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Thirteen years ago, Johnny Damon signed with the Red Sox

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On Dec. 21, 2001 Johnny Damon signed one of the most influential baseball contracts of the modern era. Sure, the contract itself was nothing new: it was typed on paper and guaranteed Damon $31 million over four seasons. But his departure from Oakland and his arrival in Boston spurred two franchises to head down paths that would forever alter the history of the game.

The Athletics -- faced with the reality of losing their star outfielder -- turned to a guy named Jonah Hill, who introduced the concept that's since been labeled "Moneyball" and effectively transformed the team into "an island of misfit toys."


Up in Boston, Damon and the Red Sox went to work trying to topple the monstrosity that was The Curse of the Bambino. Though it took a few seasons of trials and tribulations, Damon's incedible showing in Game 7 of the 2004 ALCS -- 3-for-6 with 2 HRs (including a grand slam) and 6 RBIs -- helped make it happen. The Red Sox went on to sweep the Cardinals and change the fortunes of their franchise forever.

Thirteen years ago, Johnny Damon helped Billy Beane fix the A's, set the foundation for Aaron Sorkin to win an Oscar and rid Fenway Park of a ghost by putting his name on a piece of paper.

This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.