2004 Red Sox bracket breakdown

In its sum, it was a postseason that begged the question, "Can you believe it?"

Against all odds, the 2004 Red Sox would become the first major league team to rally from a 3-0 deficit in a seven-game series, beating the Yankees in an epic American League Championship Series on their way to their first World Series title since 1918.

Ten years later, ESPNBoston.com looks back to determine the moment from that magical run that stands out the most. Narrowed down to 16 moments presented in a bracket-style showdown that will last four rounds, you can vote to help us determine the most memorable moment of an unforgettable season.

Here are our top 16, along with predictions on how we see it playing out.

Title-Clinching Moment (1) vs. Sox Win Wild Card (8)

World Series Game 4 -- Foulke fields the final out: It was as if everything was aligned for the Red Sox to put an end to their string of 86 winless years. Quite literally. High above the sky that October night, a lunar eclipse was in full effect, the result of Earth perfectly aligning with the sun and the moon. Underneath a radiant red glow, the Red Sox took the field one win away from the championship. Nine innings later, closer Keith Foulke sealed the deal. A ground ball back to the mound, an underhand flip to Doug Mientkiewicz at first and the Red Sox finally were world champions. Catcher Jason Varitek jumped into the Foulke's arms and the entire team came onto the field to mob them at the center of the diamond. The curse was lifted. Indeed, it seems the stars were aligned for it to happen.

Sept. 27 -- October, here they come: Bronson Arroyo and Scott Kazmir each hit a couple of batters and the benches would clear, with Kazmir being ejected. But it was the after-party we remember most. The champagne-soaked clubhouse, the band of "Idiots" we grew to love celebrating clinching a playoff berth. Most important, though, was the message that they weren't finished yet. "This is the beginning. I think they feel that way too," manager Terry Francona said at the time. "But I want them to have their fun. It's very sweet." There's not much sweeter than a spot in the playoffs.

Predicted winner -- Title-clinching Moment (in a rout): Sorry wild-card party, you never stood a chance. How do you compete with the moment that officially ended 86 years of heartbreak?

The Steal (1) vs. The Nomar Trade (8)

ALCS Game 4 -- Dave Roberts keeps hope alive: Trailing the Yankees 3-0 in the ALCS, the Red Sox were three outs away from elimination. Down by a run entering the ninth inning against the game's best closer in Mariano Rivera, Kevin Millar stepped in to lead things off. Millar worked a walk, then was lifted by Red Sox manager Terry Francona for a pinch runner. In stepped Dave Roberts, a speedster whom general manager Theo Epstein acquired at the trade deadline for a moment just like this. Roberts took his lead and Rivera did all he could to keep him off balance. He held the ball. He threw over. He threw over again, then again. Rivera almost picked Roberts off, too. Finally, Rivera delivered his first pitch to Bill Mueller, and Roberts took off. The pitch stayed high, allowing Jorge Posada to pop out of the crouch and deliver a bullet to Derek Jeter at second base. But the throw was just a hair to Jeter's right, and Roberts slipped his hand in to barely beat the tag. Two pitches later, Roberts would come around to score when Mueller singled up the middle. Just like that, the game was tied, Roberts celebrating with a twirling fist pump after he slid home, and the incredible comeback was set in motion.

July 31 trade deadline -- Nomar dealt: Nobody saw it coming. Here was Nomar Garciaparra, the team's star player and face of the franchise. Owner of a career average of better than .320 at the time. And he was being traded? At the time of the deadline, Garciaparra was injured and the team was struggling to fill the void at shortstop. With free agency looming at the end of the season and contract negotiations never gaining traction, general manager Theo Epstein felt the time was right to move Garciaparra. Minutes before the deadline, Garciaparra was sent to the Chicago Cubs in a three-team deal that brought defensive upgrades Orlando Cabrera and Doug Mientkiewicz to Boston. Although Cabrera would homer off eventual 2004 AL Cy Young winner Johan Santana in his first Red Sox at-bat, Epstein's deal initially was panned. However, the two acquisitions played key roles in the team's championship run, while Garciaparra was left to keep tabs from afar.

Predicted winner -- The Steal: You can't deny the impact the Nomar trade had in turning this team around, but the steal was arguably the iconic moment of the magical postseason run.

Ortiz's Game 4 Walk-Off (2) vs. The Rolling Rally (7)

ALCS Game 4 -- "We'll see you later tonight": "Don't let us win tonight," Kevin Millar had repeated to anyone who would listen before Game 4. Sure, the team was down 3-0 in the series, Millar reasoned, but they had Pedro Martinez lined up for Game 5 and Curt Schilling for Game 6. As for Game 7, well, "Anything can happen." Dave Roberts' steal set up the tying run for the Red Sox in the ninth, but the game still was far from over. Back and forth the teams went, each threatening at times, but the game remained tied until the 12th. Manny Ramirez led off the inning with a single off Paul Quantrill, and there was hope. Up stepped David Ortiz, who had a chance to end the game with the bases loaded in the ninth but popped out. This time Ortiz would come through, blasting a walk-off home run to right field and giving the Red Sox life. The Yankees had made a huge mistake. They let the Red Sox win Game 4.

Oct. 30 -- Conquering heroes feted by millions: Rainy skies weren't going to keep millions of Red Sox fans from a celebration 86 years in the making. The 2004 World Series champs boarded Boston's famed duck boats and made their way through the city in a parade dubbed a "rolling rally" by then-mayor Thomas Menino. With their trophy in tow, players celebrated ending the drought with the fans who had stuck by them through good times and bad. The fans who had endured years of heartache. The fans who put all their faith in a group of Idiots. They were finally rewarded that Saturday morning. And seemingly half of New England was on hand for the party.

Predicted winner -- Ortiz's Game 4 Walk-Off: The rolling rally never would have happened had Big Papi not come through after midnight on that long October night at Fenway.

Ortiz's Game 5 Walk-Off (2) vs. Wake Takes One For Team (7)

ALCS Game 5 -- Papi does it again: As if the nerve-wracking events of Game 4 weren't enough, Game 5 offered more of the same -- and then some. The Sox again would need a late-inning rally to tie it. Ortiz homered off Tom Gordon to start the eighth inning and bring the Red Sox within a run. Then, as if it were a replay of the night before, Kevin Millar walked and was run for by Roberts. Roberts moved to third on a Trot Nixon single and Yankees manager Joe Torre opted to bring in Rivera to clean up the mess. For the second straight game, the typically unflappable Rivera blew the save as Jason Varitek sent Roberts home with a sacrifice fly. Extra innings was a roller coaster. The Sox got the first two men on in the 11th, but failed to score. Ortiz was thrown out stealing in the 12th. With both bullpens worn razor thin, Francona turned to Tim Wakefield, who was working not with his typical catcher, Doug Mirabelli, but with Varitek. The 12th came and went without a hitch, but the 13th saw Varitek struggle to the tune of three passed balls that put the go-ahead run for the Yankees on third base. But Wakefield escaped and pushed through a scoreless 14th as well. Johnny Damon walked in the bottom of the frame and advanced to second on a two-out walk to Manny Ramirez. And again, it was up to Ortiz to provide the heroics. He fisted the 10th pitch of his at-bat against Esteban Loaiza for a single to center that chased Damon home. The series would return to New York, where the good times kept rolling for the Red Sox.

ALCS Game 3 -- Wakefield's sacrifice: Red Sox fans would like to forget the outcome of Game 3 of the ALCS. Already down 2-0 in the series, Game 3 was an embarrassing 19-8 blowout loss on Boston's own turf. While the Red Sox kept pace early on by roughing up Yankees starter Kevin Brown, their starter, Bronson Arroyo, imploded. Arroyo couldn't retire a batter in the third inning, allowing six runs, and relievers Ramiro Mendoza and Curtis Leskanic did little to put out the fire. That's when Wakefield took one for the team. He surrendered his chance to start Game 4 the next day in order to save the team's bullpen by pitching in relief. And while the results weren't pretty -- Wakefield surrendering five runs in 3 1/3 innings -- the veteran pitcher further earned the respect of his teammates and Red Sox fans, neither of whom would forget the unselfish move.

Predicted winner -- Papi's Game 5 Walk-Off: Ortiz is on a roll.

Bloody Sock, Part 1 (3) vs. A-Rod's Slap (6)

ALCS Game 6 -- Stitched-together Schill gets it done: Few would have done what Curt Schilling did to take the mound in Game 6 against the New York Yankees. The tendon sheath in his right ankle torn, Schilling underwent an unorthodox procedure, having the skin on his ankle sutured to the tendon tissue to keep it in place. With the season on the brink, Schilling would try anything to make his scheduled start. And so he went out to pitch in Yankee Stadium, where he had lasted just three innings on the gimpy ankle in Game 1, allowing six runs to the delight of the New York fans. Yet, somehow, Schilling prevailed. He threw 99 pitches across seven one-run innings, the sock on his right foot marked by a distinct splotch of blood. He was truly pushing his own limits by pitching, and after the game Schilling would admit that he was completely exhausted. That didn't matter to him, though. What mattered was being able to do what the Red Sox brought him in to do -- win big games -- in this case forcing Game 7.

ALCS Game 6 -- A-Rod swipes at Arroyo: As if Red Sox fans didn't already have enough reason to dislike Alex Rodriguez, there was Game 6 of the ALCS. With the Red Sox up by three runs and six outs away from forcing a Game 7, the Yankees were getting desperate. Miguel Cairo lined a one-out double off Arroyo, who had come on in relief of a hobbled Schilling, and scored on a Jeter single. Up stepped Rodriguez who, three months earlier, had a heated exchange with Arroyo that led to the infamous brawl at Fenway (more on that in a bit). This time around, Rodriguez dribbled one down the first-base line; Arroyo scooped up the ball and ran to tag him out. While running to first, A-Rod swatted the ball out of Arroyo's glove and it rolled down the right-field line, allowing Jeter to score and seemingly pulling the Yankees within a run. The Red Sox were dumbfounded. Arroyo immediately made his case to the umpires, soon to be joined by Francona. All the while, Rodriguez stood at second base, apparently wondering what all the fuss was about. The umpires convened and determined Rodriguez was out on interference. Jeter was sent back to first as Rodriguez wore a look of disbelief. Yankees fans expressed their displeasure by showering the field with debris. When the dust finally settled, Rodriguez was left pouting in the dugout. And Boston fans were left treasuring the moment.

Predicted winner -- A-Rod's Slap: Calling an upset here. We tip our hat to Schilling, but the Internet loves a good meme ... and A-Rod gave Red Sox Nation a decade worth of fodder with this one.

Bloody Sock, Part 2 (3) vs. Ortiz's Heads-Up Defense (6)

World Series Game 2 -- Schill's encore: The World Series stage was what Schilling was born for. He had pitched there twice before and dominated each time. Which is why, for the second time, Schilling would have the torn tendon sheath in his right ankle sutured to his skin in order to take his turn on the mound. Having run himself ragged pitching seven innings in Game 6 of the ALCS, Schilling went through more of the same in Game 2 against the Cardinals. With stitches placed in his ankle the day before that were causing him "considerable discomfort," Schilling gutted his way through six one-run innings in a 6-2 Red Sox victory. Once again, blood seeped from his ankle and soaked through his sock, yet Schilling would pay no attention to it. He was too busy dominating on the game's biggest stage.

World Series Game 3 -- Ortiz throws out Suppan: A designated hitter by trade, Ortiz rarely gets a chance to show he can play defense. But on the road in St. Louis for Game 3 of the World Series, Ortiz would be called upon to man first in order to keep his bat in the lineup. Despite being up 2-0 in the series, the Red Sox had committed eight errors in the two wins. No one was expecting Ortiz to reverse that trend, but he surprised with a heads-up play that killed an early rally for the Cardinals. Starting pitcher Jeff Suppan led off the third with a single off Pedro Martinez and moved to third on a double by Edgar Renteria. With runners on second and third and no outs, Larry Walker grounded one to the right side that appeared certain to score Suppan. And while Suppan initially began toward home, he surprisingly stopped, giving Ortiz time to get the out at first before delivering a strong throw across the diamond that beat Suppan back to third base. Just like that, the rally was killed and the Cardinals wouldn't score until the bottom of the ninth in a 4-1 Sox win.

Predicted winner -- Bloody Sock, Part 2: Schill will not be denied a second time.

Varitek Stuffs A-Rod (4) vs. Ortiz's ALDS Walk-Off (5)

July 24 -- Varitek sparks Sox: The Red Sox were in desperate need of a lift. Having lost seven of their previous 11 games heading into a Saturday afternoon contest against the rival Yankees, Sox players insisted that they wanted to play despite a 54-minute rain delay. It seemed like a mistake early on, with Arroyo not having his best stuff and falling behind. Down 3-0 in the third, Arroyo came inside with a pitch to Rodriguez, drilling him in the elbow. Rodriguez took exception, yelling at Arroyo before Varitek stepped in to usher Rodriguez to first base. Rodriguez then started jawing at Varitek, who had had enough, shoving his mitt into A-Rod's face and creating an image that graces bar rooms and basements throughout New England. The game would carry on, with the Yankees scoring six times in the sixth, the Sox clawing back, and the Yankees eventually handing a 10-8 lead in the ninth inning over to Rivera. Garciaparra hit a leadoff double and would score on a Kevin Millar single. Then Bill Mueller stepped up and took Rivera deep, capping an 11-10 win that was one of the wildest in the age-old rivalry.

ALDS Game 3 -- Ortiz walks off the Angels: On their home turf, the Anaheim Angels could do little to keep pace with the Red Sox. Dropping Games 1 and 2 by a combined score of 17-6, it seemed as if Boston would have little problem finishing off the series sweep at Fenway in Game 3. With the Sox up 6-1 through six innings, the Angels were cooked. However, a five-run Angels rally highlighted by a Vladimir Guerrero grand slam evened the score in the seventh, and the game would go into extra innings. In the 10th, Ortiz came up with a man on and launched reliever Jarrod Washburn's first pitch over the Green Monster to send the Red Sox to the ALCS.

Predicted winner -- Varitek Stuffs A-Rod: Arguably underseeded at No. 4, Varitek shoving his mitt in A-Rod's grill should win this one in a rout and give the World Series clinching moment a run for its money in Round 2.

Damon's Grand Slam (4) vs. Bellhorn's Homer (5)

ALCS Game 7 -- OMG, this is really happening: No baseball team had ever come back from a 3-0 deficit to win a playoff series. Heck, no team had even forced a Game 7. But that would be of little consolation to the Red Sox if they didn't finish the deal. After three heart-stopping nail-biters that ended in Boston's favor, Game 7 figured to be another classic. Instead, the Red Sox struck early and often. They took the lead in the first against Yankees starter Kevin Brown on a two-run homer by Ortiz and were threatening again in the second. A single and two walks loaded the bases for Damon, who would face Javier Vazquez in relief of Brown. Damon had struggled mightily in the series, going just 3-for-29 (.103) in the first six games. But he deposited Vazquez's first pitch into the seats in right field for a grand slam as the Red Sox took a commanding 6-0 lead. Damon would have three hits on the night -- including another first-pitch home run in the fourth -- and drive in six. Not to be forgotten, Derek Lowe threw six one-run innings on two days' rest. And when Ruben Sierra hit a slow roller to Pokey Reese at second in the ninth, the Red Sox had made history.

World Series Game 1 -- Bellhorn's HR provides winning edge: The postseason is a time for unlikely heroes. Mark Bellhorn proved that in Game 1 of the World Series against the St. Louis Cardinals. Prior to homering in each of the final two games of the ALCS, Bellhorn scuffled his way through the playoffs with four hits in 31 at-bats. When a back-and-forth slugfest was tied 9-9 in the eighth inning, few expected a breakthrough to come off Bellhorn's bat. The Sox had played poor defense all night, committing four errors, including two in the top of the eighth that helped the Cardinals knot the score. But in the bottom of the inning, Bellhorn launched a two-run home run off Julian Tavarez that hit the Pesky Pole, much like his home run off the foul pole at Yankee Stadium in Game 7 of the ALCS. The Red Sox went on to win 11-9, and Bellhorn added his name to list of Boston's October heroes.

Predicted winner -- Damon's Grand Slam: The moment it went out of the park (to give the Red Sox a 6-0 lead) was the moment fans came to grips that this Red Sox team was actually going to complete its ALCS comeback from an 0-3 deficit.