The headline on the front page of The Boston Globe said it all: “Thank you.”
The 2004 Boston Red Sox returned home as conquering heroes after sweeping the St. Louis Cardinals to win the World Series. The title, the club’s first in 86 years, unsurprisingly set off a long, long party that culminated Saturday, Oct. 30, in the form of a rolling rally championship parade.
Red Sox fans can relive that unforgettable day Saturday at 3:30 p.m. ET on NESN.
Here are some of the things you might have forgotten about the championship parade ahead of NESN’s broadcast.
1. Boston comes together
The city of Boston has had plenty of reasons to come together and celebrate over the years, from the Marathon to the Fourth of July to other championship parades. However, none of them were able to stack up with the Red Sox’s parade in 2004. An estimated 3.2 million people came from all across the world to celebrate the Red Sox, setting a record for the largest crowd ever to gather in the city. At some points on the parade route that began at Fenway, fans lined up 100 deep to see the Sox.
2. Late change
The crowds were so big, in fact, the city was forced to call a late audible. The night before the parade, Boston changed the route, adding on in an attempt to expand the viewing area. How did they do it? Well, they made full use of the duck boats, as the new route would bring the players, coaches and staff onto the Charles River for a floating parade aspect that allowed fans on the Esplanade and Cambridge bank of the Charles to celebrate their team.
3. Watch out, Pedro
To the surprise of no one, some fans were a little too rambunctious, as was to be expected for the first World Series parade in nearly a century. The scariest “incident” involved Red Sox star Pedro Martinez, who was hit with a ball thrown from the crowd as the club floated down the river. Luckily for all involved, Martinez was no worse for the wear when it was all said and done.
4. Sign of the times
There was no shortage of signage in the crowd of 3 million-plus. Some fans proclaimed their worship for the bearded, longhaired Johnny Damon. Others asked Kevin Millar to prom. A few marriage proposals were mixed in and plenty of love for David Ortiz. However, no one had a better sign than one taunting Yankees shortstop Derek Jeter. That sign actually made its way up onto a duckboat for Manny Ramirez to proudly display for much of the parade.