Most sports fans would agree the New York Yankees and Boston Red Sox rivalry is among the best in sports, possibly the greatest of them all. It certainly has a long enough history.
The Rivalry technically began in 1901 when the then Boston Americans took on the Baltimore Orioles in Baltimore. The Americans would become the Red Sox in 1908. The Orioles would move to New York and become the Highlanders in 1903, and then the Yankees in 1913.
In the beginning, the Rivalry was all Red Sox. Boston won the inaugural World Series in 1903, and would win four more from 1912 to 1918.
Then the most legendary trade in baseball history happened. On December 26, 1919, Red Sox owner Harry Frazee sold the contract of George Herman Ruth to the Yankees for $125,000, plus a $300,000 loan. Then the world flipped.
The Yankees emerged as a baseball dynasty behind the newly acquired Ruth. The Yankees would make their first World Series in 1921. They would return in 1922, but in 1923, after moving to Yankee Stadium in the Bronx, New York finally won its first title. The Stadium would become known as “‘The House that Ruth Built” as the Babe christened the park with a homer on Opening Day, against the Red Sox.
The Yanks would win back to back titles in 1927 and 1928. In the 1930s, Red Ruffing was traded from Boston to New York, where he would emerge as an ace. New York won five titles in the ’30s, including four straight from 1936-1939.
In 1941 Ted Williams burst onto the scene for Boston, hitting .406 on the year. But Joe DiMaggio emerged for the Yankees, going on a 56 game hitting streak- a mark that is still the longest. New York would win its ninth title in 1941.
The Yanks would win three more titles in the 1940s, and then claim six titles in the 1950s, which began with a string of five in a row from 1949-1953. Behind Mickey Mantle and Roger Maris, the Yanks would win two more in 1961 and 1962. Boston would remain silent. The Red Sox only made two World Series appearances from 1920-1970, losing in 1946 and 1967.
The 1970s were once again dominated by the Yanks, as Reggie Jackson led the team to two World Titles in 1977 and 1978. The Red Sox made a Fall Classic appearance in 1975, but lost.
In 1986 it looked as though the Curse of the Bambino would finally be broken. The Red Sox were heavily favored over the New York Mets. Boston jumped to a 3-2 series lead, only to see Bill Buckner allow a ground ball through his legs, allowing the Mets to steal game six. New York would rally to win game 7.
Then in 1999, The Rivalry found its way to the Postseason, as the two teams met in the American League Championship Series. Aside from one dominant game from Pedro Martinez, the Red Sox were destroyed. New York would go on to win the World Series.
After another Yankee title in 2000, the two teams met in the 2003 ALCS. The Yankees would come back in a legendary Game seven to advance.
In 2004, Boston finally broke through. David Ortiz, Manny Ramirez and Jason Varitek’s names were cemented into history when the Red Sox topped the Yanks in the ALCS, and would go on to win their first World Series since 1918.
Boston would win again in 2007. New York would return serve in 2009. Boston would answer again in 2013. And that brings us to the present.
Neither team has been to the World Series since. But these aren’t your dad’s Yankees and Red Sox, and they sure aren’t your grandfather’s.
The legends of Babe Ruth, Lou Gehrig, Mickey Mantle, Joe DiMaggio, Ted Williams are all long gone. David Oritz and Derek Jeter are in the rear view.
But these teams have a new cast of stars. In the Bronx corner, defending Rookie of the Year Aaron Judge, now paired with defending NL MVP Giancarlo Stanton. Add in Gary Sanchez and Greg Bird and the Yankees look like the teams of old.
Boston is the two-time defending Division Champs. But New York is revamped and ready for a run. Get ready America. The Rivalry is back, and it’s better than ever.