Cubs' WS win has '04 Sox reflecting on title

November 3rd, 2016
The Cubs (left) ended their 108-year Series drought, while the Red Sox won it all in 2004 for the first time since 1918. (AP/Getty)

As the drought ended at 108 years for the Cubs following their epic 8-7 victory in Game 7 of the World Series early Thursday morning, a swarm of happy memories came flooding back for Red Sox Nation.

In 2004, the Red Sox were the curse-busting team that tasted championship glory for the first time in 86 years and giddily shed the "1918" taunts. The enormity of the accomplishment took some time to sink in for the players who made it happen.

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Count former Red Sox right-hander Curt Schilling, who won titles with Boston in 2004 and '07, among those who won't be surprised if there are babies and pets named Addison, Zobrist or Chapman in the coming weeks and months in Chicago.

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"As a player, I don't think you fully grasp what it means until the parade and/or the holidays," Schilling said. "Then you hear about pets and kids being named after you. You hear about graveyard visits to mom, dad or relatives that didn't live long enough to see it. Those are the memories you take away."

It is a thrilling accomplishment for any team to win a World Series. But when it ends so many decades of frustration for a fanbase that lives and breathes baseball, the meaning becomes far greater.

"I think it was everything for us, I honestly do," said Dodgers farm director and former Red Sox outfielder Gabe Kapler, who was on the '04 Boston team. "I think obviously we played for each other, we fought for our coaching staff, we fought for our front office. We fought for the organization. But ultimately, in this particular case, we were fighting for the fans."

As Kapler watched this year's World Series unfold on television, he had an eerily familiar feeling every time the FOX cameras panned to Cubs fans.

"When the cameras flashes to the fan base and you see how desperately they are hanging on every single pitch, it all looked so familiar," Kapler said. "I remember how we would look out into the stands at Fenway and how emotional the mothers and the fathers and the grandmothers and the family members were. They were deeply, deeply invested in the outcome of even the tiniest nuances of the game. That was the same sort of investment happening in Cleveland and in Chicago."

"We were really felt like we felt like we were working on behalf of a large population in and around New England," Kapler added. "I think that it's unmistakable and you can't discount how powerful that is."

Though there would be twists and turns throughout Game 7 of Cubs-Indians, Chicago's started the ultimately historic night the same way Johnny Damon did in the Game 4 World Series clincher at St. Louis in 2004 -- with a leadoff homer.

"Oh, obviously it is tremendous not just for the team but for so many others," Damon said of the Cubs' accomplishment. "In a situation like this, and the one we were in back in '04, you're playing for your city, you're playing for your fan base. You're playing for history. There's a lot that goes into it. It's crazy that this one all came down to a Game 7."

Just wait until Chicago experiences the thrill of a Cubs' victory parade.

"The parade that they put together for us in Boston was unbelievable," said Damon. "It was for the ages. It was very special."