A history of Boston vs. St. Louis championship meetings
Boston vs. St. Louis. Here we go again.
With the Blues knocking off the Sharks to advance to the Stanley Cup Final, those two cities will square off for a championship for the 11th time. Every one of the Big Four sports has featured at least one Boston-Saint Louis matchup, and Boston has the decided advantage in the past 10 meetings, winning seven titles, including each of the past four over the last 50 years.
In fact, Boston and St. Louis are the only two cities to battle for a title in each of the four major American sports.
From the early days of the Celtics dynasty to the early days of the Patriots dynasty, from the days of Bobby Orr to the days of David Ortiz, let's take a look at how Boston has fared against Saint Louis when battling it out for a title.
1946 WORLD SERIES
Cardinals defeat Red Sox, 4-3
The Red Sox owned the majors' best record in 1946, going 104-50 (good for the franchise's second-highest win total in history, behind only 2018 and 1912) as Ted Williams returned to the lineup after missing three seasons for military service during World War II. Williams won his first MVP that season, hitting .342 with 38 HR and 123 RBI, but injuries limited his production in the World Series against the Cardinals, as he hit just .200 with only one RBI.
The Fall Classic went the distance, and the turning point came in the 8th inning of Game 7, when Enos Slaughter made his "mad dash," scoring from first base on a double by Harry Walker (and supposedly aided by a hesitating Johnny Pesky on the throw home). St. Louis won both the game and the series, 4-3.
1957 NBA FINALS
Celtics defeat Hawks, 4-3
Months before the 1957 Finals, St. Louis had actually selected Bill Russell with the second pick of the 1956 NBA Draft, but Red Auerbach sent Ed Macauley and Cliff Hagan to the Hawks, completely changing the course of the Celtics' franchise. Alongside fellow rookie Tom Heinsohn, Russell and the Celtics ended up meeting the Hawks in the NBA Finals, the first trip to the Finals for each franchise.
Both Game 1 and Game 7 were played in Boston, and both were decided by 125-123 scores in double overtime. Though St. Louis won Game 1, Boston claimed Game 7 behind Heinsohn's 37 points and 23 rebounds, and Russell's 19 points and 32 rebounds. It was the first championship in Celtics history, and it started a run of 10 consecutive trips to the Finals for Red Auerbach's team.
1958 NBA FINALS
Hawks defeat Celtics, 4-2
St. Louis got some revenge on Boston the following year, taking advantage when Bill Russell sprained his ankle in Game 3 and proceeded to miss the next two games. Russell was able to return for Game 6, but it wasn't enough as Bob Pettit poured in 50 points to clinch the Hawks' first title with a 110-109 win in Game 6.
Red Auerbach refused to use Russell's injury as the reason the Celtics lost the series, saying, "You can always look for excuses. We just got beat."
1960 NBA FINALS
Celtics defeat Hawks, 4-3
After the Celtics beat the Minneapolis Lakers in the 1959 NBA Finals, they once again matched up with the Hawks the following year, adding another chapter to their rivalry. Bob Cousy even said, "At the time, the Hawks were the most intense rivalry we had."
The teams alternated wins all series long, leading to another Game 7 at Boston Garden. Once again, Bill Russell stepped up when the Celtics needed him, putting up a ridiculous stat line of 22 points and 35 (!!) rebounds, helping the Celtics cruise to a 122-103 win and their second of eight consecutive championships.
1961 NBA FINALS
Celtics defeat Hawks, 4-1
The Celtics' dynasty was still in its early stages in 1961, but this would signify the beginning of the Dark Ages for the Hawks franchise. Led by Tom Heinsohn, Bill Russell, and Bob Cousy, the C's rolled over the Hawks in five games for their third straight title. But this marked the most recent trip to the NBA Finals for the Hawks, who moved to Atlanta seven years later. That's the second-longest drought in the NBA, behind only the Kings, who last went to the Finals in 1951.
1967 WORLD SERIES
Cardinals defeat Red Sox, 4-3
Not much was expected of the '67 Red Sox, who were just two years removed from a 100-loss season and hadn't finished above .500 in almost a decade. But that's why the season is remembered as the "Impossible Dream." Led by MVP and Triple Crown-winner Carl Yastrzemski, the Red Sox emerged from a four-team fight to the finish and advanced to set up a rematch of the '46 World Series against the Cardinals.
Bob Gibson and Jim Lonborg dominated the Series, with Gibson throwing three complete games and Lonborg flirting with a no-hitter in Game 2. The Sox were able to force a Game 7 after falling into a 3-1 series deficit, but Gibson struck out 10 and added a home run while Lonborg struggled on two days' rest. The Impossible Dream was over.
1970 STANLEY CUP FINAL
Bruins defeat Blues, 4-0
The series might have been a forgettable one, with the Blues getting swept for the third straight year after entering the league as an expansion team in 1967, but it produced one of the most indelible images in NHL history. The Bruins outscored the Blues 20-7 during the four-game sweep, but that 20th and final goal was unforgettable.
Just 40 seconds into overtime of Game 4, Bobby Orr beat Glenn Hall of an assist from Derek Sanderson, and when Blues defenseman Noel Picard tripped Orr, he flew through the air with his arms outstretched — a sight which has been immortalized as a statue outside TD Garden. It was the Bruins' first title since 1941, and it marks the Blues' last trip to the Stanley Cup Final.
SUPER BOWL XXXVI
Patriots defeat Rams, 20-17
Just one year removed from a 5-11 record, the Patriots started the 2001 season with Drew Bledsoe under center, and ended it when Adam Vinatieri's 48-yard field goal as time expired shocked the so-called "Greatest Show on Turf." Along the way, Tom Brady took over when Mo Lewis leveled Bledsoe, the Patriots' dynasty was born, the term "Tuck Rule" entered the lexicon, and Robert Kraft uttered the phrase "We are all Patriots" for the first time.
Even though the Patriots were 14-point underdogs, Tom Brady earned the first of his four Super Bowl MVP awards by leading New England to a 17-3 lead and engineering a 53-yard drive to get into field position, setting the stage for Vinatieri's heroics. The Patriots beat the Rams in the Super Bowl again 17 years later, but by then the Rams were based in Los Angeles, not St. Louis.
2004 WORLD SERIES
Red Sox defeat Cardinals, 4-0
The third time was the charm for the Red Sox. After losing to the Cards in both 1946 and 1967, the Sox ended their 86-year championship drought by breaking out the brooms in a four-game sweep during which the Cardinals never led — a far cry from the ALCS, when the Sox stormed back from a 3-0 deficit to get revenge on the Yankees after losing in the ALCS a year earlier.
Manny Ramirez earned MVP honors, batting .412 with four home runs, while Keith Foulke sent Sox fans into hysterics at the end, fielding in a comebacker and tossing the ball to Doug Mientkiewicz to seal the team's first title since 1918.
2013 WORLD SERIES
Red Sox defeat Cardinals, 4-2
After sweeping their way to titles in both 2004 and 2007, the Red Sox needed six games to knock off the Cardinals for their third World Series win in 10 years, wrapping up a season that started in heartbreak after the Boston Marathon bombings. The team — and the city — used Boston Strong as a rallying cry, bouncing back after a last-place finish in 2012 to win 97 games in John Farrell's first season at the helm.
David Ortiz took home MVP honors, while Koji Uehara struck out Matt Carpenter swinging to end Game 6 as the Red Sox won a championship at Fenway Park for the first time since 1918.
2019 STANLEY CUP FINAL
Stanley Cup Final starts Monday in Boston
Almost a half-century after they first played for the Stanley Cup, the Bruins and Blues will face off one more time, in a series that starts Monday night at TD Garden. The two teams split a pair of meetings this season, a 5-2 Bruins win in Boston on January 17, and a 2-1 Blues shootout win in St. Louis on February 23.
The two teams were among the hottest down the stretch in the regular season, as the Blues pulled out of the NHL basement by going 36-13-4 since January 22, while the Bruins have gone 34-12-4 over that same stretch.