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Also Read Yankees vs. Red Sox: Baseball's Absolutely Amazing and Greatest Rivalry Collision Course: Red Sox versus Yankees
RED SOX vs. YANKEES: The Great Rivalry
By Harvey Frommer
It wasnt exactly murder at Yankee Stadium this past weekend, but for all intents and purposes it was another marker moment in the historic rivalry between the Yankees of New York and the Red Sox of Boston.
And Sawx fans are jumping for joy.
And why not?
The leaders in the AL East became the first visitors in more than a hundred years to score at least nine runs on three consecutive days against the Yankees. That was so long ago, 1912, that the New Yorkers were not the Yankees then but the Highlanders who played at Hilltop Park.
The roots of the rivalry extend all the way back to the first time the teams faced-off on May 7, 1903 at the Huntington Avenue Grounds in Boston. The teams played under the names Highlanders ( they played on the hilly terrain of upper Manhattan) and Pilgrims ( in tribute to their New England heritage).
On January 9, 1920, Harry Frazees Crime was enacted. At a cold morning press conference a very happy Jake Ruppert announced: Gentlemen, we have just bought Babe Ruth from Harry Frazee of the Boston Red Sox. I cant give exact figures, but it was a pretty check six figures. No players are involved. It was strictly a cash deal.
Sox general manager Ed Barrow had told Frazee: "You ought to know that you're making a mistake."
The shipping of Babe Ruth to the Yankees has been followed by all sorts of Red Sox misfortunes, read Curse: losing Game 7 of the World Series in 1946, 1967, 1975, 1986 (the ball dribbling through Bill Buckner's legs in Game 6); losing the pennant in playoffs in 1948 and 1978; being done in by the Aaron Boone eleventh inning home run on October 17, 2003 that gave the Yankees a stunning 6-5 come-from-behind triumph over the Boston who were five outs away from winning the American League championship.
In Boston, fans scream: "Yankees suck! Yankees suck!"
when the Yankees are not playing in
In New York, they used to shout: "1918! 1918!" Now more vulgarisms
The Yankees of New York versus the Red Sox of Boston is the
greatest, grandest, strongest rivalry in baseball history a competition of images, teams, cities, styles, ballparks, fans, media. History, style, culture, pace, dreams, bragging rights - all are mixed in, mixed up with the rivalry in one way or another.
The competition is so much more than a baseball team representing
Boston going against a baseball team representing New
York. It is, at its heart, a
competition between the provincial capital of
It's the Charles River versus the East River, Boston Common against
Central Park, the Green Monster versus the Monuments, Red Sox Rule versus
Yankees Suck, WFAN versus WEEI, the New York Daily News matched
up against the Boston
Herald, "I LOVE NEW YORK,
TOO - IT'S THE YANKEES I HATE" versus
BOSTON CHOKES. BOSTON SUCKS.
"I was always aware of the mix at Fenway Park," said Lou Piniella, who managed and played for the Yankees. "There was always a lot of excitement in that small park that made it special. You might have 20,000 Red Sox fans at Fenway and 15,000 Yankee fans. Their rivalry helped our rivalry. It excited the players who had to respond to it."
The rivalry is a fireworks of the historic, auspicious, ridiculous, odd, dramatic, poignant, bizarre and amazing as is evidenced in the following timeline:
In 1925, the Yanks were most anxious to trade a first baseman to the
Red Sox for Phil Todt.
October 1, 1961 In the last game of the season, Roger Maris hit his 61st home run, breaking Babe Ruths single-season record. The shot came off Boston pitcher Tracy Stallard.
On the field, inside the white lines, the rivalry has been characterized by some of baseball's wildest moments.
The rivalry intermittently has flared into rage, occasionally into violence. Sometimes it has been triggered by personality clashes, at other times the trigger has simply been the "bad blood" and frenzy that has been part of the history, mood and culture operating when the ancient rivals go at each other.
When it comes to Red Sox/Yankees baseball, there is never a dull moment, and those caught up in it are never at a loss for words. There are stories, asides, frontal attacks, poignant memories, insights, game accounts, vulgarisms, quips and rejoinders that cut across generations and geography. Yankee loyalists and zealots and Red Sox Nation boosters and rooters always have something to say.
One of the stories that is a terrific what
if is the rumored trade of Ted Williams for Joe DiMaggio. As the story
goes, Sox owner Tom Yawkey and Yankee boss Dan
Topping were at Toots Shors one night bantering
about how much better Ted Williams would bat at Yankee Stadium and how much
better Joe DiMaggio would hit at
It was reported that when Topping arrived home at and realized what he had agreed to, he picked up the phone and called Yawkey in a panic.
"Tom," he began, "I'm sorry but I can't go through with the deal."
"Thank God," was Yawkey's reported reply.
Another version of the purported DiMaggio-Williams deal has Tom Yawkey being the one who made the phone call. "Dan, I know it's very, very late, and I still want to make that trade we discussed. However, if you still want to make it you'll have to throw in that left-handed hitting outfielder. You know who I mean, that little odd-looking rookie."
"I can't," Topping said. Were thinking of making him a catcher. I guess well have to call off the deal."
So Joe DiMaggio remained a Yankee, and Ted Williams played out his career with the Red Sox. And the little odd-looking rookie, Yogi Berra, stayed with the Yankeesss and became a catcher.
(to be continued in RED SOX vs. YANKEES: The Great Rivalry
By Harvey Frommer and Frederic J. Frommer)
About the Author
Dr. Harvey Frommer received his Ph.D. from New York University. Professor Emeritus, Distinguished Professor nominee, Recipient of the "Salute to Scholars Award" at CUNY where he taught writing for many years, the prolific author was cited by the Congressional Record and the New York State Legislature as a sports historian and journalist.
His sports books include autobiographies of sports legends Nolan Ryan, Red Holzman and Tony Dorsett, the classics "Shoeless Joe and Ragtime Baseball," "New York City Baseball: 1947-1957." The 1927 Yankees." His "Remembering Yankee Stadium" was published to acclaim in 2008. His latest book, a Boston Globe Best Seller, is "Remembering Fenway Park." Autographed and discounted copies of all Harvey Frommer books are available direct from the author. Please consult his home page: http://harveyfrommersports.com/remembering_fenway/