If Kinsella's novel is, as Johnson said of second marriages, a triumph of hope over experience, [HARVEY FROMMER]'s detailed study of the Red Sox-Yankees rivalry is an example of rarely relieved realism: days of little wine, few roses and much rue. After the unspeakable Harry Frazee sold Babe Ruth to Jake Ruppert's Yankees - Jan. 5, 1920, a date which will live in infamy - things have never been the same. The Great Collapse of 1978 - 14 games ahead in July, tied at season's end in October, then dumped by Dent's pop home run - is only the latest of many second place finishes to the Yankees. In 1949 our Sox came through with two must-lose games against the Yankees to assure another second place finish. Yet, too, the rivalry has created fine moments which still stir noble thoughts: Joe DiMaggio, hobbling, wrecking the Sox in a 1949 three-game series: 9 RBIs, 4 HRs. Dom DiMaggio making a great catch to rob brother Joe during his hitting streak of 1941. Williams savaging Yankee pitching. Fisk and Munson battling it out. The summer game at its best, here recalled in all of its Yankee ecstasy and Red Sox agony.