The New York Yankees are a Major League Baseball team who have won the World Series on 27 occassions, which is more championships than any other franchise in North American professional sports history. The team has achieved widespread popularity and a dedicated fanbase, although they have acquired a polarizing reputation for their heavy spending in pursuit of winning, gaining the nickname "the Evil Empire".
The Yankees rivalry with the Boston Red Sox is one of the oldest, most famous and fiercest rivalries in American professional sports. After the Red Sox traded Babe Ruth to the Yankees in 1918, the Red Sox suffered an 86-year drought between World Series championships, whereas the previously lackluster Yankees became the most successful franchise in North American professional sports. The Curse of the Bambino was cited as a reason that the Red Sox could not win the World Series. Boston fans Christian and Jack often used the phrase "That's why the Sox will never win the damn series" to describe fate.
Talk of the curse as an ongoing phenomenon ended in 2004, when the Red Sox came back from a 0-3 best-of-seven deficit to beat the Yankees in the 2004 American League Championship Series (ALCS), fueling the Red Sox to win the World Series by sweeping the St. Louis Cardinals to end the drought. Boston's win was dramatic, both for its reversal of generations of legendary failure, but also for coming back from adversity to win after having been down three games to none to rival Yankees in the American League Championship Series, one of the biggest comebacks in sports history.
The rivalry is sometimes so polarizing that it is often a heated taboo subject among residents from the Northeastern United States, as touched upon in "The Economist" where Yankees fan Frank Lapidus refuses to talk to Jack about Boston's comeback against the Yankees from the 2004 ALCS.
References in Lost
In "Outlaws", Christian Shephard tells Sawyer in Sydney, "That's why the Red Sox will never win the World Series," to indicate his belief in fate due to The Curse of the Bambino. Jack repeats the saying to Sawyer on the island on October 22nd, not realizing that the Red Sox would begin playing in the World Series the next day and win it five days later. It is this use of the phrase by Jack that first causes Sawyer to realize the man he met was in fact Jack's father. Jack tells him at the end, "Just something my father used to say--went through life knowing that people hated him. Instead of taking responsibility for it, he just put it on fate. Said he was made that way."
In "The Economist", Jack is talking with Frank Lapidus. Jack says, "Did the Sox really win the Series?", to which Frank replies, "Don't even get me started on that, I grew up in the Bronx". The Yankees were based in the Bronx. Jack then comments how he has not seen a Red Sox game in over 100 days.
In "Something Nice Back Home", Jack picks up a newspaper in the kitchen of Kate's house at the beginning of the episode. The title of one of the newspaper articles is, "Yankees bludgeon Red Sox in series sweep." Since the Yankees have never swept the Red Sox in the post-season, up until 2008, presumably this is a reference to a regular season series between the two rivals.
Interestingly, the Yankees retired numbers include all of The Numbers: 4, 8, 15, 16, 23 and 42. Although 42 is still worn by closer Mariano Rivera, who will be the last to wear it after a league wide retiring of the number in respect of Jackie Robinson. Having pitched 16 seasons, it's considered that Rivera's 42 will be retired once he concludes his career.
Retired July 4, 1939
Yogi Berra &
Retired July 22, 1972
Retired August 3, 1979
Retired August 3, 1974
Retired August 31, 1997
Honored April 15, 1997
- Damon Lindelof is a Yankees fan, having worked as a vendor at Yankee stadium as a youth. . Lindelof has described the use of the Red Sox win in Lost as therapeutic.
- Aaron and Boone have names that, combined, give the name of Aaron Boone, a former New York Yankees baseball player who hit the home run against the Boston Red Sox in game seven of the 2003 ALCS that ended the Sox season.
- Don Mattingly, who's number 23 was retired by the Yankees, shares the same surname as the Other who wore a United States Army jumpsuit bearing the name Mattingly.