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Babe Ruth as a Boston Red Sox player in 1918. (Photo: Library of Congress).

Phil Murphy’s Curse of the Bambino

N.J. Democrats don’t do well when Red Sox make it to the World Series

By David Wildstein, October 11 2021 12:50 pm

Baseball loyalties come up in Jack Ciattarelli’s stump speech as the Republican gubernatorial nominee likes to remind voters that while he’s a hardcore New York Yankees fan while Gov. Phil Murphy roots for the Boston Red Sox.

Murphy hasn’t shied away from his allegiances to the Red Sox, but if he shares the superstitious traits that are common to politicians and sports fans, the governor might want to quietly hope that the Tampa Bay Rays win the Division Series – or if they don’t, that the Red Sox don’t win the American League pennant.

That’s because New Jersey Democrats have never won a gubernatorial election in a year when Boston was playing in the World Series.

The Red Sox have made it to the World Series four times in New Jersey gubernatorial election years.  They have won twice and lost twice, but Republicans have won all four of those elections.

Boston won their second pennant in 1904, but John Franklin Fort, a state Supreme Court Justice, was elected governor by two percentage points over Trenton Mayor Frank Katzenbach.

In 1916, the Red Sox won the World Series, but Atlantic County State Sen. Walter Edge beat former Jersey City Mayor Otto Wittpenn by 15 points.

Alfred Driscoll, a state senator from Camden County, was elected governor by a 16-point margin against Lewis Hansen, a former Hudson County judge and a staunch ally of Jersey City Mayor Frank Hague.

The Red Sox’s second World Championship in a New Jersey election year came in 2013, when Gov. Chris Christie coasted to re-election with 61% of the vote.

Ciattarelli said last week that he doesn’t just have a plan to fix New Jersey, but he’s also got a plan to fix the Yankees, who lost a wildcard game to the Red Sox last Tuesday.  But Ciattarelli said he doesn’t want to reveal any detail.

“I’m not sharing it, because that would only drive up free agent prices,” he said.

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