||0||1||4|
|MLB||8.0||Red Sox||0||0||0||0||0||0||Pedro Martinez (W, 1-0)||7.0||3||0||0||2||6|
|MLB||7.0||Red Sox||0||0||0||0||0||0||Derek Lowe (W, 1-0)||7.0||3||0||0||1||4|
In the first column of each chart, the designation MLB indicates Player of the Day, AL or NL indicates Player of the Day in the opposite league and BAT indicates the player was the top batter of the day in his league. Usually, top players of the game receive 1.0 Box-Toppers point, top batters in the league receive 1.5, top players in the league receive 1.7 and top overall players receive 2.0. However, postseason Box-Toppers points are not counted in regular season Box-Toppers totals.
` Denotes that the pitcher had a no-decision in the game and did not pick up a win or a save.