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10 Major MLB Rivalries: Their History and What Makes Them Special

Major MLB Rivalries

Baseball is a sport that has been embedded in American culture for centuries. With over 150 years of history, Major League Baseball (MLB) holds a special place in the hearts of fans across the country.

One of the most exciting aspects of the sport is the rivalries that have developed over time, each with their own unique story. In this article, we will explore ten major MLB rivalries, their history, and what makes them special.

New York Yankees vs Boston Red Sox

The first rivalry on our list is the one between the New York Yankees and the Boston Red Sox. This is not only one of the biggest rivalries in baseball but also in all of sports.

It is a rivalry that dates back to the early 1900s when the Red Sox sold their star player Babe Ruth to the Yankees, starting what would be known for decades as the Curse of the Bambino. The rivalry was further intensified during the late 20th century when both teams were in the American League East, and their rivalry led to some of the most heated and competitive games in history.

The rivalry was a war both on and off the field, with fans from both sides taunting each other and players engaging in brawls. However, in 2004, the Red Sox finally ended the curse by winning the World Series against the St. Louis Cardinals, breaking an 86-year streak.

They also defeated the Yankees in the American League Championship Series, coming back from three games down to win the series. This was the first time a team had ever accomplished such a feat in MLB history, making the 2004 Red Sox team an unforgettable one.

Today, the rivalry continues to be one of the most intense in all of sports. Fans on both sides are known for their passionate support, and when the two teams face off, it’s always a treat to watch.

Los Angeles Dodgers vs San Francisco Giants

Another heated rivalry in Major League Baseball is between the Los Angeles Dodgers and the San Francisco Giants. This rivalry is fueled by the fact that both teams are from California, and their proximity to each other has led to some intense games over the years.

The rivalry between the Dodgers and the Giants includes some great moments in baseball history. One of the greatest moments was when Steve Finley hit a walk-off grand slam in the bottom of the ninth inning of the game against the Giants, leading the Dodgers to win the National League West title in 2004.

The rivalry was also memorable when the Dodgers won the World Series in 1959 and 1963 with the Giants keeping them from winning again until 2020.

Chicago Cubs vs Chicago White Sox

In the Windy City of Chicago, two teams fight for the title of the best baseball team in their hometown. The rivalry between the Chicago Cubs and the Chicago White Sox dates back to the early 1900s, and the two teams have played against each other in interleague games since 1997.

The rivalry reached its peak in 2006 when a bench-clearing brawl erupted between the two teams, leading to player suspensions and fines. This rivalry is interesting because the teams are from the same city, and the fans on each side fiercely support their respective teams.

St. Louis Cardinals vs Chicago Cubs

Another intense rivalry in the Midwest is between the St. Louis Cardinals and the Chicago Cubs. This rivalry is characterized by the two teams’ geographic proximity, with St. Louis being in Missouri and Chicago being in Illinois.

A memorable moment in this rivalry was in the late 1960s when the Cubs’ Fergie Jenkins faced the Cardinals’ Bob Gibson, both having incredible pitching performances. Al Hrabosky’s against-the-grain pitching style was also a highlight of this rivalry.

The Cardinals are one of the most successful teams in MLB history, with the Cubs also having their fair share of glory years, making their rivalry exciting.

New York Yankees vs Los Angeles Dodgers

The New York Yankees vs the Los Angeles Dodgers is a rivalry that dates back to the golden era of baseball in the late 1940s and early 1950s. The two teams have faced off eight times in the World Series, with the Yankees winning five of them.

This rivalry is interesting because it is between two very different cities with different cultures. The rivalry also increased in intensity due to inter-league play, and both teams are often viewed as some of the strongest in the league.

Cincinnati Reds vs Pittsburgh Pirates

The rivalry between the Cincinnati Reds and the Pittsburgh Pirates dates back to the 1800s, with both teams being from Midwestern cities. The Pirates got the upper hand for a while, winning a number of National League titles, but since the 1970s, the Reds have had the upper hand, with the Big Red Machine team of the 1970s winning back-to-back World Series titles in 1975 and 1976.

New York Mets vs Philadelphia Phillies

The rivalry between the New York Mets and the Philadelphia Phillies is one of the newer ones on the list, with the two teams playing against each other for the first time in 1962. The rivalry reached its peak during the early 2000s when the two teams battled for division titles.

A memorable moment was when Billy Wagner switched sides, moving from the Phillies to the Mets, igniting the rivalry even more. The rivalry is also famous for the reference to it in an episode of Seinfeld.

New York Mets vs New York Yankees

The New York Mets vs the New York Yankees is the first inter-city rivalry on our list. The rivalry began when the Mets were founded in 1962 and continued to gain momentum in the 1980s when the Mayor’s Trophy game was created.

The Mayor’s Trophy was an exhibition game played between the two teams every year, with the game being played to raise money for charity. The rivalry culminated in the 2000 World Series, with the Yankees winning in five games.

Milwaukee Brewers vs Chicago Cubs

The rivalry between the Milwaukee Brewers and the Chicago Cubs is another rivalry fueled by geographic proximity. Both teams are in the National League Central, making the games between the two teams important in determining the division winner.

The rivalry reached its peak in 2011 when the Brewers clinched the division title, beating the Cubs at Wrigley Field. During presale tickets, Brewer fans are known for invading Wrigley Field and creating a sea of blue and gold, making the rivalry not only intense but also colorful.

Boston Red Sox vs Tampa Bay Rays

The rivalry between the Boston Red Sox and the Tampa Bay Rays is a relatively new one but is a fierce one. The rivalry began in 2000 when the Rays joined the American League East, and things began to heat up between the two teams in the early 2000s when they regularly played each other.

The rivalry is known for its brawling history, with players exchanging punches and kicks on more than one occasion. Though the rivalry is not as well-known as the others on this list, the games between the two teams are always intense and exciting.

Conclusion

In conclusion, Major League Baseball has seen some of the fiercest and most intense rivalries in all of sports. From old American League East rivalries like the Red Sox vs.

Yankees to more recent ones like the Brewers vs. Cubs, these rivalries make the season more exciting and add to the history and legacy of America’s favorite pastime.

From players and coaches to dedicated fans, these rivalries make for some unforgettable moments in baseball history.

Los Angeles Dodgers vs San Francisco Giants

The longstanding rivalry between the Los Angeles Dodgers and the San Francisco Giants dates back to 1889 when the two teams played against each other in the 1889 World Series, with the Giants winning. The rivalry between the Dodgers and the Giants is one of the oldest and most famous in baseball history.

It has been marked by countless memorable moments that have given both teams bragging rights over the years. The rivalry has been fueled by the fact that both teams are from California, and their proximity to each other has led to heated games that fans look forward to every season.

Over the years, both the Dodgers and Giants have drafted and developed some of the most memorable players in baseball history. For the Dodgers, it has been players like Jackie Robinson, Sandy Koufax, and Clayton Kershaw.

For the Giants, they have had memorable players like Willie Mays, Barry Bonds, and Buster Posey. One of the most memorable moments in the rivalry came in 2004 when the Dodgers and the Giants were competing for the National League West title, with the Dodgers being three games back with four left to play.

The Dodgers won all four of their remaining games, including a 7-3 victory over the Giants on the last day of the regular season to force a one-game playoff. The Dodgers won the game and the division title, making it one of the greatest comebacks in baseball history.

Another memorable moment came on October 1, 2004 when Steve Finley hit a walk-off grand slam in the bottom of the ninth inning against the Giants, leading the Dodgers to win the National League West title in dramatic fashion. The moment has since become known as the “Steve Finley Grand Slam.”

Chicago Cubs vs Chicago White Sox

The Windy City is home to two teams: the Chicago Cubs and the Chicago White Sox. The rivalry between these two teams is one of the most geographically-centered rivalries in baseball, with both teams having fans who are passionate and vocal about their support.

The Cubs and the White Sox have played each other in interleague games since 1997, adding another layer of excitement to the rivalry. The rivalry reached a boiling point in May 2006 when Michael Barrett of the Cubs punched A.J. Pierzynski of the White Sox during a game.

The incident led to a bench-clearing brawl and numerous player suspensions. Both teams have had their fair share of successes over the years, with the Cubs winning the World Series for the first time in 108 years in 2016 and the White Sox winning it in 2005.

The two teams have also battled it out for division titles, adding to the intensity of the rivalry. In 2008, when both teams were fighting for a division title, they played a memorable game against each other at Wrigley Field.

The game went back and forth, with the lead changing hands multiple times. It ultimately ended in the bottom of the 11th inning when the Cubs scored a run to win the game, sending their hometown fans into a frenzy.

In 2019, the two teams played a unique game at the “Field of Dreams” in Dyersville, Iowa, adding yet another memorable moment to the rivalry. The game was played on a special field built on the original site where the 1989 movie “Field of Dreams” was filmed.

The game was a hit with fans, with both teams wearing throwback uniforms and playing on a field surrounded by cornfields. In conclusion, the rivalries between the Los Angeles Dodgers and the San Francisco Giants and the Chicago Cubs and the Chicago White Sox are two of the most exciting and passionate in all of baseball.

From historic moments to modern-day battles, each rivalry has its own unique history and legacy. Fans of both teams look forward to each season when they battle it out, adding to the rich tapestry of baseball rivalries.

St. Louis Cardinals vs Chicago Cubs

The St. Louis Cardinals and the Chicago Cubs are two teams that have been in a passionate and intense rivalry for decades. The rivalry began in the early 1890s and has continued to this day, making it one of the longest-standing rivalries in baseball history.

The Cardinals are often considered the Cubs’ biggest enemies due to their success over the years. Both teams have been in the National League Central division since the early 1990s, intensifying the rivalry even more.

The Cardinals have won more World Series championships than any other National League team, with the Cubs breaking their infamous 108-year drought in 2016. The rivalry between the Cardinals and Cubs has been fueled by many memorable moments on the field.

The first of these moments dates back to the 1960s when Fergie Jenkins of the Cubs faced off against Bob Gibson of the Cardinals, two of the greatest pitchers of their generation. Throughout the decade, they engaged in legendary pitching battles that kept fans on the edge of their seats.

Another memorable moment was when Bill Madlock of the Cubs intentionally hit Al Hrabosky of the Cardinals with a pitch, leading Hrabosky to throw his glove on the ground in frustration. The moment was considered a significant event in the rivalry and solidified each team’s hatred for the other.

In recent years, the rivalry has remained strong, with both teams continuing to compete against each other fiercely. The Cardinals won four straight games against the Cubs in September 2020, a memorable moment for Cardinals fans and a frustrating one for Cubs fans.

New York Yankees vs Los Angeles Dodgers

The rivalry between the New York Yankees and the Los Angeles Dodgers dates back to the late 1940s and early 1950s when the two teams met in the World Series six times in ten years. The rivalry was fueled by the fact that it pitted the two biggest cities in America against each other, each with its own unique culture and style.

The rivalry between the Yankees and the Dodgers was re-ignited in recent years due to inter-league play. The two teams have faced off against each other regularly since the early 2000s, adding another layer of excitement to the already intense rivalry.

The Yankees have been a dominant team over the years, winning 27 World Series championships, more than any other team in the league. The Dodgers have also had a fair share of successes, winning six World Series titles and being one of the most storied franchises in the league.

In recent years, the rivalry has been most significant because it pits two teams with different trajectories against each other. While the Yankees have been a powerhouse team for years, the Dodgers have come close to winning the World Series multiple times, only to fall short until finally clinching the championship in 2020.

Despite the Dodgers’ recent success, the rivalry between these two old rivals remains as strong as ever, with each team eager to come out on top.

Cincinnati Reds vs Pittsburgh Pirates

The rivalry between the Cincinnati Reds and the Pittsburgh Pirates is a Midwestern rivalry that has been going on for over a century. Both teams are from the Midwest, making the rivalry one of the oldest in Major League Baseball.

The rivalry has seen many back-and-forth wins over the years, with both teams fighting it out to be the best in the division. One memorable moment in the rivalry was in 1985, when the Reds and Pirates engaged in a game that saw both teams hitting their way through a high-scoring 14-inning game.

It was a game that kept fans on the edge of their seats and produced some of the best baseball of the decade. Another memorable moment was in 1990 when the Reds and Pirates faced off in the National League Championship Series.

In Game 2

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