The 1949 Yankees team was seen as "underdogs" who came from behind to catch and surprise the powerful Red Sox on the last two days of the season, a face off that fueled the beginning of the modern Yankees – Red Sox rivalry.
The Red Sox needed just one win in two games and were to pitch Mel Parnell in the first game. After trailing 4–0, the Yankees came back to beat Parnell 5–4, as Johnny Lindell hit an eighth-inning, game-winning, home run and Joe Page had a great relief appearance for New York. And so it came down to the last game of the season. It was Ellis Kinder facing Vic Raschi.
The Yankees led 1–0 after seven innings, having scored in the first. In the eighth inning, manager Joe McCarthy lifted Kinder for a pinch hitter who did not come through. Then he brought in Mel Parnell in relief, and Parnell yielded a homer to Tommy Henrich and a single to Yogi Berra. Parnell was replaced by Tex Hughson, who had been on the disabled list and said his arm still hurt. But he came on and, with the bases loaded, Jerry Coleman hit a soft liner that Al Zarilla in right field tried to make a shoestring catch, but he missed and it went for a triple and three runs. In the ninth inning the Red Sox rallied for three runs but still fell short. The post-season proved to be a bit easier, as the Yankees defeated the Brooklyn Dodgers four games to one.