A Game-by-Game History of the Rivalry between the Yankees and Red Sox

There’s no rivalry in sports like the one that exists between the New York Yankees and the Boston Red Sox. It rests on the shoulders of every man who wears a Boston or New York jersey. It spills into the stands and into the streets of both cities, which have a rivalry that predates the invention of baseball.

Here’s our list of the most important games in the history of the rivalry between the Yankees and Red Sox. 

April 11, 1912: New York dresses in pinstripes

On opening day in 1912, New York (then known as the Highlanders) wore pinstripes for the first time in a game against the Red Sox. The visiting Sox won the contest, 5-3.

April 20, 1912: First game in Fenway

The Red Sox moved into their new concrete ballpark in 1912 and the first game was against New York. A standing-room only crowd, which included dignitaries and a who’s who list of Boston’s elite, as well as the faithful rowdy Red Sox throng, cheered the home team to a 7-6 win. The decisive blow came in the 12th inning when Tris Speaker singled to score the winning run. Boston went on to win the World Series that season.

May 6, 1915: The Babe swats his first home run against the Yankees

The big lug, George Herman Ruth was just 20 years old when he toed the rubber at New York’s Polo Grounds on May 6, 1915 to face the Yankees. Wearing the uniform of the Red Sox, the Babe was the most impressive player on the field this day, both as a pitcher and a slugger. In the third inning, in only his 18th big league plate appearance, Ruth hit a pitch from New York’s Jack Warhop into the right field grandstands, down the cozy line at the Polo Grounds. It was his first major league homer. The lefthander pitched into the 13th inning of the 3-3 game before losing on an error behind him.

Wrote Damon Runyon, a witness to the afternoon game:

“Fanning this Ruth is not as easy as the name and the occupation might indicate. In the third inning, Ruth knocked the slant out of one of Jack Warhop’s underhanded subterfuges, and put the baseball in the right field stands for a home run. Ruth was discovered by Jack Dunn in a Baltimore school a year ago where he had not attained his left-handed majority, and was adopted and adapted by Jack for use of the Orioles. He is now quite a demon pitcher and demon hitter when he connects.”

Ironically, Ruth hit his first three homers against his future team, including a three-run shot at Fenway against the Yankees on June 25th.

The Red Sox won the pennant in 1915 and again the following season, capturing the world championship both times. They won it again in 1918 with Ruth leading the league in home runs.

On January 5, 1920, the Red Sox announced that they were selling Ruth to the Yankees for a princely sum. By that time, Ruth was making his mark as an outfielder, and even though he already had three titles as a member of the Red Sox, he would become a legend in pinstripes, winning four with the Yankees.

April 18, 1923: Sox are the foe in first game at Yankee Stadium

After years of sharing a venue with the New York Giants, the Yankees finally opened their own ballpark in 1923. Dubbed “The House That Ruth Built,” the original Yankee Stadium was a majestic park with seating for more than 70,000 fans. The Yankees were a great team at that time, having won the pennant in 1921 and 1922. For the first game at their new home, they hosted the Red Sox, Ruth’s former team.

In the fourth inning, with the stands packed with an estimated 74,000 people, Babe Ruth hit the first home run in the history of Yankee Stadium, a high, arcing drive off Howard Ehmke. The Yankees won the historic game 4-1, behind the Babe and pitcher Bob Shawkey.

May 30, 1938: Cronin and Powell brawl before record crowd in New York

This game is often referred to as the starting point for the true rivalry between the Red Sox and Yanks. It was an otherwise inconsequential regular season game at Yankee Stadium, between the second place Yankees and fourth place Boston. The two teams squared off for two games for a Monday afternoon doubleheader.

In the first game, the Yankees pounded Lefty Grove for nine hits and seven runs. The beleaguered ace was still on the bump in the third inning when he brushed back Jake Powell with a pitch that whizzed past the Yankee outfielder’s head. In the fourth, Boston reliever Archie McKain threw at Powell again, apparently because of some chatter between the two benches that included Powell questioning the lineage of some of the Boston players. When he ducked out of the way of McKain’s pitch, Powell had seen enough and charged the mound. There he was met by Boston shortstop and team captain Joe Cronin, who was not too happy about his club being down by seven runs. Cronin pushed McKain aside and started in on Powell, landing a punch that sent the Yankee to the grass. Soon, both benches were empty as the two teams shoved and pushed in the middle of the diamond. Cronin and Powell were ejected, but neither man was done throwing haymakers. Their fight resumed in the tunnel beneath Yankee Stadium, where Cronin reportedly removed a tooth from Powell’s jaw with a well-placed punch and knocked the Yankee out.

Whatever happened, Cronin got the better of the fracas, and Powell was out of the lineup for more than a week. The Yankee outfielder was consistently involved in controversy during his career. Also in 1938, Powell made headlines during an interview when he was asked what he did in the offseason in his role as a peace officer in Ohio. “I crack niggers on the head,” Powell replied proudly. For his comment, the Yankee received a 10-game suspension.

July 9, 1939: Red Sox shave Yanks lead, but still bridesmaid’s

From 1936-39, the Yankees won four consecutive pennants and were barely challenged in the American League. They also won the World Series every year. These were the Yankees of a young Joe DiMaggio and veteran Lou Gehrig. With great pitching led by Red Ruffing and Lefty Gomez. The Red Sox finished second in both 1938 and 1939, but they were way back when the season ended each time. Boston boasted Lefty Grove, Jimmie Foxx, Bobby Doerr, and in 1939, the young Ted Williams.

In ’39 on June 30th the Yankees were 13 1/2 games behind the Bombers. Surely, this would be another easy summer for DiMaggio and the Yankees. But over the next nine days the Red Sox beat the Yankees seven times and shaved seven games off their lead. In a five-game series at Yankee Stadium that featured two doubleheaders, the Red Sox won all five games. On July 9th they defeated the Yanks by scores of 4-3 and 5-3.

Unfortunately for the Red Sox, by the time they faced the Yankees again, just before Labor Day, they trailed by 12 games. The Yankees rolled on to win the pennant by 17.

July 2, 1941: DiMaggio breaks record against the Red Sox

Entering this game, Joltin’ Joe had hit in 44 straight games, tying the MLB record set by Willie Keeler. The Red Sox (including Joe’s brother Dom) were in New York to play in Yankee Stadium. In the sixth inning Joe was hitless when he came to the plate with a runner on first base. DiMaggio hit a line drive into the left field seats to extend his streak to 45 games, a new major league record. He would get at least one hit in 11 more games to get to 56.

During his 56-game streak, DiMaggio hit .408, while Boston star Ted Williams hit .407 during the same span. DiMaggio would win the MVP in 1941, Williams (who hit .406 for the season) finished second. The Yankees won the pennant, while Boston finished second.

October 3, 1948: Sox rough up Yanks to clinch spot in pennant playoff game

The 1948 season featured a thrilling three-team pennant race, with Cleveland joining New York and Boston in a scrum. Entering the final weekend, the teams were separated by one game. But on October 2 (the season’s final Saturday), the Red Sox defeated the Yankees, eliminating them. Still, Cleveland was tied with the Indians atop the standings. On Sunday, the Yankees desperately wanted to beat the Sox and return the favor, eliminating them.

The Bombers built an early 2-0 lead at Fenway Park, but Boston pounced on Bob Porterfield for five runs in the third and cruised to a 10-5 victory. This game featured a slew of all-time legends on both sides: Joe DiMaggio, Yogi Berra, Phil Rizzuto, Hank Bauer, and Vic Raschi for the Yanks; Ted Williams, Dom DiMaggio, Vern Stephens, Johnny Pesky, and Bobby Doerr for the Red Sox.

With their victory, the Sox secured a place in a one-game pennant playoff the following day against Cleveland, but they lost. Still, the fact that they had vanquished the Yankees was some sweet consolation.

October 2, 1949: Yanks edge Sox on final day to win pennant by one game

A year after the Red Sox eliminated New York in the final weekend of the season, the Yanks turned the tables. The Sox used an 11-game winning streak in September to catch the Yankees and forge a tie for first place entering the final Game #154. For the crucial contest, Boston manager Joe McCarthy (formerly of the Yankees) called on his ace, Ellis Kinder.

The problem with McCarthy’s decision was the fact that Kinder was a starting pitcher who had been used three times in relief in the previous for days leading into the final game. Kinder was a 23-game winner and he had the courage of Hercules. He battled into the seventh but ran out of gas, leaving the game with Boston behind 1-0. In the eighth, Mel Parnell, who had started the day before, showed how gassed he was, allowing a single and a home run to the only batters he faced. Boston lost 5-3, and the Yankees won the pennant. It would be the first of five straight flags and world championships for New York.

September 28, 1951: “Superchief” shackles Red Sox on no-hits

Three of the 11 no-hitters thrown by Yankee pitchers have come against the Boston Red Sox. The first was in 1917 by George Mogridge and was the first no-hitter at Fenway. The second was this one tossed by Allie Reynolds at Yankee Stadium in the first game of a doubleheader. This no-no was impressive because the Red Sox featured a great lineup with Dom DiMaggio, Johnny Pesky, Ted Williams, Billy Goodman, and Lou Boudreau. The Yanks won the game 8-0 in what was the second no-hitter of the season for “Superchief.” The Yankees went on to win their third consecutive pennant, Boston finished third, eleven games back.

September 10, 1967: Yaz & Crew pound Yankees on way to improbable pennant

For the first time in September in 17 years, the Red Sox and Yankees played a series that was important in the pennant race. In this case, Boston found themselves in a fight for the flag with three other teams in a wild scramble. In this game at Fenway, the eighth between the rivals in 14 days, the Sox won 9-1. Boston won seven of the eight meetings, smacking around their rivals for a change.

September 8, 1972: A return to a meaningful rivalry

For most of the years between 1950 and 1972, the Yankees and Red Sox were rivals but not really heated rivals. The Red Sox were not in many races past July or August and the Yankees dominated the American League, winning 12 pennants in those 21 seasons. Finally in ’72 both teams were good (or at least good enough) at the same time.

The 1972 season started late because of the first labor stoppage in modern history. That hiccup seemed to knock every team off center. By the middle of summer the AL East was a jumbled mess of teams mostly struggling to stay above the .500 mark. The Yankees were two games over .500 and the Sox were one game over .500 on the morning of August 1st, several games behind Detroit. But both teams played well enough to move into the race and by September 1st, the standings read: (1) Baltimore and Detroit in a tie, (3) Yankees and Red Sox each two games out.

On this night at Fenway Park, the Sox sent ace righthander Luis Tiant to the hill and he delivered, beating Fritz Peterson 4-2 to complete a three-game sweep that sunk the Yankees into fourth place, three games behind first-place Boston. Both big boppers produced for their teams: Bobby Murcer and Carl Yastrzemski hit home runs in this contest. Boston went 4-1 against the Yankees in September and stayed in the division race until the final day of the season, losing by 1/2 game to the Tigers.

August 1, 1973: Munson and Fisk fight at Fenway

This was a good baseball fight. There are a lot of bad baseball fights, and many “non-fights” where players just yell at each other and stick their chests out and so on. This was a good baseball fight.

The first-place Yankees were in Fenway to face the Sox and the game was tied 2-2 in the top of the ninth with Thurman Munson on third base for New York. The batter was Gene Michael, known as “Stick” to his teammates. Michael missed a suicide squeeze sign sent in by Ralph Houk, which left Munson in the suicide part without a squeeze bunt. As a result, the big Yankee catcher was out at home plate on an attempted steal, Boston catcher Carlton Fisk applying the tag. But the play was very odd because Michael didn’t get out of the way, since he had no idea that his teammate was coming down the line. Fisk nudged Michael a bit as he met Munson to apply the tag, but the result was that all three players were in a tight circle around home plate. Munson slid under Fisk and the Boston catcher ended up laying on top of him. That’s when Thurman got irked and shoved Pudge, and Fisk of course retaliated. The two exchanged haymakers, several punches landing. Michael hopped on Fisk and was met by pitcher John Curtis, Carl Yastrzemski and other Red Sox infielders.

Houk soon came onto the field and hurled himself into the scrum around home plate, his hat flying off and his body rolling around the dirt. Both Fisk and Munson were ejected from the game, which went on to the bottom of the ninth still tied.

In sweet irony, Fisk’s replacement Bob Montgomery delivered a single off Sparky Lyle to start the winning rally. Two batters later, Mario Guerrero singled him in and Montgomery happily ran past Munson to score the winning run.

“I can see by the scratches you’ve been in a fight with Gene Michael,” Boston pitcher Bill Lee said after the game.

May 20, 1976: Pudge and Sweet Lou wrestle at home plate

It was the sixth inning at Yankee Stadium with Boston trailing the Yankees 1-0 at Yankee Stadium. Lou Piniella was on second base when Graig Nettles lined a single to right field where Dewey Evans fielded the ball and fired it to the plate. Carlton Fisk took the throw at about the same time that Piniella roared into home, the two tumbling over each other. The ball never came loose and Piniella was called out, but he took umbrage with Fisk’s arms and legs being tangled with him. Fisk started punching Piniella and the benches emptied to home plate.

Boston pitcher Bill Lee, always one to run his mouth and a true Yankee hater, entered the scuffle and was punched in the back of his head by Mickey Rivers, which sent the lefthander to the ground onto his pitching shoulder, which was separated. Moments later, holding his injured left wing gingerly to his side, Lee jawed with Nettles which erupted into another melee behind home plate.

Incredibly, only Nettles, Yankee manager Billy Martin, and Lee were ejected from the game. Lee missed almost two months and was never the same that season. The fight sparked the Sox, who scored eight runs over the last three innings of the game. Fisk got some measure of revenge with an RBI-single in the eighth, while Carl Yastrzemski hit two-run homers in the seventh and eighth innings as Boston steamrolled the Yanks, 8-2.

Despite the win, the defending AL champs were five games back of the division-leading Yankees. The Bombers won the next two games in walk-off fashion in extra innings and never looked back, wrestling the pennant away from the Sox in ’76.

June 18, 1977: The Billy and Reggie Circus

It can be easy to forget how good the Yankees and Red Sox were in the 1970s because New York won three pennants and two World Series, while Boston were bridesmaids so often, finishing second four times. In that decade, the Sox averaged 89.5 wins per season and the Yanks averaged 89.2, but New York got the headlines. Both teams had great lineups and some of the biggest stars in the American League.

In 1977 the Yankees were defending AL champions and the Red Sox had won the pennant the previous season and wanted to snatch it back. On the morning of June 17, 1977, the Sox were 1/2 game behind the Yanks in the standings as the two teams prepared for a three-game series at Fenway. Boston won the first game behind their power, slugging six homers to win 9-4 and leap into first place.

The June 18th game was televised nationally as the Saturday Game of the Week. The Sox were once again outdueling the Yanks, leading 7-4 in the seventh when Jim Rice lined a hit to right field. New York right fielder Reggie Jackson fielded the ball on the warning track and lofted the ball back into the infield, but not before Rice cruised into second with a double. Manager Billy Martin didn’t think Reggie had played the ball with enough enthusiasm and waved his slugger in to the dugout. Reggie was shocked, holding both arms out from his sides in a “What the hell is going on?” gesture. Eventually Paul Blair went out to right and told Jackson that he was being replaced in the middle of the inning.

Predictably, Jackson was miffed when he got to the dugout, and Fenway fans were glad to let him know how unusual and embarrassing the move was. Martin and Reggie got into an heated exchange in the dugout and Billy had to be held back from going after the much larger Reggie.

The Sox won the game, 10-4 and completed a sweep on Sunday, pounding the Yanks 11-1 to lengthen their lead to 2 1/2 games. Eventually their lead would swell to five games and the Sox were in first place as late as August 22, but the Yankees regrouped and won the pennant by two games.

September 14, 1977: Reggie’s homer beats Red Sox in The Bronx

The Red Sox were very much in the hunt for the division title in 1977, chasing the Yankees much of the season, and actually holding first place as late as the last week of August. The Orioles were also in the mix, but this game at Yankee Stadium in the middle of September is what really sunk Boston’s chances.

Entering the game the Sox were 2 1/2 games behind the Bombers. The two teams traded zeroes for eight innings and then Boston failed to score in the top of the ninth of starter Ed Figueroa, who was twirling a nice game. Red Sox starter Reggie Cleveland was matching Figueroa and had only surrendered four hits entering the bottom of the ninth. Thurman Munson singled to open the inning, which brought up “The Straw That Stirs the Drink,” Mr. Reggie Jackson. The lefthanded power hitter deposited a Cleveland pitch into the right field stands for a two-run, walk-off homer. The loss left the Red Sox reeling and they never got closer than two games as the Yankees won the division, and ultimately the pennant and the Fall Classic for their first title in 15 years.

September 7, 1978: The Boston Massacre

The Red Sox led the AL East by 10 games in early July, and as late as September 1 they still led the Yankees by 6 1/2 games. But the Yankees put on a charge under manager Bob Lemon, who replaced the fired Billy Martin. Meanwhile the Sox went into a tailspin. 

On September 7, the Sox were four games ahead and prepared to host a doubleheader against the hated Yankees at Fenway. These were the Sox of Yaz and Luis Tiant and the “Gold Dust Twins,” Jim Rice and Fred Lynn. But on this day, the Sox were more like the Bopsie Twins.

The Yankees won 15-3 and 13-2, pounding Boston pitching in a doubleheader sweep that seemed like a pivotal turning point in the race. Boston lost the next two games to the Yankees by scores of 7-0 and 7-4 and fell into a tie atop the division standings. Eventually the Yankees would claim first place, but an eight-game winning streak at the close of the season brought Boston back into a tie. The two teams were forced to play a one-game playoff to determine the division champion.

October 3, 1978: Bucky Freakin’ Dent

On Monday in Boston, the Yankees completed their unlikely comeback and defeated the Red Sox in a one-game playoff, 5-4. The go-ahead runs scored on a home run by light-hitting Bucky Dent over the Green Monster in left field. This loss, which completed their historic collapse that season, haunted Red Sox fans for decades. 

July 4, 1983: Rags no-hits Sox on Big George’s birthday

No Red Sox fan wanted to see the Yankees beat their team, but they especially didn’t want to be beaten without a hit. On July 4, with birthday boy Yankee owner George Steinbrenner looking on, Dave Righetti stymied the powerful Red Sox lineup for an Independence Day celebration at The Stadium.

May 27, 1999: Clemens faces Red Sox for the first time as a Yankee

It was one thing when Roger Clemens left the Red Sox to sign with the Blue Jays as a free agent, but a few years later after he was traded to the Yankees it created a real emotional quandary for Boston fans. The greatest Boston pitcher in modern history was now wearing pinstripes. His first start against the Sox came on May 27, 1999, at Yankee Stadium. Clemens got the win, going seven innings while allowing just two hits to his former team. Over the next several years, Clemens would be at the center of many famous rivalry moments.

October 13, 1999: Yankees walkoff in first postseason game against BoSox

Thanks to the added round of playoffs, the Red Sox and Yankees finally met each other for a post-season game in 1999. The Sox were the wild card team, and the Yankees division champs. After Boston upset the Indians in five games in the AL Division Series, they earned the right to face the defending world champions. Right from the start, things got dicey for the Sawx.

In Game One of the 1999 AL Championship Series, the Red Sox started the immortal Kent Mercker. He actually pitched pretty well, though he last just four innings. The two teams were tied at Yankee Stadium in the ninth inning when both bullpens put up zeroes. The game headed to extra innings.

In the bottom of the tenth, Bernie Williams greeted Boston reliever Rod Beck (and his epic mullet) with a home run to deep center field. Walk-off win for Yanks. Walk-off nightmare for Boston, who lost in five games.

October 16, 1999: Martinez masters Yanks in duel with Clemens

The highlight of the 1999 AL Championship Series was Pedro Martinez, who was the best pitcher in baseball, and maybe the greatest pitcher we have ever seen, at that time in his career. In Game Three at Fenway, with his fastball and patented changeup, Pedro struck out 12 Yankees in seven shutout innings. The Sox won 13-1, but lost the ALCS in five games.

May 28, 2000: Pedro and Rocket square off for first time

There have been some great pitching matchups in the Red Sox/Yankees rivalry. There was Cy Young vs. Jack Chesbro, then Lefty Grove vs. Red Ruffing, and then Luis Tiant vs. Ron Guidry. But no matchups were as greatly anticipated, as dramatic, as powerful, as when Pedro Martinez and Roger Clemens squared off. Clemens was a former Red Sox ace, while Pedro was essentially his replacement. Pedro was small, wiry, confident. Clemens was big, surly, and confident. Both laid claim to the title of “Best of Their Generation.” But while both pitched in Boston, only Pedro won there.

The two strikeout artists met for the first time in the rivalry on May 28, 2000, in the midst of one of Martinez’s best seasons. In fact, it was one of the best seasons ever had by any pitcher. Martinez got the better of Clemens in this first matchup, spinning a four-hitter with nine strikeouts. Clemens also went the distance, fanning 13 batters. But in the top of the ninth, with two outs and a man on first, Trot Nixon hit a home run to break the scoreless tie and give the Sox a 2-0 lead. Pedro loaded the bases in the bottom of the ninth but got Tino Martinez to ground out to end the game, winning an epic pitching duel at Yankee Stadium.

October 11, 2003: Benches clear in tense ALCS game at Fenway

You have to see this to appreciate the depths of the rivalry.

October 16, 2003: Boone stings Sox with pennant-winning homer

Aaron “Fucking” Boone hit a home run to win one of the most epic games in baseball history in Game Seven of the 2003 ALCS. This series had a little bit of everything, and by the final contest, it was anyone’s guess which team would emerge as AL champion.

The Sox built a 4-0 and had Pedro Martinez on the mound. But in the eighth, manager Grady Little inexplicably kept his tired pitcher in the game and watched as the Yankees scored three times to tie the game.

In extra innings, while Mariano Rivera was shackling the Boston offense, the Yankees were having trouble against Mike Timlin, and then the knuckleballer Tim Wakefield. But in the early morning hours at Yankee Stadium, Boone led off the bottom of the 11th with a high, deep homer to left field to win the pennant. It was the worst defeat by the Red Sox at the hands of their rivals since Game #163 in 1978.

April 16, 2004: Fenway fans boo ARod in pinstripes

Alex Rodriguez was going to be a member of the Red Sox. That’s how it was supposed to happen, and in fact he was a Red Sox for about 36 hours. But an offseason deal was nixed the players union and the commissioner’s office, and he was later traded to the Yankees. So, when the two teams met in the early part of the 2004 season, there was more than a little animosity about ARod and between the Yanks and Sox.

Upon hearing that the Yankees had acquired Rodriguez in a trade with the Rangers, Boston team owner John Henry called New York, “the evil empire.” That sort of thing was hanging over the rivalry in 2004.

On April 16 at Fenway in the first meeting between the rivals that season, fans booed ARod mercilessly every time he came to the plate or touched the baseball in the field. The Red Sox won the game 6-2, which was only the first of 26 games the teams would play against each other in 2004. 

July 24, 2004: ARod and Varitek tussle, Rivera blows lead in ninth

If there was one player who personified the grit of the 2004 Red Sox, it was catcher Jason Varitek. A thick-chested, thick-legged, strong-minded receiver, Varitek was the unquestioned leader of the team. On this day in Boston, he proved he wouldn’t back down from any challenge.

Alex Rodriguez was probably the most hated player in baseball for much of his career. When Bronson Arroyo hit ARod with a pitch in the third inning, the fans in Fenway were delighted. Of course, Rodriguez and Yankees were not. As he walked to first base, Rodriguez let Arroyo know that he didn’t like being used for target practice. Varitek stayed between his pitcher and the Yankee slugger, and when ARod used about his tenth “Fuck you,” the Boston catcher had enough and answered the call to fight. Both players ended up on the dirt, and Varitek seemed to get the better of it.

Later that game, the Red Sox scored three runs in the bottom of the ninth off Mariano Rivera, the final two on a home run by Bill Mueller that won the game in walk-off fashion.    

October 17, 2004: Sox’ ninth inning rally off Rivera staves off elimination

The Yankees dominated the Red Sox in the first three games of the AL Championship Series. The Sox were embarrassed and beaten, staring at a 3-0 deficit. In Game our at Fenway they were in the hole again, trailing by a run in the ninth. Then Kevin Millar drew a walk off Mariano Rivera, and pinch-runner Dave Roberts stole second. A few pitches later, Yankee Killer Bill Mueller drove Roberts in with the tying run. In the 12th, David Ortiz hit a walk-off home run to keep the Sox’s season alive.

October 18, 2004: Big Papi delivers walk-off hit…again

Less than 24 hours after he won Game Four with a walk-off homer, David “Big Papi” Ortiz won Game Five with a walk-off single. This time it took 14 innings. The unsung hero of this Boston victory was Tim Wakefield, who pitched three shutout innings of relief.

October 19, 2004: The Bloody Sock game

This epic battle had it all:

  • The Yanks with a chance to clinch the pennant at home, up 3-2 in the series.
  • The Red Sox fresh off two walk-off wins at home to stave off elimination.
  • Curt Schilling on the mound for Boston with blood on his sock from sutures in his ankle.
  • In the 8th, with the Yanks trailing 4-2 and Schilling out of the game, Alex Rodriguez hits a slow roller between the mound and first. As he runs down the line in what will be a sure out, ARod slaps the baseball out of pitcher Bronson Arroyo‘s glove. Initially it appeared that Rodriguez was safe at second after the ball rolled down the right field line, and Derek Jeter fist-pumped his way across the plate with New York’s third run. But hoooooooooold on…Boston manager Terry Francona argued that ARod had swatted the ball away. The umpires huddled and agreed, ARod was called out, and Jeter was returned to first base. The Sox won the game 4-2 to knot the series.
  • Fans in Yankee Stadium were so upset by the umpire ruling in the eighth that negated a run that some of them started to throw objects on the field, which led Francona to remove his team from the diamond.

October 20, 2004: Red Sox complete historic comeback to win pennant at Yankee Stadium

This game was never really in doubt, as the Sox scored six times in the first two innings and cruised to a 10-3 win. The victory completed a shocking comeback from a 3-0 hole for Boston, winning the pennant for the first time in 18 years. The Yankees were forced to watch as their hated rivals celebrated on the infield at Yankee Stadium, wondering what had gone wrong in their four losses to end their season.

October 1, 2005: Yankees beat Sox to win division in Fenway

From 2003 to 2005, counting the postseason, the Red Sox and Yankees played each other 71 times. They couldn’t have been closer: Boston won 36 times and the Yankees won 35.

Entering the last weekend of the season one game separated the two, the Yankees holding the edge. The Sox would need to sweep the series to win the AL East, because the Yanks held the head-to-head tiebreaker. Boston won at Fenway Park on Friday behind David Wells. But on Saturday the Yankees played longball, launching four homers, three in the first three innings, to bury Boston and win their eighth straight division crown. To add insult to injury, the Yanks celebrated on the field at Fenway after the win.

October 2-3, 2010: Red Sox deny Yankees division title

This time the Red Sox played spoiler. The Yankees led the AL East most of the season, but the Rays wouldn’t go away. Entering the final weekend of the season, New York and Tampa Bay were tied atop the standings. The Yanks were in Fenway for three against their arch rivals while the Rays were in Kansas City facing the Royals. On Friday night, rain postponed the game in Boston while Tampa Bay lost to fall 1/2 game back. The Yanks and Sox squared off in a doubleheader on Saturday, New York winning the opener on an error in the tenth inning. But in the second game, the Sox pushed across two runs in the eighth to tie the game. In the tenth they scored to win a walk-off game. Meanwhile the Rays won and pulled back into a tie with the Yankees. On Sunday the Red Sox had fun spoiling things for the Yanks, winning 8-4. New York went into the playoffs as a wild card, beat the Twins, and then lost to the Rangers in the ALCS.

September 28, 2011: The Great Collapse

While the Red Sox were falling apart, losing what was once a nine-game lead (on September 1st) in the wild card race, the Yankees coasted to another AL East title. In the final three games of the season, the Yanks and Rays were playing in Tampa, while the Red Sox were in Baltimore facing the O’s. One game separated the Red Sox and Rays for the wild card spot.

Even though Boston had squandered a huge lead over Tampa, it still seemed like the wild card was theirs. But the Yankees weren’t playing for anything and dropped the first two games. Boston split with Baltimore in their first two games and were now tied with Tampa. But on the final day of the season when the Yanks built a 7-0 lead it seemed like a playoff spot was secure for the Sox, who held a a lead over the Orioles. But Red Sox closer Jonathan Papelbon blew a ninth-inning lead after two were out and no one on base. The Orioles won 4-3. Now, the Sox needed the Yankees to close out their victory over the Rays to set up a one-game playoff for the wild card between Tampa and Boston. But amazingly, the Rays scored six times in the eighth (three on a homer by Evan Longoria) to inch closer. Then in the ninth, Dan Johnson hit a pinch-hit homer to tie the game. The two teams went into the tenth, the eleventh, and finally the twelfth inning. Longoria hit another homer to walk it off and give the Rays the wild card. The Red Sox lost a postseason spot in brutal fashion. Within weeks they would fire manager Terry Francona, and in the offseason they would clean out the clubhouse of many of the old team leaders.

Some Red Sox fans wondered why Joe Girardi hadn’t used closer Mariano Rivera in the bottom of the ninth, but Girardi explained that his star closer (who had pitched the night before) was being rested for the postseason.

August 18, 2013: Dempster welcomes ARod back with a pitch to the ribs

Oh, the complicated and drama-filled career of Alex Rodriguez. In this episode of the “ARod Show,” we see Rodriguez just back from a serious injury that kept him out of the lineup all season. While he was sidelined, ARod became the focus of an investigation into a clinic called Biogenesis, from whom many MLB players acquired performance enhancing drugs. On August 5th, as he was coming off the disabled list, Major League Baseball announced that Rodriguez would be suspended for the remainder of 2013 and all of the 2014 season. But ARod appealed the decision and was allowed to continue playing while his appeal was pending. Many big league players were upset that the Yankee star was still insisting on appealing and playing considering his past with PEDs.

When the Yankees went into Boston for this three-game series, many in major league baseball were calling for Rodriguez to retire or sit out the rest of the year while appealing. Even members of the Yankee front office and teammates were irked with ARod. Opposing players, like pitcher Ryan Dempster of the Red Sox, took offence to what they felt was Rodriguez’s refusal to respect the game. In game three of the series, the first time he faced Dempster, Rodriguez was hit by a pitch on a 3-0 count, leading to home plate umpire Brian O’Nora warning both benches and ejecting a furious Yankee manager Joe Girardi while Dempster was allowed to stay in the game. Later in the top of the sixth inning, Rodriguez hit a 442-foot home run to straightway center off of Dempster. The Yankees won 9-6 and Dempster, who hit Rodriguez before, was suspended five games, later admitting that he hit ARod on purpose.

September 28, 2014: Fenway crowd witnesses Derek Jeter’s last at-bat

There’s something about September 28th and these two teams. In 2014, Yankee captain Derek Jeter was playing his final season, and as a result he made a farewell tour around baseball. And yes, even the Red Sox honored their foe. It so happened that the schedule makers had the Yanks in Boston to face the Sox on the last day of the season. Both teams were well out of any playoff race but the house was packed for this game, with many Yankee fans making the trip north to Massachusetts to say goodbye to #2.

In the sixth, Jeter bounced a high-hopper to third for an RBI-single and then left the game for a pinch-runner. It was the 3,465th hit of his career, his 343rd against the Red Sox, and his 165th at Fenway. While there may have been a few Boston fans booing, you couldn’t hear it through the classy applause from most of the fans in attendance.

October 5, 2021: Red Sox Host Yankees in Wild Card Game at Fenway Park

Who knows what will happen in this first-ever meeting of the rivals in a wild card game?

UPDATE: The Red Sox beat the Yankees 6-2, pounding starter Gerrit Cole for two homers. The Yankee ace got only six outs, and Boston ended New York’s season.