The Red Sox couldn't have done it without David Ortiz and Manny Ramirez, Curt Schilling and Jason Varitek, regulars from the 2004 title that ended their decades-long dynasty of disappointment.
In winning its second World Series championship in four years,
though, Boston relied on some new players, too:
-World Series MVP Mike Lowell and fellow former Marlin Josh Beckett, the player the Red Sox really wanted when they acquired the pair in a Florida fire sale.
-First-year second baseman Dustin Pedroia and still-a-rookie Jacoby Ellsbury, who made the postseason their coming out party.
-Japanese pitchers Daisuke Matsuzaka and Hideki Okajima, who joined the Red Sox with different expectations, salaries and hype but proved equally valuable in October.
-Jonathan Papelbon and Jon Lester, homegrown pitchers likely to anchor both ends of the Boston staff for years to come.
"This is a very different team, a very different organization than the Red Sox of your father's days," Schilling said after the Red Sox beat the Colorado Rockies 4-3 on Sunday night to complete their World Series sweep. "They're going to continue - and hopefully we're going to continue - to be a force. We have young, we have old, and it starts at the top."
After missing the playoffs last year for the first time in general manager Theo Epstein's tenure, the Red Sox opened the season with a $143 million payroll - second only to the New York Yankees, and tens of millions more than the next-most extravagant spender. But unlike the Yankees, who spent more than $1 billion since winning its last World Series title, Boston has two in four years and the pieces in place for more.
"We have a big payroll, but there are other teams that have big payrolls that haven't had the success," chairman Tom Werner said in the celebratory visitor's clubhouse at Coors Field. "And a big part of the success are the other guys who had some of the biggest hits for us."
It was money well spent on Lowell, who was coming off a down-year and making $9 million annually. As he stood in the infield accepting the MVP trophy and a new car, fans behind the Red Sox dugout began to chant, "Re-sign Lowell."
The payroll also allowed the team to take on more salaries with midseason reinforcements such as Bobby Kielty, who hit the game-clinching homer in the eighth.
"I couldn't ask for a better place to get picked up," said Kielty, who was waived by Oakland. "This is the best team I've ever played for. We are the world champions."
That's also because of a player development staff - the Red Sox spend freely on that, too - that drafted Lester, the Game 4 winner, along with Ellsbury, Pedroia, Papelbon and Kevin Youkilis from a sea of eligible prospects and guided them to the majors.
"You watch the veterans act like little kids, and then you see the young kids starting to act like veterans," Red Sox manager Terry Francona said. "It's gratifying."
Ellsbury started the season in Double-A, played in just 33 regular-season games for Boston and didn't crack the lineup until late in the AL championship series; he hit .438 in the Series, with four doubles. Pedroia batted .317 as a rookie and had seven hits in three games as Boston rallied from a 3-1 deficit in the ALCS.
"It breaks down to a lot of guys who come up in the system and the veterans who help them do that," said Papelbon, who didn't allow a run in the postseason. "I think we have the talent to contend year after year and produce a championship ballclub."
The Red Sox had four scouts following the Rockies, preparing reports on when to pick Matt Holliday off first, when to shade the left fielder to his right, when to swing at the first pitch and when to take it.
"That all paid off," Werner said.
It was money well-spent, too, on Julio Lugo, who didn't hit like a $9 million player during the year but did in the postseason to supplement defense that was very, very good. Even on J.D. Drew, whose five-year, $70 million contract weighed on the organization until he started hitting when they needed it: in Game 6 of the AL championship series, with the Red Sox facing elimination.
"We're a very aggressive organization, so we try to do whatever it takes," owner John Henry said. "We get a little criticism, and it shows we're not stagnant. Winning it once, some people call it a fluke. Winning it twice is indicative that we're a pretty well-rounded organization."