Saturday, May 07, 2005


May 7th, 1903

New York Plays at Boston

Given the Yankees and Red Sox recent battles in the AL East and ALCS the past two years, reporters, television commentators and their ilk have spent much time describing the rivalry--most of which favored the Yankees--the 1999 ALCS, the 1978 AL East race and Bucky Dent Game and, it is inevitably said, all the way back to Babe Ruth. That is, however not strictly speaking true. The Yankees-Sox rivalry actually goes back all the way to this date in 1903. On that day, the Boston Pilgrims visited the New York Highlanders at Hilltop Park. The Pilgrims, who would go on to win the World Series that year, were wearing their road grays which featured, you'll notice, blue socks. The Highlanders were sporting their home whites, which featured collars, but nary a pinstripe to be seen. The Pilgrims would not adopt their better known name until 1907, although it would take until 1908 for the uniforms to match the name. The Highlanders meanwhile, would not become the Yankees until 1913.

Just as the Sox have gotten the better of the Yankees in their last prominent meeting (one which, given the way the two squads are playing, figures to be the last for a while), they also managed to gain the upper hand in the first meeting of the two, winning 6-2 behind the pitching efforts of Bill Dineen who was the Pilgrims' second best pitcher that year behind thirty-six year old Cy Young. The Highlanders would come back to take the second game of the season but the Pilgrims came back with a 12-5 blowout behind Young in the final game of the season.

Babe Ruth, Bucky Dent, Aaron Boone, "The Steal" and "The Comeback" are all part of the lore of baseball's greatest rivalry. That lore stretches through baseball history but begins on this date more than a century ago.

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