The intense rivalry between two of baseball’s oldest teams is a “doozy”, as they say. The New York Yankees – Boston Red Sox rivalry is one of the oldest and most dynamic tussles of any sport worldwide. As with football’s Real Madrid-Barcelona El Clasico, this rivalry goes beyond the playing field or the baseball court as well; it’s akin to religion, politics, culture with a passion, pride and with a vitriol all of its own. The rivalry actually began well before the two teams came to fore. From the Earliest days of American Revolution, there exists an underlying animosity, intense dislike or jealousy, if you will, between the two cities of Boston and New York.
The very first meeting of this storied rivalry took place on April 26, 1901, with neither team being known as the Yankees nor the Red Sox. Their respective names would happen in 1908 for Boston and in 1913 for New York. But even without their present-day names, the rivalry was very much alive. These two great sports rivals would go on meet through the past 110 years a total of 2,091 times, with the Yankees carrying a slight 1,127 to 950 win advantage over the Red Sox. Likewise, the Yankees hold an 11 – 8 advantage over Boston in the all-important post-season or playoff meetings.
The angst in the Yankees – Red Sox rivalry would reach its stratospheric level because of the legendary icon of Baseball, the “Sultan of Swat” himself, Babe “Bambino” Ruth. It was from him where the superstition “The Curse of the Bambino” was derived. Having said that, it’s time to spill the beans, the curse of the Bambino was a superstition that evolved from the failure of the Red Sox to win the World Series in 86 years since winning in 1918.
The Red Sox fans could not truly blame the Yankees but rather the highly leveraged then-owner of Boston Red Sox team who, while in the midst of an acute financial bind, decided to sell some players, including the already legendary and successful Babe Ruth to the New York Yankees in 1919 for $150,000 and a loan of $300,000 secured by French Park, the Red Sox stadium. Alas, Bambino would move to New York, become the catalyst for the first New York dynasties and the building of the Yankee Stadium or what was then referred to as “the house that Ruth built.” The year 1918 would mark the last World Series title for the Red Sox with Babe Ruth on board. The reversal of fortune was an abrupt one, with the Red Sox falling into obscurity and the Yankee dynasties with Ruth rising and then capturing several World Series titles.
Finally, in 2004 AL Championship series against the Yankees, the Red Sox forged an extraordinary and incredible comeback from 0 – 3 games behind in the best of seven playoff format to win 4 – 3, the first team to ever do so in any best of seven playoff series. They then went on to victory in the World Series over the St. Louis Cardinals. And this was believed to be the lifting of the curse of the Bambino.