(BaseballStL) -- It’s been nine years since the Cardinals last met the Red Sox in the World Series and Wednesday marks the fourth time the two storied franchises will meet in the Fall Classic.
Only one member of “The Idiots,” self-dubbed by the 2004 Red Sox, remains in Boston, that’s David Ortiz. On the other side, the Cardinals employ four players from the 2004 squad, but only one will be playing.
Mike Matheny and John Mabry have since retired and become St. Louis’ manager and hitting coach, respectively. Chris Carpenter didn’t pitch in the 2004 postseason due to injury and he won’t pitch again this time.
Only Yadier Molina, then a 21-year-old rookie, will participate on the field.
“I had fun in ’04,” Molina said. “I learned a lot back then. It was fun playing in Boston. That’s what I remember. I remember having fun that year.”
The Cardinals were swept in four games as fast as the team arrived to the World Series.
Two days after defeating the Astros 5-2 in Game 7 of the NLCS, the Cardinals traveled to Boston for Game 1 of the World Series to face the Red Sox, a team coming off a Game 7 victory after trailing three-games-to-none in the ALCS over the Yankees.
General manager John Mozeliak, then an assistant under Walt Jocketty, said it was under totally different circumstances than this year’s set-up, considering there are four off-days between the LCS and World Series for St. Louis compared to one off-day in 2004.
“It was far more rushed. I remember flying into Boston, we get there and we roll right in. It was a very cold night and you’re tired,” Mozeliak said. “I will say this October our travel has been much more manageable. I think from that standpoint we’re much more rested.”
The start to the 2004 Series didn’t go as planned for St. Louis, who won 105 games.
After St. Louis tied Game 1 on a Red Sox error in the top of the eighth inning, Boston catcher Jason Varitek reached on an error before Mark Bellhorn blasted a two-run home run to take a 11-9 lead heading into the ninth inning.
The Cardinals were unable to capitalize on a one-out double hit by Marlon Anderson in the ninth. Molina, who entered the game in the eighth inning, popped out to first base for the second out which was followed by Roger Cedeno’s strikeout to end Game 1.
“I think back to Game 1 earlier,” Mozeliak said. “I think that was an opportunity that we could have won that game, but we didn’t. It just sort of went downhill fast from that.”
But that was then and this is now.
“I think the good storyline is that you have two teams with the best record in the game matching up in the World Series,” Mozeliak said. “A lot of times it doesn’t work out that way historically, but this year it did.”
This year marks the first time since the Yankees and Braves met in 1999 that the top two teams will meet in the World Series. The Cardinals and Red Sox both won 97 games this season.
When asked what’s the difference between Yadier Molina in 2004 compared to Yadier Molina in 2013, the Cardinals catcher said, “Back then I was just a kid trying to learn. Right now I’ve got more experience. I see the game a little bit different than other players, but still fun. I’m going to have fun in this series and hopefully we win it.”
Also different is the team’s makeup heading to Boston this year. The Cardinals started a 37-year-old Woody Williams in Game 1 after he pitched two games in the NLCS nine years ago. He got shelled in his only World Series start. Matt Morris, who posted a 4.72 ERA in 32 regular season starts, followed in Game 2.
This time, the Cardinals travel to Boston with Adam Wainwright and NLCS MVP Michael Wacha likely taking the mound for the first two games at Fenway.
Hopefully, for the Cardinals, this time around is totally different from 2004.
Just for fun, here was the starting lineup for the Cardinals in Game 1 nine years ago:
1. Edgar Renteria, SS
2. Larry Walker, RF
3. Albert Pujols, 1B
4. Scott Rolen, 3B
5. Jim Edmonds, CF
6. Reggie Sanders, DH
7. Tony Womack, 2B
8. Mike Matheny, C
9. So Taguchi, LF
Scott Bierman covers the Cardinals for KMOV.com and the BaseballStL mobile app. You can follow him on Twitter @Scott_Bierman for St. Louis news and notes.