Game 19 vs. Baltimore Orioles: Walt Dropo

The Rookie of The Year Award was established in 1947, and Jackie Robinson was the first recipient of the award. In 1950 Walt Dropo was the first Boston Red Sox player to be awarded, and he beat out future Hall of Famer Whitey Ford for the honors. Dropo's career was never the same after he fractured his wrist in 1951. He was a serviceable player for 13 years, but he never regained the level of talent from that 1950 season. He wrapped up his career with parts of 3 seasons as a member of the Baltimore Orioles. 

Though his best days were with the Red Sox, Dropo had flashes of greatness as a member of the Tigers and White Sox. Throughout his career, he seemingly took enjoyment in tormenting Whitey Ford. In 87 at bats, Dropo hit .299 against Ford, including hitting 5 home runs over the years. Dropo also had early success against Early Wynn, another future Hall of Famer, against whom he cranked 4 home runs.

Dropo passed away in 2010, but he left behind a legacy of being a solid player on a bunch of decent teams. He never reached the postseason, but he played with a plethora of great players. Ted Williams, Bobby Doerr, Johnny Pesky, Mel Parnell, Dom Dimaggio with the Sox. Hal Newhouser, George Kell, and Al Kaline with the Tigers. Nellie Fox, Minnie Minoso, Luis Aparicio with the White Sox. Finally, Hoyt Wilhelm, Milt Pappas, and Brooks Robinson with the Orioles. 

Dropo was a great supporting cast ballplayer. Wade Miley pitches against the Orioles today, and he's a great supporting cast starting pitcher. He won 16 games in his first full season as a member of the Arizona Diamondbacks. Though he hasn't duplicated those numbers, he's steadily logged 200 innings in each full season he has played. That's pretty much the equivalent of doing your job by keeping your club in the race. Many of the O's haven't faced Miley, so perhaps he'll show up with a bit of that rookie year greatness and help ensure the Sox walk away with another series win.

Game 4 vs. New York Yankees: Stephen Drew

Stephen Drew represents quite a bit. Between his lackluster postseason performance in 2013(until that beautiful home run during Game 6 of the World Series), to his equally lackluster 2014, and the subsequent deadline trade to the New York Yankees where he continued his lackluster 2014 campaign... he has come to epitomize the rivalry between the Red Sox and Yankees as it stands today.

Tonight's game will be the 2,119th regular season matchup between the two storied franchises. However, it is a few years removed from the regular excitement that existed for much of the Joe Torre years as Yankee manager and into the first few years of Joe Girardi's tenure. The rivalry exists today, but until there's a hard fought battle on the field, it's almost as if it's dormant. The closest comparison might be during the 1980's when neither team won a championship. That isn't completely correct, though, as the impact of the 2004 World Series title and subsequent 2007 and 2013 titles has leveled the bragging rights playing field.

Stephen Drew illustrates this dormancy pretty well. On July 31, 2014, the Red Sox traded Stephen Drew to the Yankees for cash and a bag of balls(Kelly Johnson). It was the first trade between the clubs since 1997, when the Red Sox shipped veteran Mike Stanley to the Yankees during a rebuilding season. One of the prospects the Yankees sent back was part a trade just a few months later that brought Pedro Martinez to Boston from the Montreal Expos. And the rest is history.

Gone from the last height of the rivalry are Pedro Martinez, Derek Jeter, and the theatrics of Don Zimmer being tossed to the ground. The Yankees are not poised for greatness this year, and lots of baseball pundits have written off the Red Sox as well. 2014 represented the first season that neither the Red Sox or Yankees reached the playoffs for the first since since the first Wild Card was introduced. On paper it looks like it could be 2 straight seasons without either team in the postseason. However, from this biased viewpoint, that is highly unlikely.

Wade Miley will take his first step into the Red Sox - Yankees rivalry tonight, thought this will be his second career start against New York. Let's hope Miley wakes up the ghosts of rivalry past and blows away the Yankees to kick off the season's first rivalry series!