The Press Pass: Keith Foulke 4-24-20

How did the 2004 Red Sox reverse an 86-year-old curse to become World Champions?

“We had a talented, veteran team with lots of Type A personalities but no egos!”

In a lively interview with Chris Ryan, Keith Foulke, who was the closer on the 2004 World Champion Red Sox, discusses the make-up of that championship team and the highlights of the postseason games. Foulke also explains his approach to pitching, his current role in player development for the Red Sox, and the legacy of the 2004 team.

Like several other players who came to Red Sox in 2004, Keith Foulke had some success on other teams and came to Boston to play on a successful team which had a good chance to win it all. Foulke was a 30-year-old free agent who had been an All-Star reliever for the Oakland A’s. When he was asked about the attitude of the ’04 team coming out of Spring Training, Keith Foulke said, “Myself and Curt Schilling, we were not brought in with the hopes of winning, but with the demand to win. We knew that we had a great team.”

Keith Foulke describes how they were a team with some unusual and strong personalities, but nobody put their needs above those of the team. When Manny Rodriguez would occasionally not be on the same schedule as the rest of the team, there were guys on the team who could get through to Manny when he was being Manny and get him to focus.

Foulke always loved the art of pitching and developed his style by picking the brains of good hitters who were his teammates on the White Sox, Robin Ventura and Frank Thomas. Keith had decent stuff, but his out pitch was his change-up.

While discussing his work with young pitchers as part of player development for the Red Sox, Keith Foulke discusses the many differences between todays game and when he was playing, such as the physical strength differences, rule changes, and the liveliness of the baseballs. He acknowledges that it is not a good idea for today’s pitchers to pitch to contact like he did.

Chris Ryan and Keith Foulke relive the 2004 Playoffs. The team seemed to gain confidence and momentum after each round of the playoffs. In the first round of the Playoffs, the Red Sox rolled through the Angels. Then, they were suddenly down 3 game to 0 to the Yankees in the American League Championship Series. Foulke explains how they regrouped and just played to win one game at a time. After game 6, they were relaxed and took game 7 and cruised through to win the team’s first World Series since 1918.

In the last part of the interview, Keith Foulke gives his opinion on how his 2004 team compares to other championship teams, like the 2018 Red Sox World Champions.