Today in celebration of the 100 year anniversary of Fenway Park, YESNetwork.com put out a top-10 Yankees-Red Sox moments of the rivalry, but I would be remiss if I didn't add a couple of very big moments in the rivalry into my own list.
The Summer of '49
This was such a big season in the heated rivalry of the two franchises that the late great David Halberstam chorincled it in a best selling book. The Red Sox were the odds on favorite to win the Pennant and win their first World Series since 1918. Casey Stengal was implemented as the new manager of the Yankees and this hiring was panned around baseball. As the season wore on the DiMaggio brothers shined. Dom DiMaggio, along with Teddy "Ballgame" Williams led the Red Sox to a wonderful season. Joe DiMaggio did all he could to keep the Yankees in the race. The Red Sox came to New York for the final two games of the season needing just one win to clinch the Pennant. The Sox lost the first game 5-4 as Johnny Lindell blasted a solo home run in the bottom of the eighth that sealed the deal. In the final game of the season, with both teams now tied, Vic Raschi won his 21st game of the season in a low scoring 1-0 affair all the way up until the eighth inning when the Yankees broke it open winning 5-3. The Yankees won the pennant and went on to win their first of five consecutive World Series.
Ted Williams won his second and final MVP award in 1949.
The Summer of '41
Joltin' Joe DiMaggio led the Yankees. Ted Williams led the Red Sox. Both had historic seasons that no one has ever forgotten to this day. DiMaggio had his infamous 56 game hitting streak on the way to winning the American League MVP. Ted Williams hit .406 and is the last player in Major League Baseball to ever accomplish that feat. Joe DiMaggio won the MVP award sparking controversy in Boston that the only reason Ted Williams did not win the award is because of his tenuous relationship with the baseball writers.
For both franchises, individual players ruled a team game for one glorious Summer. The Yankees went on to win the World Series in 1941 over you guessed it, the Brooklyn Dodgers.
The Reggie Jackson-Billy Martin incident in Fenway
Who will ever forget the national TV incident between Reggie Jackson and Billy Martin? Everyone in Fenway Park saw it right in front of their eyes.
On June 18, 1977, Jackson playing out in rightfield loafed to a Jim Rice fly ball double causing Martin to pull Mike Torrez in the Yankees 10-4 loss that day. While pulling Torrez, he also pulled Jackson from the game right in the middle of the inning. Reggie stormed off the field and almost came to blows with his Manager only being restrained by Yogi Berra and some of his other teammates.
The 2004 ALCS
Now I know that no one wants to discuss this one and we already included the bloody sock game in our list, but this is THE collapse in baseball history. No one had ever come back from 3-0 down to win a series. The Yankees dominated the first three games of the ALCS winning game three 19-8. However, the Red Sox reversed the curse winning four straight on their way to the franchises first World Series title in 86 years. The Yankees had their opportunities to win both game four and five with the Red Sox late inning heroics against the great Mariano Rivera prevailing and no Yankees fan will ever forget the name Dave Roberts as long as they live. In fact, one can say that the Dave Roberts steal might be the greatest moment in Fenway Park history...for Red Sox fans at least.
Babe Ruth christens Yankee Stadium with HR
Babe Ruth facing his former team in the house that he essentially built. It was a Hollywood script waiting to happen. The fortune of two franchises going in the opposite directions because of the sale of one big player. Ruth christened the new Yankee Stadium by hitting a home run powering the Yankees to a 4-1 victory over those Red Sox. These are the moments that made him such a larger than life figure.
Tris Speaker sparkles in 11 inning win over the Highlanders in Fenway Opener
Red Sox Hall of Famer Tris Speaker came up to the plate in the 11th inning of the Fenway Opener on April 20, 1912, with an opportunity to win the game. He did just that with an RBI single giving the Red Sox a 7-6 victory and dropping the Highlanders to 0-6 on the season. The Red Sox won the Fenway opener, but also went on to win the World Series in the first year of their new ballpark. The 105 win Sox defeated the 103 win Giants 4-3 in the fall classic.
The trade that never was
Yankees owner Dan Topping and Red Sox owner Tom Yawkey were having drinks at the famous Toots Shores. They discussed the possibility of trading their two superstars, Joe DiMaggio and Ted Williams. They verbally agreed to a trade. Both were enamored with the idea of Joe DiMaggio hitting balls off the Green Monster and Ted Williams using the short porch in right field at Yankee Stadium. The next day Yankees GM Larry MacPhail called off the deal refusing to include the young rookie Yogi Berra in the deal.
Tom Yawkey came back with the fact that Boston fans liked Ted Williams better anyway and the famous deal was off for good.