We’re still in the first act of the 2017 baseball season, but with the Yankees and Red Sox in a dogfight for the American League East, there’s an unspoken hope that it all might play out like so many times before.
Let’s take a trip back to July 1978: The Red Sox are rolling toward an inevitable pennant in a cozy 14-game lead over the defending world champion Yankees. The Bombers are in complete dysfunction (later dubbed “The Bronx Zoo”), when the players, manager and owner are all at each other’s throats.
The season is almost lost by the all-star break until George Steinbrenner fires embattled manager Billy Martin, replacing him with the calming presence of Bob Lemon. Quietly, the Yankees start winning again. And when they show up at Fenway for four games in September, first place is suddenly within reach. But they’ll have to sweep the series in hostile territory against the division leading Red Sox at Fenway Park.
What happens next cements the Yankees and Red Sox as eternal enemies in a series of showdowns for the rivalry’s record book.
Stay tuned this season. We might just see a third act as thrilling as the one we got in ’78. In the meantime, enjoy this new retrospective (above) dedicated to baseball’s greatest rivalry, with new interviews and rarely seen vintage footage from the PIX vault.