New York Yankees: Top 5 Most Despised Opponents of All Time

Josh HousmanCorrespondent IApril 19, 2013

New York Yankees: Top 5 Most Despised Opponents of All Time

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    Over the course of their extensive history, the New York Yankees have often been among the most hated franchises in sports.

    Boasting 27 World Series victories, the Bombers have inspired many players to step up their games against the Yankees in order to take down the "Evil Empire." Those players include many members of the mid-2000s Boston Red Sox

    To be included in the list of most-hated Yankee opponents of all time, however, a player must have either a strong body of regular-season and postseason work that shows dominance over the Bronx Bombers, or alternatively boast off-the-field actions that would incriminate him among Yankee fans. 

    Ahead is a list of the most hated Yankees' opponents in history. 

5. Ken Griffey, Jr.

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    During a heated 1995 ALDS series against the Yankees, Griffey hit .391 with five home runs and seven RBIs over five games, while also scoring the game-winning run in the 11th inning of Game 5. 

    Griffey's worst offense, however, was alleging that his father was mistreated when he played for the Yankees, and that he himself would never consider donning the Yankee pinstripes. 

    After making himself many enemies in the Bronx, Griffey went on to hit .311 with 36 home runs and 102 RBIs in 133 games against the Yankees in his career. 

4. Curt Schilling

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    Schilling is remembered by many for his postseason heroics in Boston against the Yankees, as well as for his role in breaking the Curse of the Bambino with the 2004 World Series victory.

    He is most remembered for his performance in Game 6 of the 2004 ALCS. The Red Sox were on the brink of elimination, and Schilling pitched through an ankle injury with blood visibly seeping through his sock. He went seven innings and gave up just one run, propelling the Red Sox to Game 7 and eventually the World Series. 

    What Schilling is remembered for less is perhaps his most impressive career accomplishment. In the 2001 World Series as a member of the Arizona Diamondbacks, Schilling was absolutely lights-out against the Yankees, starting Games 1, 4 and 7 (Games 4 and 7 each on three days' rest). 

    In those three games, Schilling went 21.1 innings, allowed just 12 hits, two walks and four earned runs, all while striking out 26 en route to a Diamondbacks World Series victory. 

3. George Brett

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    Brett's illustrious career against the Yankees, in which he hit over .300 in over 200 games, is overshadowed only by his postseason success against them. 

    From 1976-1980, Brett's Royals met the Yankees in four ALCS series—in 1976, 1977, 1978 and 1980—with the Royals winning only in 1980. Despite losing three of the four series, Brett made it difficult for the Yankees each and every time.

    In 17 games, Brett hit .358 with six home runs, 13 extra-base hits, 14 RBIs and 16 runs scored over those playoff series.

    Brett was also involved in the infamous Pine Tar Incident, in which his ninth-inning, go-ahead home run at Yankee Stadium was overturned, due to what officials considered too much pine tar on his bat. His demonstrative reaction and subsequent protest of the game ended with an eventual loss for the Yankees. 

2. Carlton Fisk

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    Thurman Munson was one of the most beloved Yankees of all time. He was their team captain and leader from behind the plate before a tragic plane crash took his life in 1979. 

    Before passing away, Munson and Red Sox catcher Carlton Fisk embodied the Yankees-Red Sox rivalry in the 1970s.

    Collisions at home plate, bench-clearing brawls (of which Fisk was involved in at least two) and criticism of the Yankees made Carlton Fisk one of the most hated Yankee opponents ever. 

    In a separate incident, he criticized Yankee outfielder Deion Sanders for not running out a pop-up.

    All in all, Fisk's career numbers against the Yankees are not overly gaudy, but his role in the Yankee-Red Sox rivalry is enough for him to make this list. 

1. Manny Ramirez/David Ortiz

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    Ramirez and Ortiz have consistently killed the Yankees throughout their entire careers.

    Ortiz owns a .313 batting average with 37 home runs and 131 RBIs in 176 career games against New York, while Ramirez owns a .322 batting average with 55 home runs and 165 RBIs in 203 career games. 

    Their most notable performances, however, came in the postseason. Between 1998 and 2003, Ramirez hit four home runs in two playoff series against the Yankees, hitting over .300 in both. He also played a major role in the 2004 comeback.

    Ramirez was also conspicuous in his showboating after hitting mammoth home runs, a habit that did not go over well with Yankee fans. 

    Ortiz is most notable for his heroic performance in 2004, when he almost single-handedly brought the Red Sox back from down 3-0 in the ALCS.

    Ortiz hit .384 with three home runs and 11 RBIs in the seven-game series, and has been recording clutch hit after clutch hit against the Yankees ever since.  

Honorable Mention

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    Pedro Martinez

    • Star of the 2003 ALCS fight, in which he threw Don Zimmer to the ground and threatened to hit Jorge Posada in the head

    Edgar Martinez

    • Hit .571 with two home runs and 10 RBIs in the 1995 ALDS, and had the series-clinching RBI double in Game 5 to drive home Ken Griffey, Jr. 

    Josh Becket

    • Allowed just two runs in 16.1 World Series innings in 2003 while striking out 19
    • Threw a five-hit shutout at Yankee Stadium in Game 6 of the 2003 World Series to clinch the World Series for the Marlins on three day's rest
    • Face of the Red Sox pitching staff during their 2007 World Series run

    Ted Williams

    • Rivals with Yankee outfielder Joe DiMaggio throughout his career, competing for batting titles and MVPs
    • Hit .345 with 62 home runs and 229 RBIs in 327 career games against the Yankees

    John Rocker 

    • Made derogatory comments about multiple groups of people residing in New York and insisted that he would never play for a New York team, citing these prejudicial beliefs about New Yorkers as the reason why.