The story of the 2004 Red Sox taking shots of Jack Daniels during the 2004 ALCS vs. the Yankees has become legendary. The story goes that the Sox took shots of the whiskey before Game 6 of the series and, because it worked, continued the tradition through a four-game sweep of the World Series.
"It was one of those group team things, like shaving our heads last year," Millar said. "What we had was one small Gatorade cup, with a little Jack Daniels in it. We passed it around and everyone symbolically drank out of the same cup, because we are a team. It wasn't as if guys were drunk. Can you imagine Trot Nixon or Jason Varitek or Mike Timlin actually sipping alcohol before a game? No way."
The Jack Daniels story has stuck, but former Sox pitcher Pedro Martinez put a wrinkle in it over the weekend, telling Sports on Earth that the drink of choice for his team of "Idiots" was not Jack Daniels but rather a Dominican drink called Mama Juana. That drink is made by allowing alcohol to soak in a bottle of tree bark and herbs.
“We took a shot of Mama Juana every single game, before the game,” Martinez said in an interview before a legends game in Rochester, N.Y. “We call it Mama Juana -- it’s made of roots, with latin rum.”
Martinez's story differs from the one Millar told in 2004. According to Martinez, the team began taking shots of Mama Juana before Game 4, when Ellis Burks, who was not on the roster, decided to try some. After the team's thrilling 12-inning win, the Sox kept it up.
“Everybody took a little bit from the top of the shot after we won the first game,” Martinez said in the interview. “Somebody did it before the game — it was Ellis Burks who wasn’t on the roster at the time who took the first shot. And then Millar jumped in. And then Johnny Damon jumped in. And everybody started jumping in, so we did it as a team unity to actually keep the same tradition going for the team. So we had to do it for the four games we beat the Yankees.
“It wouldn’t get you drunk because it was just a little sip. But we did it.”
The 41-year-old Martinez is now a special assistant to Red Sox general manager Ben Cherington, mentoring young pitchers within the organization.
The main contributors to The Buzz are:
- Steve Silva, Boston.com senior sports producer
- Gary Dzen, Boston.com senior sports producer
- Zuri Berry, Boston.com sports producer