Can the Curse of the Bambino Be Lifted?

ByABC News via via logo

Oct. 10, 2003 -- Back in 1920, the Boston Red Sox were at the top of their game when the team's owner decided to sell one of its young players to the Yankees for $125,000.

The player's name was Babe Ruth.

"The Bambino" went on to become one of the greatest baseball players ever. The Red Sox — who had won five of Major League Baseball's first 15 World Series prior to the sale — have not won a World Series since. And after what is viewed as the worst trade in sports history, the team began to suffer what has become known as "The Curse of the Bambino."

To make matters worse, the Yankees — who are the Red Sox' current rivals in the American League Championship Series — have won 26 World Series to the Red Sox' zero.

Lifelong fans born after 1918 — the last time the Red Sox won the pennant — have gone to their graves without seeing their baseball team win, and fans have come to blame the team's misfortune on "the curse."

"I remember my grandfather yelling at the TV to beat the curse of the Bambino," said one female Sox fan. "It hasn't happened yet."

And the team has lost in particularly painful ways. In Game Six of the 1986 World Series, for instance, a ground ball hit by Mookie Wilson of the Mets literally rolled through Bill Buckner's legs and past first base, leading to a pennant victory for the Mets that has left a scar on every Sox fan's psyche.

But each spring, hope rises anew, and this year the Sox have made it to the playoffs, where they face bitter rivals, the Yankees. Over the years, emotionally bruised Red Sox fans have fans have been willing to try anything to break the curse.

Standing outside Boston's Fenway park, two female fans told ABCNEWS that through the Chinese technique of feng shui — bringing spiritual forces into harmony — they would be able to reverse the curse. Dressed in scarves and long skirts, they rattled chimes and burned incense and a picture of Ruth — all in an effort to lift the curse.

Red Sox fans are eager for any help they can get.

"I'm not a big fan of superstitions, but whatever works, I am all for it," said one fan.

Home runs, feng shui, an act of Congress, whatever works. After years of futility, beggars — and Red Sox fans — can't be choosers.

ABCNEWS John Berman contributed to this report.

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