Red Sox-Yankees Rivalry Reached Epic Proportions During The Boss’ Tenure

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July 15, 2010

Red Sox-Yankees Rivalry Reached Epic Proportions During The Boss? Tenure George Steinbrenner will forever be remembered as a baseball visionary and giant.

And he should never be forgotten for his contributions to the greatest rivalry in all of sports — Red Sox vs. Yankees. 

Since the passing of the Yankees? principal owner on Tuesday morning, the baseball world has reminisced about what the man did for the Yankees, how he revolutionized the game and his devotion to winning.

"Winning is the most important thing in my life, after breathing," Steinbrenner once said. "Breathing first, winning second."

It is fitting, then, to take a look back at some of the most memorable battles between the Red Sox and Yankees during the Boss? reign in the Bronx.

Aug. 1, 1973: This was an early moment in the Steinbrenner era. It was a Wednesday afternoon game, and tensions were boiling between Red Sox catcher Carlton Fisk and Yankees catcher Thurman Munson.

With the score tied 2-2 in the ninth inning, Munson led off with a double, moved to third on a groundout, and then things got hairy. An unsuccessful suicide squeeze attempt left Munson charging toward Fisk at the plate. Munson barreled into Fisk. He tried to lie on top of the catcher to allow baserunners to advance, and Fisk would have nothing of it.  Haymakers were flying as the benches cleared trying to separate the two catchers.

Mario Guerrero hit a walk-off single to center to give the Red Sox a 3-2 win.

Oct. 2, 1978: With the two teams tied for first place, they played what many consider the most exciting game in major league history. 

The one-game playoff couldn?t have started better for the Red Sox as Carl Yastrzemski hit a solo homer in the second, and Jim Rice notched an RBI single in the sixth against eventual Cy Young winner Ron Guidry.

Along comes an unlikely, and now infamous, power source in Bucky Dent. With two men on, the shortstop hit a three-run homer to give the Yankees the lead. Munson doubled in a run, and Reggie Jackson hit a homer to give Guidry win No. 25 on the season.

Goose Gossage closed out the Yankees? 5-4 win.

July 24, 2004: Bill Mueller hit a two-run home run off closer Mariano Rivera to cap a three-run ninth for Boston. 

The game will not be remembered for the late-inning heroics, however. Earlier in the slugfest, Alex Rodriguez was hit by a pitch, instigating a bench-clearing brawl featuring four ejections. 

Boston wins 11-10.

Oct. 17, 2003: Yes, it is a sour day in Red Sox history but one that nevertheless needs to be included. Do you leave Pedro in the game?

Grady Little did. And the Yankees came back.

With the Red Sox just one win away from capturing the AL pennant and going to the World Series, Aaron Boone shattered any hope with his walk-off home run against Tim Wakefield in the 11th inning. 

Yankees go to the World Series with a 6-5 win.

Oct. 20, 2004: About a year removed from Boone?s home run, the Red Sox trailed the Yankees 3-0 in the ALCS. And after the 19-8 beatdown in Game 3, no one had any reason to believe the Sox would come back.

Two extra-inning games, two David Ortiz home runs, a bloody sock and three wins later, that all changed.

Johnny Damon drove in six runs as the Red Sox defeated the Yankees 10-3 in Game 7 of the ALCS. 

In the words of Larry Lucchino: "All empires fall sooner or later."

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