The Sox-Yanks play tonight, and it’s the first time in a while that both teams are on top at the same time. Both loaded with young stars, and heavy expectations. We’d love to see Sox-Yanks get back to what it was.
Today, I’m looking back over the last 20 Years, which are the best in the history of the Sox-Yankees rivalry, and picking out my 10 Favorite Sox-Yanks rivalry “moments”.
10. Mussina’s (Almost) Perfect Game- Sept, 2001
Mike Mussina took a perfect game all the way to a 2-strike count on the 27th batter of the night, Carl Everett. Everett broke it up, much like he helped break the Sox team apart that season…the infamous Joe Kerrigan year.
9. Manny Hanging out with Enrique Wilson- Sept, 2003
This is just on here to remind us all of how CRAZY this rivalry was at its peak. Manny had “the flu”, but was (gasp) seen at the Ritz with Willie Randolph…oh wait, no, it wasn’t…it was Enrique Wilson. They were drinking. No they weren’t, but they were having dinner…no they weren’t doing that either. Whatever it was, it DOMINATED the local news cycle in 2003. It was the #1 story in the papers and I’m sure McAdam and Buckley did 4 hours on the Big Show about it.
Last year, you had Lil’ Dusty literally calling out his own team during a game, and he got more a defense than Manny did back in ’03.
8. Yankees 5 Game Sweep- August 2006
The Yanks showed up at Fenway for a 5 game series up 1.5 Games ahead of the Sox in the AL East. They swept 5 games in 4 days…WOOF. It was an utter disaster, and very nostalgic trip for hardcore fans, back to the era of the Fellowship of the Miserable. Probably a much-needed reminder for a Sox Fandom that may have been getting a little spoiled.
7. Pedro’s 17 Strikeout Game in Yankee Stadium- Sept 1999
1999 Pedro was one of the handful of greatest athletes of all time. He was peak Tiger or Jordan, on a pitchers’ mound. And in the midst of a pennant race, he walked into Yankee Stadium and shoved his changeup down the throats of the Yanks. David Cone (who pitched a perfect game that season) called it “the best-pitched game I’ve ever seen”. Pedro gave up one hit, a Yankee Stadium Cheapee to Chili Davis, and struck out 17.
6. Pedro v Zimmer- Game 3, 2003 ALCS
The unfortunate Pedro-Zimmer thing is what everyone remembers, but this game was a complete circus. It was Pedro-Clemens. Pedro had hit Soriano-Jeter back to back a month before. Tensions were high. And then…well, you can watch how it played out….a CIRCUS. And an All-Time great game.
5. A-Rod To Red Sox….er….not so fast…then to Yankees- 2003-2004
The Sox agreed to trade Manny and a 19 year-old pitching prospect (named Jon Lester), to Texas for A-Rod. They also supposedly had a deal in place to turn Nomar into Magglio Ordonez. You have to remember, at this point, A-Rod wasn’t hated, and was the best player on the planet, and Nomar’s act was wearing thin. This was going to be HUGE. But MLB rejected some of the cash changing hands, or whatever, so it never happened.
Instead, A-Rod stayed with the Rangers and won the AL MVP, the Sox battled with the Yanks in an epic ALCS, and the following offseason the Yankees traded for A-Rod to replace an injured Aaron Boone…the equivalent of buying a Ferrari because the check engine light in your Civic won’t turn off.
So if you ever find yourself wondering why you started hating A-Rod, and can’t put your finger on it, it was Bud Selig’s fault. Though, I think this one worked out pretty well for Boston.
4. Game 7, 2003 ALCS
This game was an All-Time Classic, it just had the wrong result for the Sox.
You can read about the game, you can actually re-watch it, but it was a great one, until Grady Little struck, and sent Pedro out for the 8th. Then, even worse, he left him in to face Matsui. And then Posada. And a couple of base hits later…it’s a tie game.
The Sox, managed to overcome the Buckner-esque move, and battled into the 11th, but then….Aaron Bleepin’ Boone
3. Varitek v A-Rod- July, 2004
Your boy, Le Cap, was at this game. It was a Birthday present from the future Mrs Le Cap. Best b-day present EVER. Best sporting event I’ve ever been to…EVER.
Forgotten fact about this game: there was a 1-hour rain delay. The Yankees didn’t think the game was going to be played…and were actually changing to leave.
Meanwhile, in the stands, that’s an extra hour of boozing for a Saturday afternoon game.
The game ended 11-10, with a Bill Mueller walk-off, off Rivera, which is incredible, but the best part of the game was Varitek giving A-Rod a face full of glove:
2. The Steal, Dave Roberts- ALCS, Game 4, 2004
The Sox were down, against the best reliever ever, after having their doors blown off in Game 3….and well, you know the rest.
A pivotal moment for the franchise.
1. 2004 ALCS Game 4-7
Not a moment, and I already covered part of game 4…but my list, my rules. Ortiz winning Game 4 and 5 was magical.
People hate Schilling now, but there is no mistaking that Game 6 was one of the great performances in Post-Season history across all sports.
And Game 7 was just a party.
I tried to capture as much of the series as I could, and I think this one does the trick…Bonus World Series footage…and BONUS-BONUS, Tom Petty singing IMHO, his best song