My friend Adam is a whiz when it comes to stats, especially baseball statistics. He sends me all kinds of numbers regarding the Red Sox players and team, and a few weeks ago he sat down and did a comparison between the seasonal records of Red Sox and Yankees. My thanks to him for sending the numbers to me.
And I would much rather talk about baseball statistics than inane Super Bowl hype on the Sunday before the big game anyway.
Adam focused on the two clubs between 1970 and 2007, and used the 162-game seasons. (I added in 1969 to make it since the divisional systems took place.) He left off the strike seasons of 1981 and 1994, as well as 1995 when the season was cut down to 144 games due to the late ending of the strike. (I'll never know why they didn't add 10 doubleheaders for each club to make it an old time 154-game season that year.) He did include 1972, even though a few games were left off the schedule early on due to a players walkout. He also considered two seasons, 1978 and 2005 as statistical ties, as both clubs completed both seasons with the same record, despite the Yankees winning the playoff game in 1978 and the first tiebreaker in 2005.
The Yankees have finished ahead of the Red Sox 21 times, and the Red Sox have finished ahead of the Yankees 13 times. Most of the Yankee dominance took place between 1996-2006, when they were first ten times and tied once. The other period of the Yankees with the better record was from 1976-85, when they were ahead of the Sox 7 times. But between 1969 and 1993 (with 1981 excluded), the Red Sox had actually better records than the Yankees overall, 12-11. The best Red Sox dominance over the Yankees occurred between 1971-75 (the Sox were better in every season but 1974), and 1986-91 (the Red Sox were better in every year but 1987).
In all of those 36 seasons, the Yankees have had 8 sub-.500 seasons, while the Red Sox have had just 5. Both teams have finished last just once (Yankees in 1990, Red Sox in 1992). And overall, the Yankees have averaged 90 wins since 1969, and the Red Sox 87.5 wins.
The Yankees have won 6 World Series and 10 AL pennants, while the Red Sox have won 4 AL pennants and 2 World Series since 1969.
And in the 21st century: the Red Sox have won 2 World Series, the Yankees none.