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86 Greatest Moments vs. Boston #86-80

November 20, 2012
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Honorable Mention | The Yanks win the 1st Sunday game at Fenway (New York Times)

On May 7, 1903 the New York Highlanders played the Boston Americans at the Huntington Avenue Baseball Grounds in Boston.  The stadium, built on the tamped ground of an old circus lot, played host to a number of historic moments including with first World Series game between the modern American and National leagues in 1903 and the first perfect game of the modern era, hurled by Cy Young on May 5, 1904.  A rickety tool shed stood in centerfield, but with the wall 530 from home plate, and moved further back to 635 feet in 1908, it was rarely a hindrance.

The Highlanders lost that day, 6-2, but the game is merely a footnote of baseball history, isn’t it?  What does it matter that a team from New York and a team from Boston played a game 109 years ago?  New York would not universally be known as the Yankees for another 9 years and the name “Red Sox” wouldn’t be in effect for another 5.  Fenway and the Cathedral were years away from being constructed.  Babe Ruth was only 8-years-old.  Gehrig, and Williams, and DiMaggio, and Pesky, and Mantle, and Yastrzemski, and Munson, and Fisk, and Jeter, and Ortiz had not yet breathed their first breath.  Why did this game matter?

More than 100 years before fifty-six delegates signed the Declaration of Independence, the burgeoning cities of New York and Boston were polar opposites.  Since Boston’s founding in 1630–6 years after New York’s–and up until the Revolution, it was considered the cultural, economic, and educational center of America while New York was seen as the dirty, crime-ridden, overpopulated cousin.  Things began to change in the 19th century with the advent of the Erie Canal, bolstering shipping and manufacturing in New York and greatly expanding its population.  By the time the roaring 20s arrived, the nucleus of American culture had shifted 217 miles to the south.

The Highlanders and Americans stepped onto the field on May 7, 1903 as the latest manifestation of the rivalry between the northeast’s two greatest cities.  That game ignited a rivalry that has been the most celebrated, scrutinized, frenzied, passionate, and vitriolic in all of sports.  What happened on that day was more than a victory that gave Boston a half-game edge over New York in the pennant race.  On that day animosity between the two clubs began, that, like a slow intravenous, would drip hatred into the bloodstream of New Englanders and New Yorkers for the next century.  A fight erupted during the game when Boston pitcher George Winter was knocked down at the plate.  They could not even play a single game without coming to blows.

And thus the rivalry began.

Enjoy the following 86 greatest moments against the Red Sox.  Why 86?  Because that’s how many years they went without a World Series title, thanks to the Curse of the Bambino.

*     *     *     *    *

Honorable Mention | 1st Sunday Game at Fenway | 7/3/1932

In the first Sunday game ever played at Fenway Park the Yankees trounced the Sox 13-2 behind 3 RBIs from Ben Chapman and 2 RBIs from Lou Gehrig.  George Pipgras earned the complete game win for New York despite walking 8 batters.  The victory kept the Bombers 8.5 games ahead of Philadelphia in the pennant race while Boston fell 36 games behind.

#86 | Shutout for Stottlemyre | 5/11/1968

On his way to a 21-win season, Mel Stottlemyre pitched a brilliant game at Yankee Stadium.  Spreading 7 hits over 9 innings Stottlemyre stymied the Boston bats, and added a hit of his own for good measure, lowering his ERA to 2.03.  Roy White provided the only run in a 1-0 victory with a home run to lead off the 7th.

#85 | Twin Killing | 5/30/1938

A capacity crowd of 81,841 witnesses a double-header sweep as the Bombers trounce Boston 10-0 and 5-4.  In the 2nd game of the twin bill the Yanks trailed 4-0 before scoring tying the game in the 8th and walking off in the 9th.  During the game a fight also broke out between Yankee outfielder Jake Powell and Boston player-manager Joe Cronin.

#84 | Home Field Advantage | 9/18/1993

The Yankees and Red Sox began the day still in the hunt for the AL East crown.  It looked as though the Yanks would fail to gain ground on 1st place Toronto as they trailed 3-1 entering the 9th and quickly recorded 2 outs, but Mike Gallego drew a walk, bringing the tying run to the plate in Mike Stanley.  On the 2nd pitch of the at bat the catcher sent a fly ball to left field that Mike Greenwell settled under and caught for what would have been the last out, had a fan not run onto the field while the ball was in play.  The 3rd base umpire called time, nullifying the fly out.  Imbued with new life, Stanley singled to left field, igniting an improbable Yankee rally.  Wade Boggs followed with a single that scored Gallego, cutting the deficit to 3-2.  Dion James followed with a walk, loading the bases for Don Mattingly.  On a 1-1 pitch from Greg Harris Mattingly laced a single to right, scoring two to give the Yankees a bizarre 4-3win.

#83 | Onslaught | 5/27/1957

In a 17-8 beat down at Fenway, the Yanks turned a 6-4 deficit into a 12-6 lead thanks to an 8-run 7th inning.  Run scoring singles by Billy Martin and Moose Skowron, sacrifice flies by Andy Carey and Tony Kubek, a double by Hank Bauer, and a costly error by Frank Malzone amounted to a nightmarish inning for the Sox.

#82 | Sweep 1st Series at Yankee Stadium | 4/21/1923

On a Saturday afternoon in front of 45,000 fans, the Yanks closed out the first series at the newly erected Yankee Stadium, sweeping Boston in 4 games.  Carl Mays led the Yanks to the 7-6 victory, earning the win despite allowing 12 hits and 6 runs.  He helped his own cause with a solo home run, the 2nd Yankee long ball in the Stadium’s history.

#81 | Yanks Win Marathon | 8/29/67

In a 20-inning marathon that took 6 hours and 9 minutes, the Yankees prevailed 4-3.  The teams battled to a 2-2 standstill after 9 innings, but the Sox looked poised to prevail after a Norm Siebern single plated Rico Petrocelli in the 11th.  Little did the 40,314 in attendance know that the equivalent of a 9-inning game would still need to be played. In the bottom of the 11th Steve Whitaker prolonged the game with a home run off of future Yankee Sparky Lyle.  The Red Sox loaded the bases in the 15th, but Joe Verbanic worked out of trouble.  They loaded them again in the 20th, but again failed to plate the go-ahead run.  The game mercifully came to an end when Horace Clark’s single, in his 9th at bat of the day, plated John Kennedy with the game-winning run.  In all there were a combined 29 hits, 37 players used, 134 at bats, 37 left on base, and 118 put outs, including 27 by Yankee 1st baseman Mike Hegan.

#80 | Race for the AL Crown | 9/11/2005

Entering an important clash at the Stadium, the Yanks trailed the Sox in the AL East race by 4 games with 3 weeks left in the season.  In the first inning Jason Giambi launched a solo home run off of knuckleballer Tim Wakfield to give the Yankees the only run they would need.  In Randy Johnson‘s best start in his Yankee career, he threw 7 innings of 1-hit ball with 8 strikeouts.  Tom Gordon and Mariano Rivera finished the job, holding the explosive Boston offense to just 3 hits in a 1-0 win.  The Bombers were also limited to 3 hits, but the jolt from Giambi was enough to provide the margin.  The Yanks went on to win 16 of their final 21 games and take an 8th straight AL East title.

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