Today the Red Sox and Yankees will meet for the 2119th time in their storied history.
Dubbed as “the greatest rivalry in sports,” the two clubs are known for their intense history. Pitchers duels, brawls and walk-off home runs became the standard anytime the two faced off.
(All archival information regarding the games/moments come courtesy of baseballreference.com)
An epic 15-inning affair between arch rivals ended in dramatic fashion.
Japanese reliever Junichi Tazawa—who was the last remaining arm in the Red Sox bullpen—made his major league debut in the 14th inning of the scoreless game. After getting fellow countryman Hideki Matsui to line out to center, he allowed a pair of singles to Robinson Cano and Jorge Posada.
But the Yankees were unable to cash in, after pinch hitter Eric Hinske lined out to right field, and Melky Cabrera struck out swinging to end the inning.
Tazawa allowed a leadoff single to Derek Jeter in the bottom of the 15th. Two batters later he surrendered a towering two-run, walk-off home run to Alex Rodriguez, ending a game that lasted over five-and-a-half hours.
J.D. Drew was at the plate in the bottom of the fifth with the bases juiced and two away. As Yankees starter Andy Pettitte began to deliver a 1-0 pitch, Jacoby Ellsbury—who was on third—made an unexpected break for home, sliding (or rather stumbling) in safely as Jorge Posada applied the tag.
It was the first straight steal of home by a Red Sox player since Billy Hatcher did it in 1994.
With two outs in the bottom of the third inning, Manny Ramirez jacked a 91 mph fastball from Yankees pitcher Chase Wright over the green monster at Fenway Park. The solo shot cut the Yankees' lead to 3-1.
The very next batter, J.D. Drew, then drove a 1-2 offering to deep right center field for a homer of his own.
Then third baseman Mike Lowell got in on the long-ball party, drilling a 1-1 pitch onto Lansdowne Street. An absolute moonshot, the home run was the third straight by Red Sox hitters, and it tied the game at three apiece.
The tie didn’t last long however. Jason Varitek stepped to the plate and, just two pitches later, crushed a belt-high fastball over the left field wall to give the Red Sox a 4-3 lead.
It was the first time in Red Sox history the lineup produced four consecutive homers, and the second time in as many years the feat was accomplished by a major league club (since LA Dodgers in 2006).
Things got testy between the Red Sox and Yankees during Game 3 of the 2003 American League Championship Series. Tempers flared after Yankees hitter Karim Garcia was hit in the back by a fastball from Pedro Martinez.
The Yankees retaliated in the bottom of the inning. Roger Clemens threw a high pitch to Manny Ramirez, causing the benches and bullpens to empty.
As players spilled onto the field, 72-year-old Yankees bench coach (and former Red Sox manager) Don Zimmer charged at Pedro Martinez, but was thrown to the ground in one of the most bizarre altercations in history.
After the game—which the Yankeees won—an emotional Zimmer had the following to say to the media (via ESPN.com):
I'm embarrassed at what happened. I'm embarrassed for the Yankees, the Red Sox, the fans, the umpires and my family.
During his last two seasons with the Boston Red Sox, centerfielder Johnny Damon resembled a caveman. Known for his long, unkempt locks and as well as a thick, Brian Wilson-type, beard.
But on May 1, 2006, an almost unrecognizable Damon stepped to the plate at Fenway Park, and it wasn’t because of his clean shave and new haircut.
His uniform had the words “New York” embroidered across his chest.
The previous offseason Damon did the unthinkable, inking a four-year $52 million deal with the New York Yankees.
His reception in his first return to Boston as a member of the Yankees was mixed. A few scattered cheers were drowned out by the vast majority of boos, as well as vulgar tirades directed at the outfielder.
When the former Red Sox hero took his place in center field, fans from the bleachers showered him with dollar bills, indicting him as a sellout and a traitor.
With the Yankees up 3-0 in the top of the third inning at Fenway Park, Red Sox pitcher Bronson Arroyo drilled Alex Rodriguez on the right elbow. Not amused, A-Rod barked at Arroyo and then catcher Jason Varitek—who was defending his pitcher—as he slowly walked toward first base.
The situation escalated when Varitek shoved his glove in A-Rod’s face, causing a bench-clearing brawl. Both players were ejected and received four-game suspensions for their role in the scuffle.
Following the brawl, Jason Varitek had the following to say (via nymag.com):
I told him, in choice words, to get to first base. And then it changed from him yelling at Bronson to [us] yelling at each other and then things got out of hand.
Widely regarded as a turning point in the season, the Red Sox (fueled from the fight) battled back from a 10-8 deficit in the bottom of the ninth inning.
After a Kevin Millar single drove in Nomar Garciaparra, the Yankees lead was cut to one. With the tying run at first Bill Mueller stepped to the plate, launching a two-run, walk-off home run off Mariano Rivera.
Trailing 3-0 in the 2004 American League Championship Series and down a run in the bottom of the ninth inning, Kevin Millar was able to draw a leadoff walk off Yankees closer Mariano Rivera.
He was replaced at first base by pinch runner Dave Roberts. Anticipating a steal attempt, Rivera checked Roberts several times, nearly picking him off. Finally, as Rivera delivered a pitch to Bill Mueller, Roberts took off for second, beating the throw and sliding in safely.
He then scored the tying run after Mueller singled up the middle, ultimately forcing extra innings and keeping the Red Sox playoff hopes alive.
“The steal,” is widely regarded as one of the most iconic moments in Red Sox history.
The Red Sox appeared to have a commanding lead, midway through the deciding game of the 2003 ALCS. A game started by Pedro Martinez had Boston leading 5-2 in the eighth inning.
Despite a strong outing, Martinez began to lose steam in the eighth. Instead of going to the bullpen, Red Sox manager Grady Little made the controversial decision to stick with Martinez.
The Yankees rallied to tie the game at five, carrying the game into extra innings.
Not well known at the time, Aaron Boone—who entered the game as a pinch runner—stepped to the plate in the bottom of the 11th. He then jacked the first pitch he saw, a knuckleball from Tim Wakefield, deep into the left field stands for a solo walk-off homer, punching the Yankees ticket to the World Series.
As a result Boone became synonymous with that one play—like Bucky (bleepin’) Dent or Bill Buckner before him. It is a moment that will live in the minds of Red Sox and Yankees fans forever.
In one of the most heroic performances in sports history, Red Sox pitcher Curt Schilling started Game 6 of the 2004 ALCS despite a torn tendon sheath in his right ankle.
After proving ineffective in Game 1 of the series—he allowed six runs in just three innings—Schilling was masterful in his second start. The righty went seven strong, allowing just one run on four hits, striking out four and walking none.
What made it more impressive was the fact that he was clearly in pain, walking with a subtle limp and dealing with a blood-drenched sock.
In the ESPN “30 for 30” documentary “Four Days in October,” Schilling recalled his outing saying:
I couldn't really feel my shoe. My foot was bleeding and the blood was going to the bottom of my sock, and it was so wet and I could only feel half of my foot.
His gutsy play drew comparisons to Willis Reed.
Following Dave Roberts’ steal and Bill Mueller’s subsequent single to score him, the Red Sox and Yankees continued into extra innings of Game 4 of the 2004 American League Championship Series.
Tied at four in the bottom of the 12th, Manny Ramirez led off with a single and David Ortiz stepped into the batter’s box.
One thing was clear; Ortiz was waiting for a pitch he could drive.
On a 2-1 count, Yankees reliever Paul Quantrill threw an inside, belt-high fastball and Ortiz was ready for it. He swung and crushed it over the right field wall for a two-run bomb, giving the Red Sox a 6-4 victory, helping them stave off elimination.
The very next night the Red Sox and Yankees once again found themselves in a 4-4 tie in the bottom of the 14th inning.
The previous night’s hero, David Ortiz, came to the plate with two on and two out. Facing right-handed reliever Esteban Loaiza Ortiz muscled a 2-2 offering into center field scoring Johnny Damon from second and shifting the series back to New York.
The second time in as many games—and the third time during the 2004 postseason—David Ortiz came through with late-game heroics. He earned himself the title of greatest clutch hitter in Red Sox history.