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Red Sox President Brings World Series Trophy to Pentagon

By Donna Miles
American Forces Press Service

WASHINGTON, Jan. 6, 2005 – The most traveled trophy in the history of New England sports visited the Pentagon today, a day after troops wounded in Iraq and Afghanistan had a chance to see it at area military hospitals.

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The Major League Baseball world championship trophy stands on display at the Pentagon, Jan. 6. Next to the trophy is one of the baseball caps Red Sox president and chief executive officer Larry Lucchino gave to patients at Walter Reed Army Medical Center and the National Naval Medical Center the previous day. Photo by Lt. Cmdr. Jane Campbell, USN
  

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Larry Lucchino, Red Sox president and chief executive officer, visited the Pentagon today to display the Major League Baseball world championship trophy. Hundreds of servicemembers and civilian Pentagon employees lined up to view the trophy, shake hands with Lucchino and pose for photos.

The event followed Lucchino's Jan. 5 visit to Walter Reed Army Medical Center here and the National Naval Medical Center in Bethesda, Md., which he called "moving, very touching and very uplifting."

Lucchino called it "a great privilege and honor" to accompany the world championship trophy to local military hospitals and the Pentagon, and said he was "amazed" at the outpouring of interest and enthusiasm.

Navy Chief Petty Officer Matthew Johnson from the Office of the Chief of the Naval Reserve appeared almost awestruck as he posed with the trophy and took photos of his coworkers doing the same.

"I've always had the fever," Johnson said of his love affair with the Red Sox, something he acquired at a young age when he and his family regularly went to games at Boston's Fenway Park. Just last week during the holidays, Johnson said he "got a buzz" visiting Cooperstown, N.Y., home of the National Baseball Hall of Fame.

Excitement burst from the crowd during today's event as Army Lt. Col. Glenn Danielson and two coworkers from the Army International Affairs office displayed the contents of a red box they say they believed played a part in the Red Sox's first World Series championship since 1918.

Inside was a miniature Baby Ruth candy bar, stabbed with a government-issue letter opener. Danielson said he and his colleagues "sacrificed" the candy bar in frustration when the Red Sox fell two games behind the archrival New York Yankees in the American League Championship Series.

Despite the sacrifice, the Red Sox lost another game a humiliating 19-8 trouncing, in fact -- before making a dramatic and unprecedented turnaround to win four straight games and move on to the World Series, where they swept the St. Louis Cardinals.

The championship broke "The Curse of the Bambino" that's allegedly plagued the Red Sox since their then-owner, Harry Frazee, sold player Babe Ruth to the Yankees in 1920.

"We don't want to take all the credit," Danielson said, tongue in cheek. "But we think we may have played a small part."

Army Col. Mike Galloucis, who took his son to the second game in this year's World Series in his native Boston, likened the opportunity to see the world championship trophy close-up to an "out-of-body or religious experience."

"It's like touching 'the stone,'" said the speechwriter for Gen. Peter Schoomaker, Army chief of staff.

Galloucis' enthusiasm follows three crushing heartbreaks, watching the Red Sox survive to the seventh game in a World Series three times in his lifetime, only to lose in the end. That, he said, made this year's victory particularly sweet.

People who haven't grown up or lived in the Boston area don't fully appreciate the importance of the World Series win, Galloucis acknowledged. "Baseball and the Red Sox in Boston is more than just a sport," he said. "The whole region is being energized by this victory."

Since winning the World Series, Lucchino and the Red Sox have shared that victory with trophy parades, rallies and viewings in 14 states and the District of Columbia.

The trophy tour is far from over. In what Lucchino acknowledged today was "a moment of irrational exuberance," he agreed to take the trophy tour to all 351 cities and towns in Massachusetts. Earlier this week, the Massachusetts State Lottery teamed up with the Red Sox to sponsor the tour.

Now that "the curse" has been broken, Lucchino said more World Series victories and more world championship trophies will follow. But none, he said, will be as historic as this year's and the trophy displayed at the Pentagon today. "There will be only one first win after 86 years," he said.

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Click photo for screen-resolution imageRed Sox president and chief executive officer Larry Lucchino, left, reacts to a sacrificial Baby Ruth bar, shown by Army Maj. David Wilson, center, and Lt. Col. Glenn Danielson, Jan. 6. Photo by Lt. Cmdr. Jane Campbell, USN  
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Click photo for screen-resolution imageArmy Col. Mike Galloucis, right, poses with Boston Red Sox president and chief executive officer Larry Lucchino and the Major League Baseball world championship trophy at the Pentagon, Jan. 6. Photo by Donna Miles  
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