The beards paid off. After winning the 2013 World Series, the Boston Red Sox grabbed their third league pennant in ten years.
The team defeated the St. Louis Cardinals in six games, 4-2, with a roster full of players sporting beards throughout the postseason.
Red Sox outfielder Jonny Gomes and first baseman Mike Napoli started the trend during spring training, and as their beards continued to grow, so did the number of Red Sox players with beards
By the end of the regular season, the trend surged through the team, and almost every player proudly wore their beards.
The most notable player without a beard was the team’s closer, Koji Uehara. According to an article by Boston NBC7’s Nicole Olivario, Uehara had a beard in past seasons but shaved it prior to the 2013 season because the clean shaven look made people happy, and he was told he looked younger.
Uehara was dominant in the American League Championship Series (ALCS) when the Red Sox defeated the Detroit Tigers 4-2. He was named the ALCS MVP after notching three saves and a win, while giving up zero runs in five innings during the series.
The Red Sox accomplished a difficult feat, moving from last place in their division in 2012 to first place in 2013.
The team scored a league-high 853 runs for the season and earned a top seed in the postseason after finishing with a record of 97-65.
In the American League Division Series, the Red Sox won 3-1 in a best of five series against the Tampa Bay Rays thanks to strong offensive performances by outfielder Jacoby Ellsbury and designated hitter David Ortiz.
Ellsbury contributed by scoring seven runs and stealing four bases, and Ortiz hit two home runs in the series.
The ALCS against Detroit proved to be more drama-filled than their previous playoff series. In Game two, the Tigers squandered a 5-0 lead and eventually lost the game after one play that changed the game.
With the Red Sox trailing 5-1 in the eighth inning, and the bases loaded, Ortiz hit a home run that featured a daring attempt by Tigers outfielder Torii Hunter, who leapt and fell over the wall to catch the ball only to come up short as he failed to make the catch.
Ortiz’s homerun tied the game, and the Red Sox went on to win in extra innings.
“I stop watching when it was 5-0,” Junior Sam McClintock said about the game. “I was getting updates on my phone, and when I saw that the bases were loaded in the eighth with Ortiz batting, I turned on the game. When the ball was hit, I thought Hunter was going to catch it. Then it just kept floating, and when Hunter flew over the wall unable to make the catch, I felt pure enjoyment as I jumped up and down at my home.”
After beating the Tigers in the ALCS, the Red Sox faced a the Cardinals representing the National League after posting the best record in the league at 97-65 for the World Series.
The Red Sox defeated the Cardinals in a best-of-seven series. Ortiz, also known as “Big Papi,” was named World Series MVP after producing two home runs, six runs-batted-in, eight walk, and an incredible .688 batting average.
“Big Papi is a god,” McClintock said.
Ortiz is the only player on the team’s roster to be a part of all three World Series-winning teams since the Red Sox broke their famous “Curse of the Bambino” in 2004, a series that Boston also won against the Cardinals.
The World Series championship in 2004 marked the first World Series the Red Sox won in 86 years. In 2007, the team won their second World Series of the century against the Colorado Rockies.
As for the beards, after winning the World Series, outfielder Ortiz, Shane Victorino and others participated in a promotional event at the Gillette World Shaving Headquarters in Boston.
Other players, like Napoli, opted to keep theirs. According to ESPN, he said that his beard is part of him now.