In one of the most memorable plays in Red Sox history, Tom Brunansky made a diving catch in the right field corner to save the final game of the regular season and clinch the AL East for the Sox. It was Boston's third division title in five years. However, the Sox were again swept by the A's in the ALCS, extending their postseason losing streak to 10 games.
Roger Clemens won his third and final Cy Young in a Red Sox uniform by going 18-10 with a 2.62 ERA. He also registered 241 strikeouts. Despite a second-place finish, manager Joe Morgan was fired the day after the season. He was replaced by former Sox third baseman Butch Hobson.
Kevin Kennedy took over the managerial reins from Butch Hobson, and Boston proved to be one of the surprise stories in baseball. The Sox won the AL East with a record of 86-58. Mo Vaughn emerged into a superstar, earning AL MVP honors. Tim Wakefield was plucked off the scrap heap by GM Dan Duquette and shocked the baseball world by beginning the season 14-1. However, the Red Sox were again swept out of the playoffs, this time by the Indians in three games in the newly formatted Division Series. It brought Boston's postseason losing streak to 13 games.
In his final season with the Red Sox, Roger Clemens tied his own Major League record by registering 20 strikeouts against the Tiger on Sept. 18. The Red Sox made a late wild-card bid, but fell short. Mo Vaughn had the best statistical season of his career, smashing 44 homers and driving in 143 runs. Manager Kevin Kennedy was fired shortly after the season, and replaced by Jimy Williams.
The Red Sox were treated to the arrival of a rookie named Nomar Garciaparra, who immediately turned into a superstar. The dynamic shortstop won Rookie of the Year honors by hitting .306 with 122 runs, 209 hits, 44 doubles, 11 triples, 30 homers, 98 RBIs and 22 stolen bases. But the season was a disappointment, as Boston went 78-84 in Jimy Williams' first season as manager.
After acquiring star right-hander Pedro Martinez in the winter, the Red Sox produced their first 90-win season since 1996. The 92-70 finish was good enough to vault them into the playoffs as the AL Wild Card. There was no sophomore jinx for Nomar Garciaparra, as he finished second in AL MVP balloting. The Red Sox snapped their postseason losing streak of 13 games by clubbing the Indians in Game 1. Mo Vaughn blasted two homers, pacing an 11-3 victoy. The Red Sox were eliminated by losing the next three games. Vaughn, a free agent after the season, signed a six-year contract with the Anaheim Angels.
Without Mo Vaughn, the Red Sox were not without hope. In fact, the Red Sox improved upon their win total from the season before, finishing 94-68. Jimy Williams was named AL Manager of the Year. Nomar Garciaparra won his first batting title. Pedro Martinez was the best pitcher in baseball, going 23-4 with a 2.07 ERA and 313 strikeouts. The Sox again won the AL Wild Card. They also won their first postseason series since 1986, rallying back from a 2-0 deficit to beat the Indians in five games. Martinez was heroic in the Game 5 clincher, tossing six no-hit innings out of the bullpen despite an injury to his right shoulder. Boston lost the ALCS to the Yankees in five games.