I have been reading, hearing and seeing how the upcoming four game series between the New York Yankees and Boston Red Sox is a key series on the biggest rivalry in baseball.
Since the Yankees hold a 2.5 game lead in the AL East, it is a key series, but as the biggest rivalry in baseball, that is definitely a NO.
The biggest rivalry in major league baseball is the Dodgers-Giants rivalry, which goes back continuously to the early 1900’s. The Yankees-Red Sox rivalry is pretty old, too, but only dates to 1919 when Carl Mays and Ernie Shore joined the Yankees from the Red Sox.
The rivalry was fully cemented the day after Christmas in 1919 when Babe Ruth was sold to the Yankees.
While the rivalry was bitter because of the “Curse of the Bambino,” the Red Sox-Yankees rivalry only gets going while the teams are good, like vying for the pennant or playoffs. Pretty much it was great every 30 years or so.
It was great in the early days after Mays/Shore/Ruth became Yankees, 1940’s with the Joe DiMaggio-Ted Williams head to head rivalry and the 1970’s when Thurman Munson-Carlton Fisk ruled the home plate area.
Now 30 years after the great games of the late 1970’s, the Boston Massacre, Bucky Dent, Goose vs. Yaz, Aaron Boone plus Dave Roberts and the 2004 comeback, the rivalry returned in the first decade of the new century–30 years after the last major rivalry.
It is not to say that the other years didn’t mean anything, but it was always lessened when either of the teams weren’t in direct competition with the other to win the pennant (prior to 1969), win the division or now to “just make the playoffs” when anything can happen.
The Dodgers-Giants rivalry is more detailed, and more in depth. Both teams played in the same city (New York) for over 50 years before each moved to California coast, building on their long time rivalry.
The Red Sox and Yankees will begin a tough four game series tonight with first place on the line. With both teams being good again, the games mean more. It is that the Dodgers and Giants always have it going strong.
With young players like Jon Lester, Dustin Pedroia, Jacoby Ellsbury and Clay Buchholz for the Sox and Joba Chamberlain, Phil Hughes and Robinson Cano with the Yankees, plus many more quality young guys coming up from the minors–the rivalry should continue well into the next decade.
Only if both teams stay good.