They didn’t run. Didn’t pitch and didn’t field.
But they did hit. As in the jackpot.
The Boston Red Sox now own two World Series trophies –and the rings that go along with them. Far-fetched as that may have seemed prior to 2004, the last few years have been one long party for fans.
The club held a raffle after the 2004 title, raising a lot of money and giving three fans the chance to walk away with the ultimate piece of baseball memorabilia–a real World Series ring valued at $10-20,000.
It was such a big hit, they decided to do it again, with a few more winners. The presentation was this weekend.
This year’s raffle sold more than 135,000 tickets, and it raised more than $1.35 million for the Red Sox Foundation, which is the first team charity in Major League history to raffle off championship rings for a charitable auction.
The rings, each customized with the winner’s last name, were donated to the Red Sox Foundation by Jostens. The ‘lucky tenth’ winner received a Boston Red Sox Special Edition Volvo C30, donated by Volvo.
The ten winners, as provided by the Red Sox:
Richard Ward, Stoughton, MA – A National Guardsman and Military Technician, Richard was a helicopter mechanic out of Otis Air Force Base while serving in Iraq and Kuwait. In speaking about the ring, he said, "After the things we’ve been through the past couple of years, this is especially precious to me and my family. It will be a treasured heirloom." Richard’s son, Thomas, says he already has plans to propose to his future wife with the ring but, he said, "I will ask the minister to change the words of the ceremony to make sure that my future wife pledges to love ME more than the ring!"
Michele Twohig, Braintree, MA – Michele is a food service worker for the city’s public schools and cheerfully describes herself as "the lunch lady". The 42-year-old, who also serves as League Secretary for the Braintree Babe Ruth Little League, held lucky ticket number 100. Michele said the way an "average fan could be honored by the team’s owners and players and share their World Series Rings just underscores what makes the Red Sox special. This ring will be in our family forever."
Daniel Begin, Hampden, MA – Daniel is a member of the U.S. National Guard and flew C-130 Aircraft while stationed in Iraq. The person he is most looking forward to sharing his World Series ring with is his 87-year-old grandfather.
Jim Warren, Topsfield, MA – A commercial banker at Sovereign Bank, Jim bought the raffle tickets at the urging of his twin 26-year-old girls. Liz and Becky, both disabled since birth, are "truly, deeply devoted to the Red Sox" according to their father. Warren’s ticket was the ninth and final one drawn to win a 2007 World Series ring.
Eric Clemson, Peabody, MA – Eric, an aircraft technician for Delta Airlines, learned he was a winner a few hours after the drawing was held. "The Red Sox Foundation called my house, but I was at a party down the Cape. My son called me to tell me about the message. Right then, I knew I was a winner. I was pumped, so excited!"
Lawrence Iarossi, Kingston, MA – A former Deputy Sheriff for Suffolk County, Lawrence is looking forward to being on the field with his family and receiving his ring. "My kids think the ring is wicked awesome. They will probably fight over who will have it in their bedroom first. I might let them wear it to school….we’ll see."
Vickie Lanza, Windham, NH – Vickie, a print buyer for Fidelity Investments, attends as many games as she can each year. "The Red Sox owners and players are amazing to allow the team charity to raise funds this way. There is just so much energy and joy generated by allowing fans have a chance to own something like this for just $10!"
Daniel Strasshofer, South Boston, MA – Daniel, an accountant, received an urgent message from the Red Sox Foundation as he was boarding a plane to Boston. "To be honest, I thought it was a mistake and my buddies joked that maybe the team needed an additional pitcher." When he got home Daniel checked his raffle tickets and learned he was a winner.
Jay Burke, Reading, MA – A Senior Vice President at Fidelity Investments, Jay purchased five raffle tickets for two reasons: to support a good cause and for his daughter Emily, who was convinced "she would win because she is the biggest Jacoby fan."
Linda Brennan, Montpelier, VT – Linda will take home the Special Edition Red Sox Volvo C30 as the tenth "lucky winner" of the Charitable Ring Raffle. A state government worker, Linda said, "I’m not sure of my plans for the Volvo just yet, but with two teenagers in the house I have a feeling I will have to wait my turn to drive!"
About the 2007 World Championship Rings
Made by Jostens, the 2007 World Series Championship ring is cast in white gold. The top of the ring has twenty-eight round brilliant-cut diamonds channel-set around the bottom of the bezel. On the top of the bezel, recessed in black letters, are the words "WORLD CHAMPIONS". Centered on top of the ring is the Red Sox logo, (a pair of red socks) cast in brilliant white gold each set with four custom fitted natural rubies mounted on a diamond base crest depicting a baseball diamond. The diamond base crest is inlaid with fourteen princess-cut diamonds. The baseball diamond overhangs an inner bezel and is set on a field of four custom faceted synthetic blue sapphires.