During the first Sox-Yankee series there was a lot of press about Joba throwing at Youkilis. Over at Pinstripealley, Ortiz' quote warning Joba not to headhunt was derided and many posters complained about how the Sox target Yankee hitters with no retaliation. I tried to bring some rationality to the discussion but was shouted down (including arguments made with the use of some faulty statistics). Given the obvious targeting of Bay last night, I thought it would be a good time to look at this carefully.
Lets take the years 2004-now for three reasons. First, this is the period of great angst for Yankee fans. Second, this is a long stretch. Third, before this time nearly all players involved are no longer with these two teams.
From 2004 till now, Yankee batters have been hit 60 times by the Sox. Sox batters have been hit 53 times by Yankee pitching. The greatest offender for the Sox is Wakefield, who has hit 8 in that span. Thus, the Yankees have actually hit more batters than the Sox have in this span with balls traveling faster than 60 MPH. Of course this does not take into account the obvious cases of Joba throwing at Youkilis, since 3 missed and one was a foul ball, but clearly there is no targeting going on.
Do the Sox hit the Yankees more than other teams do? No, not really. For example, Toronto has not played the Yankees yet, but in the span 2004-2008 Jays pitchers hit 49 Yankee players. While all of this might be clear and obvious to us, I hope some Yankee fans read this and come to their senses about this strange conspiracy theory.