Feeling it after winning another world championship, champagne-soaked Boston players let it all hang out as some sang along off-key the Yankee theme song “New York, New York” that blasted forth from a boombox.
It was just the latest salvo in the great rivalry – Yankees versus Red Sox.
The first game at Fenway Park between them was April 20, 1912, just a few days after the sinking of the Titanic. Boston Mayor John “Honey Fitz” Fitzgerald, the grandfather-to-be of President John F. Kennedy, threw out the first ball, and the Red Sox eked out a 7-6 win in 11 innings.
The spark of all sparks in the “RIVALRY” was ignited by BoSox owner Harry Frazee, a show business wheeler-dealer with a home in Boston and the main residence on Manhattan’s Park Avenue, who liked to quip: “The best thing about Boston is the train ride back to New York.”
He loved that song,” Harvey Greene said of his old boss, Steinbrenner, who had shed those comparatively little-town blues of Cleveland and proved that if you could make it here — in old New York — you could make it anywhere.
Is it any wonder why The Boss handpicked Sinatra’s “New York, New York” to blare through Yankee Stadium’s speakers night after night
Famed sportscaster Howard Cosell called Yankee owner Steinbrenner “Patton in pinstripes.” That pleased the “Boss” greatly.
So did Frank Sinatra who was Steinbrenner’s favorite singer. The Yankees began to play “New York, New York” in 1980 after home games ended.
PAUL DOHERTY: Frank Sinatra had recorded Kander and Ebbs’ “New York, New York” in 1979. At some point in 1980, after Sinatra’s “Trilogy” album was released, the Yankees began playing the song after home wins. It soon became a tradition.
Originally, the Yankees played Sinatra’s version after victories. Lisa Minnelli’s recording of the tune was played after losses. Minnelli was not pleased. She sought a change. She got a change. The Yankees stopped playing her version. The “Boss” again did his thing.
One can only wonder how Steinbrenner would have reacted to the Yankees losing to the Red Sox in the 2018 playoffs and the team from Boston winning the world championship and “co-opting” his victory song.
ABOUT HARVEY FROMMER
One of the most prolific and respected sports journalists and oral historians in the United States, author of the autobiographies of legends Nolan Ryan, Tony Dorsett, and Red Holzman, Dr. Harvey Frommer is an expert on the Boston Red Sox having written three books on the team including the classic REMEMBERING FENWAY PARK.
A professor now for more than two decades in the MALS program at Dartmouth College, Frommer was dubbed “Dartmouth’s Mr. Baseball” by their alumni magazine. He’s also the founder of www.HarveyFrommerSports.com. Mint, signed, discounted Frommer books are available from his site.