They say history repeats itself. Well it does sometimes, and it did today.
The Yankees comeback from a 9-0 deficit raised the echoes from a Yankee-Red Sox game, just over 62 years ago.
It was April 18, 1950, Opening Day at Fenway Park. Yankees vs. Red Sox.
Boston pounded Yankee starter Allie Reynolds and, like today, led 9-0 entering the sixth inning following Billy Goodman’s two-run homer.
New York rallied, but still trailed 10-4 going into the top of the eighth. Then the Yankees struck for nine runs. Billy Martin, right, making his major league debut, doubled and singled in the eighth inning and knocked in three runs.
The Yankees added to the carnage in the ninth on an RBI double by Joe DiMaggio and a run-scoring single by Yogi Berra to win 15-10.
Sounds familiar, huh.
And again: The Yankees also rebounded from a 9-0 deficit to beat the Red Sox on June 26, 1987, at Yankee Stadium. The Yanks knocked out reigning Cy Young and MVP winner Roger Clemens with an 11-run third inning. They then won the game 12.11 on a base hit by Wayne Tolleson in the 10th inning that scored Mike Pagliarulo.
The Giants stunned the Patriots on this Super Bowl TD pass to Plaxico Burress.
New York and Boston have been battling for bragging rights since the early days of America, when the Knickerbockers and the Pilgrims squared off in the feats of strength. Here are New York’s top 25 wins over its sporting rival to the North:
1. Giants 17, Patriots 14, Super Bowl XLII, 2008 — The unbeaten Patriots were huge 12-point favorites over the Giants, who had to win three playoff road games just to get to the Super Bowl. But the New York pass rush battered Tom Brady all game, and after a miracle connection with David Tyree, Super Bowl MVP Eli Manning hit Plaxico Burress with the winning touchdown with just 35 second remaining.
2. Yankees 5, Red Sox 4, AL East playoff, 1978 — In 1978, the Yankees trailed the Red Sox through most of the summer, at one point trailing by 14 games in July. But the Yanks caught fire, buoyed by September’s Fenway massacre, and the two times wound up tied. In the one-game playoff, Bucky Dent hit a three-run homer just over Fenway’s wall, and Goose Gossage preserved New York’s win.
3. Mets 6, Red Sox 5, 10 innings, Game Six, World Series, 1986 — The Red Sox were within one strike of their first World Championship in 68 years, when the Mets roared back. Two-out singles by Gary Carter, Kevin Mitchell and Ray Knight plated one run, a wild pitch let in the tying run, and then Mookie Wilson’s dribbler went through the legs of first baseman Bill Buckner as Knight raced home with the winning run.
4. Yankees 6, Red Sox 5, 11 innings, Game Seven, ALCS, 2003 — The Red Sox took a 5-2 lead into the bottom of the eighth, but manager Grady Little left Pedro Martinez out to dry and the Yankees rallied to tie the score. The game remained tied into the last of the 11th, when Aaron Boone hit knuckleballer Tim Wakefield’s first pitch into the lower stands in left field to give the Yankees the pennant.
5. Yankees 5, Red Sox 3, 1949 — The Red Sox needed only a split in the final two games of the season at Yankee Stadium to win the AL pennant. In the Saturday game, the Yankees came back from a 4-0 deficit to win 5-4 on Johnny Lindell’s home run in the eighth. The next day, Jerry Coleman’s bases-clearing double helped the Yankees to a 5-0 lead in the eighth, and they held on to win the pennant.
6. Knicks 94, Celtics 78, Game Seven, NBA Eastern Conference finals, 1973 — The Celtics had never lost a Game Seven anywhere, let alone home, and had clawed back from a 3-1 deficit to force the decisive showdown in Boston. Behind a 16-point third period by Walt Frazier and the defensive work of Dean Meminger, the Knicks pulled away to advance to the NBA finals, where they beat the Los Angeles Lakers.
7. Jets 28, Patriots 21, AFC divisional round playoff, 2011 – Following a 45-3 loss to the Patriots in the regular season, the Jets were dbig underdogs against the top-seeded Pats going into the AFC divisional round playoff in Foxboro. But Mark Sanchez threw three touchdown passes — to LaDainian Tomlinson, Braylon Edwards and Santonio Holmes — to lead the Jets to the upset victory.
8. Yankees 15-3, 13-2, 7-0, 7-4, Fenway Massacre, 1978 — The surging Yankees had already shaved 10 games off Boston’s one-time 14-game lead when they arrived in Boston in early September. Four days later the two teams were tied after the Yankees hammered out 42 runs and 77 hits against Boston’s beleaguered staff.
9. Knicks 121, Celtics 114, Game Five, first round, NBA Eastern Conference playoffs, 1990 – The Celtics and Larry Bird won the first two games in the best-of-five series, including a 157-128 win in Game Two. But the Knicks behind Patrick Ewing , left, rebounded to win two games at home and the decisive final game in the Boston Garden.
10. Rangers 6, Bruins 3, Game Five, first round, NHL playoffs, 1973 — The Rangers avenged a loss to the Bruins in the Stanley Cup Finals the previous season. Rookie Steve Vickers scored a hat trick to lead the Blueshirts. These two Original Six franchises haven’t faced off in the playoff since.
11. No-Hitters — Yankees pitchers have thrown thee no-hitters at the Red Sox: George Mogridge in 1917 (first no-no in Yankee history); Allie Reynolds in 1951 (his second of the year); and Dave Righetti in 1983, on the Fourth of July, George Steinbenner’s 53rd birthday. (Cy Young pitched the only Red Sox no-hitter against New York, back in 1908, when they were known as the Highlanders.)
12. Knicks 113, Celtics 104, 2 OTs, 1985 — The Miracle on 34th Street, as the Knicks came from 25 points down to beat the Celtics in double overtime…on Christmas Day.
13. Yankees 4, Red Sox 1, 1923 — Yankee Stadium opens to pomp, circumstance and the first home run in the new yard — by Babe Ruth fittingly enough in the house that he built.
14. Jets Rout Patriots — Throughout their years in the AFL and AFC, the Jets have had some huge routs of the Patriots, most notably 48-14 in 1968, 42-7 in 1990, and 45-7 in 1993.
15. Yankees 15, Red Sox 10, 1950 — Opening Day at Fenway Park, Red Sox take a 9-0 lead. But the Yanks explode for nine runs in the eighth — rookie Billy Martin had two hits and three RBIs in the inning — and spoil the opener for Boston.
16. Yankees 1, Red Sox 0, 1961 — On the final day of the season, a sunny Sunday at Yankee Stadium, Roger Maris belted his 61st home run against Tracy Stallard to break Babe Ruth’s record.
17 . Rangers 4, Bruins 1, Game Six, NHL semifinals, 1940 — The Rangers eliminate the Bruins in six games, right, and go on to win the Stanley Cup. It would be 54 years before they won another.
18. Knicks 111, Boston 103, Game Five, NBA Eastern Conference finals, 1972 – The Knicks finish off the Celtics, 4-1, and move on to face the Los Angeles Lakers.
19. Yankees 12, Red Sox 11, 10 innings, 1996 — The Yankees rally from behind three times and finally win it in the 10th on rookie Derek Jeter’s two-out single to score Wade Boggs.
20. Yankees 4, Red Sox 3, 10 innings, Game One, ALCS, 1999 — Bernie Williams takes Rod Beck deep, and send the Yankees on their way to another pennant….and World Series.
21. Rangers 7, Bruins 4, 1979 — Traded from the Bruins to the Rangers four years earlier for a package that included Brad Park and Jean Ratelle, Phil Esposito returns to burn Boston with four goals.
22. Yankees 22, Red Sox 1, 2000 — The Yankees scored 16 runs in the last two innings and handed the Red Sox their most lopsided home loss ever.
23. Jets 34, Patriots 31, OT, 2008 – This may have been Brett Favre’s signature moment as a Jet. He was brilliant in the fourth quarter and overtime, displaying the old Favre magic, to give the Jets the win. .
24. Rangers 9, Bruins 0, 1969 — The Rangers erupt at Madison Square Garden, scoring three goals within 38 seconds in the final period to punctuate the romp.
25. Knicks 82, Celtics 75, Game Four, NBA Eastern Division finals, 1953 — Knicks finish off Celtics, 3-1, and move on to face the Minneapolis Lakers.
A familiar scene in the rivalry – New York on top, Boston trailing.
Boston slugger Ted Williams homers during his final season, 1960.
Yeah, it happened 50 years ago this week, yet somehow I remember June 5, 1960, like it was yesterday. A beautiful, sunny Sunday afternoon in the Bronx, glove in hand, ticket in my pocket. Nine years old. Going to Yankee Stadium for a doubleheader against the Boston Red Sox.
This wasn’t my first major league game, but this kid was hungry for a win after seeing the Yankees lose to the White Sox in 1958 and Tigers in 1959.
The Yankees were a .500 club entering play on June 5, 20-20 and fourth in the American League, coming off a subpar 1959 season where they finished a distant third. The Red Sox were mired in the cellar. Young Ralph Terry got the start for the Yanks in the first game that day, while the Red Sox countered with lefty Tom Brewer.
The Yankees jumped off to a 1-0 lead in the second inning on a long home run by Mickey Mantle, The Yanks added three more runs in the fifth when Hector Lopez and Yogi Berra singled and Roger Maris, right, lined a home run into the right field seats. And when Tony Kubek’s single up the middle in the sixth plated Bobby Richardson, the Yankees had a 5-0 lead.
Williams Homers into The Bullpen
With two outs in the seventh and Terry seemingly cruising, the Red Sox suddenly rallied on hits by Bobby Thomson (yes, that Bobby Thomson who hit the shot heard round the world nearly nine years earlier just across the Harlem River at the Polo Grounds), Marty Keough and Pete Runnels to cut the lead to 5-2.
Up to the plate stepped Ted Williams. Now all through the game my father and relatives kept telling me to watch No. 9 in the Boston uniform. And in the seventh Williams hit a long drive into the Yankee bullpen in right to make it a 5-4 ballgame. It was the 495th home run of Williams’ historic career (he would finish with 521).
Yankee manager Casey Stengel then ambled to the mound and replaced Terry with diminutive left-hander Bobby Shantz. After an uneventful eighth, Boston loaded the bases with one-out in the ninth before Shantz got Vic Wertz to bounce into a double play to end the game.
The Yankees scored four runs in the first inning of the nightcap and cruised to an 8-3 victory, but we were long gone back home by then.
Yankees Win The Pennant
In 1960, the Yankees won the final 15 games of the season to edge out the Orioles and White Sox and win the first of five straight American League pennants, the final leg of a remarkable dynasty.
However, the Pittsburgh Pirates would upset the Yankees in the seventh game of the World Series that October, on a ninth-inning home run by Bill Mazeroski. The pitcher who surrendered that home run — Ralph Terry.
Mickey Mantle, left, would hit 40 home runs that year to win his fourth and final AL home run title. Maris, with 39 homers and a league-leading 112 RBIs. would win the American League MVP in his first year in pinstripes.
The Red Sox would wind up seventh in the American, ahead of the last-place Kansas City Athletics. Ted Williams, in his final year, would hit 29 homers — including one in his last at bat — and hit .316.
But the home run Teddy Ballgame hit on a sunny Sunday in June at Yankee Stadium was the one I will always remember. I saw Maris, Mantle and Williams homer in the same game. And I saw the Yankees win for the first time in my life.
Carlton Fisk, left, and Red Sox mates mix it up with Yankees Thurman Munson.
August 1, 1973, dawned hot and sunny, and the events that took place later that day sparked a long dormant rivalry, much like the shots at Lexington and Concord ignited the Revolutionary War in April of 1775. But we’re getting ahead of ourselves.
The Yankees-Red Sox rivalry wasn’t always as scrutinized, as popular and as intense as we know it today. For most of the past hundred plus years, it was hardly a rivalry at all – at least beyond the New York vs. Boston thing. With a few exceptions over the course of nearly four decades, whenever one team was up the other was down.
The Yankees (then known as the Highlanders) and the Red Sox (then known as the Americans or Pilgrims) staged a close pennant race in 1904, one that wasn’t decided until last day of the season when New York pitcher Jack Chesbro, trying for his 42nd win of the year, threw a wild pitch to give Boston the American League pennant.
And in the late 40s the teams had a few memorable showdowns, most notably in 1949 when the Yankees, needing to win both games, beat the Red Sox twice at Yankee Stadium to win the AL flag by a single game. That season is well chronicled in David Halberstam’s “Summer of 49.”
But those showdowns were the exception rather than the rule. The Red Sox dominated the first 20 years of baseball, winning five World Series, before foolishly peddling Babe Ruth to the Yankees prior to the 1920 season.
Then the Yankees took over, winning 29 pennants and 20 World Series between 1921 and 1964, the greatest dynasty in the history of sports.
The Yanks went into a fast decline following the 1964 World Series; meanwhile the Red Sox surged to the front in 1967 with their Impossible Dream pennant run.
Contenders Together, At Last
Finally, in the early 70s, the Yankees and the Sox found themselves on the same plane, building towards playoff berths in a revamped MLB format.
It all shook loose on an August afternoon in 1973. And a bunch of recently graduated hippies, aka the Bats, the name of their softball team, were at Fenway Park to witness it.
That summer, the long hairs were living in a communal type setting in a house in the suburbs of Worcester, Mass. Many of them worked nights in the composing room at the Worcester Telegram, proofreading, running the soon-to-be extinct linotype machines, and occasionally suggesting headlines for the Telegram sports staff.
(My favorite was “Yanks Knock on Wood for Doubleheader Sweep” after the Yankees beat White Sox knuckleballer Wilbur Wood in both ends of a doubleheader at Yankee Stadium.)
On the Fourth of July in 1973, a bunch of the Bats visited the old, original Yankee Stadium to see the Yankees and the Red Sox battle for first place in the American League East. The Sox rallied with two runs in the ninth inning to win the first game 2-1, then took the nightcap 1-0.
A month later, in early August — days after Summer Jam, the famed rock concert in Watkins Glen, N.Y., shown above, that drew 600,000 people — the Yanks invaded Fenway for a four-game series with first place on the line. And the Bats went into Fenway en masse for the third game of that series, an afternoon contest.
Munson Meets Fisk at Home Plate
It turned out to be the game that rekindled the greatest rivalry in sports and carried it to a fever pitch . And it began with a collision of catchers and team leaders, Thurman Munson of the Yankees and Carlton Fisk of the Red Sox.
With the game tied 2-2 in the top of the ninth, Munson led off with a double and was sacrificed to third. With Gene Michael at the plate the Yankees attempted a suicide squeeze. Michael missed the pitch and Munson, a dead duck at home, tried to dislodge Fisk from the ball, only to have Fisk flip Munson aside.
That set off a bench-clearing brawl, a glimpse into the battles that would come in the years ahead. The Red Sox went on to win that game 3-2, but more importantly the Yankee-Red Sox rivalry blossomed.
The teams battled throughout the 70s, Boston winning the pennant in 1975, and the Yanks taking the flag in 1976, 1977 and again in 1978, when Bucky Dent’s home run sank the Sox.
In the years since they have had many memorable showdowns, especially the back-to-back seven-game series for the ALCS in 2003 and 2004. Aaron Boone’s home run won the 2003 pennant for the Yankees, while the Red Sox overcame a 3-0 deficit to shock the Yankees the following year in the greatest playoff comeback in baseball history. And of course there were more than a few brawls mixed in over the years.
Prepare to hear more about the rivalry leading up to Easter Sunday, when the Red Sox entertain the Yankees in baseball’s season opener at Fenway.