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86 Greatest Moments vs. Boston #10-6

November 24, 2012

#7 | The Yanks and Sox are led onto the field by Sousa’s band on Opening Day. Ruth is at the head of the left line. (Library of Congress)

#10 | The Olive Branch | 1925

When the Red Sox traded Babe Ruth following the 1919 season, it was immediately clear how grievous a mistake it was as Ruth slugged 54 homers in 1920 and 59 in 1921.  In 1925, the Yankees offered to trade rookie Lou Gehrig for first baseman Phil Todt, to “repay” the Sox for the Ruth trade.  Boston turned the Yanks down and Gehrig would become the Yanks’ regular first baseman in 1925, play in 2,130 consecutive games, and become one of the greatest first basemen of all time.

#9 | Bernie Wins Game 1 of the ALCS | 10/13/1999

After 96 years of competition, the Yankees and Red Sox met for the first time in a playoff series on October 13, 1999.  The Sox wasted no time in renewing the rivalry as they scored 2 runs in the top of the 1st, then tacked on another in the 2nd off of El Duque Hernandez.  The Yanks responded in the 2nd when a 2-run home run by Scott Brosius scored Shane Spencer.  4 innings of shutout ball followed as the game moved into the later innings, a dangerous time for opposing teams in Yankee Stadium, even with a lead.

In the 7th, with Derek Lowe on the mound, the Yankees staged a textbook rally.  Brosius led off with a single, his 3rd hit of the day, and proceeded to 2nd on a sacrifice bunt by Chuck Knoblauch.  Derek Jeter followed and laced a single to centerfield that knotted the game.  Both sides enjoyed nearly perfect pitching through the 8th and 9th as Hernandez and Mariano Rivera stymied Boston bats and Lowe yielded just 1 hit over the two innings.  Rivera allowed a leadoff single in the 10th to Jose Offerman, but the Yanks benefitted from a controversial call when Jose Valentin followed with a groundball that Brosius fielded and tossed to Knoblauch, who dropped the ball.  The umpire ruled Offerman out, a call he would later say he got wrong, thinking at the time that Knoblauch had control of it.  The break killed any hope of a Red Sock rally and gave the Bombers a chance to walk off in extra innings.

The righty hurler Rod Beck was brought in to face Bernie Williams, the same Bernie Williams who almost became a Red Sock last November as a free agent.  Now, his decision to stay with the Yanks loomed large in the 10th inning.  He would be the only batter Beck faced.

The Stadium rocked after Bernie’s ball cleared the centerfield wall, just to the left of the “408″ sign.  As the night’s hero came home he leaped into the air, coming down on home plate with a 4-3 victor, and a mob of a greeting by his teammates.  Check out Bernie’s heroic blast here.

#8 | Mogridge Tosses No-Hitter | 4/24/1917

On a Tuesday afternoon at Fenway, George Mogridge threw the Yankees’ 1st no hitter in a 2-1 victory against the defending World Champions.  The Sox scored their lone run in the 7th on 2 walks, an error, and a sacrifice fly.

#7 | Inaugural Game at Yankee Stadium | 4/18/1923

Yankee Stadium, the first ballpark to be called a stadium, opened in front of 74,200 on April 18, 1923.  Despite the frigid temperatures, the fanfare was unprecedented.  John Philip Sousa directed the Seventh Regiment Band before the game and New York Governor Al Smith threw out the first pitch.

The Yankees got on the board first in the 3rd inning when a Joe Dugan single scored Bob Shawkey for the first run in the Stadium’s history.  Babe Ruth followed with Whitey Witt and Dugan on base.  Before the game Ruth had stated, “I’d give a year of my life if I could hit a home run on opening day of this great new park,” and the Sultan’s wish came true as he ripped a line drive into the right field bleachers off of Howard Ehmke to break the game open.  Shawkey, who wore a sweatshirt under his jersey to fight the 49° temperatures, pitched a brilliant complete game, yielding just 3 hits and 1 earned run while striking out 5 in the 4-1 victory.

#6 | Yanks Clinch Pennant | 10/2/1949

The New York Yankees had never trailed in the pennant race in 1949, leading by as many as 6.5 games at one point, until the Red Sox tied them on September 25th and fell behind by a game the very next day.  The Yanks went into the final 2 games of the season, both against the Sox, trailing Boston by 1 game.  1 year earlier Boston had eliminated the Yankees from the pennant race on the season’s final day and the Bombers were looking for revenge against their northern foes.  The Yankees won the first game on October 1st, 5-4, when an 8th inning solo home run by Johnny Lindell gave the Yanks the lead for good after they had trailed 4-0.  The win left the rivals deadlocked with 1 game left in the regular season.

Each team sent a 20-game winner to the mound and braced for a pitching duel.  However, the Yanks jumped on the board early when Phil Rizzuto led off with a triple, scoring on a groundout by Tommy Henrich.  Vic Raschi and Ellis Kinder then matched scoreless innings until the bottom of the 8th when the Yankees seemingly sealed their ticket to the Fall Classic with a 4-run inning, powered by a home run from Henrich and a 3-run double by Jerry Coleman.  The Sox did not go down without a fight, scoring 3 runs in the 9th, but too much damage had already been done as the Yanks won the pennant.

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