BOSTON -- Sandwiched between the fabled "Idiots" of 2004 and the underdog "Boston Strong" unit of '13, the '07 Red Sox seem to get forgotten sometimes.But in some ways, that team -- which enjoyed a 10-year anniversary celebration at Fenway Park prior to Sunday's game against the Royals -- was
BOSTON -- Sandwiched between the fabled "Idiots" of 2004 and the underdog "Boston Strong" unit of '13, the '07 Red Sox seem to get forgotten sometimes.
But in some ways, that team -- which enjoyed a 10-year anniversary celebration at Fenway Park prior to Sunday's game against the Royals -- was the most impressive of the three World Series championship teams that Boston has had since the turn of the century.
"Sometimes people say thank you for '04 and I joke with them and say, 'how about '07?'," said Kevin Youkilis, the starting first baseman from that team. "And they say, 'Oh yeah, thanks for that'. Honestly, for us, winning the World Series was great, and I think fans appreciate them all. I think each one has its own great story."
The '07 Red Sox took over first place in the American League East on April 18 and held sole possession the rest of the way. They swept the Angels in the Division Series and the Rockies in the World Series.
The only time there was ever doubt was the AL Championship Series, when they trailed Cleveland, 3-1, but then came back to win that series in seven games. Josh Beckett pitched a gem in Game 5. J.D. Drew belted a grand slam in Game 6. And the Red Sox erupted late in Game 7 to turn it into a blowout.
"That made it even better when we were down 3-1," said Mike Timlin, owner of four World Series rings. "We knew what kind of team we had all year long and we hit some adversity, and a couple of guys figured out what adversity is in the playoffs and then turned it on."
It was a team constructed around power hitting (David Ortiz, Manny Ramirez), starting pitching (Beckett, Curt Schilling), accomplished veterans (Mike Lowell, Jason Varitek, Drew, Timlin) and dazzling youth (Dustin Pedroia, Youkilis, Jonathan Lester, Jonathan Papelbon).
The Red Sox outscored their opponents, 867-657 that year.
"I thought we had a deep bullpen," Lowell said. "We had an offense that could cause a ton of problems to opposing pitchers and opposing defenses. I thought we had a nice mix of young veterans, speed, power. It was really a team that if you constructed it, you kind of wanted a little bit of everything and I think it had it.
"Starters that had great seasons. Rookies like Dustin that came in and were impact guys. It was a team that had very few weaknesses. I think maybe as the years go by, you'll see how balanced it was. I think balanced was the best way to describe it. We could throw lefties at you, we could throw righties at you, we had guys who could throw hard, some finesse guys. You could match up well. I think that was a pretty good staple of our season."
Nineteen players from that squad took part in Sunday's festivities. A 2007 championship banner hung over the Green Monster. Lowell, the MVP of the '07 World Series, threw out the ceremonial first pitch to Varitek. Lowell's daughter, Alexis, sang the national anthem.
"I remember the front office in the offseason went out there and put together the pieces that we needed to come back and win again," Ortiz said. "Walking into the 2007 season, I pretty much had that feeling because of the ballclub that we had. Everything went good."
Ian Browne has covered the Red Sox for MLB.com since 2002. Follow him on Twitter @IanMBrowne and Facebook.