LOWELL — One broke an 86-year "curse."
The other helped snap a 39-year championship drought.
Former Red Sox closer Keith Foulke and Bruins defenseman Dennis Seidenberg both etched their names into all-time Boston sports lore on the biggest stage, as major contributors to teams that finally brought titles to long-suffering fanbases.
But even having delivered the dream to so many, the two remain humbled by the outpouring of love they continue to receive from Boston sports fans, such as when both were honored at Lowell Spinners "Champions Day" yesterday.
"It's crazy to experience the emotions of these fans and the people that live in this region," said Seidenberg. "To bring the people of Boston the Stanley Cup was overwhelming. I'm not sure I can describe how cool it was."
Foulke, of course, was not only on the 2004 Red Sox team that broke the "Curse of the Bambino" with their victory over the St. Louis Cardinals, but the reliever in fact made the final out of the World Series when he snagged a comebacker off the bat of Edgar Rentería and threw over to Doug Mientkiewicz.
"It was as good as you could have imagined," said Foulke. "What everyone strives for from the time you are a kid is to be the best you can be, and fortunately I did it here that year. It is the greatest thing I could have accomplished in my career."
While he was not one of the self-proclaimed "idiots" that ruled the Sox locker room in that era, Foulke admitted that ignorance was bliss when it came to ending the 86 years of World Series yearning.
"I'm actually really fortunate it happened the first year I was here," said Foulke, who was a major free agent signing from Oakland before the 2004 season.
"I was naive that first year. The longer you are there the more you learn about traditions. It was also the first time I played in a big market, so it would have been a lot tougher later."
Seidenberg had become something of a hockey nomad by the time he arrived in Boston late in the 2009-10 season, his third team in two years and his fifth NHL organization overall. But he quickly became one half of the dynamic top defensive pairing with captain Zdeno Chara.
"We knew Boston hadn't won a cup in a long time," said Seidenberg, a native of Germany. "But we couldn't let the pressure get to us. That year was such a rollercoaster, so to finish like that was that much more fun."
Both Foulke and Seidenberg agreed the respective victory parades were a jarring experience.
"When the parade started we just starting thinking, 'Oh my goodness, what did we just do?'" said Foulke, who pitched in all four games of the 2004 World Series after saving 32 games in the regular season.
"You go out there and see four million people there to see you. It's very emotional and very surreal. You realize what you accomplished, for the grandparents and father and mothers who weren't around to see it."
Seidenberg, in fact, still showed emotion when remembering the "rolling rally" held a year ago.
"Being on the streets of Boston and seeing that mass of people celebrating us and being so happy was a great joy," he said. "I don't think I have ever felt such an awesome feeling."
Injuries derailed Foulke's career after the 2004 Series win. He went on to record just 16 more saves, and the 39-year-old is now retired and living in Arizona raising his three boys. But while he is no longer in the game, pitching and Boston remain close to his heart.
"I miss the competition," he said. "I miss pitching. I don't miss the long hours and travel, but I miss the one-on-one battles. I still watch the Red Sox. The great thing about being on the west coast is I can watch the game, then go about my night. I come to visit Boston a couple times a year for a few Sox and Bruins games."
Seidenberg, of course, continues to man the blueline for the Bruins, who he feels could very well be holding another parade in the near future.
"I just hope (winning the Cup) isn't a once-in-a-lifetime experience," said Seidenberg. "We have a good mix of young players and experienced players — I don't want to call myself old. There's no reason we couldn't be playing for the Stanley Cup the next few years.
"I don't think there is a better sports town than Boston so doing it for them was great. I never want to leave."
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David Willis is a sportswriter/videographer for The Eagle-Tribune. His video features can be seen at eagletribune.com/sports.