I would like to thank Leroy Watson for some help on this project.
Feuds have always been an essential part of the entertainment value in sports.
We always cheer for our teams and when our rivals step onto our turf, the home crowd becomes hostile. And when our heroes are the visitors, the opposing fans return the favor.
Some notable feuds over the years have included: the Celtics vs. the Lakers in the NBA, the Bruins and the Canadians in hockey, and the Red River rivalry (Oklahoma and Texas) in NCAA football.
Today, though, I will be looking back at probably the most renowned rivalry in sports: the Boston Red Sox and the New York Yankees.
We have all seen some intense moments between the Red Sox and Yankees. I will look back at the history of this famous feud, how it was ignited, and some substantial moments between these two teams all leading to my conclusion that this feud is the best in sports.
The Red Sox and Yankees' feud has been around for well over 100 years, but the defining moment that made these two teams intense rivals occurred in 1919.
This year is well known to every baseball fan because it is when the Yankees took a large step toward becoming the best in the business.
Through 1918, the Red Sox were looked at as the best team in the league. They won the very first modern World Series in 1903, and added another title in 1912.
Led by Babe Ruth, Boston had won three more World Series Championships—1915-16 and 1918. They were at the top of the heap and there were no signs of slowing down.
Boston fans were ecstatic about the success of the Red Sox and the team’s utter dominance.
Then there were the New York Yankees.
The Yankees were really the team that had always seemed to finish in last place in the American League. During this time period, New York was really looking up to Boston when it came to the cities’ ball clubs.
But then 1919 came, and most of us know the story of the "Curse of the Bambino." Then Red Sox owner Harry Frazee had made a deal with the devil after being pressured into loans for Fenway Park and some of his lavish Broadway plays.
Making matters more complicated, Ruth, knowing his value to the team, had demanded that his salary be doubled to the unheard of figure (at the time) of $20,000 per annum.
Frazee balked, so he dealt the league's best hitter to New York in exchange for $125,00 cash, three notes of $25,000 each plus interest that amounted to $79,500, and a loan of $300,000, with a mortgage on Fenway Park as collateral.
This day late Christmas present, on December 26, 1919, was the beginning of the Yankee Dynasty.
Around the time of this trade, Frazee was still in financial straits, so he got rid of most of his talent. Some who were either sold or traded included: Joe Bush, Sam Jones, Tris Speaker, and finally, manager Ed Barrow, who joined the "Evil Empire's" front office.
From then on, New York reached the World Series seven times with Ruth on their team, and they won four championships while Boston remained stuck at five.
Since the birth of the Dynasty in 1919, New York has gone on to win a total of 26 World Series Championships between the years of 1920 to 2003.
During that same time span, Boston reached the World Series a number of times, but ultimately failed to win it even once.
In 1978, Boston fans were filled with hopes and dreams for the Red Sox to win a World Series as their team seemed destined for victory.
Players like Hall of Famers Jim Rice and Carl Yastrzemski were looking to end this curse. After a valiant effort, which saw them build a seemingly insurmountable lead of 14.5 games over their hated rivals, they were shot down by the Yankees in a one game playoff series.
Though Bucky Dent’s three-run home run had put the Yanks in the lead, it was Reggie Jackson’s homer in the eighth that provided the ultimate margin in a 5-4 win.
The Yankees, adding insult to injury, would win the World Series that year as well.
Dent is still known in New England as Bucky “Effin” Dent (expletive euphemized.)
Now, we head to 2003, when the Boston Red Sox would meet the New York Yankees in the American League Championship Series for the first time since 1999 (Boston had fallen short that year, too).
This series really had the fans on the edges of their seats as the teams really put a spark back in the rivalry with the historic brawl between the Red Sox and Yankees in Game Three.
This is when Pedro Martinez had tussled with Don Zimmer, himself a former longtime Red Sox player and manager.
That single moment—of Zimmer swinging at Pedro, with the Boston hurler sidestepping and shoving the aged Zimmer to the ground—is now one of the most recognizable moments in baseball history due to the significance of the rivalry.
Now, let’s fast forward another year.
After losing to New York in heartbreaking fashion in 2003, the Boston Red Sox would go on to win their first championship in 86 years.
Led by David Ortiz, Manny Ramirez, Kevin Millar, Trot Nixon, and Johnny Damon, Boston would win the World Series in dramatic fashion.
First, Boston and New York met in the ALCS for the second straight year, with Boston vowing not to go out like last year, though by watching the first three games, Red Sox fans had lost hope.
The Yankees had thoroughly dominated proceedings, winning the first three games.
Nonetheless, Boston overcame New York and that 3-0 deficit.
This comeback is known as the greatest comeback in sports by many, and, that same year, Boston won their first World Series Championship in 86 years.
This is when the "Curse was Reversed," and the tables had turned regarding who dominated this feud, which had been one-sided for so long.
In 2007, Boston won the American League East for the first time since 1997, and that season Boston would win the World Series for the second time this decade.
In 2008, New York had not found much recent success in the playoffs and Boston finished one game away from making the World Series.
It is funny how after even more than one hundred years, this feud is still ongoing, and, in some ways, it’s hotter than ever.
Some prime examples of it today are shown through the Red Sox/Yankees series last week, when Yankee manager Joe Girardi accused Brad Penny of beaning Alex Rodriguez and started a heated war of words.
A-Rod himself is another example of why this rivalry is so heated after all these years.
The Fenway Faithful were brutal in that series with the, "You Used Steroids" chants every time he went up to bat.
There are so many memories of this feud that have not been brought up in quite some time.
"Who’s Your Daddy?" chants at Pedro Martinez during the 2004 season were prominent from New York fans, as well as Gary Sheffield's heated interaction with a Red Sox fan in 2005 at Fenway Park.
Even Mark Teixieria joining New York, when it looked as though he was joining Boston, was a spark in the rivalry, along with the $400 million they spent this season.
The Red Sox and Yankees have one of the most well-known and profound rivalries in sports history, and every time these two teams cross paths there is always something that makes the game special and keeps the fans on the edges of their seats.