David Ortiz and Some of the Boston Red Sox's Best All-Time 'Yankee Killers'
OK not that kind of Yankee killer. I guess since they were his daddy and Pedro Martinez couldn't get the job done against the New York Yankees on the mound, he took it out on the old man in an old fashioned brawl.
Not the best move in his career but definitely one of the few that had Martinez coming out on top when facing Boston's old nemesis. Let's take a look at a few of the Yankee killers the Red Sox have produced over the years.
By no means is this list complete and in this column I do not take into account length of tenure with the Red Sox.
Bottom line is that if you were with Boston for a season and killed the Yankees that season, then you were a Red Sox Yankee killer just the same as if you were with them for your entire career and had great numbers against the Bronx Bombers.
In addition all of the stats were taken from Yahoo Sports, Baseball Reference and Baseball Almanac.
I am happy to provide statistics for David Ortiz against the NY Yankees but are they really necessary? I remember the year 2004 very vividly. It was the year that I so wisely chose to move to Los Angeles from Boston (please read the sarcasm in that last sentence).
In October I found myself in Studio City, CA on the set of the television show "Yes Dear" starring Mike O'Malley and Anthony Clark, both Boston boys. We were filming during game seven of the ALCS when O'Malley saw the Red Sox hat on my backpack and told the AD that I was not to be used on set for a while as I was just invited to his dressing room to watch the Sox knock off the Yankees with Mike and 12 of his best friends and family members. It was a memorable day.
What was also memorable is that I have David Ortiz to thank for that opportunity. With the Yankees up 3-0 in the ALCS it was David Ortiz and his walk-off winners that killed the Yankees and allowed the Red Sox to win their first World Series since B.C.
Ortiz played 155 games against the Yankees. 573 AB, 98 R, 175 H, 31 HR, 117 RBIs, 89 BB, .305 BA, .392 OBP, .555 SLG and .947 OPS. Tampa Bay and Toronto are the only two teams against which he hit more home runs so far in his career.
Manny Ramirez played 203 games against the Yanks. He had 733 AB, 139 R. 236 H, 51 2B, 55 HR, 165 RBIs, 110 BB, .322 BA, .413 OBP, .617 SLG and 1.030 OPS
Ramirez scored more runs against the Yankees than he did against any other team in his career. Second place belongs to the Toronto Blue Jays with 128.
To be fair though folks, Ramirez killed everyone he played. He is not just a Yankee killer, he is an opponent killer. That’s what women's fertility drugs will do for you though, so I hear.
I couldn't resist. What a graceful fall from the top Manny. It would have been nice to know how good you really were without you trying to increase the chances of birthing a child.
The Red Seat isn't red because Teddy Williams hit that 502 foot home run against the Yankees. He, in fact, hit it off a guy named Fred (I forget his last name and it is too late to look it up right now but he played for Detroit) but that doesn't mean that he didn't also crush NY when given the opportunity, because he did.
Williams' Hall of Fame, 19 year career broke down like this: 2,292 games... 7706 AB…1798 R…2654 H…525 2B…71 3B…521 HR…1839 RBIs…2021 BB…709 SO….344 BA….482 OBP….634 SLG.
I have no idea how many were against the Yankees but I can guess that a lot of them were (If you can find these splits please let me know) because something prompted a little known Yankee to say this about Williams and it certainly wasn’t his pitching ability.
"He was the best pure hitter I ever saw. He was feared." - Baseball Hall of Famer Joe DiMaggio.
As an aside, Ted Williams pitched one game, two innings with a 4.50 ERA, three hits and one earned run. He did have a strike out though, so there's that.
Against the Yankees, Kevin Youkilis, in his career, has played 86 games and garnered the following statistics…287 AB…60 R…93 H...19 2B…2 3B…10 HR…52 RBIs…63BB…49 K…1 SB… .324 BA… .459 OBP... .509 SLG… .968 OPS
Much like I felt last night when Youk came up to plate against the Orioles down 4-1 and knocked a three run dinger, I feel the Red Sox have the best shot at getting a run or base runner when Youk is at the plate against the Yankees.
Jim Rice played 170 games against the Yankees. His stats against the Bombers are as follows:
643 AB…93 R…212 H…36 2B…9 3B…36 HR…129 RBIs…6 SB…57 BB… .330 BA… .387 OBP… .582 SLG… .968 OPS
Rice had his highest batting average and slugging percentage against the Yankees than against almost every other team in baseball.
He had a .336 BA in Yankee Stadium alone, which was higher than in the majority of the other ballparks. Of note, Jim Rice had a .476 BA at Shea Stadium, but only played five games there versus the 73 he started at Yankee stadium, so it appears that he liked to play in New York.
I bet when Manny Ramirez was traded away from Fenway Park the NY Yankees thought that no other Red Sox left fielder could hurt them as much. Think again.
Yes, Jason Bay only played for the Red Sox for two years, but I never put a length of service requirement on this column. So lets take a look at what he has done against the Yankees in his career.
34 games…120 AB…23 R…41 H…25 RBIs… .342 BA… .608 Slugging… 1.026 OPS
Bay's highest batting average over his career is, thus far, against the Yankees. It is higher than against any other team. Bay's next highest is .334 and came against the Cincinnati Reds.
Not to mention that in 2009, his last year as a Red Sox player, Bay was an All Star. He was also voted 7th in the MVP race (The highest he has ever reached in his career. He finished at 12th and 23rd in '05 and '06 respectively with the Pittsburgh Pirates). 2009 was also Bay's only year as a Silver Slugger.
Coincidentally, 2009 was also the year when he faced the Yankees more than any other in his career. It was just Bay being Bay.
Babe Ruth's statistics are difficult to find and somewhat disputed, but Baseball Reference tells us that in only 19 games against the Yankees, Ruth scored 14 runs, had 20 hits, 5 HR and 14 RBIs. No wonder the Yankees were happy to get him on their team.
He also seemed to own the Yankees when he took the mound. The guy was just plain good and that is why the curse was as bad as it was. Everyday when I drove down Storrow Drive I was reminded of the fact that a single trade can change the fortunes of a franchise for decades.
The road sign (Reverse Curve) was always altered to read "Reverse the Curse."
I wanted to include more pitchers on this list but it seems that the Red Sox rotation was never really “great” against the Yankees. Pedro Martinez, by his own admission, was not successful against the Yankees, stating that they were his Daddy. Yes Pedro was a Zimmerman killer but that didn’t put many Ws on the board for Boston.
I wanted Clemens to be a Yankee killer but his numbers from the mound against the Yankees are just average. He was 18-13 in his career. That’s a .581 winning percentage with a 3.78 ERA, which isn’t impressing anyone. Out of 267 innings pitched Clemens gave up a hit in nearly every single one (246). Those just aren't the stats of a Yankee killer.
Jon Lester is 6-1 against the Yankees with an .857 winning percentage. That’s not too shabby but he has given up 27 runs in 12 games with 68 hits and a 3.28 ERA. Does record alone make a Yankee killer?
Tim Wakefield had a good run against the Yanks for a couple of years but over the span of his career he has lost more games against them than he has won. His winning percentage against the Bronx Bombers would be good if it were an ERA (.393).
If any of you know of some Yankee killer pitching for the Red Sox please let me know in the comments section. I appreciate it.
Conclusion and Trivia
So there you have it. There are a few more Yankee killers out there so please let me know who you think deserves to be added to this list and why. Thanks for reading and commenting, I appreciate it.
In 1947 Yankee killer Ted Williams won the triple crown but did not go home with the AL MVP hardware. Who did?