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Rivals!: The Ten Greatest American Sports Rivalries of the 20th Century



Rivals!: The Ten Greatest American Sports Rivalries of the 20th Century

Richard O. Davies

ISBN: 978-1-405-17764-1 April 2010 Wiley-Blackwell 304 Pages


Rivals! The Ten Greatest American Sports Rivalries of the 20th Century presents the most memorable rivalries in over a hundred years of American sports history.
  • Examines ten of the greatest American sports rivalries of the past century, relating them to their broader historical context
  • Includes the rivalries between the Boston Red Sox and the New York Yankees, Duke and North Carolina, Joe Frazier and Muhammad Ali, Jack Nicklaus and Arnold Palmer, Chris Evert and Martina Navratilova, and more
  • Draws upon the most recent works of sport historians, as well as hundreds of books, articles, and newspaper accounts
  • Reveals a deep understanding of American sports history and American popular culture
  • Features 30 images that bring the rivalries vividly to life


1 Fight Fiercely: Harvard and Yale Create the First Great Football Rivalry.

2 "We Hate Each Other's Guts": The Dodgers and the Giants.

3 Battle Along Tobacco Road: Duke and North Carolina Basketball.

4 Mayhem on the Midway: The Bears and the Packers.

5 Shootin' Irons: The Jack Nicklaus-Arnold Palmer Golf Rivalry.

6 Cross-Country Conflict: The Celtics and the Lakers.

7 The Bull and the Butterfly: The Never-Ending Rivalry Between Joe Frazier and Muhammad Ali.

8 Friendly Foes: Chrissie and Martina.

9 "Dearest Enemies": Michigan-Ohio State Football.

10 East Coast Baseball Rivalry: The Red Sox and the Yankees.

Further Reading.


"Rivals! is a thorough and immensely entertaining read. Davies writes in clear language without sacrificing the subtleties and complexities of the topics he engages. Indeed, Davies' study showed me how much I still have to learn about rivalries that, before encountering his work, I thought I understood quite well. Furthermore, and perhaps most important, Rivals! provides a foundation on which other studies of the sports rivalry can build." (Journal of Sports History, 1 April 2011)

"This is the perfect book for any sports fan. If you’re not a huge sports fan, it would make a great Father’s Day gift, or a great gift for your teenager who wants to learn more about the history of teams." (, May 2010)