What is the Curse of the Bambino?

Superstition has always played a big role in the sporting world, something that seems rather silly at times, as teams pay millions of dollars for skillful players with a lot of ability. Why bother if it’s all based on fate or luck anyway? Nevertheless, we sports fans are certainly a superstitious bunch, and anything, no matter how obscure, can be attributed to success or failure.

Baseball enthusiasts among us will no doubt be familiar with so-called Curse of the Bambino. This was a curious phenomenon to affect the Boston Red Sox and was believed to curse the team for years. We’re going to look a little closer at the curse – Red Sox fans, you may want to look away now!

What is the Curse of the Bambino?

What is it?

The Curse of the Bambino is one of the most legendary superstitions in sport, and many fans believed absolutely in it. The curse happened when the Boston Red Sox parted with their best player, one Babe Ruth, and went on to experience a downturn in form ever since. Ruth was sold to the New York Yankees, who, at the time, had never won a World Series. Following the sale of Ruth, the Yankees went on to win an unprecedented 26 World Series titles, while the Red Sox appeared in just four World Series since 1918, not winning a single one until the curse was eventually broken.

How it happened?

The franchise was in good health, and, in 1918, the Red Sox scooped their fifth World Series title. They were beginning to develop something of a monopoly, and George ‘Babe’ Ruth, also known as Bambino, was one of the stars of the team. By 1920 everything would change, thanks to owner Harry Frazee. Needing money to help cover the cost of his girlfriend’s play, Frazee made the decision to sell Babe Ruth to the New York Yankees for $100,000, and sporting history would never be the same again.

What is the Curse of the Bambino?

Examples of the curse

There are plenty of sources out there that attribute many of the struggles endured by the Red Sox and their fans over the years as being a direct result of the curse in full effect. Of course, there was the meteoric rise of the Babe Ruth-led Yankees, coupled with the decline of the Red Sox as a powerhouse. There is actually a timeline online detailing all the hardships the team has endured since the curse allegedly struck. Now, most people would view this all as simply circumstantial, but not us sports fans. For us, this is legit.


The curse did originally carry some controversy, as it was assumed it had roots in anti-Semitism. Being from New York, and involved in theater, it was assumed that Frazee was Jewish. Around this time there was a slew of articles about how Jews were destroying America, and sports teams, and plenty of nasty things like that. Of course, this is nonsense, but the implication meant the Bambino Curse was met with plenty of controversy.

Breaking the curse

Over the years there have been numerous attempts by Red Sox fans to try to break the curse, in a number of different ways, ranging from funny to heartbreaking. All of them to no avail, until 2004 arrived. As baseball fans will be keenly aware, the curse was finally broken in 2004, when the Red Sox claimed their first World Series in 86 years! Pitcher Derek Lowe was instrumental in the World Series victory over St. Louis Cardinals.

What is the Curse of the Bambino?