Jacoby Ellsbury is the latest Red Sox player to defect to the Yankees for more money. According to Baseballreference.com, 217 players have suited up for both the Red Sox and Yankees over the years. Fans are generally forgiving of the average players who are doing what they need to do.
But the bigger the star, the bigger the ire from Red Sox Nation (just check out the sign pictured here directed at Johnny Damon), especially when that player goes straight from Boston to New York. Here’s a look at some of the others who went straight from Boston to the Bronx.
The Red Sox tried to lock homegrown speedster Jacoby Ellsbury into a long-term deal before he became a free agent. But Ellsbury got his payday in New York – a seven-year deal worth $153 million – and now we’ll have to wait and see how he’s greeted by fans when he arrives at Fenway Park in pinstripes on April 22, 2014.
Johnny Damon, one of the catalysts from the 2004 World Championship Red Sox club, got an earful from fans when he jumped ship after the 2005 season, shaving his beard, chopping his long locks, and bringing his talents to the Bronx.
“There’s no way I can go play for the Yankees,’’ Damon said the spring before he signed with New York.
After 11 years at third base for the Red Sox, including eight All-Star appearances, five batting titles, and one heart breaking World Series loss (1986), Wade Boggs took his services straight to the Yankees in 1993. Four years later he was riding a horse around Yankee Stadium in a championship scene that fans have had a hard time overcoming.
So maybe there is no curse. But Babe Ruth’s shift from the Red Sox to the Yankees set the table for generations of bad blood between these fan bases, even if the move was a result of The Babe being traded rather than picking the Big Apple over the Hub.
What does it take to stay in the good graces of Red Sox fandom when signing with the Yankees instead of the Red Sox as a free agent? Perhaps Jacoby Ellsbury should ask Luis Tiant for tips. El Tiante won 122 games for Boston over eight years, including a few monster performances in the 1975 playoffs and World Series, which Boston ultiminately lost to Reds. For his efforts, Tiant was inducted into the Red Sox Hall of Fame in 1997 and works as a pitching advisor for the team.
Tiant signed with the Yankees as a free agent in 1978 after spending the 1971 to 1978 seasons with the Red Sox.
Other players leaving Boston made stops with different teams before heading to New York (including Roger Clemens pictured here). Still others went from New York to Boston. Some of the more well-known names on the shared player list include Derek Lowe, Kevin Youkilis, Butch Hobson, Jose Canseco, Danny Cater, Ken Brett, Mark Bellhorn, Tony Clark, Eric Hinske, Bartolo Colon, Jack Clark, Mike Lowell, Alan Embree, Darren Bragg, Mike Easler, Tony Fossas, Greg Harris, Jackie Jensen, Jim Leyritz, Darnell McDonald, Doug Mientkiewicz, Bob Ojeda, David Wells, Paul Quantrill, Jeff Reardon, Tom Gordon, George Scott, Lee Smith, Mike Stanley, Mike Torrez, Bob Watson, Mark Whiten, Frank Tanana, and Ramiro Mendoza.