The Yankee-Red rivalry began in 1903 when the soon-to-be World Champion Boston Americans faced the New York Highlanders.
1. The Yankees and the Red Sox weren’t always the Yankees and the Red Sox. When the teams first met in 1903, the New York Highlanders squared off against the Boston Americans. And predictably, in one of their very first meetings at Boston’s Huntingon Avenue Grounds, a base-running incident led to a full-scale brawl. The two teams have been fighting ever since.
2. New York’s 20-11 victory at Fenway Park in August marked the highest scoring game in the history of the rivalry. In the previous highest scoring game, the Yankees (er Highlanders) beat the Red Sox (er Americans) 15-14 on July 29, 1903. Hall of Famers Cy Young and Jack Chesbro were the starting pitchers in that slugfest.
3. In that same 15-14 game, Boston outfielder Patsy Dougherty hit for the cycle. Yankee second baseman Joe Gordon recorded the only other cycle in the rivalry, on September 8, 1940.
4. On June 30, 1908, Boston immortal Cy Young beat the Yankees, 8-0. It was the first of just five no-hitters in the storied rivalry. Rube Foster no-hit the Yankees in 1916, while George Mogridge (1917), Allie Reynolds (1951) (shown right getting the final out against Ted Williams) and Dave Righetti (1983) pitched Yankee no-hitters against the Sox.
5. Five days after the Titanic went down in the North Atlantic, the Red Sox christened Fenway Park with an 11-inning, 7-6 win over the New York Highlanders, soon to be named the Yankees.
6. Babe Ruth was a one heckuva pitcher. His career record against the Yankees was 17-5 with a 2.21 ERA. And he won both games he pitched for the Yankees against Boston, in 1930 and 1933.
7. Ted Williams batted .345 against the Yankees in his career, with 62 home runs and 229 RBIs in 327 games. In 312 games against the Red Sox, Lou Gehrig had 70 homers and 316 RBIs with a .352 average.
8. The longest game in Yankee-Red Sox history occurred August 29, 1967, when New York beat Boston, 4-3, in 20 innings on a base hit by Horace Clarke in the second game of a doubleheader at Yankee Stadium. The two rivals have played 15 or more innings 13 times in their history.
9. When Alex Rodriguez hit a walk-off home run against the Red Sox in the 15th inning last month to win a 2-0 classic, it was just the fifth game-ending homer to break up a scoreless tie in the 15th inning or later in baseball history. Adrian Garrett and Hall of Famers Willie Mays, Earl Averill and Old Hoss Radbourn hit the other walk-off winners.
10. Yankee designated hitter Hideki Matsui had seven RBIs in that 20-11 win, the most by a Yankee against Boston since Gehrig had eight ribbies in a 14-13 Yankee win on July 31, 1930, including one of his major league record 23 grand slams.
No pitcher will ever equal the 511 wins chalked up by legendary hurler Cy Young.
They say that records are made to be broken. But there are exceptions to every rule.
These 10 baseball records (and some related ones) will never be broken.
1. Most wins, lifetime, Cy Young, 511
Young’s record spanned the 1890s and baseball’s modern era. To break this record, a pitcher would need to win 25 games for 20 years…and even then, he comes up a dozen short. Next closest is Walter Johnson with 417 wins.
Some other pitching longevity records that seem certain to withstand the test of time: Jack Chesbro’s 41 wins for the New York Highlanders in 1904, Ed Walsh’s 464 innings pitched for the Chicago White Sox in 1908; Walter Johnson’s 110 shutouts and Nolan Ryan’s 5714 career strikeouts.
2. Most triples, lifetime, Sam Crawford, 309
The current leader in the majors, Johnny Damon, has 94 career triples…and is 35 years old. In fact, since Stan Musial retired in 1963 with 177 three-baggers, nobody has had more than Willie Wilson’s 147. The record for triples in a single season, Chief Wilson’s 36 for the Pirates in 1912, appears safe as well.
3. Highest batting average, lifetime, Ty Cobb, 366
Nobody has come within 25 points of Cobb, shown right, since Ted Williams retired in 1960 with a .344 average. Among all active players, Albert Pujols is the leader at .334.
4. Most consecutive games played, Cal Ripken, 2632 games
They said Lou Gehrig’s record of 2130 games played would last for all time…that is until Cal Ripken came along. Don’t see any more Ripkens on the horizon.
5. Highest batting average, season, Rogers Hornsby, .424 in 1924
The Rajah’s record stands secure; the last player to hit. 400 in a season was Ted Williams in 1941.
6. Longest hitting streak, Joe DiMaggio, 56 games in 1941
Pete Rose came closest with his National League record 44-game streak in 1978.
7. Most grand slams, one inning, Fernando Tatis, 2 in 1999
Tatis is the only man in history to hit two salamis in the same inning. Add in the fact that he did it against the same pitcher, Chan Ho Park, and you’re got a record that will never be broken.
8. Most home runs, World Series, Mickey Mantle 18
This legendary leader list, topped by Mantle, shown left, includes Babe Ruth with 15, Yogi Berra with 12, Duke Snider with 11 and Lou Gehrig with 10. No active player is even close. Speaking of World Series records, Whitey Ford’s 10 wins and Yogi Berra’s 71 hits and 10 championships will be tough to match.
9. Most consecutive no-hitters, Johnny Vander Meer, 2 in 1938
One no-hitter is an extreme rarity, but only Vander Meer, a Cincinnati left-hander, ever threw two in a row. He beat the Braves at Cincy’s Crosley Field on June 11, 1938, and four days later no-hit the Dodgers in the first night game ever played at Brooklyn’s Ebbets Field. Another record that should stand for all-time is Nolan Ryan’s career 7 no-hitters.
10. Toughest batter to strike out, Joe Sewell, 114 strikeouts in 7132 at-bats
A perennial .300 hitter over 14 seasons with the Yankees and Indians, Sewell’s career rate of one strikeout for nearly every 63 at-bats is by far the best in history. He struck out three times in 1932 — in 503 at-bats over the course of the entire season. Today’s players routinely strike out three times in a game and 114 times or more in a single season.
FACT: No major league pitcher at least 100 games over .500 in his career has ever failed to make the Hall of Fame.
All 18 eligible starters who fit this profile are in — including six who pitched the majority of their careers in the 19th Century. There are a dozen 300-game winners on the list.
The 100 Plus Club list is dotted with the usual suspects — Cy Young, Walter Johnson, Christy Mathewson, Pete Alexander, Warren Spahn, Tom Seaver, Jim Palmer and Bob Feller, just to name a few. Young is the only pitcher close to 200 plus in the won-loss category: he finished his career with a record 511 wins and 316 losses.
Whitey Ford has the best overall winning percentage amongst members of the elite club — 236-106 for .690. Lefty Grove is right behind at .680 (300-141), followed by 19th Century hurler John Clarkson at .649 (327-177).
No Koufax, Ryan, Gibson
Then there are those who didn’t make it, immortals like Sandy Koufax, Nolan Ryan, Bob Gibson, Dizzy Dean, Carl Hubbell and Rube Waddell.
The 100 Plus Club is due to get some company soon. Recently retired enigma Roger Clemens has a 354-184 record, a .658 winning percentage. He also has a steroid-tarnished resume which may or may not hinder his Hall of Fame chances. Then again, his seven Cy Youngs can only help his cause.
There are five active pitchers with 100 plus stat lines. Tom Glavine and Greg Maddux are 300-game winners, and Randy Johnson is just 11 wins away, at 289. Pedro Martinez is 212-95, a point ahead of Ford’s .690 all-time winning percentage.
All four are pretty much considered to be Hall of Fame locks, with 14 Cy Young awards amongst them (Johnson 5, Maddux 4, Martinez 3 and Glavine 2).
And then there’s Mike Mussina, shown above, a man whose career has been full of almosts and near-misses. Mussina has never won a Cy Young award. He has never won 20 games in a single season, never won an ERA or strikeout title, never won a World Series.
Mussina came to the Yankees the year after they won four World Series in five years. He came within one strike of pitching a perfect game against the Red Sox in Fenway Park in 2001. He’s always left at the altar.
The Moose has won 19 games twice and 18 twice. He’s had 17 straight years of 10 or more wins, an American League record. He’s had only two losing seasons in 18 years.
Overall Mussina is 261-150, a .639 winning percentage. But is that good enough?
Hall of Fame candidates are typically voted in for reaching certain milestones, like 300 wins, 3,000 hits, or 500 home runs. Perhaps consistency should count for something as well.
Only time will tell.
Pitchers used to finish what they started.
In 1904, Jack Chesbro started 55 games for the New York Highlanders. He finished 48 of them, winning 41 games. All are major league records.
Last year, Arizona’s Brandon Webb led the National League with 4 complete games; Roy Hallady of the Blue Jays had 7.
Cy Young threw 749 complete games in his career; the current major league career leaders are Greg Maddux with 109 and Randy Johnson with 99.
In 1968, the so-called “Year of the Pitcher,” Juan Marichal of the Giants led the majors with 30 complete games. The Tigers’ Denny McLain became the last 30-game winner, and had 28 complete games.
“Nobody trusted anybody in the bullpen,” said McLain, who wound up 31-6. “Three or four of my losses were 2-1 and 1-0.”
In 1975, Catfish Hunter started 39 games for the Yankees and finished 30 of them, the last pitcher to reach that mark in complete games.
The last hurler to record 20 complete games was the Dodgers’ Fernando Valenzuela, in 1986. Randy Johnson was the last to have double figures in 10 CGs, 12 in 1999.
Complete games have become baseball’s lost art.
Fred “Firpo” Marberry helped the Washington Senators to their only World Championship in 1924.
He’s one of baseball’s original saviors, a man ahead of his time, long forgotten in the roll call of baseball history.
He’s Frederick Marberry, known to his contemporaries as Firpo. He was a bullpen specialist before relievers became vogue, a fireman on call long before the save was recognized as an official statistic.
Marberry pitched for the Senators, Tigers and Giants from 1923 through 1936, and led the major league in saves five times with Washington. He’s the only pitcher in history to accomplish that feat. As the first prominent reliever, Firpo has been retroactively credited as the first pitcher to record 20 saves in a season, the first to earn 100 career saves, the first to make 50 relief appearances in a season or 300 in a career. Firpo held the career saves record from 1926 to 1946 before it was broken by Johnny Murphy of the Yankees.
Only Dan Quisenberry of the Royals matched Firpo, leading the American League in saves five times in the 1980s. Four-time league leaders include Lee Smith with multiple teams, Bruce Sutter of the Cardinals, Murphy, and Hall of Famers Ed Walsh of the White Sox and Mordecai “Three Finger” Brown of the Cubs. Hall of Famers such as Kid Nichols, Cy Young, Joe McGinnity, Christy Mathewson, Lefty Grove, Dizzy Dean and Carl Hubbell also earned single season save honors.
According to baseball statistician Bill James, Marberry was the second best pitcher in the majors from 1924-1934, behind only Grove. He started 187 games in his career, posting a 94-52 record; overall he compiled a 148-88 record, a .648 winning percentage, 101 saves and a 3.63 ERA. Despite starting only 34 percent of his games through his 14-year career, he won 19 games in 1929; he won 16 games twice and 15 games two other times.
In 1924, Firpo recorded his first save title with 15. That October, he helped guide the Senators to their only World Series championship with an effective relief stint in Game Seven against the New York Giants, finishing with a 1.12 ERA in four games.
Marberry recorded 15 saves again in 1925 as the Senators won their second straight American League pennant.. He won his third straight saves title with 22 in 1926, a record that stood until the Yankees’ Joe Page had 27 saves in 1949.
In 1929, after two subpar seasons, Firpo came back to again lead the American League and the majors with 11 saves, while also winning a career-high 19 games to finish fourth in the A.L.
Marberry was employed primarily as a starter in 1930 and 1931, and posted an overall record of 31-9 for with the Senators. In 1931, showcasing his talents as both a starter (25 starts), and a reliever (20 appearances), he posted a 16-4 record with a 3.45 ERA. While he picked up 11 complete games and one shutout as a starter, he also had seven saves, and finished 13th in MVP voting (Grove won the award).
In 1932, Firpo led the majors in saves for the fifth and last time with 13, before being traded to the Tigers. He finished his career with the Giants in 1936.