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Opening Day matchup rare for Yanks, Sox

Opening Day matchup rare for Yanks, Sox

For a rivalry that has seen it all, one rather uncommon occurrence -- particularly in the last quarter century -- is the Red Sox and Yankees opening the season together.

When the Red Sox and Yankees kick off their 2010 seasons at Fenway Park, it will mark the 30th time in history they've played Game 1 against each other.

But it will be just the second time since 1992 and third time since 1985 it has happened.

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The last Red Sox-Yankees opener was memorable in that the year was 2005 -- when Boston was coming off its first World Series championship in 86 years. That was Randy Johnson's first game with the Yankees and David Wells' debut with the Red Sox. New York won soundly, 9-2.

It hardly proved to be a tone-setter for things to come, as the Red Sox and Yankees finished with identical 95-67 records that season, and both were ousted in the Division Series.

In 1992, the rivals also squared off on Opening Day, with the Yankees winning 4-3 at Yankee Stadium. However, it didn't have the usual electricity, with both teams commencing what would end up to be sub-.500 seasons.

The clubs kicked off the 1985 season at Fenway, with the Red Sox riding Oil Can Boyd -- and home runs from Jim Rice, Tony Armas and Dwight Evans -- to a 9-2 romp over eventual Hall of Famer Phil Niekro and the Yankees. In fact, the Red Sox went on to sweep the Yankees in three straight that year, helping to lead to a quick firing of New York manager Yogi Berra. As much hope as the Red Sox had from that sweep, they went on to a mediocre 81-81 season. The Yankees, meanwhile, rebounded to go 97-64 but lost the division by two games.

Starting off with a bang
The Yankees and Red Sox have faced each other 29 times on Opening Day, with New York holding an 18-10-1 lead.
Date
Location
Winner
Score
4/3/2005NYYNYY9-2
4/7/1992NYYNYY4-3
4/8/1985BOSBOS9-2
4/6/1973BOSBOS15-5
4/6/1971BOSBOS3-1
4/7/1970NYYBOS4-3
4/16/1964NYYBOS4-3
4/19/1960BOSNYY8-4
4/12/1959NYYNYY3-2
4/15/1958BOSNYY3-0
4/17/1951NYYNYY5-0
4/18/1950BOSNYY15-10
4/17/1945NYYNYY8-4
4/18/1944BOSNYY3-0
4/20/1939NYYNYY2-0
4/18/1938BOSBOS8-4
4/16/1935NYYBOS1-0
4/13/1933NYYNYY4-3
4/14/1931NYYNYY6-3
4/18/1929NYYNYY7-3
4/13/1926BOSNYY12-11
4/15/1924BOSNYY2-1
4/18/1923NYYNYY4-1
4/23/1919NYYBOS10-0
4/11/1917NYYBOS10-3
4/11/1912NYYBOS5-3
4/14/1910NYYTIE4-4
4/14/1906NYYNYY2-1
4/14/1904NYYNYY8-2

You'd have to go back to 1973 to find a Sox-Yankees opener before that, with Boston outslugging New York, 15-5, on a day the wind was presumably blowing out at Fenway.

Before '73, it was quite common for the teams to start a season together. It happened in 1958, '59, '60, '64, '70 and '71.

While Opening Day is always a cherished day for two teams with intense followings, it will be ratcheted up another notch in 2010 given the storied nature of the rivalry.

Though this will be the first season opener between the Red Sox and Yankees at Fenway since '85, it might not feel like that to Red Sox Nation. In 2005, the Red Sox had their home opener against the Yankees, before which they received their championship rings and raised the 2004 championship flag.

Ian Browne is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

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