Credit: Bain News Service/Library of Congress
As the New York Yankees and the Boston Red Sox get set to begin the latest chapter in their long, intense rivalry, I thought I’d look back. The first official game pitting the New York Yankees against the Boston Red Sox occurred on April 14, 1913 at Fenway Park in Boston. The Yankees organization began play in the American League in 1901 but they were known as the Baltimore Orioles (no relation). After two years, the team ceased operations and was purchased by Frank Farrell and Bill Devery. The new owners moved the franchise to New York, and gave the team the nickname of the Highlanders. Although they would affectionately become known as the Yankees in subsequent years, the name was not officially changed until 1913.
Similarly, the Red Sox went through several name changes from the time of their inception (also in 1901). They were known as the Boston Red Stockings and the Boston Americans before the name was changed to the Red Sox following the 1907 season.
So, although the two organizations have duked it out since 1901, the Yankees-Red Sox rivalry, by those names, didn’t officially begin until 1913.
Sadly, the Boston won the first Yankees-Red Sox game, 2-1, behind the four-hit pitching of Smoky Joe Wood. He struck out nine batters while pitching a complete game (but didn’t they all back then). The Yankees starter, Ray Caldwell, also went the distance, giving up eight hits and two runs. The Red Sox scored the winning two runs on a double by left fielder Duffy Lewis.
For the inaugural game, the Yankees lineup featured the following players:
- Bert Daniels, RF
- Harry Wolter, CF
- Roy Hartzell, 3B
- Birdie Cree, LF
- Hal Chase, 2B
- Dutch Sterrett, 1B
- Jeff Sweeney, C
- Ralph Young, SS
- Ray Caldwell, P
Of the names, Hal Chase is the one that stands out to me. “Prince Hal” was primarily a first baseman and is credited with being the first star of the Highlanders/Yankees. Babe Ruth considered him to be the best first baseman ever, but that was obviously before the days of Lou Gehrig. Despite his excellent reputation as a baseball player (he was a smooth fielder), his name was tied with corruption for alleged involvement in gambling on baseball games and suspicious play in order to throw games. Chase would be traded to the Chicago White Sox on June 1, 1913 for Babe Borton and Rollie Zeider.
It’s a sad tale in the long, storied history of the Yankees franchise. As late sportswriter Fred Lieb said in describing Chase, “What a waste of skill and artistry. He could think and move like a flash. Nature fitted him out to be a superstar. But alas! As Jim Price (then sports editor for The New York Press) told me in 1911, ‘He was born with a corkscrew brain’”. It’s unfortunate that Chase went down that path. He could have ensured a place in Cooperstown with his play, but his actions prevented entry to the Hall of Fame. He was remorseful in later years, but no one really knows how many games were lost because of his deceit.
New York would win the next day (April 15, 1913) against the Red Sox, 3-2, behind the pitching of Ray Keating for their first Yankees victory in the passionate rivalry.
The Yankees had entered the 1913 season as a team with promise. They were led by well known player/manager Frank Chance, but for various reasons and probably most importantly the games thrown by Chase, the Yankees finished seventh in the American League with a 57-94 record. They escaped the cellar by one game over the St Louis Browns. Chance would later manage the Red Sox for a single season in 1923.
If we go back to the first ever game between the two franchises, the Baltimore Orioles beat the Boston Americans, 10-6, on April 26, 1901. In 1901, Boston was a two-team city. The National League team was known as the Boston Beaneaters. I am sure that all of us have coined various nicknames on Boston over the years, but it would be hard to take any team seriously called the “Beaneaters”. I guess I wouldn’t want to follow them.
Since those early games, the Yankees have compiled a 1169-973 against the Red Sox. Their biggest victory occurred on June 19, 2000 when the Yankees pounded the Red Sox, 22-1 (scoring 16 runs in the final two innings, capped with a three run homer by Scott Brosius). Currently, the Yankees have a three game winning streak against the Red Sox, thanks to a three-game sweep late last September.
In the all-important category, the Yankees lead the Red Sox in World Series championships, 27-7.
For the three game series in Boston, the pitching match-ups will be:
- Today: Luis Severino (1-1) versus AL Cy Young winner Rick Porcello (1-2)
- Wednesday: Masahiro Tanaka (2-1) versus Boston ace Chris Sale (1-1)
- Thursday: CC Sabathia (2-1) versus Drew Pomeranz (1-1)
The only ex-Yankee we will see this series is former Yankees fourth outfielder Chris Young. The former BoSox players on the Yankees roster are reliever Tommy Layne center fielder Jacoby Ellsbury. Austin Romine’s dad, Kevin, is a former Red Sox outfielder.
Of all the Yankees rivalries, there’s no doubt I enjoy Yankees-Red Sox the most. It’s funny… I hate them the most, yet I prefer them over the Baltimore Orioles (modern version), Toronto Blue Jays, and Tampa Bay Rays. I’m sure that doesn’t make any sense. The Red Sox are a team that I love to hate, but my respect for the team and the organization has always been strong. When the Yankees win by beating good Red Sox teams, it makes winning that much sweeter. Somehow, when the Yankees are winning and the Red Sox are not, it’s just not the same. One of my favorite quotes is ‘to be the best, you have to beat the best’.
Have a great Tuesday! Let’s get this three game series started right! Sevy, dominate the night!
Brian Cashman, did I mention how much I appreciate the investment you made in A.J. Burnett?
The Yankees salvaged the final game of the four game series with the Cleveland Indians to settle for a split in the first series ever played at the new Yankee Stadium. Considering that the Yankees lost games of 10-2 and 22-4, taking 2 of 4 sounds like a fairly good deal. The last time the Yankees gave up two big innings in a series like this, they were known as the New York Highlanders and it was 1907.
Branch Rickey, who is best known as the Dodgers GM who broke the color barrier by signing Jackie Robinson, was a left fielder on the team.
The Sporting News
Jack Chesbro, who had won 41 games three years earlier, was winding down a great career. San Jose’s own Hal Chase was the Yankees first baseman.
Courtesy Hal Edward Chase III
Sunday brought the return of Carl “American Idle” Pavano, and he pitched the way he should have when he wore pinstripes. He pitched six innings, gave up 4 hits and 1 walk, and struck out 4. He turned over the game to the Cleveland bullpen, with a 3-1 lead. Fortunately, the Yankees rallied against the Tribe, thanks in large part to a disputed two-run pinch hit homer by Jorge Posada. The play represented the first time the officials used the video replay, but the upon review, the homer stood. The Indians had claimed fan interference.
A.J. Burnett had gotten into trouble earlier in the inning, when he loaded the bases with one out. A.J. struggled with his control today, walking 7 batters and throwing three wild pitches. But he kept the Yankees in the game, until he couldn’t go any further. Joe Girardi went to reliever Jonathan Albaladejo who did a great job in retiring the next two batters. Then, it was time for Posada’s heroics.
Cody Ransom (he’s still a toad) hit a three-run double in the 8th to provide the final margin of victory, 7-3. I am not quite sure why Shin-Soo Choo slowed up and let Ransom’s hit drop, but I’ll take it. Maybe the ghosts of The House That Ruth Built finally moved across the street after seeing Saturday’s debacle.
The game was closed out by the dynamic duo of Brian Bruney (8th) and Mariano Rivera (9th). It was not a save situation for Mo due to Ransom’s insurance runs. Albaladejo got the win (1-0).
A.J. Burnett may not have had his best stuff today, but again, he has proven he is a warrior and the guy knows how to pitch. I have great confidence when Burnett pitches. He may not get the decision and he might take the loss, but you know that he’s going to give it everything he’s got and clearly he’s nobody’s fool. The guy has heart, and the last guy who pitched like that in pinstripes (David Cone) had a memorable Yankees career.
The Yankees are in second place, 2.5 games behind the AL East Leader, the surprising Toronto Blue Jays. Julia‘s Red Sox are a half-game back, tied for third with the Baltimore Orioles.
Next up at Yankee Stadium is an old friend. Jason Giambi returns to the Bronx to check out the new Stadium with his team, the Oakland A’s.
Ronald Martinez/Getty Images
Nomar Garciaparra will be in tow. I think he’s played a meaningful game or two in the Bronx.
Speaking of old friends…well, maybe less emphasis on the “friends” part, congratulations to Randy Johnson for his stellar performance against his old team, the Arizona Diamondbacks. He had a no-hitter into the 7th inning before giving up a double to Augie Ojeda. Johnson stranded Ojeda at third, and left the game after 7 innings. He gave up just one hit, Ojeda’s double, and struck out 7. It was Johnson’s first victory of the season (1-2) and the 296th of his career. As one who never minds seeing the D-Backs lose, congrats to the Big Unit for the vintage performance!
I had told some Dodger friends that the Yankees would have a better record than their team by the end of week. The only problem? The Dodgers haven’t lost since. Yikes! Joe Torre and company continued their 8-game winning streak with a 14-2 victory over the Colorado Rockies. Manny Ramirez may be all that, but Matt Kemp is finally becoming the man for the Dodgers. Credit Donnie Baseball for his help in Kemp’s realization of his five-tool talent.
The Red Sox won. Bummer…
Just kidding, Julia! 🙂
Have a great week!