Before there was David Ortiz, there was Mo Vaughn. A three-time All-Star, Vaughn, the 1995 AL MVP, played for the Red Sox from 1991-98, during which Boston reached the postseason on two occasions but never won a World Series.
People thought the Sox were cursed.
Then they won three World Series titles from 2004-2013.
“There was no curse. We weren’t the better teams (when I played),” Vaughn said on CBS Sports Radio’s The DA Show. “I played up against those Yankee teams in the ’90s. They were better teams. Period. And when the Red Sox got new ownership committed to winning, they won – and they’ve been the better team. So there was no curse. We couldn’t beat them, and that’s just the way that it was.”
That all changed in 2004, when Ortiz, Manny Ramirez, Pedro Martinez, Terry Francona and Theo Epstein led the franchise to a world championship.
“In 2004, when we won, I’m sure any Red Sox player who had any time of service there, we felt the sense of relief,” Vaughn said. “You could feel it coming off you, all the 86 years of struggle. So we were very, very happy. I didn’t care who won a World Series. I’m just glad somebody did and we could all celebrate it.”
Vaughn, 48, was a lifetime .293 hitter. He hit more than 300 homers and drove in more than 1,000 runs. But to play in Boston and have the history of the “curse” hanging over you?
That wasn’t easy.
“One hundred percent – and you don’t realize it until you leave,” Vaughn said. “The ballplayers now up in Boston, they have it much easier. They don’t realize it, though. If you keep struggling and you keep losing, the tension wells up from the fans, media, writers – everything. It was a very tough place to play. You got the fan support, but the media, they were fans, too. So they were just taking it just as personally as your normal fan. They were fanatics like everybody else. So when we were losing, it was a tough place to play.”