On Friday night under the lights of Fenway Park, the Boston Red Sox and New York Yankees will renew their historic rivalry in the American League Division Series (ALDS). The Red Sox-Yankees rivalry is more than just a heated battle between two division rivals. It is an entrenched competition that has transcended the sport of baseball, dating back generations in the early stages of America’s pastime.
There have been 2,234 games between these two teams. The Yankees have a 1,202–1,018–14 head-to-head advantage over the Red Sox in the regular season. This year’s ALDS will be the fourth time New York and Boston are meeting in the postseason with the Yankees leading 11–8 all-time in those games.
Over the years, these two bitter rivals have produced some unforgettable moments. With the ALDS adding another chapter to their illustrious rivalry, here are the top five moments of the Red Sox and Yankees clash.
Top Five Moments of the New York Yankees-Boston Red Sox Rivalry
#5: Boston Red Sox Sell Babe Ruth to the New York Yankees
Babe Ruth was a top pitcher for the Boston Red Sox, but Sox owner Harry Frazee made the controversial decision to sell their top pitcher to the New York Yankees for $125,000. Frazee’s decision would turn out to be one of the worst decisions in baseball history. Ruth, dubbed “The Great Bambino,” would transition from star pitcher to all-time great hitter. With the Yankees, Ruth would win seven AL pennants and four World Series Championships.
The Boston Red Sox would not win the World Series for 86 years, being shamefully cursed and bringing to life the “Curse of the Bambino” prophecy. The sale of Ruth would fuel the fire between the Yankees and the Red Sox for the decades that followed.
#4. Bucky “Bleeping” Dent
As a result of the Boston Massacre, the New York Yankees and the Boston Red Sox were tied atop the AL East when the season concluded. This led to a one-game playoff to determine the division title at the coveted Fenway Park.
Heading to the seventh inning, the Yankees were trailing 2-0. It looked like the Red Sox were finally able to dethrone their harsh rival. But with two on, two out in the top of the seventh, Bucky Dent blasted a shot over the Green Monster, giving the Yankees a 3-2 lead.
Dent was not a power hitter by any means. He was an unsung hero who had only hit 40 home runs in his career. His three-run shot would propel the Yankees to the one-game playoff win, leading Red Sox fans to use expletives when describing Dent.
#3. Curt Schilling‘s Bloody Sock in 2004 ALCS
In Game 1 of the 2004 ALCS, Red Sox ace Curt Schilling had a disastrous performance as the Yankees won 10-7. It was later discovered that the star pitcher was battling an ankle injury. But the best athletes are able to conquer the adversity of injury in order to achieve the objective of trying to win the series.
In Game 6, with the Red Sox down 3-2 to the Yankees, Schilling pitched with the visible bloody sock. With the ankle bothering him throughout the game and the red blood shown on his sock, Schilling pitched seven innings while only giving up one run. The Red Sox would win Game 6, and eventually, the series, propelled by the unbelievable pitching performance of Schilling that will live forever in Boston lore.
#2. Aaron Boone‘s Walk-Off Homerun in Game 7 of 2003 ALCS
The first time the Yankees and Red Sox would meet in a League Championship Series was 2003. Before Game 7, the series’ defining moment would be a bench-clearing brawl that involved Pedro Martinez going after Don Zimmer of the Yankees.
But Game 7 between the Yankees and Red Sox would be etched into the annals of baseball history forever. In the 8th inning, Red Sox manager Grady Little would controversially take Martinez out of the game. The Red Sox would give up their lead and the game would head to extra innings.
In the 11th inning, with Tim Wakefield on the mound, Boone (now the team’s manager) would crank a hanging pitch deep into the stands of Yankee Stadium, sending New York to their fifth World Series in six years. Despite playing only 71 games as a Yankee, Boone’s walk-off home run would prove to be one of the greatest postseason moments in Yankee history. Even more touching was that his Dad Brett Boone was in the broadcast booth calling the game. He tearfully watched his son cross home plate, the moment every father dreams of, to watch his son advance to the Fall Classic.
#1. David Ortiz Magic in 2004 ALCS
The 2004 ALCS was the last time the Yankees and the Red Sox met in the postseason. It would become a series that is talked about by Yankees and Sox fans for generations. The Yankees were up 3-0, dominating Boston and en route to a dominant sweep. In Game 4, the Yankees were up 4-3 heading to the bottom of the 9th with Mariano Rivera coming in for the save. Rivera, arguably the greatest closer of all time, was certain to get this save and send the Yankees to the World Series.
In the bottom of the 12th, the magic of David Ortiz would come alive with a two-run home run, giving the Red Sox life as they forced a Game 5. The next night, the game would go to extra innings once again. But this time the Yankees and Red Sox would be deadlocked all the way to the 14th inning. With two outs in the bottom of the 14th and the 10th pitch of the at bat, Ortiz would single to center field, bringing home the winning run and sending the series back to the Bronx. It was the longest postseason game to date, featuring some of the tensest baseball in the history of the Yankees-Red Sox rivalry.
These two games are forever solidified into Red Sox history as Ortiz utilized his postseason magic to give the Red Sox life in the ALCS. The Red Sox would win the ALCS in 7 games and ultimately sweep the World Series over the St. Louis Cardinals, breaking the Curse of the Bambino after 86 years.
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