The success of the Red Sox, who finished last in their division only a year ago, became a welcome surprise and eventually a symbol of resilience for a city recovering from the twin bombings that killed three people and wounded more than 260.
Jarrod Clowery, a carpenter from Stoneham, Mass., who suffered severe burn and shrapnel injuries in the April 15 bombings, said he was inspired by the Red Sox, who began bonding in spring training over their beards.
"No one gave them a chance after that season last year ... but they started growing those beards, they became a unit, and they turned around and won a World Series," said Clowery, who has three friends who lost limbs in the blast. "I'm proud of those guys and happy for those guys."
On Wednesday night, after the Red Sox defeated the St. Louis Cardinals in Game 6, thousands of fans clogged the streets around the finish line. It was a quieter scene Thursday morning as traffic sped over the blue and yellow line painted permanently on Boylston Street and people periodically stopped on the sidewalk to offer a solemn tribute.
Carlson, who took in the scene with his 17-year-old daughter, wore a new Red Sox World Series Champions baseball hat along with the same blue and yellow marathon jacket he wore to every Sox game he attended over the season. At Wednesday night's game, he had his marathon medal in his pocket.
"It put some finality to the whole thing," he said.
His daughter, Maggie, still remembers the fear she felt the day of the bombing.
"It was just scary. Very scary. My dad was running," she said. "We were torn apart by this. And we were able to come back and win the World Series."
Buddy Shoemaker, 35, of Gilford, N.H., was two blocks away when the second bomb exploded. Police told him and his 13-year-old son to run. He returned to the scene for the first time Thursday morning, wearing a new World Series cap and sweatshirt purchased at the game the night before.
"It hit too close to home," he said of the bombing, tears in his eyes. "The World Series definitely brought everything full circle."
The Red Sox embraced the idea of "Boston Strong" from the beginning.