The Red Sox and the Yanks are the most storied rivalry in sports as, it goes back more than 100 years. Now as the Yankees and Red Sox are getting set for their first meeting of the 2018 season on April 10th; I wanted to make a list of the best moments of, in my opinion, the best rivalry in sports.
10. Almost Perfection
Starting the top of my list is a heart breaker for pitcher Mike Mussina. In the over 140 years of baseball, there have only been 23 perfect games; and on a September night in Fenway Park, Mussina had 2 outs in the bottom of the 9th of a perfect game. Then switch hitting outfielder, Carl Everett stepped into the batter’s box. With Mussina getting 2 strikes on Everett, He was able to slap an outside pitch into left-centerfield. It was a familiar feeling for the former Yankee, as he came 2 outs away from a no-hitter 4 years earlier as a member of the Orioles.
9. Happy Birthday George Steinbrenner: July 4, 1983
Next on my list is what I think is the coolest moment on the list. On the birthday of this beautiful country, and of Yankee’s owner, George Steinbrenner, pitcher Dave Righetti threw a gem for the ages. Righetti struck out 9 while walking 4 batters, in route to the first Yankee no-hitter since Don Larson’s World Series perfect game. Oddly though, Righetti only started 18 games in his career after that game, as he became the Yankees closer the next season and recorded a career high 46 saves the season after.
8. Pedro v. Don Zimmer
It was during the 2003 ALCS where one of the most iconic moments in this fierce rivalry occurred. The last game Pedro pitched against the Yankees, he hit both Alfonso Soriano and Derek Jeter in a 2-1 loss. Now, Pedro Martinez was on the mound against Karim Garcia. He beamed a fastball by Garcia’s head, hitting his bat. Both dugouts were on edge as Garcia barked at Pedro, adding tension to this crucial Game 3 at Fenway Park. Later on in the game, Roger Clemens retaliated and threw a high, inside fastball to slugger Manny Ramirez. Manny was livid. Benches cleared as 72 year old pitching coach Don Zimmer ran to Martinez; Pedro then grabbed Zimmer by the back of his head and threw him to the ground. There have been dozens and dozens of brawls, some more violent than this one, but that moment remains in the memories of both Yankees and Red Sox fans as one of the craziest moments between the two rivals.
7. “The Dive”
The craziest catch in this rivalry occurred on July 1, 2004; an extra inning thriller, won by the Yankees. In the 12th inning, Red Sox outfielder Tot Nixon stepped into the batter’s box. In 1-2 count, Nixon tried to stay a live by slapping away an outside pitch, but he popped it up down the leftfield foul line. There is when Derek Jeter put is greatness, and heart on display. Jeter sprinting, he snagged the pop-up 2 steps away from the stands; not being able to stop from a sprint, the wall hit him right below his knees, catapulting him into the stands. Jeter came up bloodied from the empty seat on his cheek and chin, bringing the Yankee crowd to their feet. In my opinion, not as brilliant as “The Flip” against the Athletics in the 2001 ALDS, this play showed a lot more determination.
6. A-Rod v. Variteck Brawl
Number 6 on my list comes in the same month, a few weeks later than number 7. One of the most iconic brawls in baseball history occurred. If you just type in Red Sox v. Yankees into Google, a picture of this brawl will pop up. Bronson Arroyo’s fastball came in a little bit too inside on the newly acquired Yankee’s 3rd baseman, hitting him in the elbow pad. Rodriguez started barking back at Arroyo, the Red Sox catcher Jason Variteck stepped in between them. A-Rod instantly turned his attention to him, causing one of the most iconic photos in sports. This brawl narrates the hatred between these two storied franchises. If they only knew that this moment was just the prologue for this rivalry in 2004.
5. 2004 Game 4 ALCS
The game that started the greatest comeback in all of baseball’s history. It’s a 3-0 series lead for the Yanks, with the all-time saves leader, Yankees’ closer Mariano Rivera on the mound with a 2-1 lead in the bottom of the 9th. The series is OVER! But with a walk to 1st baseman Kevin Millar and a stolen base by pinch runner, now Dodgers manager, Dave Roberts the Red Sox have a runner in scoring position with no outs. 3rd baseman Bill Mueller then hits in Roberts and ties the game. In extras, Hall-of-Famer David Ortiz hits a walk off homerun as Joe Buck calls, “See you later tonight!” This game gave life to the Red Sox and led the only 3-0 deficit comeback ever. But another game in this series out performed, with one of the most unique games in playoff history.
4. 2004 Game 6 ALCS
Game 6 of the 2004 ALCS is, I think, the craziest game in baseball’s playoff history. A pitcher dominates on a crippled right ankle, and Hall-of-Fame slugger is involved in a series changing controversy. First, Curt Schilling starts for the Red Sox with a ruptured sheath around the peroneal tendon in his right ankle, after a lousy start where he gave up 6 earned runs in only 3 innings in Game 1 of the series. He stunned everyone with only allowing 1 run over 4 hits in 7 brilliant innings. But when Bronson Arroyo came in to replace Schilling in the 8th, something wild happened. It is now a 4-2 game, with Mr. November, Derek Jeter on 1st and Alex Rodriguez up at the plate. A-Rod hits a dribbler on the ground to Arroyo on the mound, but as he ran over to tag Rodrigues, A-Rod swats the ball out of the pitcher’s glove and rolls down the 1st base line, allowing Jeter to come all the way around to score, making it a one run game. But after the umpires converse, Rodriguez is called out, Jeter was sent back to 1st, and madness broke out as Yankee fans started to throw baseballs onto the field. Manager Terry Francona ran onto the field to clear his team off the field, but the Sox eventually went on to win the game. The Red Sox famously went on to win the series, and eventually beat the Cardinals in the Fall Classic to end their infamous World Series drought.
3. Aaron Boone’s Claim to Fame
Many Red Sox fans were thinking, “Could this be the year?” It was Game 7 of the 2003 ALCS, and the Red Sox had a 5-2 lead in the 8th inning with Pedro on the mound. Red Sox fans’ hopes were sky high; only if they knew a comeback for the ages were bound to happen. With a; Derek Jeter double, a Bernie Williams single, a Hideki Matsui double, and a Jorge Posada single; the Yankees tie the game! Mariano Rivera holds the tie through 3 remarkable innings of pitching, leads Aaron Boone to lead-off the bottom of the inning. Aaron Boone to this point in his career was nothing but a rotational position player who was an OK hitter, but one pitch into this at-bat would cement him into Yankee royalty.
Facing knuckleballer Tim Wakefield, Boone took no time to take a big hack. He hammered a hanging knuckleball high, down the leftfield line, throwing his hands into the air as he trots to first place. The entire stadium erupts as the ancient Yankee Stadium struggles to withstand the shaking of the crowd. This game still stands as one the best Game 7’s ever.
2. “Bucky F***ing Dent”
Any Red Sox fans reading this nomination on the list may want to skip this one. This story starts in the middle of July of 1978, where the Red Sox had a monumental 14 game lead over the Yankees in the division. But amazingly, the Yankees climb back and tie the Red Sox both teams having a 99-64 record, which lead to a playoff between the 2 of them at Fenway Park. It was a cold October night where unsuspecting fielding shortstop Bucky Dent hit a game winning homerun into the screen over the Green Monster. Before that at-bat Dent had hit only 4 homeruns that season, and only hit 40 in his career. After this game the name “Bucky Dent” isn’t said in Boston, they say “Bucky F***ing Dent”.
1. The Sale of the Century/ The Curse of the Bambino
And of course, number 1 on the list is the sale of the century, the sale of the almighty George Herman “Babe” Ruth from the Red Sox to the New York Yankees. It was the same week in 1920 that the Titanic sank when the slugger was bought for $125,000 by the Yanks. Before that transaction the Red Sox had won 4 World Series titles, and 3 in the past decade in 1903, 1912, 1915, 1918; but afterward they were cursed and didn’t win a championship for 84 years. On the other hand, the Yankees went on to win an unbelievable 27 World Series titles and Babe Ruth went to be arguably the greatest player to ever live, with a career 714 homeruns.
For the longest time the Red Sox were cursed by the Great Bambino, but even after the curse was broken in 2004, the rivalry between the Yankees and the Red Sox is still one of the fiercest in sports.