Now, he'd like another chance with the Red Sox — as manager.
Boston interviewed Sveum, currently the Milwaukee Brewers' hitting coach, for its open managerial job on Wednesday.
A third base coach with the Red Sox in 2004 and 2005, Sveum was the second person interviewed by the Red Sox this week. The club brought in Philadelphia Phillies bench coach Pete Mackanin on Monday.
"It was the greatest experience I could ever have; we won the World Series in '04," said Sveum, who turns 48 this month. "For being a coach or a staff member or whatever you want to call it, it's the ultimate place you want to be."
Sveum has some big-game managerial experience on his resume, albeit a brief stint in Milwaukee. He managed the Brewers for the final 12 games of the 2008 regular season and the playoffs after Ned Yost was fired.
"You never know until you're thrown right into the fire, but then I felt right at home," Sveum said.
He and Mackanin both hope to get the job vacated when Terry Francona left following a record September collapse. After holding a nine-game lead in the wild-card race through Sept. 3, the Red Sox missed the playoffs with a loss on the final night of the regular season.
Sveum's time in Boston wasn't always full of great moments. He was criticized a number of times for his aggressive approach that had runners cut down at the plate.
"The thing about when I was judged as a third base coach, you get scrutinized," he said. "I'm glad I was scrutinized for being aggressive instead of passive. I'm not a passive person. I'm a very aggressive person and always have been."
But he thinks that spending time with the Red Sox gives him a better understanding of the intensity in Boston.
"The thing about the passion of the fans here and the media, it was kind of — I don't want to say it was comical — but if you do the same thing in Milwaukee, there's nothing said about it," he said. "Don't get me wrong, I made a couple of decisions I'd like to have back or a couple of comments in the paper."
Red Sox general manager Ben Cherington thinks Sveum's experience with the Red Sox could help.
"We wouldn't be hiring him as third base coach," Cherington said. "I think if we're signing a player or trading for a player that we think is going to do a really good job in right field and make a mistake and make him a shortstop, I don't see how that's relevant.
"He's done a lot of things in baseball. He's been a third base coach, a bench coach, a hitting coach, a manager and managed in the minor leagues a long time. I think we look at his entire body of work. I think in some ways being a third base coach is a benefit to him. He's been through some adversity. A lot of our candidates haven't been through that."
In other news, Cherington said that the exclusive five-day negotiating period for Red Sox free agents David Ortiz and Jonathan Papelbon will very likely pass without any deals.
"We expected that 12:01 will arrive without them being signed here," Cherington said. "I don't think it changes much. I think we'll continue the dialogue and plan to talk to David again soon and Pap's agent later in the week — tomorrow or the next day. We'll keep in touch, but I wouldn't expect any closure on those guys anytime soon."