Manager Terry Francona and the Boston Red Sox capped off their 2004 season with a huge parade in the streets of Beantown on Saturday. Francona and the Sox swept St. Louis four games to none to win the first World Series title for Boston in 86 years.
An estimated 3.2 million fans packed the seven-mile parade route in spitting rain and temperatures in the 50s, standing in dense crowds, hanging from windows and cheering from rooftops.
Rallying from a three-game deficit to the Yankees in the American League Championship Series, Boston won its last eight straight games to take home its first World Series title since 1918.
At an impromptu mini-rally at Fenway before the parade, Francona said his team always had what it took to win even if his scruffy players -- who dubbed themselves ``idiots'' -- didn't always look serious.
``They may not wear their hair normal, they may not dress normal, but they play the game as good as you can,'' Francona said.
Francona, who became the first person in baseball history to win a College World Series title as a player and then a World Series title as a manager, won the Golden Spikes Award as the top collegiate baseball player in the nation in 1980 and the College World Series MVP after hitting .401 with nine home runs and 84 RBI.
He helped lead Arizona to back-to-back appearances in the College World Series in 1979 and 1980 and to the second national championship in the sport in the latter year.
Drafted by the Montreal Expos in the first round of the 1980 draft, he went on to 10-year Major League career with Montreal, Chicago Cubs, Cincinnati, Cleveland and Milwaukee.
Francona’s No. 32 jersey is one of just four that has been retired by the Arizona baseball program in over 100 years.
-The Assoicated Press contributed to this release-