New York vs Boston. There’s nothing else like it in all of sports.
The Yankees and Red Sox have one of the biggest rivalries in all of sports and its heat is starting to pick up again due to both teams jockeying for first place in the AL East. Both teams want nothing to do with each other and hate each other’s existence. That’s what makes sports so great. The Yankees and Red Sox have produced a number of unforgettable games and memories since the teams first started playing against each other. With that being said, let’s dive into the top 10 most memorable Yankee and Red Sox moments. For the record, let’s go Yankees.
10. A-Rod’s Homerun In The 15th Inning: 8/8/09
15 innings, a game that spans over five hours, arch rivals, and an Alex Rodriguez moonshot into the Bronx night. Red Sox relief pitcher Junichi Tazawa was the last remaining arm for the Red Sox as he entered the game in the 14th inning. After allowing a leadoff single to Derek Jeter in the bottom of the 15th, Mark Teixeira struck out swinging, which set the stage for perhaps one of the most hated players in baseball history. Rodriguez sent a hanging curveball into orbit and the Yankees won 2-0 in one of the most memorable games at the new Yankee Stadium.
9. Bench Clearing Brawl: 4/10/18
DING DING! This massive donnybrook displayed that the Yankees Red Sox rivalry is back and it’s here to stay. Red Sox pitcher Joe Kelly drilled Tyler Austin in the back with a fastball and Austin slammed his bat in anger. After a small scuffle earlier in the game after Austin tried taking out Brock Holt on double play break up attempt at second base, all of the anger came to a head and Austin charged the mound. Both benches emptied, the bullpens emptied, punches were thrown, and the fight was worth the price of admission. Both the Yankees and Red Sox have had a number of bench-clearing brawls, but this one was the beginning of a new era in the rivalry.
8. Martinez Vs. Zimmer: 10/11/03
In game three of the 2003 ALCS, tensions were already high for both teams. After Pedro Martinez drilled Karim Garcia, Yankees pitcher Roger Clemens buzzed Manny Ramirez with a head high pitch and the benches emptied. As the players sprinted out onto the field, former Red Sox manager and bench coach at the time, Don Zimmer, charged at Martinez. Zimmer was ultimately thrown to the ground in one of weirdest bench-clearing brawls in baseball. The Yankees ended up defeating the Red Sox in seven games and advanced to the World Series against the Florida Marlins.
7. Johnny Damon’s Return To Boston: 5/1/06
Welp, this was one of the more interesting events in the history of this rivalry. Johnny Damon had spent a number of seasons with the Red Sox and it all changed before the 2006 season. Damon signed a four year $52 million deal with the Yankees and all hell broke loose. Damon had received mixed welcomes in his return to Fenway Park. Some applauded him for his service to the team, a majority booed the 2004 World Series champion and even threw dollar bills down to the field calling him a sellout and a traitor. Damon went on to win another World Series championship in 2009 with the Yankees.
6. Bucky Fu**ing Dent: 10/2/78
Chaos. Complete and utter chaos. The Yankees and Red Sox were in need of an AL East tiebreaker game, and it did not disappoint. It was the first time since 1948 that a tiebreaker game was needed. Chris Chambliss and Roy White started off the inning with back to back hits. Pinch-hitter Jim Spencer flew out, and then Bucky Dent came up to the plate. Dent launched a home run over the Green Monster at Fenway Park and gave the Yankees a 3-2 lead with one of the most memorable postseason home runs. The Yankees went on to win the game 5-2.
5. The Steal: 10/18/04
Disheartening. That’s all that needs to be said. Trailing 3-0 with all signs pointing towards a sweep, the Red Sox were in need of a spark. Down one in the bottom of the ninth, Mariano Rivera had walked Kevin Millar and Dave Roberts came in to pinch run. Roberts was checked by Rivera number of times and ultimately stole second base. That stolen base was regarded as the turning point of the 2004 ALCS. Roberts later scored on a Bill Mueller single and the Red Sox kept their playoff hopes alive.
The Yankees ultimately blew the 3-0 lead in perhaps one of the biggest playoff collapses in sports history. David Ortiz’s late-game heroics also defined the 2004 ALCS. Ortiz spanked two walk-off home runs on back to back nights shifting all momentum to Boston’s side.
4. Varitek V. A-Rod: 7/24/04
DING DING ONCE AGAIN! After Red Sox pitcher Bronson Arroyo drilled Alex Rodriguez on the elbow, Rodriguez kept barking at Arroyo and later got into an altercation with Jason Varitek. Varitek then put his bare hand and glove on A-Rod’s face, and the brawl was on. The benches emptied, punches were thrown, and there was no doubt that this was the peak of the Yankees Red Sox rivalry. Baseball fans can probably all agree that the mid-2000’s era was the best time for the Yankees Red Sox rivalry because of the Yankees past success and the Red Sox getting ready to break their curse.
3. Schilling’s Literal Red Sock: 10/19/04
After getting lit up like a Christmas tree for six runs in only three innings, Curt Schilling pitched a brilliant game despite a torn tendon sheath in his right ankle. It was obvious that Schilling was in pain but he was able to fight through it. He walked with a noticeable limp and his white sock was completely drenched in blood. The veteran right-hander went seven strong innings, allowing one run on four hits, striking out four, and allowing walks. Schilling’s performance in game six can be regarded as one of the guttiest and hard-fought outings in baseball history.
2. Aaron Boone’s Walk-Off: 10/17/03
Down 5-2 late in the game, it looked as if the Red Sox will take Game 7 of the 2003 ALCS and earn a trip to the World Series. The Yankees had other ideas. Pedro Martinez had pitched a brilliant game through eight innings. Red Sox manager Grady Little decided to stick with Martinez. The Yankees ended up tying the game at 5 in the bottom of the ninth. In the bottom of the 11th inning, Aaron Boone stepped up to the plate against a knuckleball pitcher, Tim Wakefield. Boone jumped on the first pitch he saw and sent the ball into the left-field seats giving the Yankees a 6-5 win and yet another trip to the World Series.
1. An Absolute Steal: 1/3/20
We have saved the best for last. Let’s throw it all the way back to 1920. The Boston Red Sox traded a young pitcher by the name of George Herman Ruth to the New York Yankees for $125,000. Yeah, you know the rest of the story. Over the next 15 seasons, Ruth hit for an average of .349, hit 659 of his 714 career home runs, and won four World Championships. The Red Sox, on the other hand, did not reach the postseason again until 1946 and didn’t win Wolrd Series again until 2004. The curse in Boston was ultimately called “The Curse of the Bambino.”
Let’s be honest though, there are so many things that could have made this list and it was hard to only choose 10. The Yankees Red Sox rivalry is the best one in baseball and definitely one of the best in sports. Let’s be thankful that this rivalry is back and it’s going to remain at hot commodity decades down the road and beyond.