New York Yankees
1903: At a summit to unite the two leagues under similar rules, and establishing the World Series, American League President Ban Johnson lets it known he wants a team in New York. Johnson got 15 of the 16 Major League owners to agree; the lone dissenter was John T. Bush owner of the New York Giants. Johnson arranged Frank Farrell and Bill Devery to buy the struggling Baltimore Orioles and move them to Manhattan. The two new owners quickly secured a piece of land on Broadway between 165th and 168th street and promptly put together a ballpark known as Hilltop Park. Since the stadium sat on one of the highest points in Manhattan, the nickname Highlanders was chosen as the new club’s name. The Highlanders took the field for their first game on April 22nd and lost to the Nats in Washington 3-1. The Highlanders would win their very first game the next day, 7-2. A week later, facing the Nats again, the Highlanders made their home debut a success with a 6-2 win. That first year was a success for New York, as they would finish a respectable 72-62 under Hall of Fame Manager Clark Griffith.
1904: The Highlanders chased the Boston Americans all year, catching them in August and trading first place back and forth into October. A critical four-game series at the end of the season would determine the pennant. In the first game, Jack Chesbro defeated Boston 3-2 to the Highlanders a half-game lead (it was his 41st win, a 20th-century record.) However, the Pilgrims came back to win the next two games to retake the lead. In the fourth game of the series, with Chesbro again pitching with the score tied 2-2 in the top of the 9th, a wild pitch over the head of catcher Deacon McGuire would allow the Pilgrims pennant-clinching run to score, as the Highlanders settled for second place with a 92-59.
1905: Coming off a season in which they battled for first place until the end of the season, the Highlanders are a tremendous disappointment, finishing in sixth place with a record of 71-78.
1906: The Highlanders lead the American League in late September before tailing off to finish three games behind the Chicago White Sox with a 90-61 record.
1907: The Highlanders continue a pattern of up and down seasons, as they fall back into fifth place with a record of 70-78.
1908: The Highlanders come crashing down into last place for the first time in franchise history, posting a horrendous 51-103 record.
1909: After a horrid 103 loss season, Highlander owner Bill Devery thinks it’s time for a new image and adopts a NY emblem that was used on a medal of honor for cops shot in the line of duty. The new interlocking NY would become the most recognizable logo in all of sports. In the first year, the interlocking NY appeared on the uniform; the team improved to a 74-77 record.
1910: After three consecutive losing seasons, the Highlanders climb up to second place, posting a respectable 88-63 record.
1911: The Highlanders play mediocre baseball all season finishing in sixth place with a record of 76-76.
1912: Another uniform design change takes place this time the Highlander home uniforms would now have the added touch of pinstripes. In their first year in pinstriped, the Highlanders struggle all season and finish in last place with a 50-102 record.
1913: The American League team in New York signs a deal to play its games at the Polo Grounds and changes its nickname from Highlanders to Yankees. However, the team still struggles in their first year officially known as the Yankees and finishes in seventh place with a 57-94 record.
1914: The Yankees continue to struggle despite finishing in sixth place with a record of 60-84.
1915: The Yankees begin to show signs of improvement as they finish in fifth place with a record of 79-83.
1916: After a string of losing season the Yankees finally begin to show some promise, and put together a respectable 80-74 record that was good enough for fourth place.
1917: The Yankees are unable to build on their promising season, and struggle again to the tune of a sixth-place 71-82 record.
1918: In Miller Huggins’ first season as manager, the Yankees are a struggle, as The Yankees finish with a 60-63 for a fourth-place finish.
1919: The Yankees make a run at first place, finishing in third place eight and a half games out with a record of 80-59.
1920: On January 3rd, the course of two franchises would change forever. The Red Sox, who had won five World Series and the Yankees who had yet to win a single pennant, made a deal that would forever change the landscape of professional sports. Sox owner Harry Frazee looking to finance a Broadway Musical “No-No Nannette” sold Babe Ruth to the Yankees for $125,000, in addition to $300,00 for a loan against the mortgage of Fenway Park. After this move, the Yankees would go on to become the greatest dynasty in the history of sports, and the Red Sox would not win another World Series for 86 years. Babe Ruth’s first season in pinstripes would be a smashing success for the Yanks. Ruth would go on to hit 54 Home Runs establishing and a new record, while nearly doubling the old record. Ruth set the old record of 29 in 1919, his first year as a full-time outfielder. The Yankees would go on to win 95 games coming up just three games short of the pennant.
1921: The Yankees raided Boston again this time, making manager Ed Barrow their new General Manager, and in turn, Barrow brought pitcher Waite Hoyt and catcher Wally Schang with him. These acquisitions plus another record topping 59 HR from Babe Ruth were just what the Yankees need to win 98 games and their first pennant. The Yankees would face the New York Giants in the very first Subway Series. The Yanks would get off to a flying start winning the first two games of the best of nine series by identical 3-0 scores. The Giants would bounce back in the next two games to even the series. The Yankees would rebound to win Game 5 and took a 5-0 lead in Game 6, but the Yankees would only score one more run in the entire series after that. The Yanks would lose the Babe to an injury, and after the Giants came back to win the sixth game, the Yankees lost the series 5-3. Following the series, the Giants evicted the Yankees out of the Polo Grounds effective at the end of the 1922 season.
1922: Despite Babe Ruth missing two months due to injuries, the Yankees still managed to win 94 games and hold off the St. Louis Browns by one game for their second straight pennant, and Subway Series against the Giants. The Yanks were not quite swept in the Series, they did manage a tie in Game 2, but they were dominated by the Giants none-the-less. The Yankee offense, scored to three runs in five games, as Babe Ruth got just two hits in 17 at-bats.
1923: After sharing the Polo Grounds with the Giants since 1913, the Yankees were at home in brand-new Yankee Stadium just across the Harlem River in the Bronx. The new stadium would be referred to as the house Ruth Built since the Babe had a fantastic ability to draw fans from all-around. The stadium would open on April 18th in front of 74,200 fans, who witnessed Babe Ruth appropriately hit the Stadium’s first home run, and the Yankees defeat the Boston Red Sox 4-1. The first season at the stadium was a success as the Yankees with the addition of yet another pitcher from the Red Sox, Herb Pennock, and a .393 average from Ruth took the lead from the start and built it over the summer to a 16-game margin by the end, with a 98-54 record. For the third straight year, the Yankees faced the Giants in the World Series. In Game 1, the Yankees would see an early 3-0 lead wilt away into another loss, when Casey Stengel legged out an inside the park Home Run to win the game. After bouncing back to win Game 2, the Yankees lost Game 3 and trailed the Giants 2-1 in the series. It began to look as if the Yanks and Babe Ruth could not win the big one. However, from that point on, the Yankees would dominate the series, winning the next two 8-4, and 8-1. In Game 6, the Yankees would score five runs in the eighth to take their first of many World Series four games to two.
1924: The Yankees fall two games short in their quest for a fourth straight trip to the World Series with an 89-63 record.
1925: In a year in which Babe Ruth was lost much of the season to surgery and suspension, the Yankees finish seventh with a 69-85 record, it would be their last losing season 40 years. The suspensions to then Babe serve as a warning, and the Babe becomes more focused on baseball in the following season, and the Yankees would only get stronger. Meanwhile, on June 2nd, Lou Gehrig begins his streak of 2,130 consecutive games played, with a pinch-hitting appearance for Pee Wee Wanniger.
1926: With Babe Ruth’s return to full strength and the establishment of a new middle infield of Tony Lazzeri and Mark Koenig, the Yankees took their fourth pennant with a record of 91-63. The Yankees would face the St. Louis Cardinals in hard-fought seven-game World Series. After winning Game 5, the Yankees looked to have stranglehold taking a 3-2 series lead heading back to the Bronx for Game 6, but Grover Cleveland Alexander shut down the Yanks in Game 6 to force a seventh and deciding game. In Game 7, Alexander would again shut down the Yankees, stopping a two-out Bases Loaded Rally in the seventh and getting the final seven outs to take the World Series.
1927: Only one word can be used to describe the 1927 Yankees, and that is dominant, many observers rank them as baseball’s greatest team ever. The Yankees offense was so deviating to AL pitchers they earned the nickname “Murder’s Row.” As a team, the Yankees led the league in hitting (.307) and slugging (.489, still a major league record). Babe Ruth became the first player ever to hit 60 HR and was overshadowed the MVP year by his teammate Lou Gehrig who drove in 173 runs and batted .373. Ruth himself would have 164 RBI, along with Bob Meusel’s 103, and Tony Lazzeri’s 102 would give the Yanks four batters with more than 100 RBI. Their pitching also dominated compiling a 3.20 ERA, which was three-fourths of a run per game lower than the ERA of the next best team. The Yanks would win 110 game en-route to a 19 game margin over the second-place Philadelphia A’s. The Yanks dominance carried on to the World Series, where the Yanks only trailed twice en-route to cruising to a four-game sweep of the Pittsburgh Pirates. Game 1 and 4 were close; the Yankees won each by one run, including winning the final game in walk-off fashion after Pirates pitcher Johnny Miljus uncorked a wild pitch in the bottom of the ninth.
1928: After running away with the pennant in 1927, the Yankees quickly learned that 1928 would not be as easy. The Yankees did 101 games again, and Babe Ruth smashed 54 homers while tying teammate Lou Gehrig with 142 RBI for the American League lead. However, the Yankees need a mid-September sweep of the Philadelphia Athletics to win the pennant by three games. The Yankees would find things easier in the World Series against the St. Louis Cardinals. The Yanks would exact revenge for 1926 convincingly. In the four-game sweep, the Bronx Bombers smashed nine home runs (including four by Lou Gehrig and three by Babe Ruth). Gehrig would drive in nine runs, only one less than the Cards scored in the entire series. In the final game, Babe Ruth would hit three Home Runs equaling the feat of 1926, and outdoing the two Gehrig hit the day before.
1929: The Yankees started the season by making history with their uniforms again when they became the first team to make numbers a permanent part of the uniform. Other teams quickly adopted the idea; by 1932, uniform numbers became standard for all teams. The initial distribution of numbers on the Yankees was made according to the player’s position in the batting order. Therefore, in 1929, leadoff hitter Earle Combs wore #1, Mark Koenig #2, Babe Ruth #3, Lou Gehrig #4, Bob Meusel #5, Tony Lazzeri #6, Leo Durocher #7, Johnny Grabowski #8, Benny Bengough #9, Bill Dickey #10 (Grabowski, Bengough, and Dickey shared the catching duties). It would be a challenging year for the Yanks; by late September, their pennant hopes were smashed by the Philadelphia Athletics, who would win the pennant by 16 games. However, on September 25th, the season became unbearable when manager Miller Huggins who had led the Yanks since 1918 and through their first three World Championships, and six pennants died suddenly of blood poising. The Yanks would go on to land in second place with an 88-66 record.
1930: With Bob Shawkey guiding the Yankees, the team would never play to their full potential, finishing in third place with a record of 86-68.
1931: In Joe McCarthy’s first season as manager, the Yankees put together a solid 94-59 record, but fall 13 and a half games short of the pennant.
1932: After losing out on the American League pennant three straight years to the Philadelphia Athletics, the Yankees regained their dominant form, as Lou Gehrig would lead the way with 151 RBI. Gehrig even topped the Bambino on June 3rd in Philadelphia when he became the very first player to hit four Home Runs in one game. Others would equal the feat; however, Ruth would never equal the feat. The Yankees won 107 games and took home the pennant by 13 games. In the World Series, the Yankees faced the Chicago Cubs. Lou Gehrig, who hit .529 and scored nearly a quarter of the Yankees runs, led both clubs in batting, slugging, hits, runs, and RBIs as the Yankees crushed the Cubs in four games. However, as was most of his career, Gehrig’s accomplishments were overshadowed by the Babe. In Game 3, with the score tied 4-4 in the fifth inning, Babe Ruth pointed his bat at pitcher Charlie Root. After taking two strikes, the Babe ripped the third pitch into the center-field bleachers. Lou Gehrig would follow with a homer off Root right after, but the game and the Series would be forever remembered for Babe Ruth’s called shot.
1933: On July 6th, a new tradition began in Chicago’s Comiskey Park pitting the AL’s best players against the NL’s best players. The game was dubbed the All-Star Game, and appropriately enough, the star that shined brightest was the Babe who hit the first Home Run in All-Star history and aided the AL to a 4-2 win. However, the Yankees would fail to win the pennant falling seven games short with a 91-59 record.
1934: On July 14th, Babe Ruth hits his 700th career home runs at Detroit’s Navin Field. There were not many more milestones to come for the Bambino. Ruth would only hit eight more Home Runs to finish the season with 708 career home runs. The Yankees would then release the aging Babe Ruth after the season in which they finished in second place with a 94-60 record. The Babe would go on to hit six more homers with Boston Braves, but it was an end of an era for the Yankees and all of baseball.
1935: In their first season without Babe Ruth, the Yankees fall just three games short of the American League Pennant with a solid 89-60 record.
1936: Lou Gehrig, who took home the MVP with a league-leading 49 Home Runs along with 152 RBI, and a .354 average led the Yankees to the American League Pennant with a 102-51 record. A young rookie from San Francisco also helped the Yankees who hit 29 homers and drove in 125 runs. The young rookie, who was the son of Italian Immigrants, would go on to become the next Yankee legend, Joe DiMaggio. Joining DiMaggio and Gehrig with 100 RBI was Bill Dickey, Tony Lazzeri, and George Selkirk. The Yankees would go on to face the New York Giants in the World Series. The Giants would draw first blood ending the Yanks 12 Game World Series winning streak. However, the Yankees exacted revenge in Game 2, humiliating the Giants 18-4. The Yankees would win the next two games to capture a 3-1 series lead. After the Giants won Game 5, the Yankees bat woke up and tore apart Giants pitching to deliver the Yanks their fifth World Series, tying the Boston Red Sox for the most World Series Championships.
1937: The Yankees would win 102 games en route to winning their second straight American League Pennant. The Yanks were led by the powerful bats of Bill Dickey, Joe DiMaggio, and Lou Gehrig, who all drove in more than 130 runs, and smacked at least 29 Home Runs. The Yankees would face the Giants again in the World Series. The Yankees would dominate the Giants winning the first three games by a combined total of 23-3. After losing Game 4 to Carl Hubbell, the Yankees put the Giants away in Game 5 as Lefty Gomez won his second post-season game. It was the Yankees’ sixth World Championship giving them the lead overall baseball teams a lead that would only grow as the years rolled on.
1938: The Yankees would win the American League Pennant again, winning 99 games en-route to holding off the Boston Red Sox by 11 games. Lou Gehrig made history by playing in his 2,000th consecutive game. However, Gehrig’s play was just a little bit off; he did hit 29 Home Runs and drove in 115 runs, but his Average had dipped below .300 for the first time since his rookie year. The Yankees would go on to sweep the Chicago Cubs in the World Series. Red Ruffing, who pitched two complete games to bookend the sweep, led the Yankees. It would be the Yankees’ seventh World Championship.
1939: Throughout Spring Training, something seemed wrong with Lou Gehrig, but at the beginning of the season, the Iron Horse just kept playing. Then on May 2nd Gehrig’s playing streak of 2,130 consecutive games ends when he does not make an appearance in a 22-2 Yankees’ win at Detroit. Babe Dahlgren, who played first base for the Yankees and contributed a double and a home run. However, the news for Gehrig would get much worse. Gehrig was diagnosed with Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis, a rare neurological disorder that is incurable. The disease is now more commonly known as Lou Gehrig’s disease. As news spread about Gehrig’s dire situation, Baseball imminently put him into the newly opened Hall of Fame, and the Yankees would hold a day in his honor on the 4th of July. At the ceremony at Yankee Stadium Gehrig, who had feuded with Babe Ruth was able to bury the hatchet with the man who’s shadow he played in for a decade. The Yankees would also retire Gehrig’s Number 4 making it the first retired uniform number in professional sports, and the ceremonies would go in history as Gehrig gave his famous “Luckiest Man on the Face of the Earth” speech. Ordinary teams would not be able to overcome the loss of a great player like Lou Gehrig, but the Yankees are no ordinary team. The Yankees led by MVP Joe DiMaggio, who batted .381 while driving in 126 runs, won 107 games en-route to their fourth straight World Series. The series against the Cincinnati Reds was another sweep for the Yanks, giving them four consecutive World Championships to close out the decade. The series was best remembered for Game 4 when Reds catcher Ernie Lombardi was knocked out temporally by Charlie Keller, allowing two runs to score in the tenth inning, giving the Yanks the winning margin in the final game.
1940: The Yankees fall just two games short of a fifth straight trip to the World Series, finishing third in a three-team race with an 88-66 record.
1941: On June 2nd, ironically 16 years to the day that Gehrig’s historic streak began, Lou Gehrig succumbs to the disease that now bears his name. Gehrig was only a few weeks short of his 38th birthday. On May 15th, another history-making streak began when Joe DiMaggio singled off Edgar Smith of the White Sox. The streak would encompass the next two months and 56 games smashing the old record held by Wee Willie Keeler by a dozen. After the streak ended in Cleveland on July 17th, Di Maggio would hit in 16 straight games, to give 72 out 73 games with at least one base hit. The Yankee Clipper would go on to win the AL MVP in a close vote over Red Sox OF Ted Williams. The AL Pennant race would not be as close, as the Yankees won 101 games to beat the Boston by 17 full games and advance once again to the World Series. The Yankees would go on to face the Brooklyn Dodgers in the World Series. The turning point of the series came in Game 4; the Dodgers were on the verge of evening the series at two games apiece when Hugh Casey struck out Tommy Henrich with two outs in the ninth. Henrich was not the only one who missed the pitch Dodger catcher Mickey Owen let the ball get to the backstop, and Henrich reached base despite striking out. This would lead to a four-run Yankee rally that would see the Yankees win the game and take a commanding 3-1 series lead. The very next day, the Yankees put away the Dodgers to win their ninth World Series Championship.
1942: Charlie Keller, Joe DiMaggio, and Joe Gordon provided the power, and Tiny Bonham (with 21 wins), Spud Chandler, and rookie Hank Borowy headed the league-leading pitching staff that propelled the Yankees to 103 wins and another easy pennant. However, after winning their previous eight trips to the World Series, the Yankees are finally stopped, in five games, by the St. Louis Cardinals.
1943: With several Yankees including Joe DiMaggio and Phil Rizzuto serving in the Military during World War II. Pitchers Spud Chandler, Tiny Bonham, Hank Borowy, and Johnny Murphy stayed behind and led the charge to the team’s seventh pennant in eight years. The Yankees would face the St. Louis Cardinals in the World Series again. This time the Yankees won the series in five games thanks to Spud Chandler, who won two games and allowed only one earned run in 18 innings.
1944: The Yankees miss out on the American League Pennant by six games, finishing in third place with a record of 83-71.
1945: With many of the Yankees top stars still fighting on the battlefields in Europe and the Pacific, as World War II was coming to an end, the Yankees fall short of the American League Pennant again finishing in fourth place with a record of 81-71.
1946: On May 28th, in front of 49,917 fans, the Yankees play the first night game at Yankee Stadium, losing to the Washington Nationals 2-1. The Yankees would go on to finish in third place for the third year in a row with an 87-77 record.
1947: Joe DiMaggio and the others were back from the war by 1946, but it was not until 1947 with new Manager Bucky Harris, and sparkling pitching from Allie Reynolds, rookie Spec Shea, and reliever Joe Page that the Yankees returned to the top of the heap, winning the pennant by 12 games over the Detroit Tigers. The Yankees would face the Brooklyn Dodgers again in the Fall Classic. The Yankees won the first two games against Brooklyn and appeared heading for another easy series victory, but the pesky Dodgers would prove a tough opponent. In Game 4, Yankee pitcher Bill Bevens, despite averaging a walk an inning, had allowed no Dodger hits and only one run as the game entered the last of the 9th, with the Yanks leading 2-1. Bevens retired two in the ninth, but walked his ninth and tenth batters, then lost both his no-hitter and the game as Dodger pinch hitter Cookie Lavagetto doubled home the two base runners to even the Series. The Yanks would bounce back to win Game 5 and head home leading three games to two. However, the Dodgers would prove a pest again in Game 6 when Al Gionfriddo robbed Joe DiMaggio against the 415 mark in Left Field this would send the series to a seventh and deciding game. The Yankees would win Game 7 on Tommy Henrich’s RBI single in the fourth and the stellar pitching of Joe Page.
1948: After dropping two late-season games to fall into third place with a 94-60 record, manager Bucky Harris was replaced by Casey Stengel. Stengel, who had never finished higher than fifth as manager of the Brooklyn Dodgers and Boston Braves, would become a legend as manager of the Yankees.
1949: In Casey Stengel’s first season at the helm, the Yankees spend most of the season in first place. The Red Sox would chip away at that lead and take over first place in September. The Yankees entered the final two games of the season against Boston trailing the Sox by one game; to win the pennant, the Yanks need to have both games. In true form, the Yankees won both games and stunned the Red Sox to win the Pennant with a 97-57 record. The World Series would once again face the Brooklyn Dodgers. The Yankees and Dodgers traded 1-0 victories in the first two games of the series. Unlike the pennant, the World Series would be a breeze the rest of the way for the Yankees who won the last three games going away to claim their first of what would turn out to be five consecutive World Championships.
1950: After losing much of 1949 to injury, Joe DiMaggio returned with power, as SS Phil Rizzuto enjoyed the finest seasons of his career, scoring 125 runs en-rout to winning the AL MVP. On the mound pitcher, Whitey Ford broke into the majors, winning all nine of his decisions as a starter, losing just one game in relief. The Yankees needed to win their final five games to pull away from a tight four-way race for the AL Pennant with a record of 98-56. In the World Series, the Yankees faced the Philadelphia Phillies team known as the Whiz Kids. The Yankees would never trail in the series sweep, although they needed good pitching, as the first three games were all tight one-run pitcher’s duels.
1951: In a season where no Yankee drove in 90 or more runs, and Whitey Ford was drafted for two years of military service, the Yankees won their third straight pennant with a record of 98-56. The Yankees remaining pitchers doubled their shutout production and lowered the team ERA by more than half a run per game. Highlighting the Yankees outstanding pitching performances was Allie Reynolds, who hurled two No-Hitters. In the World Series against the New York Giants, the Yankees would fall behind two games to one, before turning on the afterburners. In Game 4, Joe DiMaggio held hitless in the first three games, paced the Yanks attack with an RBI single and a two-run Home Run. After the Yanks would win Game 5 in a 13-1 route, Hank Bauer’s three-run triple in the sixth helped put the Giants away and clinch the Yanks third straight World Series. 1951 would also end up being a year of transition of the Bronx Bombers who saw a rookie Mickey Mantle make his debut, and Joe DiMaggio suddenly retired after the season.
1952: The Yankees, despite not having any players with 100 RBI, won their fourth straight pennant edging out the Cleveland Indians by a slim two-game margin with a record of 95-59. In the World Series, the Yankees faced the Brooklyn Dodgers once again, and the series would go the full seven games. The Yankees appeared dead after losing Game 5 in the 11th inning to win the series; Yanks would have to win two games in a hostile Ebbets Field. The Yanks would even the series in Game 6 overcoming two homers by Duke Snider to win 3-2. In Game 7, Mickey Mantle’s Home Run in the sixth put the Yankees ahead to stay, as Bob Kuzava retired the last eight batters to preserve the victory and the Yanks fourth straight World Series title.
1953: Whitey Ford returned after two years in the service to win 18 games and lead the Yankees on to their unprecedented fifth straight American League Pennant with a record of 99-52. In the World Series, the Yankees faced the Brooklyn Dodgers yet again. In the World Series, the Yankees were led by 2B Billy Martin, who had 12 hits in 24 at-bats, along with two homers, two triples, and a double along while driving in eight RBI. The Yankees and Dodgers split the first four games, before Mickey Mantle’s grand slam in Game 5 helped put the Yankees up three games to two. In Game 6, it was Martin who drove in the series’ winning run in the bottom of the ninth of Game 6 to send the Yankees on to their fifth straight World Series, and 16th title overall.
1954: The Yankees win 103 games, the most in Casey Stengel’s 12-year career with the Yanks, but lose the pennant to the Cleveland Indians, who won a then American League record 111 games to take the flag by eight games.
1955: With Mickey Mantle now established as one of the game’s most productive hitters, the Yanks were in thick of the AL race again. As August passed into September, three teams were within a game of each other at the top. First, the Chicago White Sox faltered and fell away, leaving the Yankees and Indians to fight it out. With two weeks left, New York won eight straight to pass Cleveland for good. The Yankees would face the Brooklyn Dodgers again in the World Series. However, this time the Yanks would come up one game short, as they fell in seven games, after grabbing a 3-2 series losing the last two games at home. In Game 7, the Yanks were blanked by series MVP Johnny Podres, who was aided by Sandy Amoros’ game-saving catch, as the Brooklyn won it’s only World Series.
1956: The Yankees, who were led by a Tipple Crown season by MVP Mickey Mantle won 97 games and cruised to another American League Pennant. The Yankees who lost the first two games of the World Series against the Brooklyn Dodgers bounced back and won the next 2, setting up a memorable day at Yankee Stadium for Game 5. On October 8th Don Larsen used a no-windup delivery that made pitching look like a game of catch. Larsen needed only 97 pitches that day and only once threw as many as three balls to a hitter. Two excellent plays preserved the perfect game. In the second inning, Jackie Robinson hit a grounder in the hole, which third baseman Andy Carey touched with his glove and deflected to shortstop Gil McDougald, who threw Robinson out. In the fifth inning, Gil Hodges hit a line drive into left-center field. Mickey Mantle made an excellent running catch on the warning track. In the ninth inning, Larsen retired Carl Furillo and Roy Campanella before facing pinch-hitter, Dale Mitchell. The pitcher threw a ball, a called strike, and a foul ball before painting the outside corner with a fastball. Umpire Babe Pinelli, called strike three. In what is now a legendary moment catcher Yogi Berra jumped into his pitcher’s arms, and the 6-foot-4 Larsen carried him off the field as if he were a small child. After losing 1-0 to the Dodgers in Game 6, the Yanks won the final game 9-0 to claim their 17th World Championship. Little did anyone at that time realize the Subway Series, which had become an almost annual appearance, would not occur again for 44 years.
1957: The Yankees cruised to their third straight pennant while winning 98 games. In the World Series, the Yankees are beaten by Lew Burdette, who won three games, including Game 7, to lead the Milwaukee Braves to their first World Championship.
1958: The Yankees would win their fourth consecutive pennant with little challenge winning the pennant by ten games over the Chicago White Sox with a record of 92-62. In the World Series, it looked as if the Milwaukee Braves would have the Yankees number again taking a 3-1 series lead. The Braves would send Lew Burdette, who dominated the Yankees in 1957 and Game 2 of the 58 series out to the mound for Game 5 to put the Yankees away. The Yankees used a six-run sixth to get back into the series heading to Milwaukee. After winning Game 6 in ten innings, the Yanks would have to beat Burdette again in Game 7. With the score tied 2-2 in the eighth inning, Moose Skowron followed a Hank Bauer RBI single to give the Yanks the winning margin, as the Yanks won their 18th World Championship.
1959: The Yankees quest for a fifth straight trip to the World Series never quite got going, as the team stumbled to a third Place 79-75 season.
1960: The Yankees were reloaded and refreshed, after a mediocre season. The Yankees’ significant acquisition was Roger Maris, who they got from their unofficial farm club the Kamas City Athletics in exchange for Don Larsen. Maris would belt 39 Homer Runs, and drive in 112 runs en-route to the AL MVP. Maris’ 39 homers were only bettered by teammate Mickey Mantle who hit 40. The Yankees won 97 games en-route to cruising to yet another American League Pennant. In the World Series, the Yankees would be stunned by the Pittsburgh Pirates Bill Mazeroski’s ninth-inning Game 7 Home Run. It was a series the Yankees clearly should have won. In the three games, the Yankees won the Bronx Bombers the Bucs 38-3, but the Pirates managed to win four close games, including Game 7 to take the series. Yankee bosses saw Casey Stengel as the reason for losing the series and fired their manager who had just turned 70 sighting age as a reason. The Yankees also let go General Manager George Weiss, who himself was seen as too old to lead a Major League Team, both would land a job with the expansion New York Mets.
1961: With former Yanks reserve catcher Ralph Houk at the helm, the Yankees would make the 1961 season one their most historic, ranking next to the 27′ Yankees as one of baseball’s most celebrated teams ever. Whitey Ford won 25 games and the Cy Young, en-route to leading the team to 109 wins, as the Yanks won the pennant by eight games over the Detroit Tigers. However, the story of the year would be the race between Mickey Mantle and Roger Maris for the HR title. Most of the season, Mantle and Maris battled back and forth for the HR lead, as the season wore on it began to look as if both could make a serious run at Babe Ruth’s record of 60. Some people did not take kindly to anyone chasing Ruth’s record, included in that was commissioner Ford C. Frick, a former Ruth ghostwriter to Ruth, who said if the record was to count, it must be done in the same 154 games that Ruth played in 1927. It was clear who fans wanted to see break the record, and that was Mantle, who had spent his entire career with Yankees. Mantle experienced an allergic reaction to cortisone shot and had to bow out of the race in September with 54 Home Run. This would leave Roger Maris alone in the spotlight as he cashed down the Babe’s record. Maris would pass Ruth but not until the final and 162nd game of the season and had an asterisk slapped on his achievement. In all, the M&M boys would hit 115 homers, and the Yankees would hit 240 homers establishing a record that would stand more than 35 years. Maris’s accomplishment would not be fully appreciated until it fell 37 years later; by then, the asterisk had been removed and had stood as the single-season record longer than the prestigious 60 Ruth hit in 1927. Maris would go to win his second straight MVP, as the Yankees moved on to beat the Cincinnati Reds 4 games to 1 in the World Series.
1962: The Yankees led by 23 wins form pitcher Ralph Terry and another MVP year from Mickey Mantle won 96 games to earn their 3rd straight World Series appearance. The Series would be a classic seven-game affair, complete with a classic ending against the San Francisco Giants. The Yanks and Giants would battle back and forth, winning alternating games, setting the stage for a classic Game 7. The game would be a classic pitching duel between Ralph Terry, and the Giants Jack Sanford. The Yankees would score their only run in fourth on a play in which the Giants turned a Double Play. However, Terry kept the Giants off the board entirely until the ninth inning. After Matty Alou led off with a bunt single, Terry fanned the next two batters. Then Willie Mays doubled to right, but Roger Maris’ slick-fielding stopped Alou at third. As Terry faced Willie McCovey (who had homered off him in Game 2), he must have pondered the home run he had given up to Bill Mazeroski two years earlier to lose the 1960 World Series in Pittsburgh. McCovey lined Terry’s third pitch, but it was right at 2B Bobby Richardson, who grabbed it for the Yankees 20th World Championship.
1963: Despite the loss of Mickey Mantle and Roger Maris for much of the season due to injury, the Yanks dominated the American League, winning the pennant with 104 wins. However, in World Series, the Yankees were themselves dominated by the Los Angeles Dodgers pitching, who held them to just four runs in a World Series sweep.
1964: The Yankees, now managed by Yogi Berra would find winning the pennant a lot more difficult. Yes, the Yankees would win 99 games, but they needed an 11 game winning streak to eke out the pennant by just one game over the Chicago White Sox. In the World Series, the Yankees would fall to the St. Louis Cardinals in seven games, as the bat of Tim McCarver and the dominant pitching of Bob Gibson doomed the Yankees. The series would end up being the last one for the Yankees for 12 years, as Mickey Mantle smacked his record-breaking 18th and final World Series Home Run.
1965: The Yankees would make significant changes before the season. Yogi was fired and replaced by Johnny Keane, who managed the St. Louis Cardinals during the 1964 World Series. The Yankees were also purchased by CBS, who would only serve to fail the Yankees championship legacy during their period of ownership, as the Yankees 40-year streak of winning seasons came to an end with a disappointing 77-85 record that landed them in sixth place.
1966: The Yankees fall from grace continued as the team finished in last place with a disappointing 70-89 record.
1967: In a 90-loss season, the Yanks third straight losing season the lone highlight comes on Mother’s Day at Yankee Stadium when Mickey mantle belts his 500th career Home Run.
1968: The Yankees end a three-year string of losing season by finishing in fifth place with a mediocre 83-79 record.
1969: Shortly after showing up for Spring Training Mickey Mantle, retires after a tremendous but injury-riddled 18-year career. On June 8th, a record crowd turns out for “Mickey Mantle Day” as the Yankees retire his famous Number 7 jersey. The Yanks would struggle in their first season without Mantle finishing in fifth place with an 80-81 record.
1970: Led by outstanding season from Rookie of the Year Thurman Munson, the Yankees win 93 games but fall 15 games short of the division title.
1971: The Yankees play mediocre baseball all season finishing in fourth place with a record of 82-80.
1972: The Yankees only finish six and a half games out of first place but still only post a record of 79-76 while landing in fourth place.
1973: On January 3rd (the 53rd anniversary of the Babe Ruth purchase), the Yankees themselves are purchased from CBS by a group headed by a shipping magnate from Cleveland named George M. Steinbrenner. In buying the Yankees, Steinbrenner vows not to take a prominent role in the running of the club. In Steinbrenner’s first year of ownership, the Yankees finish with a disappointing 80-82 record, as Manager Ralph Houk resigns at the end of the season. As Yankees Stadium celebrated its 50th anniversary, plans were being made to rebuild and modernize the house that Ruth built completely. At season’s end, pieces from the stadium were sold off. The Smithsonian Institute received the bat racks and bullpen steps. Home plate was given to the widow of Babe Ruth, while Lou Gehrig’s widow received 1st Base. Columns supporting the roof and the upper deck was removed to improve sightlines, as a new-cantilevered structure would allow all seats to see the game without obstacle. The playing field was lowered five feet to improve sightlines in the lower decks. The Yankees replaced the old 18-inch wooden seats, with 22-inch plastic seats. The scalloped frieze that was the old stadium’s signature on the roof would be replicated on top of the new scoreboard that ran from left field to right. These significant changes would take two years to complete, and at that time, the Yankees were forced to play their home games at Shea Stadium.
1974: The Yankees made a late charge but came up two games short in the race for the division with a record of 89-73. In the off-season, the fans get a glimpse of the future, as the Yankees sign Jim “Catfish” Hunter, who became a free agent after the Oakland A’s ownership was found in breach of contract.
1975: After the Yankees get off to a disappointing start manager Bill Virdon is fired, and replaced by 1950’s Yankee hero Billy Martin. Martin was exiled out of the Yankee kingdom in 1957 after being involved in a fight at the Copacabana, a local New York club. The fight that made headlines also included Whitey Ford and Moose Skowron. The feisty Martin was seen by Yankees management as being at fault and was dealt away to the Kansas City A’s. In Martin’s first season as manager with the Yanks, the team finishes in third place with an 83-79 record.
1976: As the USA celebrated its bicentennial, Yankee Stadium celebrated its grand re-opening. Fans were now greeted with 138-foot smokestack shaped like a Louisville Slugger Baseball Bat. The fans also had another spot to visit before games as the monuments that used to be on the field were moved slightly beyond the Left-centerfield seats this area would become known as Monument Park. Fans also got to see the Yankees return to prominence as they were led by their MVP captain Thurman Munson to win 97 games en-route to the division title. In the ALCS, the Yankees face a strong challenge from the Kansas City Royals, beginning a rivalry that would be among baseball’s best over the next five years. The series would go the full five games, and as the Royals refused to die. With the Yanks leading 6-3 in the 8th Royals 3B, George Brett hit a three-run homer to tie the game up, setting the stage for one of the stadium’s most dramatic moments. With the game still tied in the bottom of the ninth, Chris Chambliss led off and hit Mark Littell’s first pitch of the inning over the wall in right-center to send the Yankees back to the World Series for the first time in 12 years. However, in the series, the Yankees ran into one of the best teams in baseball history, as Cincinnati’s Big Red Machine swept the Yankees. The lone bright spot for the Yanks was a .529 average from Thurman Munson. After losing the series, Steinbrenner opened his checkbook again, signing superstar slugger Reggie Jackson to a five-year deal.
1977: Reggie Jackson would arrive to spring full of bluster and gusto declaring himself the straw that stirs the drink. Not tacking to kindly to this was the feisty Manager Bill Martin who did not want the Yankees to sign Reggie in the first place. Martin and several other Yankees felt that Thurman Munson, the Yankee captain was the one who got the Yankees going, and a rift would develop. The Yankees would get off to a slow start as a feud started to simmer between Martin and Jackson. The feud would boil over on a Saturday in mid-June before a national television audience when Martin pulled Reggie out of a game in the sixth inning at Boston. The two began screaming at each other in the dugout, and Billy Martin had to be restrained from going after his star outfielder. Strangely enough, the Yanks thrived under the adverse circumstances and began to gain in the first place, Red Sox. The Yankees would surge even further in August to gain a foothold on first place and won 100 game en-route to their second consecutive ALCS against the Royals. The Royals would prove a pest again and held a 2-1 series lead with the final two games in Kansas City. The Yankees would win Game 4 thanks to four hits by Mickey Rivers, and 5.2 innings of scoreless relief by Cy Young winner Sparky Lyle. Things began to look bleak for the Yankees as the trailed the Royals 3-1 in the 8th inning of the fifth and deciding game. The Yankees would score one run in the eighth, and three in the ninth to pull off another American League Championship and head to their 31st World Series. The Yanks would face the Los Angeles Dodgers in the Fall Classic, and Reggie Jackson would step into his “Mr. October” role as Superman. The Yanks won Game 1 in 12 innings as Willie Randolph came home to score after a leadoff single. After losing Game 2, the Yanks won Game 3 & 4 to take a commanding 3-1 series lead. Reggie would hit a Home Run in Game 4 and another in Game 5 (a Yankees loss) to set the stage for a historic Game 6. In the sixth game, the Dodgers had an early 3-2 lead when Reggie, who walked in his first at-bat, stepped up to face Burt Hooton with a runner on in the fourth. Reggie would homer on the first pitch he would see. The very next inning now facing Elias Sosa Reggie would homer again on the first pitch to increase the lead to 7-3. Reggie would come up one more time with the sold-out Yankee Stadium crowd chanting “Reggie, Reggie, Reggie’, sounding like an oncoming locomotive. Reggie now facing Charlie Hough would again swing at the first pitch sending it into the black seats in straight away center to put the game and the series out of reach. The Yankees after 15 years were World Champions again, for the 21st time overall.
1978: In 1977, the Yankees became the “Bronx Zoo” on the way to the World Championship things would only get wilder in 1978. The Yanks were ravaged throughout the early part of the season with injuries and watched helplessly as the Boston Red Sox pulled away. The lone bright spot was the spectacular pitching of Ron Guidry, who dominated AL hitters that year en-route to winning Cy Young with a 25-3 record and a 1.74 ERA. An injury would turn into frustration as the Yankees fell into fourth place 14 games out of first on July 19th. That day Bill Martin would suspend Reggie Martin for insubordination. On July 25th, Billy himself would be forced to resign after making unflattering comments about Reggie, and Yankees boss George Steinbrenner. A few days later, Billy would smooth things out, and plans were already in place for his return to the bench down the road. The man who would fill Martin’s role the rest of the season was a complete opposite of the fiery manager; Bob Lemon preferred the quiet and laid back approach. In August, the Yankees began to get healthy and made a last-ditch charge for the division. While the Yankees began to roar back to life, the first-place Red Sox began to struggle. The stage was set on September 7th for the Yankees to make their move, four games out, with a four-game series in Fenway Park. The Yankees not only made their move, but they also dominated the Sox, sweeping the series later called “The Boston Massacre” by a combined score of 42-9. A week later, the Yankees would take another two or three at Yankee Stadium against the Sox to pull ahead by two and a half games. However, Boston caught their bearings and would catch the Yankees on the final day of the season, set the stage for one of the greatest games in baseball history. With the two teams tied at the end of the season with identical 99-63 records a one-game playoff, held at Fenway Park. The Yankees sent their ace Ron Guidry against Mike Torrez, who helped the Yankees in 1977. Torrez had shut down the Yankees through the first six innings and, with the help of Carl Yastrzemski Home Run, held a 2-0 lead. With two on in the seventh inning, Torrez faced light-hitting Short Stop Bucky Dent, who changed bats after fouling a ball off his foot. Teammate Mickey Rivers told Dent this bat had a homer in it. Dent stepped up and hit a ball over the Green Monster that gave Yankees a 3-2 lead. Reggie Jackson would extend the Yanks lead in the eighth to 5-2, but the Sox would come back to make it a one-run game. In the ninth Boston threatened again Jerry Remy ripped a one-out hit down the line, it would have brought Rick Burleson the tying run to third, but Lou Piniella held him at second when he reached blindly for the ball and snared it. After a long pop fly by Jim Rice that would have plated Burleson if not for Piniella’s play, Goose Gossage ended the game when he got Yastrzemski to pop up weekly to third to win the game and the division for the Yankees.
1978: The Yankees facing the Kansas City Royals in the ALCS again, were forced to start rookie Jim Beatie in the series opener. Beatie, who struggled all year, came through in the opener and got the Yanks off to a flying start. After losing Game 2, the Yankees headed home to the Bronx for Game 3. In Game 3, Catfish Hunter was victimized by three HR from George Brett. However, a two-run homer and three RBI from Reggie wearing his MR. October superman suit again kept the Yanks in the game. In the eighth, with Yanks still trailing 5-4 Thurman Munson, smacked a two-run homer over the monuments to put the Yanks out and front in the game and the series. Ron Guidry, who allowed just one 1st inning run, won Game 4 by a score 2-1 to send the Yanks to their 3rd straight World Series. In the series, the Yanks matched up against the Los Angeles Dodgers again. After losing the first two in Los Angeles, the Yankees desperately needed Game 3. In the third game, Guidry’s stuff was a little off, and the Dodgers smacked him around all game, except when they smacked the ball, it was usually at 3B Graig Nettles. Nettles saved at least six runs as the Yankees won the game 5-1 to get back in the series. Comebacks would be the story of Game 4 as the Yanks fell behind early 3-0, the Yankees would go on to roar back and win the game on Lou Piniella’s single in the tenth. The final two games would be easily won by the Yanks, who won their 22nd World Championship. Two unsung heroes SS Bucky Dent who had ten hits en-route to being named series MVP, and Brian Doyle, who had seven hits in 16 At Bats playing for the injured Willie Randolph at 2B aided the Yankees in the series.
1979: The Yankees would get off to another slow start; however, this time, there would be no comeback. Goose Gossage was lost for a large part of the season after a clubhouse fight with Cliff Johnson. In an attempt to duplicate the magic of 1978, Billy Martin replaced Bob Lemon 65 games into the season, but this time there would be no surge, and the first-place Baltimore Orioles were not about to collapse. On an off day on August 2nd, the season would take a tragic turn for the worse. Captain Thurman Munson, who grew up and still lived in Akron, Ohio, would routinely fly home on off days to be with his family. However, on this occasion, Munson, who was flying a single-engine plane, would not make it. Flying with his instructor Munson crash-landed and was unable to escape the burning wreckage. Munson was only 32, and the sorrow would hang a black cloud over the rest of the season. The Yankees who retired Munson’s Number 15 immediately would face the Orioles in a key weekend series and lose the first three games. The fourth game of the series would take place in front of a Nationwide Monday Night Audience. After attending his funeral, the heavy-hearted Yanks were on the verge of being swept when a ninth-inning rally led by Bobby Murcer, who served as one of Munson’s pallbearers earlier in the day won the game. The Yankees would win 89 games, but would only finish fourth in a difficult season. After the season, the Billy Martin soap opera would take another strange turn. Billy Martin had been arrested and charged with assault. The man Martin attacked happened to be a marshmallow salesman, and the New York Tabloids ate the story alive. This would lead to Billy losing his job for the second time.
1980: Under the management of Dick Howser, the Yankees led by 41 Home Runs from Reggie Jackson and 22 wins from Tommy John win 103 games to narrowly hold off the Baltimore Orioles for the Al East title. The Yankees would face the Kansas City Royals in the ALCS again, but this time the Bronx Bombers would fall in three straight. After the season, Howser is chosen as the scapegoat and fired by George Steinbrenner. The Yankees also sign star free agent Dave Winfield to a ten-year contract, this would be the start of another bizarre soap opera in the Bronx Zoo.
1981: With new manager Gene Michael the Yankees get off to a good start and are in first place when a two-month player strike interrupts the season. Being in first place at that point earned the Yanks a post-season berth, but after the Yankees start to struggle in the second half, Michael is replaced at the helm by Bob Lemon. The Yankees would go on to finish in sixth place in the season’s second half posting a 59-48 overall record. The Yankees win the first two games of the AL East Division Series against the Milwaukee Brewers. However, the Yankees would almost let it slip away and would need to win a fifth and deciding game after dropping Game 3 and 4 at the stadium. In the ALCS, the Yankees faced the Oakland A’s, who were managed by Billy Martin. Surprisingly the series is no contest as the Yankees win three straight on their way to meeting the Los Angels Dodgers in the World Series. The Yankees would win the first two games of the fall classic but would fall in six games in a reversal of the 1978 series. No pitcher would illustrate Yankee futility better than George Frazer, who lost three games in relief. Also receiving criticism is Dave Winfield, who only gets one hit in 22 World Series at-bats, and gets the nickname Mr. May from an irate George Steinbrenner. The Yankees would also lose Reggie Jackson, who leaves for California after a poor season. Steinbrenner would later call not resigning Reggie as one of the biggest mistakes he ever made. The Yankees would not make it back to the World Series for 15 years.
1982: The Yankees suffer through a year of turbulence as the team goes through three managers, while narrowly avoiding a last-place finish with a disappointing 79-83 record. After the awful season, the Yankees would rehire Billy Martin to be the Manager.
1983: Two bizarre incidents and a July 4th No-Hitter by Dave Righetti highlight the season. The first bizarre incident happens in Toronto when Dave Winfield accidentally kills a seagull with a warm-up throw. Toronto police were viewing the seagull as a national bird arrest the Yankees slugger for Animal Cruelty. Winfield would be released after a few hours, and the charges would be dropped. The other bizarre incident took place on July 24th in a game with the Kansas City Royals. With the Yanks, up 4-3 and two outs in the ninth inning noted Yankee killer George Brett hits a two-run homer giving Kansas City a 5-4 lead. However, Yankees catcher Rick Cerone and Billy Martin argue that there is too much pine tar on Brett’s bat, trying to take advantage of an obscure rule. Pine Tar is a sticky substance used on bats to avoid losing control of the bat and hurting someone. However, there is a rule stating that pine tar can not be higher than 18 inches up the handle, umpires using home plate as a measuring toll determine there is too much pine tar and rule Brett out. This would send the Royals star into an absolute rage having to be restrained by half the Royals team from attacking the umpires. The Royals appeal would eventually be upheld, and the Yankees would lose the game 5-4. The Yanks would go on to win 91 games, but after coming up seven games short for the division, Billy Martin is fired again.
1984: In a season where the Yankees finish a distant third place with an 87-75 record, Don Mattingly and Dave Winfield battle down to the final day of the season for the batting crown. Mattingly, who is playing in his first full season as the Yankees 1B, wins the title by three one-hundredths points over Winfield.
1985: The Yankees who acquired speedster Rickey Henderson from the Oakland Athletics expected to win the division. However, with Rickey missing much of the first three weeks, the Yankees get off to a slow start, and manager Yogi Berra is fired. Berra is so enraged he vows never to return to the stadium again. Billy Martin now on his fourth tour of duty as Yankee manager would replace Yogi. The Yankees featured a potent offense led by MVP Don Mattingly, who would knock in 135 runs and Rickey Henderson, who touched home plate 146 times. Ron Guidry, who wins 22 games once again, leads the Yanks on the mound. The rest of the pitching staff would fail to come up big, and despite winning 95 games, need a sweep of the Blue Jays in Toronto just to force a one-game playoff. The Yankees would lose the middle game of the season-ending series to see their pennant hopes end. On the season’s final day, Phil Niekro would pitch a complete game shut out against a Blue Jay team full of reserves en-route to his 300th career victory. Despite a successful 97-win season, the Martin-Steinbrenner soap opera would continue. This time Billy Martin gets in hot water after a bizarre brawl with pitcher Eddie Whitson. The fiery Martin and the temperamental pitcher would get into a heated argument that quickly turned into a fight. The two would continue to brawl even after being separated on several occasions. The brawl would start in a hotel bar, and continue into the lobby. Martin would suffer a separated shoulder and, at the season’s end, would be separated from his job again.
1986: In Lou Piniella’s first season as manager, the Yankees finish in second place with a solid 90-72 record. The season is highlighted by Dave Righetti, who saves a then Major League Record 46 games.
1987: Don Mattingly now fully established as baseball’s best slugger gets his name in the record book twice; first on July 18th Mattingly homers of the Texas Rangers Jose Guzman giving him a record-tying eight-game Home Run hitting streak. (During the streak Mattingly would hit ten HR.) The other achievement would be six Grand Slams, which established a new Major League single-season record. Despite Mattingly terrorizing American League pitching, the Yankees only won 89 games and finished in fourth. The problem was that the Yanks themselves could not find any pitching and made two poor trades in an attempt to find anyone who could win games on the mound. The first bad trade came in the previous off-season when the Yanks traded future Cy Young winner Doug Drabek for an aging Rick Rhoden, the other would come in the middle of the season when The Yankees traded Bob Tewkesbury for Steve Trout. Trout, much like Whitson, would have panic attacks and lost all four of his decisions in pinstripes.
1988: The Yankees had a potent offense and needed pitching, so the Yankees signed slugger Jack Clark to be their DH. The Yankees also re-hired Billy Martin, but this reign at the helm would only last a few months, as rumors began to swirl around Martin’s drinking he was fired for the fifth and final time. The Yankees would only finish fifth with an 85-77 record in a tight race for the division title. It would turn out to be the last winning season for five years, as the team was getting ready to bottom out. The Yankees would make news in the off-season when they signed a 12-year $120 million with MSG, a regional Sports network to carry their games. The deal would change the landscape of team and broadcast rates and would lead to the new era of big buck television deals.
1989: The Yankees suffer a poor 74-87 season in which they went through two mangers. Following the season, the Billy Martin-George Steinbrenner soap opera would come to sad, and tragic end on Christmas Day. Billy Martin would be killed after returning home from a day of drinking and crashed his truck into a ditch, killing him instantly.
1990: After ending their six-decade run of at least two World Championships, the Yankees get off to a worse start in the ’90s. Not only do Yankees crash into last place with a 67-95 record, but the feud between Dave Winfield and George Steinbrenner reaches an ugly conclusion. Winfield, who sat out the entire 1989 season with a back injury, ends up being traded to the California Angels, but not before Steinbrenner gets caught spying on his star Outfielder. Steinbrenner hired Harold Spira, a known underworld figure to follow and dig up dirt on Winfield to discredit the outfielder that he had been feuding with for the last ten years. Spira was not able to find dirt on Winfield, but Steinbrenner would end up in hot water. Commissioner Fay Vincent indefinitely suspended him for dealing with known gamblers.
1991: Despite George Steinbrenner’s absence, the Yankees still have controversy in the clubhouse as Don Mattingly feuds openly with Manager Stump Merrill who wants him to cut his hair. Meanwhile, the Yanks’ struggles would continue as they finish in fifth place with a 71-91 record.
1992: Under new Manager Buck Showalter the Yankees begin to show some promise with a youth movement finishing in fourth place with a 76-86 record.
1993: In the year George Steinbrenner would be reinstated by MLB, the Yankees begin their return to the top, posting a solid 88-74 record. It started slightly before the season with acquisitions of Paul O’Neill, Wade Boggs, Jimmy Key, and Jim Abbot. All four new players would help lead the Yankees to challenge the Toronto Blue Jays all season for the Eastern Division. The Yankees would fall off in September, but not before, Jim Abbott, who only had one hand pitched a no-hitter against the Cleveland Indians.
1994: This was the year it looked like the Yankees return to prominence would be completed. The Yankees were in first place almost from the start, and by August, the Yankees had a small cushion for the division lead and were well on pace to win 100 games, with a record of 70-43. The season would end suddenly on August 12th because of a player’s strike.
1995: The Yankees looked even stronger coming back from the strike, the newly acquired Jack McDowell was supposed to become the ace of the staff. The Yankees struggled most of the season just to stay above.500. At the trade deadline, the Yankees would acquire David Cone and turn it around. They would wind up winning enough games to sneak in the playoffs as the AL’s first-ever Wild Card, with a record of 79-65. In the ALDS, the Yankees got off to a promising start winning the first two games against the Seattle Mariners, including a dramatic 15th inning Home Run by Jim Leyritz in Game 2. However, the bats of Edgar Martinez and Ken Griffey Jr. proved to be too much to overcome as the Yankees lost the final three games in the Kingdome, including Game 5 on Edgar Martinez’s two-run double down the left-field in the tenth inning.
1996: Even the most hardcore Yankee fan had to pessimistic entering the season. Don Mattingly had retired, and been replaced by Tino Martinez, also gone was manager Buck Showalter who was the scapegoat for losing in 1995. Buck’s replacement would be Joe Torre, who had managed with very little success with Mets, Braves, and Cardinals. New York Tabloids blasted the move with screaming headlines saying, Clueless Joe. The Yankees would break out in front early thanks in part to Rookie of the Year Derek Jeter. In May, the Yanks pennant hopes dimmed as David Cone was diagnosed with an aneurysm in his pitching arm, which would cause the Yanks ace to miss the next four months due to surgery. However, the other Yankees would pick up the slack, including Dwight Gooden, who threw a no-hitter while making a comeback from a one-year drug suspension. The Yankees managed to hold on to first despite struggling through most of August into September to win the division title with a 92-70 record. Along the way, a story began to develop involving Torre and his brothers. In June, Joe received word that his brother Paul had died from a heart attack, while his brother Frank who had played with Joe in the early ’60s with Braves, was in the hospital in need of a heart transplant. In the post-season, the Yankees were in trouble early losing Game 1 and trailing the Texas Rangers in Game 2 of the ALDS, before the Yankees would rally and win the game in ten innings. The Yankees would rally again in Game 3 when Bernie Williams homered to put the Yanks out in front in the game, and the series, 2-1. The Yankees would fall behind early in Game 4 but roared back to win the game and the series. A formula that aided the Yankees in the regular season would be the key in the post-season as well. Yankee pitchers all year had a difficult time going the distance, and the Yankees would get around this by using Mariano Rivera to pitch the seventh and eighth and John Wetteland to close out the ninth. This would make falling behind the Yankees in any game difficult for the opposition as the Yankees barely lost any leads. The same would not hold through for their opponents; the Yankees would fall behind the Baltimore Orioles early in ALCS Game 1. They tied things up it the seventh as Derek Jeter’s opposite-field hit was caught by 12-year old Jeffrey Maier, who reached out and took the ball away from Tony Tarasco. The Yanks would win the game in extra innings on Bernie Williams’ blast. After losing Game 2, the Yankees moved on to Baltimore and won the final three games to earn a trip to their 34th World Series.
1996: As the Yankees entered the World Series against the Atlanta Braves, Frank Torre was moved to the top of the donor’s list. The Yankees also looked like they were in critical condition after dropping the first two games at home by a combined score of 16-1. The Yankees would then head down to Atlanta and perform the most devastating march through the south since General Sherman at the end of the Civil War. The Yankees would win Game 3 with stellar pitching from David Cone, but the reprieve appeared short-lived as Kenny Rogers was hammered in Game 4, giving the Braves a 6-0 lead. The Yankees cut the lead in half in the sixth than tied it up on Jim Leyritz’s 3-run homer in the eighth. The Yankees would go on to win the game in ten innings to even the series at two games apiece. Game 5 featured a classic pitcher’s duel between Andy Pettitte and the Braves John Smoltz. The Yankees would win 1-0 as a limping Paul O’Neill caught a ball ticketed for the gap with two runners on to send the Yanks home up 3-2 in the series. The news would get even better for the Yanks as Frank Torre would receive his transplant during the off-day between Game 5 and 6. In the sixth game, Joe Girardi’s third-inning triple would spark a three-run inning and give the Yanks a 3-0 lead over Greg Maddux. Jimmy Key would pitch five and third innings with David Weathers and Graham Lloyd getting out one batter each the Yankees would go to their formula to hold on to a 3-2 win and win their 23rd World Series Championship.
1997: The Yanks would win more games than they did in 1996 with 96, but would have to settle for the Wild Card. In the ALDS, the unthinkable would happen as Mariano Rivera blew a Game 4 lead to the Cleveland Indians. The Yankees would go on to drop the series in five games.
1998: The Yankees would get off to a 0-3, but after that would make history. The Yankees would go on a hot streak even though a beam collapsed caused them to play a home game at Shea Stadium. The Yanks would close out April with a 17-6 record and would never look back. In May, David Wells would make history by throwing a perfect game in front of a sold-out Yankee Stadium crowd there for beanie baby day. By the All-Star Break, it was clear that no one could stop the Yankees who had 60-25 records. The Yankees would go on to win 114 games, establishing a new American League record. The Yankees juggernaut kept rolling along sweeping the Texas Rangers in the ALDS despite receiving sobering news that DH Darryl Strawberry had colon cancer. The Yankees would hit a bump in the road in the ALCS against the Cleveland Indians. After losing Games 2 and 3, the Yankees needed Game 4 and sent rookie Orlando Hernandez to the mound. Only El Duque was not a traditional rookie; for several years, he was the ace of the vaunted Cuban National team, but after defecting, he would have to prove himself all over again. Hernandez not only proved himself he dominated the Indians’ hitters as the Yankees evened the series at two games apiece. The Yankees would then go on to win the next two games, earning a trip to their 35th World Series. The series would be over almost before it began the San Diego Padres would lead the Yankees 5-2 in the seventh inning of Game 1. Then Yankees scored seven runs in the seventh thanks to Chuck Knoblach’s game-tying three-run homer, and Tino Martinez’s upper deck grand slam the Padres were already mentally defeated. The Yanks would go on to win the next three games to complete the sweep. In total, the Yankees won 125 regular and postseason games establishing a new record and placing the 1998 Yankees in the same league as the greatest teams of all-time.
1999: The Yankees would endure a set back heading into the season as manager Joe Torre missed the first month and a half due to treatment for prostate cancer. The Yankees managed to stay afloat during their leader’s absences, and when he returned in May took off and won 98 games and their second straight division titles. Highlighting the season was the return of Yogi Berra, who finally made peace with George Steinbrenner. On a special day in his honor on July 18th, the Yankees re-united Larsen with Berra, and then the two sat back and watched David Cone hurl a Perfect Game of his own. In the ALDS, the Yankees swept Texas Rangers again and moved on to face the Boston Red Sox in the ALCS. The Yankees would win the first game on a dramatic extra-inning homer by Bernie Williams, who by now had a knack for post-season heroics. The Yankees would go on to take Game 2 as well to head to Boston with a 2-0 lead. The Yankees would face a hostile crowd as long time Red Sox hero Roger Clemens was shelled 13-1. That would be the only game the Yankees would lose in the post-season. The Yankees cruised on to the World Series with easy wins in Game 4 and 5. In the World Series, the Yankees faced the Atlanta Braves again and took the first game 4-1 with a four-run eighth-inning rally. After crushing the Braves in Game 2, the Yankees fell behind early in Game 3 at Yankee Stadium. Down 5-1, the Yankees would chip away slowly to tie the game and send it to extra innings where OF Chad Curtis won the game with his second homer of the game in the tenth inning. The Yankees would close out the Braves easily in Game 4 to win their 12th straight World Series game, tying a record, and 25th World Championship cementing their claim as the team of the century.
2000: The Yankees would begin the new century much like they ended the old one, and that was at the top of the American League East. However, holding on to the division was not that easy; the Yanks only won 87 games and faltered down the stretch, including losing six straight to the Devil Rays, and Orioles. Going into the playoffs, the Yanks looked like easy prey, especially after losing Game 1 of the ALDS to the Oakland Athletics. The Yankees would bounce back to win Game 2 and 3, but after a Game 4 route headed back to Oakland with series on the line for game 5. Before the fifth game, A’s 3B Eric Chavez was overheard, spouting off at how the Yanks were over the hill; this would wake the sleeping giant. The Yankees scored six first-inning runs and held off the A’s to advance to the ALCS against the Seattle Mariners. After being shut out in the first 17 innings of the ALCS, the Yankees break out with seven runs in the eighth and tie the series 1-1. The Yankees bats stayed hot winning Game 3 and Game 4, which was also aided by a Roger Clemens 1-hit shutout to take a 3-1 series lead. After losing Game 5, LCS MVP David Justice hit an Upper Deck HR in the seventh inning to get a stranglehold on the series and advance the Yanks to the World Series. In the World Series, the Yankees would face the Mets for the first Subway Series in 44-years. The Subway Series had once been an every year occurrence, but after the Dodgers and Giants bolted New York, the Subway tradition seemed to have hit the last stop. However, a Subway Series seemed destined as early as July 8th when the two teams played a day/night Double Header with one game at each stadium. The Yankees would have to rally in Game 1 of the World Series, sending the game to extra innings on Chuck Knoblauch’s sac-fly in the 9th. The Yanks would go on to win the game in 12 innings on Jose Vizcaino’s RBI single. The Yankees would win again in Game 2 to extend their World Series win streak to a record 14 games. However, the streak would come to an end at Shea Stadium in Game 3. The Yanks would bounce back immediately in Game 4 as Derek Jeter led things off with a home run, and the Yanks bullpen held off the feisty Mets to give the Yanks a 3-1 series lead. The Yankees would then go on to win their 26th World Championship with Luis Sojo’s single up the middle that scored two runs in the top of the ninth of Game 5.
2001: Led by an incredible 20-3 season from Cy Young winner Roger Clemens, the Yankees win their fourth straight division title with a 95-65 record. Going into the playoffs, the Yankees seemed to play for the entire city, after terrorist attacks destroyed the World Trade Center on September 11th. The Yankees’ quest for fourth straight Championship looked to be in jeopardy after they dropped the first two games of the ALDS to the Athletics. With the series shifting to Oakland, the Yankees had their backs up against the wall and were struggling mightily at the plate. The Yanks managed to scratch home an early run in Game 3, but the A’s looked to have tied the game when a ball hit down the RF sent Jeremy Giambi home. To make matters worse, the throw from Paul O’Neill overshot the cutoff men, but Derek Jeter came out of nowhere and shoveled the ball to catcher Jorge Posada to get Giambi by a matter of inches. The Yanks would hold on to win the game 1-0, as Jeter’s play seems to spark the team back to life. The Yankees would win the next two games to take the series and head off to an ALCS rematch against the Seattle Mariners who tied a Major League record with 116 regular-season wins. The Yankees would win the first two in Seattle and headed home in the driver’s seat. After the Mariners took Game 3, it looked like the Mariners would get back into the series, but the Yankees would win Game 4 on Alfonso Soriano’s dramatic walk-off homer. The Yanks would then blow away the disheartened Mariners in Game 5 to advance on to their fourth straight World Series. In the World Series, the Yankees would face the Arizona Diamondbacks. The Yankees bats were struggling and facing the D-Back 1-2 punch of Curt Schilling, and Randy Johnson didn’t help as the Snakes grabbed a 2-0 series lead. As the series shifted to New York, the Yankees need a Game 3 gem from Roger Clemens to edge out the D-backs 2-1. However, the Yanks bats remained cold as they trailed 3-1 in the ninth inning of Game 4. Tino Martinez would come up big belting a game-tying two-out two-run homer of Byung-Hyun Kim to send the game to extra innings where Derek Jeter won it with a tenth inning blast of his own. The Yanks bats remained cold, ad they trailed 2-0 in the ninth inning of Game 5. Lightning struck twice as Scott Brosius delivered a two-out two-run homer off Kim to send the game to extra innings where the Yanks won on Alfonso Soriano’s 12th Inning single. Up 3-2 in the series, the Yanks seemed poised to win their fourth straight championship. However, they would lose Game 6 to Randy Johnson 15-2 to set up a decisive seventh game. In Game 7, they faced Curt Schilling, who was keeping them off the scoreboard again. Roger Clemens kept Arizona off the board too, and the game was scoreless until the D-backs notched a single run in the sixth. The Yanks would bounce back scoring runs in the seventh and eighth innings and would enter the ninth up 2-1. Even Mariano Rivera would prove to be human as his throwing error set the D-backs up with two on and no outs. After a failed bunt got the first out, the game would be tied on Tony Womack’s bloop double. The Yankees would go on to lose the game on the series two batters later after Luis Gonzalez bloop landed in short centerfield.
2002: With the acquisition of Jason Giambi, the Yankees revived the “Bronx Bomber tradition belting 41 Home Runs, as he was one of five Yankees with at least 93 RBI. However, he was outshined by Alfonso Soriano, who missed a 40 HR 40 SB by one Home Run adding 51 doubles while scoring 128 runs and knocking in 102 RBI while batting leadoff. The Yankees would go on to easily claim their fifth straight division title with a record of 103-58. In the ALDS against the Anaheim Angels, the Yankees appeared to be in good shape after splitting the first two games at home with an early 6-1 lead in Game 3 in Anaheim. The Angels would rally and would take the game 9-6. The Angels would carry the momentum into Game 4, where they eliminated the Yankees with a stunning eight-run fifth inning.
2003: The Yankees celebrated their 100th Anniversary by becoming a truly global empire with the signing of Japanese All-Star Hideki Matsui. However, the Yankees would have some turbulence right away as Derek Jeter injured his shoulder on opening night in Toronto against the Blue Jays. The Yanks would not miss a beat during Jeter’s absence as they won 18 of their first 21 games, including their home opener, which was highlighted by a grand slam from their prized import, nicknamed Godzilla. Jeter would return in May and would go on to challenge for the batting title with a .324 average as the Yankees and Boston Red Sox battle at the top of the AL East all season. Meanwhile, Roger Clemens cemented his place among the greatest pitchers of all-time by collecting his 4,000th career strikeout and 300th win on June 13th against the St. Louis Cardinals. The Yankees would go on to win their sixth straight division title with a record of 101-61. In the ALDS, the Yankees would overcome a shaky performance in Game 1 to beat the Minnesota Twins in four games setting up a showdown with the Red Sox in the ALCS. After dropping Game 1 of the ALCS to the Boston Red Sox, the Yankees bounced back to win Game 2 behind a solid pitching performance from Andy Pettitte. In Game 3, the Yankees and Red Sox would nearly come to blows. The Yankees won 4-3 in a game that will be best remembered for Jeff Nelson and Karim Garcia fighting with a Red Sox club employee in the bullpen and Don Zimmer being shoved to the ground by Red Sox pitcher Pedro Martinez. The Sox would win Game 4 to even the series as knuckleballer Tim Wakefield beat the Yanks for the second time in the series. The Yanks would bounce back to win Game 5, but after a 9-6 loss in Game 6 at home had to face Pedro Martinez in Game 7. The Yanks would find themselves down right away in Game 7 as they fell behind 4-0. Martinez continued to frustrate the Yankees as the Red Sox held a 5-2 lead entering the bottom of the 8th. With one out the Yanks Captain Derek Jeter would start a rally with a double, as the Sox ace pitcher was tiring. The double by Jeter would be the first of four straight two-base hits as the Yankees rallied to tie the game at 5-5. The game would go into extra inning as ALCS MVP Mariano Rivera kept the game tied with three innings of work. Meanwhile, Tim Wakefield was handcuffing the Yanks again until Aaron Boone smashed the first pitch of the 11th Inning deep into the night to send the Yankees on to the World Series. After their dramatic win in the ALCS, the Yanks had less the 48 hours before the World Series began, and there was a hangover as they dropped Game 1 to the Florida Marlins 3-2. The Yanks would bounce back, winning the next two games. The Yankees appeared on the way to a 3-1 series lead after Ruben Sierra tied Game 4 in the ninth inning with a two-out double, as they loaded the bases with one out in the 11th Inning. However, with a chance to be a hero again, Boone would strikeout, and the Yanks left the bases loaded. The Marlins would go on to win the game an inning later on a home run by Alex Gonzalez. In Game 5, the strain of the season caught up to the Yanks as Jason Giambi was forced out with a sore knee and s a struggling Alfonso Soriano was benched. Things would get worse as David Wells back acted up and forced him out of the game after just one inning. The weakened Yanks would go on to lose the game 6-4, falling behind in the series. In Game 6, at home, the Yankees were still showing the effect of a long season as they were shutout by Josh Beckett 2-0, losing the series in six games.
2004: Coming off their power failure in the World Series, the Yankees entered the season with a reloaded lineup signing Free Agent Gary Sheffield and acquiring reigning AL MVP Alex Rodriguez for Alfonso Soriano in a blockbuster trade with the Texas Rangers. The Yankees would start the season half of the world away as they faced the Tampa Bay Devil Rays in a two-game series in Tokyo, Japan. After dropping the first game 8-3, the Yankees rebounded to win the second 11-2 as Kevin Brown was impressive in his Yankee debut while Japanese import Hideki Matsui drove hit one Home Run and had three RBI. Coming back from Japan, the Yankees struggled in April, getting off to an 8-11 start, which included a three-game sweep at the hands of the Boston Red Sox at Yankee Stadium. In danger of losing again, the Yankees rallied from 8-4 down in the eighth to beat the Oakland Athletics 10-4. The win was the start of an 8-game winning streak as the Yankees never looked back. By the time the Yankees faced the Red Sox again, they had gained first place and would take a stranglehold on the division in a 3-game sweep at the end of June, which will be best remembered for Derek Jeter diving for a foul ball in the stands. The Yankees would go on to grab as big as a ten-game lead over the Red Sox as they won the division for the 7th year in a row with a 101-61 record, as they hit 242 HR as a team despite seeing Jason Giambi weakened by various illnesses, which dropped his batting average to .208. One cause of concern was the starting rotation, which didn’t see any pitcher win 15 games, as the bullpen trio of Marino Rivera, Tom Gordon, and Paul Quantrill all pitch in over 70 games. Once again, the Yankees had to get past the Minnesota Twins in the ALDS before their heavily anticipated showdown with the Boston Red Sox with the World Series on the line. As they did in 2003, the Yankees were stymied in Game 1, as their offense was shut down by Cy Young winner Johan Santana 2-0. However, the Yankees would rebound to win Game 2 dramatically as they scored two runs in the 12th for a 7-6 win, which evened the series. As the series shifted to Minnesota, the Yankees bats took over as they won Game 3 by a score of 8-4. In Game 4, they would be frustrated by Santana again but would rally to score four runs in the eighth to tie the game of the Twins bullpen. The Yanks would go on to win in 11 innings 6-5 to advance to a showdown with the Red Sox in the ALCS. The Yankees started the ALCS in dominating fashion, beating both Curt Schilling and Pedro Martinez as they won the first two games in the Bronx 5-1 and 4-1. In Game 3, the Yankees would pound the Sox again, taking a commanding 3-0 lead with a 19-8 win. Leading 4-3 with Marino Rivera on the mound in the ninth, the Yankees were on the verge of a sweep when suddenly it all began to unravel. Rivera walked Kevin Millar to start the inning on the wrong foot. After pinch-runner Dave Roberts stole second base, Bill Mueller knocked him home with the tying run. In the extra innings, the Yankees tired bullpen could not go the distance as Dave Ortiz hit a two-run homer to give the Sox a 6-4 win. In Game 5, the Yankees were unable to hold a late lead again as Ortiz hit a two-run homer to tie the game in the eighth before winning 5-4 it with a single in the 14th inning. The reeling Yankees came home and were handcuffed by Schilling, who was pitching with an injured ankle, gave inspired the Red Sox to 4-2 win to force a seventh game. With their pitching staff exhausted, the Yankees turned to Kevin Brown, who, since breaking his hand in September, had struggled down the stretch. Brown would end up getting hammered as the Yankees were down 6-0 after two innings on the way to a stunning 10-3 loss that ended their eight-decade mastery over the Red Sox, who became the first team to rally from down 3-0 in a postseason series.
2005: After their pitching failed them in the playoffs, the Yankees concentrated on improving the starting staff, by singing Free Agents Carl Pavano and Jarret Wright, and landing Randy Johnson in a blockbuster trade with the Arizona Diamondbacks. However, all three would struggle early as the Yankees sputtered out of the gate posting a losing record at the end of April at 10-14. While the Yankees faltered, Alex Rodriguez settled in highlighted by a 3-HR, 10 RBI game against the Los Angeles Angels in April as was at the top of the AL Home Run leader board all season. The struggles would continue into early May as the Yankees lost three of four games to the Tampa Bay Devils Rays to drop to 11-19. Hoping to find a spark within the Yankees called up Robinson Cano to play 2B over the disappointing Tony Womack and Chien-Ming Wang, who was replacing an injure Jarret Wright. Both made an immediate impact as Wang became one of the most consistent Yankees pitchers over the next three months while Cano gave the bottom of the Yankees line up a boost batting .297 while hitting 14 homers and finishing second in Rookie of the Year voting. The spark Cano provided was just what the Yanks needed as they won ten in a row. However, just as it appeared the Yankees had turned the corner, they hit another pothole as the lowly Kansas City Royals swept them in a late May three-game series as they fell back below .500. With a 37-37 record on June 26th, the Yankees were looking squarely at the possibility of being swept at home by the New York Mets when Jason Giambi hit a two-run game-winning single in the ninth inning for the Yankees to win 5-4. The hit would signal a resurgence for Giambi in the second half a resurgence for the Yankees while Randy Johnson would rebound off his slow start Wright and Pavano would not as both spend most of the second half on the Disabled List. Desperate to find pitching anywhere, the Yankees reached down to Columbus and pulled up journeyman Aaron Small who was a perfect 10-0. Needing a lefty to beat the Boston Red Sox in a critical series after the break, the Yankees acquired Al Leiter, who once was a top Yanks prospect but now was an aging veteran in his twilight years. Still, in his first game, he looked liked the Leiter of old as the Yankees beat the Sox 5-3 and started to make their move. However, arm problems continued to be an issue as Chein-Ming Wang, who gave the Yankees rotation a boost in May, was sidelined with his an arm injury, as the Yankees landed pitcher Shawn Chacon from the Colorado Rockies. With the Rockies Chacon was 1-7, but with the Yankees, he was rejuvenated, posting a 7-3 record. With A-Rod hitting an AL-best 48 homers while winning MVP honors, Giambi winning Comeback Player of the Year with 32 homers, and the Yankees patchwork pitching staff anchored by Mariano Rivera. The latter was just as unhittable as ever the Yankees found themselves in a familiar position battling the Red Sox for the AL East in September. Needing a win in Boston in the final three games of the season, the Yankees looked to Randy Johnson, who got the win 8-4 in the next to last day of the season. The Cleveland Indians who were battling for the consolation Wild Card lost their final three games, giving the Yankees the division at 95-67 via a tiebreaker. The Sox would win the last game of the year and get the Wild Card, as the Yanks rested up for the playoffs. That strategy would prove flawed as the Yankees lost the home field in the first round against the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim. In the ALDS against the Angels, the Yankees got off to a good start winning Game 1 by a score of 4-2. After dropping the next two, including a sloppy 11-7 loss in the rain at Yankee Stadium, the Yanks need to a Game 4 win just to play in a fifth game on the road. Led by their bullpen, the Yanks would get that win 3-2. However, in Game 5 facing Rookie Ervin Santana, the Yankees saw an early 2-0 getaway when Gary Sheffield and Bubba Crosby collided chasing a bases-clearing triple by Adam Kennedy as the Angels surged ahead 5-2. The Yankees would begin a comeback with a Derek Jeter homer. With a chance to rally in the ninth inning, Alex Rodriguez bounced into a back-breaking Double Play as the Yanks got three hits and no runs and went home with a 5-3 loss.
2006: Proving the adage if you can’t beat him sign him correct, the Yankees sign Boston Red Sox leadoff hitter and renowned Yankee killer Johnny Damon to a four year $52 million contract. Despite pitching problems, the Yankees managed a respectable start as their offense was simply too strong top to bottom for any team to shut down. However, that lineup would take two hits of its own as Gary Sheffield and Hideki Matsui each missed four months of action with wrist injuries. Sheffield’s injury was suffered in a collision at first base with Toronto Blue Jays 1B Shea Hillenbrand, while Matsui sustained a broken wrist while diving for a ball in the 1st Inning of a May 11th game against the Red Sox. The injury to Godzilla made news all over the world as Hideki Matsui had not missed a game since coming to the US in 2003, extending a consecutive game played streak that he had back when he played in Tokyo with the Yomiuri Giants to 1,768 games. Despite the loss of two crucial middle of the lineup forces, the Yankees barely skipped a beat as Bernie Williams, in his final season, got more playing time, while Rookie Melky Cabrera got a chance to shine. One player who was not shinning was Alex Rodriguez, who was coming off an MVP season had a bit of a letdown, as he still hit 35 homers with 121 RBI, but with many failures in clutch situations often became the target of Bronx Cheers at Yankee Stadium. Another Yankee that continued to disappoint was Randy Johnson, who posted an ERA of 5.00 with just 172 strikeouts. However, thanks to tremendous run support, he still had a 17-12 record. One pitcher who did not disappoint was Chien-Ming Wang, who had a breakout season with a 19-6 record as he finished second in Cy Young voting. At the All-Star Break, the Yankees trailed the Red Sox by three games, but it was clear they were heading in the right direction while rough seas were ahead for Boston. To help down the stretch, the Yankees made a bid deadline deal with the Philadelphia Phillies landing slugging OF Bobby Abreu and Pitcher Corey Lidle. The deals would pay off as the Yankees caught and passed the Red Sox, as they entered a critical five-game series in Fenway Park with a game and half lead. It would be during this weekend that the Yankees would win their ninth straight division title, as they hammered the Sox from start to finish sweeping the five-game series by a combined score of 49-26 bringing back memories of the 1978 Boston Massacre. The Yankees would cruise the rest of the way as they finished the season with a record of 97-65 winning the division by ten games. The biggest mystery at the end of the season was could Derek Jeter or Robinson Cano win the batting title, as they battled Joe Mauer of the Minnesota Twins to the very end of the season. While Mauer ended up winning the crown with a .347 average, Jeter’s .343 and Cano’s .342 were nothing to be ashamed of. In the ALDS against the Detroit Tigers, the Yanks got off to a fast start winning Game 1 behind Chien-Ming Wang 8-4. The Yankees got off to a fast start in Game 2 as they led 3-1 after a three-run homer by Johnny Damon. However, with a chance to get more Alex Rodriguez, who had a terrible series with one hit in 14 at-bats struck out with the bases loaded, as the Tigers rallied for a 4-3 win. The Tigers would go on to hammer the Yankees in the next two games in Detroit to win the series in four games as starters Randy Johnson and Jarret Wright both struggled and put the Yankees in bog holes they were unable to climb out. The Yankees would be hit with even more bad news just four days later as Corey Lidle was killed in a when the plane he was piloting crashed into a high-rise apartment building on Manhattan’s Upper East Side, giving New Yorkers a horrific reminder of 9/11 and Yankee fans the tragic death of Thurman Munson.
2007: Coming off another disappointing first-round exit the Yankees entered the season with manager Joe Torre planted firmly in the hot seat as his contract was due to expire, Owner George Steinbrenner expressed it was World Series or bust, while Andy Pettitte returned after spending the last three seasons with the Houston Astros. In the early going at least, it was bust as the Yankees got off to a terrible start with a scattered rotation that several rookies called up for their best shot. At the same time, Carl Pavano missed the entire season for the second straight year, with the Yankees doing ten different starting pitchers in their first 30 games. One of the rookies who got an early shot was Kei Igawa, who the Yankees gave a $26 million contract. Igawa struggled all season adjusting to the American game after staring in Japan and soon found himself in the minors trying to rework his delivery. Igawa would never find his stuff and would win just two games with a hefty 6.25 ERA. The only player generating positive headlines earl was Alex Rodriguez, who quickly turned jeers to cheers when he hit a walk-off grand slam against the Baltimore Orioles on April 7th. It was followed up by an equally dramatic three-run homer 11 days later as the Yankees as capped a six-run rally in an 8-6 win against the Cleveland Indians. A-Rod was the star of April as he set a record for 14 home runs in April, despite the Yankees struggling with a 9-14 record. Things would not get much better in May as the Yankees continued to play sub .500 baseball while using rookies in the rotation, leading them to give Roger Clemens a record $18 million contract for the final four months of the season. While the 44-year old worked his way back pitching in the minors, the Yankees recalled top pitching prospect Phil Hughes, who was impressive early as he had a no-hitter going into the seventh inning of his second start against the Texas Rangers. However, a hamstring injury would cause him to leave the game and miss the next six weeks, as the Yankees found themselves in third place, 15 games behind the Boston Red Sox, and even worse, they were nearly ten games out of the Wild Card. As the first half came to an end, the Yankees were slowly starting to play better, but at 42-43, most thought they were a long shot for a return trip to the postseason. In the second half, the Yankees would come flying out of the gate 12 of their first 15 games following the All-Star Break as they climbed above .500 and back into the playoff race. The Yankees would be the best team in all of baseball in the second half, as another rookie pitcher Joba Chamberlain made the Yankees bullpen stronger, giving them the setup man they need all season, even though he was used under strict circumstances to protect him from wearing down. These so-called “Joba Rules” would become the story of the second half as he was nearly untouchable as he allowed just 1 earned run and 12 hits in 24 Innings. Meanwhile, A-Rod continued to scorch the ball, as he played out the option of his contract. On August 4th he made history becoming the youngest player in the history of baseball to hit 500 home runs, he would go on to lead the Majors with 54 home runs, the most ever for a right-handed hitter in Yankees history, and the most since Mantle and Maris in 1961. He would also lead the Majors with 156 RBI, as he was nearly a unanimous choice for MVP. August would also bring sadness to the Yankee family as Phil Rizzuto died at the age of 89 on August 13th. However, the resurgent Yankees continued to stay hot, cutting the Red Sox division lead and taking over the Wild Card lead. The Yankees would eventually cut the lead to a game and half, but they would fall two games short of their tenth straight division title, as they entered the playoffs as a Wild Card with a record of 93-68. In the playoffs against the Cleveland Indians, the Yankees got off to a shaky start as Chein Ming Wang was rocked in Game 1 as the Yankees lost 12-3. Game 2 would be a pitchers duel as the Yankees managed just one run on three hits against Fausto Carmona, while Andy Pettitte pitched around trouble and kept the Indians off the board. In the 7th Inning, Joba Chamberlain took over and was overpowering as the Indians could not touch the Yankees’ newest star in the bullpen. However, on an unusually warm and humid night in Cleveland, Jacobs Field was invaded by a swarm of pesky bugs known as Mayflies, that seemed to unnerve the Yankees fireballing rookie, causing him to walk Grady Sizemore. The latter would come around to score on two wild pitches as the Tribe tied the game without the benefit of a hit. The Indians would go on to win the game in 11 Innings 2-1. With George Steinbrenner repeating his win or else mantra, the Yankees found themselves with their backs to the wall as the series shifted to the Bronx. Things did not start well as Roger Clemens was roughed up and left early exiting down 3-1 in the third Inning. Taking his place would be Phil Hughes, who would not allow another run to score as the Yankees bats woke led by a three-run home run by Johnny Damon as the Yankees won 8-4. However, in Game 4, Wang struggled again as the Indians eliminated the Yankees with a 6-4 win. A few days after the season ended it would be the end of an era in the Bronx, as George Steinbrenner, who was battling dementia turned control of the team over to his sons Hank and Hal Steinbrenner, who chose not to offer Joe Torre a multi-year contract, leading the Manager no choice but to resign. The job to replace Torre came down between Don Mattingly and Joe Girardi. Eventually, the Yankees would choose Giradi, as Mattingly followed Torre to the Los Angeles Dodgers. The Yankees also looked in danger of losing their MVP as A-Rod chose not to pick up his option. At the same time, Hank Steinbrenner first said the Yankees would not try to re-sign Rodriguez; it was the star 3B himself who came back to the Yankees and asked for another chance to negotiate to a ten year $275 million contract, with special incentives. That could bring the contract to $305 Million if he breaks Barry Bonds’ record for career home runs, which was currently at 762.
2008: It was an All-Star farewell for the house that Ruth built, as the 85th season at Yankee Stadium, would be the last, with a brand new Yankee Stadium being built across the street. The Yankees also began the season with a new manager, as Joe Girardi replaced Joe Torre. As in recent seasons, the Yankees got off to a slow start as they held a mediocre 28-27 record at the end of May, and were in fourth place, as Derek Jeter, Alex Rodriguez, and Jorge Posada missed time due to injury. What was hurting more was the instability of the pitching staff as Rookies Phil Hughes and Ian Kennedy, who were both expected to contribute struggled all season and did not win a single game. The Yankees used 13 starting pitchers, including Joba Chamberlain, who was moved out of the setup role into the starting rotation, as Chein-Ming Wang, who got off to a solid 8-2 start, was lost to a foot injury while scoring a run in an interleague game against the Houston Astros. At the All-Star Break, the Yankees were in third place with a 50-45 record. One pitching bright spot was Mike Mussina, who, in the final season of a solid 18-year career, posted his first 20-win season. With the All-Stars in the Bronx, Yankee Stadium was center stage for one of the best Mid-Summer Classics of all-time as it went a record-tying 15 innings before the American League won 4-3 as Michael Young of the Texas Rangers score Justin Morneau on a sacrifice fly. With the Yankees battling the Boston Red Sox and surprising Tampa Bay Rays for the division and wild card, the team made a deal to acquire Xavier Nady, and Ivan Rodriguez at the trade deadline, as Posada was shutdown with after rotator cuff surgery. In August the Yankees would go on a fateful road trip that would ultimately decide their season, Joba Chamberlain suffered tendinitis and was the latest Yankee pitcher on the sideline, while the bullpen imploded in a 9-5 loss to the Texas Rangers. After splitting a four-game series in Texas, the Yankees pitching was lit up in Anaheim as the Yankees were outscored 25-12 in a three-game sweep at the hands of the Los Angeles Angels. After losing two of three in Minnesota, the Yankees found themselves nine games out of first with the wild card also slipping away. There would be no comeback in September, as the Yankees missed the playoffs for the first time in the Wild Card era. On September 21st, the Yankees closed out Yankee Stadium with 7-3 win over the Baltimore Orioles, with Jose Molina hitting the final home run. Following the game, Derek Jeter addressed the sold-out crowd, promising the Yankees would be back stronger in their new stadium, as the Yankees went on to finish the year in third place with an 89-73 record.
2009: Looking like the classic Yankee Stadium, before the 1973 renovation, but with modern amenities and luxuries of the finniest grand hotels, the new Yankee Stadium opened on April 16th with the Yankees taking on the Cleveland Indians. After missing the playoffs for the first time in 13 seasons, the Yankees had a new look themselves as they added pitchers CC Sabathia and A.J. Burnett along with 1B Mark Teixeira all signed with big free-agent deals. While Alex Rodriguez, who started spring training dealing with the news he failed a steroids test in 2003, began the season on the disabled list following hip surgery. After a 5-4 road trip, the Yankees had Sabathia on the hill for the first game at the new stadium, as Derek Jeter recorded the first hit, while Jorge Posada hit the first homer. However, the Indians got the first win, scoring nine runs in the seventh inning for a 10-2 victory. A-Rod would return and would deliver a three-run home run on the first pitch he saw against the Baltimore Orioles on May 8th. The return of A-Rod helped boost Mark Teixeira, who became the quintessential 3rd place hitter as he led the Bombers with 39 Home Runs and 122 RBI. However, despite the return of A-Rod and the play of Teixeira, the Yankees were not playing to the level that was expected of them as they held a 38-32 record on June 23rd and stood five games out of first place while losing two out of three at home against the lowly Washington Nationals. However, with two solid wins in Atlanta, the Yankees started to come together as they closed June with a seven-game winning streak, as they worked their way to the top of the American League East. The Yankees would hit a road bump, with a three-game sweep against the Los Angeles Angels in Anaheim just before the All-Star Break. However, after the break, the Yankees would come out like gangbusters, winning eight games in a row to grab the division lead. The Yankees would be in first place as they entered a pivotal four-game series with the Boston Red Sox, who the Yankees lost all eight matchups during the first half of the season. This time it would different as the Yankees blasted the Sox 13-6 in the opener, on the way to a four-game sweep, which was highlighted by a 2-0 win in 15 innings on August 7th. With Alex Rodriguez hitting a dramatic two-run homer, greeting A-Rod after the homer was A.J. Burnett, who had a shaving cream pie. This celebration ritual would be commonplace as the Yankees had more comeback victories than any other team. The pies also showed the Yankees, who were almost strangled by their tightness, had loosened up and began enjoying the game again. This joy would be critical for the Yankees as they dominated the American League in the second half on the way to winning the division with a 103-59 record.
2009 Postseason: While the regular season was a success, the Yankees are ultimately judged in the playoffs. In the ALDS, they were matched up against the Minnesota Twins. With CC Sabathia starting the opener, the Yankees won 7-2. The Twins appeared on the verge of even the series, leading 3-1 in the ninth inning of Game 2. Alex Rodriguez, who was haunted by postseason failures of the past, showed that this October thing would be different, as he hit a game-tying two-run homer off Twins Closer Joe Nathan. The Yankees would go on to win the game 4-3 as Mark Teixeira hit a Walk-Off home run in the 11th Inning. Game 3 in the Metrodome would feature a pitcher’s duel between Andy Pettitte and Carl Pavano. With the Twins leading 1-0 in the 7th Inning, A-Rod struck again, hitting a home run to start a rally, as the Yankees completed the sweep with a 4-1 victory. Moving on to the ALCS, the Yankees were matched up against the Los Angeles Angels, who, even in the Yankees best seasons in recent years, seemed to have their number, eliminating the Yankees in the ALDS in 2002 and 2005. However, with CC Sabathia on the hill in Game 1, the Yankees got the starting pitching performance they needed as their ace pitched eight innings, allowing just four hits and seven strikeouts as the Yankees won 4-1. However, the Angels appeared to be on the verge of bouncing back in Game 2, as they took a 3-2 lead in the 11th Inning. Alex Rodriguez delivered another dramatic game-tying homer off Angels closer Brian Fuentes. The Yankees would go on to win the game 4-3 in 13 innings on Maicer Izturis throwing error. After the Angels took Game 3 in Anaheim, the Yankees again turned to Sabathia, who again went eight innings as the Yankees took a commanding 3-1 series lead with a 10-1 win. The Angels would win Game 5 to send the series back to the Bronx, where Andy Pettitte delivered a solid performance to get the Yankees back to the World Series with a 5-2 win. With ALCS MVP CC Sabathia on the hill, the Yankees looked to get a jump on the Philadelphia Phillies in Game 1 of the World Series. However, the Yankees bats were silenced by Cliff Lee, as the Phillies won the opener in the Bronx 6-1. The Yankees would use home runs from Mark Teixeira and Hideki Matsui and solid pitching from A.J. Burnett to even the series with a 3-1 in Game 2. As the series shifted to Philadelphia, the defending World Champion Phillies got off to a fast start in Game 3, scoring three runs in the 2nd inning off Andy Pettitte after the beginning of the game was delayed by rain. The Yankees would begin fighting back in the 4th Inning as Alex Rodriguez cut the lead to 3-2 on a home run aided by instant replay, which showed the ball hit the camera and bounced back on to the field. The Yankees would take the lead an inning later on Johnny Damon’s two-run double, as they went on to win 8-5. With Chase Utley continuing to assault Yankees pitching, the Yankees found themselves in a 4-4 tie in the ninth inning of Game 4, when Johnny Damon with an epic at-bat started a two-out rally, as Alex Rodriguez gave the Yankees a lead with a double down the line. The Yankees would score two more as Posada singled home A-Rod and Mark Teixeira to give the Yankees a solid 7-4 win. The Phillies would turn to Cliff Lee again in Game 5, as they kept their hopes alive with an 8-6 win as Chase Utley hit his fifth home run of the series. However, back in the Bronx for Game 6, it was the Hideki Matsui show, as Godzilla smashed Pedro Martinez and the Phillies for 6 RBI on the way to winning the World Series MVP. At the same time, Andy Pettitte, despite being fatigued, was steady enough as the Yankees won 7-3 to wrap up their 27th World Championship. Opening the new Yankee Stadium the same way they opened the old one in 1923 with a World Series Championship.
2010: Coming off their 27th World Championship, the Yankees looked to build a new dynasty as they added Curtis Granderson in a three-team deal with the Detroit Tigers and Arizona Diamondbacks. Granderson helped fill the void left as by Johnny Damon and Hideki Matsui, whom the Yankees were not able to re-sign. Granderson would hit a home run in his debut, but the Yankees would lose the season opener on Sunday Night to the Boston Red Sox 9-7. The Yankees would rebound to win the next two games; they would also take two of three games against the Tampa Bay Rays before facing the Los Angeles Angels in their home opener. The Yankees would win the game 7-5, as their players got the rings, including World Series MVP Hideki Matsui, who was now playing with the Angels. The Yankees would play strong baseball throughout April and finished the month with a 15-7 record. In the early months, the Yankees would sit second to the Tampa Bay Rays in the American League East. In June, they would take over first place as they posted 16 wins in both May and June, along the way Andy Pettitte won his 200th game in a Yankees uniform, ranking third in franchise history. Pettitte would go to the All-Star Game, along with seven other Yankees, including Pitcher Phil Hughes, who was in the midst of a breakout season. As the All-Star Break arrived, the Yankees remained in first place, as they finished the first half with a strong 6-1 West Coast Road Trip. However, the Yankee family would suffer two losses first on July 11th, the Yankees lost a long time Public Address Announcer Bob Sheppard, who died just a few months short of what would have been his 100th birthday. Sheppard was the voice of Yankee Stadium from 1951-2008. Then two days later, on the morning of the All-Star Game, the Yankees lost their boss, as George Steinbrenner, who suffered a massive heart attack and died at the age of 80. When the Yankees returned from the break, they paid tribute to the boss, with a special patch worn above the interlocking NY and Sheppard with a patch on their sleeve. The Yankees would win that first game against the Rays 5-4, as Nick Swisher drove home the winning run in the ninth inning. A few weeks later, the Yankees would make history in the Bronx as Alex Rodriguez hit his 600th career home run. The Yankees would have several bumps in the road in the second half as injuries limited Pettitte, while A.J. Burnett struggled. However, the Yankees remained in first place. Hoping to bolster their team, the Yankees were busy at the trade deadline, acquiring Lance Berkman, Austin Kearns, and Kerry Wood for the stretch drive. The stretch drive would not see much drama as both the Yankees and Rays were assured o making the playoffs, as the Red Sox faded in the East. One team would be the Wild Card and the other the division champion. The Yankees would stumble in September and would end up settling for the Wild Card as they posted a record of 95-67.
2010 Postseason: In the ALDS, the Yankees would once again face the Minnesota Twins. This time they began the series on the road. Once again, had some late-inning magic as they overcame a 3-0 deficit to win 6-4 as Mark Teixeira’s two-run home run in the seventh inning was the difference. In Game 2, Andy Pettitte earned his seventh care Division Series win, as the Yankees won 5-2, with Lance Berkman delivering a key home run and double. The Yankees would go on to complete the sweep with a 6-1 win in the Bronx, as Phil Hughes pitched seven shutout innings. In Game 1 of the ALCS against the Texas Rangers, the Yankees found themselves in an early hole trailing 5-0 through six innings. However, late-inning magic would rescue the Yanks again as they rallied to win 6-5 powered by a five-run rally in the eighth inning. The Rangers would bounce back to win Game 2 behind Colby Lewis 7-2. As the series shifted to the Bronx, the Yankees again were trailing early Josh Hamilton hit a two-run homer off Andy Pettitte in the first inning. That would be more than enough as Cliff Lee shut down the Yankees offense in an 8-0 win. The Rangers had acquired Lee in July. The Yankees themselves tried to land Lee, but the deal fell apart at the last minute. Hamilton would hit two home runs in Game 4, as the Rangers again beat the Yankees 10-3 to take a 3-1 series lead. In Game 5, the Yankees would stave off elimination as Sabathia earned the win in a 7-2 win, with Nick Swisher, Robinson Cano, and Curtis Granderson all going deep. However, with Colby Lewis on the mound in Game 6, the Rangers would eliminate the Yankees with a 6-1 win, ending hopes of a second straight championship. Following the season, the Yankees would again pursue Cliff Lee but lost out again when the Free Agent signed with the Philadelphia Phillies. The Yankees would also see the departure of Andy Pettitte, who announced his retirement following the season.
2011: When the season began, the Yankees had several questions surrounding their pitching staff as they wondered who would be the reliable second starter behind CC Sabathia, after the retirement of Andy Pettitte. Early in the season, the Yankees got unexpected strong performances from veterans Freddy Garcia and Bartolo Colon, who each made the team as spring training invites. Meanwhile, Phil Hughes struggled early in the season and was shut down to get back his velocity, which had been missing in spring training. At the same time, A.J. Burnett continued his erratic performances. The biggest headache for Manager Joe Girardi, however, was how to handle Jorge Posada in the final year of his contract. Posada was no longer catching for the Yankees after they signed Russell Martin, and in the early part of the season, he struggled in the Designated Hitter role and was unhappy. Also getting off to a slow start was Derek Jeter, who had the pressure of a pursuit for his 3,000th hit to deal with. Despite all these issues that would derail a lesser team, the Yankees continued to be one of the best teams in baseball, as they were in first place with a 30-23 record after the first two months of the season. While Jeter and Alex Rodriguez both struggled, the Yankees got more than they could have ever expected from Curtis Granderson, who from the start of the season was off to a career year, as he would lead the American League with 119 RBI while hitting 41 home runs as he finished fourth in American League voting. On the mound, the Yankees had two breakout performers, first Ivan Nova, who was called up in May and became the Yankees’ most reliable pitcher in the second half, posting a 16-4 record with an ERA of 3.70 as he finished fourth in Rookie of the Year voting. Meanwhile, in the bullpen David Robertson became the Yankees top set up man, earning a trip to the All-Star Game in Phoenix as he had a 1.07 ERA in 70 relief appearances. After spending two weeks on the Disabled List, Derek Jeter’s pursuit of 3,000 hits came to an end on July 9th, when he became just the second player to reach the milestone with a home run in the third inning off David Price of the Tampa Bay Rays. Jeter, who struggled most of the season, would become just the second player to go 5-for-5 in the game in which he reached 3,000 hits. The milestone took some weight off the captain, who hit much better in the second half of the season. The same could not be said for Alex Rodriguez, who was hobbled most of the second half. Early in the season, the Yankees had struggled against the Boston Red Sox, who took over first place in July. However, the Yankees remained close as both teams were in a position to reach the postseason. As August came to an end and September began, the Yankees won a critical three-game series in Fenway Park. A day after the series ended, the Yankees would beat the Toronto Blue Jays 3-2 to take over first place again in the American League East. The Yankees would remain in first place the rest of the season as the Red Sox went on to have an epic collapse that would even see them lose the Wild Card on the last day of the season. Meanwhile, the Yankees went on to win the division with a record of 97-65. As the season came to an end, the Yankees had another milestone pursuit to celebrate as Mariano Rivera, reached 600 saves, and then became the all-time saves leader, with his 602nd save, closing out a 6-4 win against the Minnesota Twins on September 19th.
2011 ALDS: In the ALDS against the Detroit Tigers, the Yankees much-anticipated matchup of CC Sabathia against Justin Verlander at Yankee Stadium was washed out after each team scored a run in the first inning. The game would be resumed the next day with Ivan Nova facing Doug Fister. With Robinson Cano hitting a grand slam and driving in six, the Yankees would go on to win the opener played over two days 9-3. The Yankees would not be able to build on the momentum as the Tigers rebounded with a 5-3 win in Game 2. As the series shifted to Detroit, Sabathia and Verlander again took the mound. The Yankees would take an early 2-0 lead. However, Verlander settled down and struck out 11 Yankees, as the Tigers won 5-4 on Delmon Young’s seventh-inning home run off Rafael Soriano. In Game 4, the Yankees got a strong outing from A.J. Burnett, who was bailed out twice by Curtis Granderson, who made outstanding catches in Centerfield. Meanwhile, the Yankees bats came alive as they won the game 10-1 to send the series back to the Bronx for a decisive fifth game. In Game 5, Ivan Nova would give up back-to-back home runs to Don Kelly and Delmon Young in the first inning. The Tigers would add another run in the fifth inning to take a 3-0 lead. The Yankees would score runs in the fifth and seventh inning, but could not get anything else as the Tigers held on to win the game and the series 3-2.
2012: The Yankees began to hit a crossroad as the season started, as the Steinbrenner sons began to express a desire to reduce payroll to avoid a luxury tax hit in 2014. At the same time, they had a veteran team that started to show its age, looking to get younger the Yankees acquired pitcher Miguel Pineda from the Seattle Mariners. Pineda would spend the entire season on the disabled list after shoulder surgery. To replace Pineda, the Yankees got an unexpected boost when Andy Pettitte decided to come back after a one-year retirement. The Yankees opened the season up the road from their Spring Training camp as they faced the Tampa Bay Rays, losing all three games at Tropicana Field as Mariano Rivera could not hold the lead in the opener. The Yankees would quickly recover, winning 10 of their next 13 games, including the home opener against the Los Angeles Angels and a rain-shortened two-game sweep against the Boston Red Sox, spoiling the centennial celebration at Fenway Park. Andy Pettitte would make his season debut in May, but the Yankees would experience a turbulent month as Mariano Rivera suffered a season-ending knee injury while shagging fly balls in batting practice on the road against the Kansas City Royals. The Yankees lineup was scuffling, as Alex Rodriguez, Mark Teixeira and Russell Martin were all off to slow starts. Curtis Granderson was once again the Yankees leading home run hitter, but a .230 average were symptoms of the Yankees big problem that they had become too reliant on the home run. When Rivera got hurt, the Yankees were at .500 with a 21-21 record, but one big positive about a veteran team is that they often play their best and dig deeper when facing adversity. Over the next two months, the Yankees would spring to the front of the American League East, building a ten-game lead as they posted a 31-12 record from May 22nd until the All-Star Break. One key factor in the Yankees surge was Rafael Soriano, who filled Mariano Rivera’s role perfectly, posting 42 saves. Another player pacing the Yankees was Derek Jeter, who appeared to find the Fountain of Youth, with 216 hits, while batting .316 with 15 home runs. The Yanks continued their strong play after the All-Star Game, winning five of six games against the Los Angeles Angels and Toronto Blue Jays. As the Yankees went West, their fortunes went south as they suffered a four-game sweep in Oakland against the Athletics, losing all four games by one run. Heading to Seattle, the Yankees would acquire another All-Star veteran picking up Ichiro in a deal with the Mariners. The deal gave the Yankees the glove and speed they lacked in the outfield all season after Brett Gardner was sidelined most of the season after elbow surgery. However, at the same time, they would lose A-Rod to a broken wrist. The Yankees were already playing without CC Sabathia, who was experiencing arm fatigue and Andy Pettitte, who had a fractured leg from a line drive during a game against the Cleveland Indians on June 27th. The Yankees continued to struggle with consistency in the lineup as the entire team struggled with runners in scoring position, like Granderson, Nick Swisher, and Alex Rodriguez all topped 100 strikeouts. The lead the Yankees would disappear in August as the Baltimore Orioles, and Tampa Bay Rays turned the East into a three-team race heading into September. The Yankees would get healthy just in time, as Sabathia, Pettitte, and A-Rod all returned, although A-Rod continued to struggle to find the clutch hit. The Yankees would finish the season strong, winning 16 of their last 21 games, but the O’s would keep pace the entire way, as both teams made the postseason, with the Yankees winning the division title by two games with a record of 95-67.
2012 Postseason: The Yankees and Orioles battled to a stalemate during the regular season, with each team winning nine games as the Yankees played better in Camden Yards while the Orioles gave the Yankees fits in the Bronx. After the Orioles beat the Texas Rangers in the American League Wild Card, the two AL East rivals would meet in the ALDS. Game 1 would see CC Sabathia put forth a strong effort, but the Yankees would not take control until the ninth inning when they exploded for five runs to take the opener 7-2 at Camden Yards. However, despite a strong outing by Andy Pettitte in Game 2, the Yankees would go to the Bronx with the series tied at a game apiece as the Orioles won 3-2, as the Yankees struggled all game with runners in scoring position. The Yankees continued to seek the big hit in Game 3, as they trailed 2-1 in the bottom of the ninth. Looking for a jump start Manager Joe Girardi decided to pinch-hit for Alex Rodriguez, who had just two hits in 16 at-bats with nine strikeouts in the ALDS. The move would look like a stroke of genius with Raul Ibanez tying the game with a solo shot of Jim Johnson. After the next eight Yankees were retired in order, Ibanez stepped up again and won the game 3-2, with a home run off Brian Matusz in the 12th inning. However, the Orioles continued to frustrate the Yankees, winning 2-1 in 13 innings in Game 4, as the Yankees bats remained in a deep slumber. Forced to turn to Sabathia in Game 5, the Yankees would win the series with a 3-1 win as the Yankees ace went the distance giving up one run on four hits while striking out nine. The ALCS would leave no rest for the weary as the Yankees would not get a day off as they faced the Detroit Tigers. The Yankees bats continued to scuffle in the ALCS as they were blanked by Doug Fister in Game 1 and went to the ninth inning trailing 4-0. However, the Yankees would get some ninth-inning magic as Ichiro and Ibanez each hit two-run homers to tie the game. However, it would just lead to more frustrations as the Yankees continued to pass up key scoring chances in the 10th and 11th innings. The roof would then cave in during the 12th inning, as the Tigers scored twice to win the game 6-4, while Derek Jeter, who had been playing hurt after fouling a ball off his ankle in Game 1 of the ALDS went down fielding a ball hit by Jhonny Peralta. Jeter would miss the rest of the series with a broken ankle as the struggling Yankees seemed to lose their will, with the Tigers going on the sweep the series in four games. The numbers were just as ugly as they sounded as they finished 2012 postseason hitting a dismal .188, including batting only .157 against Tiger pitching in the ALCS.
2013: When the season began, the Yankees were already crippled by injures. Derek Jeter, who suffered a broken ankle in the ALCS, was not ready when the season started as his surgically repaired ankle had another stress fracture. Alex Rodriguez was also out for the first half of the season after a hip surgery. Mark Teixeira suffered a wrist injury in the World Baseball Classic while Curtis Granderson’s hand was broken when he was hit by a pitch in a spring game. They would all be joined by Kevin Youkilis, who was signed in the off-season but never could get his Yankees career started as he fought a back injury throughout April and only played sparingly the rest of the year. The Yankees began the season by losing four of their first five games but managed to still have a decent first month with a record of 16-10. Pitching was a big part of the Yankees not digging a big hole early as Andy Pettitte, Hiroki Kuroda and CC Sabathia all pitched well. Granderson would return to the lineup in May but was back on the disabled list two weeks later as he broke his hand again when being struck by a pitch. May saw the same results as April, as the Yankees lineup lacked its usual power, but the pitching helped keep them in the race, despite being swept by the New York Mets in the season series for the first time. In June, Teixeira and Youkilis returned to the lineup but were both quickly lost and shut down for the season, as the Yankees suffered a losing month for the first time in three years. The Yankees would get off to a good start in July, winning their first six games, as Derek Jeter returned just before the All-Star Break. However, in his first game back on July 11th, the Yankees Captain suffered another injury, a strained quad muscle that put him back on the Disabled List for another two weeks. Jeter’s season would be marked by frustration as he would only play 17 games. The Yankees would go into the All-Star Break with a record of 51-44, still in the playoff race despite their team leading the league in medical reports. At the All-Star Game in Citi Field, Closer Mariano Rivera, who announced his retirement at the start of the season, was giving a rousing reception when he entered the game in the eighth inning with no other players on the field as both dugouts gave him a standing ovation. Rivera would be named the game’s MVP as the American League won 2-0 at the home of the Mets. Looking to give their lineup a spark, the Yankees would acquire Alfonso Soriano from the Chicago Cubs. The Yankees traded Soriano a decade earlier to get Alex Rodriguez. As August came to an end, A-Rod was working in the minors to rejoin the Yankees, but the team had wished he would just go away. Since undergoing hip surgery, Rodriguez had been neck-deep into an investigation for the use of performance-enhancing drugs through a clinic in Miami called Biogenesis. Early in the inquiry, MLB had prevented Alex Rodriguez from buying the evidence and made a deal with the lab’s director Anthony Bosch. Several players would receive 50 game suspensions, while A-Rod viewed as a persistent offender was suspended the remainder of the 2013 season and all of 2014. However, Rodriguez would appeal his suspension and join the Yankees in August, he would play well over the next two months, with seven home runs in 44 games, including his 24th career Grand Slam on September 20th to break the record held by Lou Gehrig. The Yankees pitching was not as strong in the second half as both Sabathia and Kuroda struggled, while Phil Hughes was simply awful, posting a record of 4-14 with a 5.19. The Yankees remained on the fringe of the playoff race but never quite made a serious run at the Wild Card as they finished with a record of 85-77. As the season came to an end, the Yankees honored Mariano Rivera, who was given a grand sendoff in every stadium the Yankees visited. Rivera received a variety of gifts, including a rocking chair made of broken bats, a golden record of Metallica’s “Enter Sandman, and the #42 from Fenway’s scoreboard as he would be the last player ever to wear the number that was retired in honor of Jackie Robinson. Mariano Rivera had Metallica play “Enter Sandman” live as his number was hung in Monument Park. Three days later, in the Yankees final home game, Rivera would not finish the game against Tampa Bay Rays as Derek Jeter and Andy Pettitte removed him with one out left all three leaving the field together. Rivera’s career ended with a record 652 saves as he was largely seen as the best closer in the history of baseball with 44 saves in his final season. Shortly after his retirement, MLB announced the American League Closer of the Year would become the Mariano Rivera Award. Andy Pettitte would also retire at the end of the season, posting an 11-11 record and finishing his career with 256 wins.
2014: After missing the playoffs for just the second time since 1995, the New York Yankees found themselves at the end of an era, as Derek Jeter announced he would retire at the end of the season. Like Mariano Rivera, the season before, Jeter’s last season would be a season-long farewell tour as he was honored in every stadium he visited. The Yankees were also dealing with the strange sensation of losing a star Free Agent, as they were reluctant to give a ten-year deal to Robinson Cano and let him sign with the Seattle Mariners. Early in the season, the Yankees began to repeat the previous season’s collection of injuries, as CC Sabathia was bothered by severe knee inflammation. Sabathia was roughed up early and would eventually be shut down for the season in May with a record 3-4 with a 5.28 ERA. CC Sabathia would eventually undergo surgery to repair the knee degeneration. The Yankees also lost Ivan Nova for the season after just four starts when he was diagnosed with a torn Ulnar Collateral Ligament and needed Tommy John surgery. Michael Pineda, who was returning from two missed seasons with a shoulder injury, looked sharp in April. He faced some controversy when a spot of dirt was seen on his hand in a 4-1 win against the Boston Red Sox on April 10th. Two weeks later, Pineda again faced the Red Sox this time at Fenway Park and got roughed up, the dirt spot this time was spotted on his neck and confirmed to be pine tar. For using an illegal substance on the baseball, Pineda would receive a ten-game suspension. While pitching a simulated game during the suspension, Michael Pineda developed a strain in his teres major muscle and missed the next four months. With three-fifths of their starting rotation sidelined, the Yankees got a boost when Masahiro Tanaka, turned out to be just as good as advertised. The Yankees got Tanaka after posting a $20 million fee to his team in Japan, the Rakuten Golden Eagles, they then signed him to a seven-year contract worth $155 million. Masahiro Tanka was the Yankee’s best pitcher in the first half, posting a record of 12-4 in the season’s first half. The Yankees also had one of the best bullpens in baseball, as David Robertson did well replacing Mariano Rivera, saving 39 games. At the same time, Dellin Betances was nearly unhittable in the setup role with a 5-0 record. In 70 appearances, Betances had a 1.40 ERA, while his 135 strikeouts led the majors amongst all relief pitchers. Injuries also affected the lineup, as free agent Carlos Beltran dealt with a sore elbow all season and played just 109 games, batting .233 with 15 homers and 49 RBI. Other players meanwhile failed to fill gaping holes in the Yankees lineup, as Brian Roberts signed to replace Robinson Cano at second base, struggled, batting just .237 with five home runs and 21 RBI. Alfonso Soriano also struggled, batting .221 with six homers and 23 RBI. Both players would be released and ultimately retire. The Yankees would get some early help from unsung players like Yangervis Solarte, who had six doubles in his first seven games and played flawless defense, including making a game-saving triple play in April. However, once the scouts figured out Solarte, his stats declined, and he eventually returned to the minors. Despite all the potholes, the Yankees remained on the fringe of the playoffs at the All-Star Break with a record of 47-47. As the season reached the All-Star Break, the Yankees got even more bad news, as Masahiro Tanaka was diagnosed with a slight tear of the UCL in his elbow. Instead of undergoing Tommy John surgery, Tanaka chose rest and rehabilitation and missed two months. Tanaka would finish the season with a 13-5 record, and an ERA of 2.77 ERA with 141, as questions lingered about his elbow. Desperate to stay in the Wild Card hunt, the Yankees were active at the trade deadline, picking up Chase Headley from the San Diego Padres in exchange for Yangervis Solarte and Rafael De Paula. They also picked up Pitcher Brandon McCarthy and Utilityman Martin Prado in separate deals with the Arizona Diamondbacks. However, none of it would matter in the end, as the Yankees just could not get enough pieces together to get into the playoffs, as they finished the season with a record of 84-78. As the season was ending, all focus was on the Yankees Captain, and almost as if it were a Hollywood ending, Derek Jeter delivered a walk-off single in his final at-bat at Yankee Stadium. Jeter would finish his career with 3,465 hits, ranking sixth all-time.
2015: Heading into the season, no team had more question marks than the New York Yankees. Players were coming back from suspension and injuries; new players and players in new roles, while the retirement of Derek Jeter, officially ended an era of sustained consistency that was the hallmark for two decades. Even the most optimistic Yankee fans had to be concerned as they entered the year not knowing what to expect from anybody. One question that was answered positively was Alex Rodriguez, who, after serving a one-year suspension for his involvement in the biogenesis probe turned jeers into cheers with his best season in five years before his body began to break down. Despite turning 40 in July, A-Rod finished the season with 33 home runs and 86 RBI. Along the way, Alex Rodriguez set a few milestones; on May 7th against the Baltimore Orioles, his 661st home run to move past Willie Mays for fourth place on the all-time home run list. On June 13th Rodriguez became just the fourth player in baseball history with 2,000 RBI, setting the record for RBI in the American League along the way. Rodriguez than joined the 3,000 hit club with a home run off Justin Verlander of the Detroit Tigers on June 19th. Another player who had nothing but positive results was Mark Teixeira. He, after two frustrating injury-filled seasons, had a big season, batting .255 with 31 home runs and 79 RBI before he fouled a ball off his shin and suffered a fracture that would end his season in September. The Yankees would start the season slowly, losing six of their first nine games before Brett Gardner suggested players grow mustaches. The mustache brigade seemed to work as the Yankees quickly turned things around by taking three out of four games on the road against the Detroit Tigers. The Yankees would end April in first place with a record of 13-9. Not every question mark had a happy answer for the Yankees, as CC Sabathia continued to struggle, posting a record of 6-10 with an ERA of 4.73 as he checked into rehab for alcoholism at the end of the season. Masahiro Tanaka, meanwhile, after resting his sore elbow, was solid most of the year, posting a record of 12-7 with an ERA of 3.51. One key to the Yankees success all season was their bullpen as Andrew Miller began the year with 17 and two-third scoreless innings earning eight saves in his first 20 appearances. Miller finished the season with a 2.04 ERA, 36 saves, and 100 strikeouts as he was won the Mariano Rivera Award as the best reliever in the American League. Andrew Miller, though may not have been the Yankees best reliever as Dellin Betances continued to be the best setup man in the game, with 131 strikeouts in 84 innings, posting a 6-4 record, and nine saves with an ERA of 1.50. As July came to an end, the Yankees were comfortably in first place with a record of 58-44, holding a six-game lead. The Yankees age seemed to catch up with them as the dog days arrived as they remained quiet at the trade deadline, not wanting to give up some of their top-level prospects for a short term gain. The Toronto Blue Jays meanwhile rolled the dice and landed Troy Tulowitzki and David Price. Those deals would change the face of the Eastern Division race. The Jays quickly caught the Yankees, with a three-game sweep in the Bronx. The Jays would go on take over first place for good as August came to a close with the Yankees managing just a 29-31 record over the last 60 games. Despite their late-season struggles, the Yankees would finish with the top Wild Card spot in the American League with a record of 87-75.
2015 Wild Card: The Yankees would play in the Wild Card Game for the first time at Yankee Stadium against the Houston Astros. The game was over before it ever began for the Bronx Bombers as the Astros sent Dallas Kuechel to mound. The left-handed ace was the American League’s only 20 game-winner beating the Yankees twice in the regular season as he would win the Cy Young Award. Masahiro Tanaka would get the start for the Yankees and pitched well, but allowed two solo home runs, which was more than enough for Kuechel as the Yankees managed just three hits, losing 3-0.
2016: After losing in the Wild Card Game, the New York Yankees looked to get back on track as they strengthened their bullpen with the acquisition of Aroldis Chapman. There were problems getting to the bullpen, as the Yankees got off to their worst start over 20 years, as they ended April in last place with a record of 8-14. The Yankees played slightly better in May, but could not get past the .500 mark. One positive was the back end of the bullpen, which protected almost any lead they had, with Dellin Betances, Andrew Miller, and Aroldis Chapman earning the nickname “No Runs DMC.” The problem was getting the lead into the seventh innings, as the Yankees starting rotation and lineup struggled. The Yankees only reliable starter seemed to be Masahiro Tanaka, who posted a record of 14-4 with an ERA of 3.07. Meanwhile, Michael Pineda posted a disappointing record of 6-12, with a hefty ERA of 4.82. Age was a significant factor in the Yankees’ struggles as their two veterans in the heart of the lineup were clearly in the twilight of their career as both Alex Rodriguez and Mark Teixeira hovered near the Mendoza Line. One veteran that did not struggle was Carlos Beltran, who hit his 400th career home run on May 16th. The Yankees would hover near .500 throughout June and July as they went into the All-Star Break at 44-44 as Teixeira joined Beltran in the 400 HR club. With the playoffs a longshot, the Yankees became surprising sellers at the Trade Deadline, dealing Carlos Beltran to the Texas Rangers, Andrew Miller to the Cleveland Indians, and Aroldis Chapman to the Chicago Cubs. In return, the Yankees got a cache of top prospects, including Gleyber Torres, Clint Frazier, and Justus Sheffield. As August began, the Yankees decided to bench Catcher Brian McCann to give the job to Gary Sanchez, as they started their youth movement. The youth movement would see the Yankees say goodbye to Alex Rodriguez, who accepted a job as a part-time instructor to pay off the rest of his contract. A-Rod made his final appearance on August 12th, going 1-for-4 with an RBI double as the Yankees beat the Tampa Bay Rays 6-3, as he finished his career fourth all-time in home runs with 696. One day later, Tyler Austin and Aaron Judge made their debuts, hitting back-to-back homers in their first big league at-bats. The Yankees youth movement was just the boost the Yankees needed as they finally climbed over .500 and began to make a surprising run for the Wild Card. One reason for the Yankees’ sudden surge was Gary Sanchez. He burst on to the scene like a thunderbolt, becoming the fastest player to record 11 home runs, accomplishing so in just twenty-three days earning player of the week honors in consecutive weeks as well as AL Player and Rookie of the Month in August. Sanchez and the young Yankees would not be able to sustain the momentum as the Yankees hopes for a miracle were ended when they suffered a four-game sweep at the hands of the Boston Red Sox in Fenway Park. Still, Gary Sanchez received serious consideration for Rookie of the Year, despite playing only two months as he hit .299 with 20 home runs and 42 RBI in 53 games. As the season came to an end, so did the career of Mark Teixeira, who was honored before his final game on September 30th. The Yankees would finish the season with a record of 84-78 with an eye towards the future.
2017: The New York Yankees entered the season with muted expectations after making serious moves for a youth movement. The Yankees moves were exceptionally shrewd as they re-signed Aroldis Chapman in the off-season. The new core of the team was a group of young sluggers nicknamed “The Baby Bombers.” None of the Baby Bombers shined more than Aaron Judge, who struggled in his limited call-up in 2016 but became an instant sensation hitting ten home runs in April to set a new record for rookies. Fans quickly embraced Judge, wearing Judge Robes and bringing gavels to the game, as a special section called the Judge’s Chambers was set up in the right-field stands at Yankee Stadium. Judge continued his torrid pace in May, winning Rookie of the Month for the second straight month, with .347 average, seven home runs, and 17 RBI as the Yankees went into June in first place with a record of 30-20. The Baby Bombers began to take over the heart of New York, as Aaron Judge and his #99 jersey became the hottest jersey on the streets. Once again, Judge would win Rookie of the Month with serious MVP as he hit .337 with ten home run and 25 RBI to be named Player of the Month. Aaron Judge would break Joe DiMaggio’s team record for home runs by a rookie before the All-Star Break, as he was the American League’s leading vote-getter. All eyes were on Aaron Judge at the All-Star Game in Miami, as he won the Home Run Derby. The Yankees were unable to hold their lead in the American League East, but they were leading the Wild Card race. Judge’s most impressive home run came on July 21st when he blasted a ball nearly out of Safeco Field in Seattle. The next six weeks would see the Yankees rookie go through a significant slump in August, as he later admitted the Home Run Derby took its toll. While, Judge slumped the focus of the Yankees offense shifted to other rising stars like Gary Sanchez, who finished second on the team with 33 homers while batting .278 with 90 RBI and Didi Gregorius who hit .287 with 25 home runs and 87 RBI. The Yankees also got a boost at the trade deadline, picking up Todd Frazier, David Robertson, and Tommy Kahnle from the Chicago White Sox and Sonny Gray from the Oakland Athletics. The Yankees would finish the season strong as Aaron Judge broke out of his slump in a big way, batting .311 with 15 home runs and 32 RBI as he was named Rookie of the Month for the fourth time and Player of the Month for the second. The Yankees finished the season as the American League’s top Wild Card with a record of 91-71. Aaron Judge would finish second in MVP voting and was the unanimous Rookie of the Year with a .284 batting average, 52 home runs, and 114 RBI. The 52 home runs were the most in the American League, breaking Mark McGwire’s record of 49 homers by a rookie set in 1987.
2017 Wild Card Game: The New York Yankees had their ace, Luis Severino, on the mound for the Wild Card Game against the Minnesota Twins at the Bronx. Severino had a breakout season, going 14-6 with an ERA of 2.99. Things looked bad early as the Twins scored three times in the first inning and knocked the Yankees ace out of the game. New York quickly answered as Didi Gregorius tied the game with a three-run shot in the bottom of the inning. The Yankees took the lead for the first time in the second inning on a home run by Brett Gardner. After the Twins tied the game, the Yankees made it 5-4 on an RBI by Greg Bird in the third inning. The Yankees would add two more runs in the fourth inning on a home run by Aaron Judge. The Yankees would go on to win 8-4, adding a run in the seventh inning. The Yankees bullpen did a masterful job after Severino’s struggles allowing just one run over eight and two-thirds innings, with David Robertson earning the win.
2017 ALDS: Facing the Cleveland Indians in the Division Series, the New York Yankees were a heavy underdog, as the Tribe had the best record in the American League at 102-60 highlighted by a 22-game winning streak. The first game went according to the script as Trevor Bauer, Andre Miller, and Cody Allen silenced the Yankees bats winning 4-0. The Yankees jumped on Cy Young winner Corey Kluber in Game 2, scoring six runs in three innings on the way to building an 8-3 lead. The Yankees offense was powered by Gary Sanchez, Aaron Hicks, and Greg Bird. The Indians made a comeback as Francisco Lindor hit a grand slam in the sixth inning. The grand slam was controversial as Lonnie Chisenhall reached base on a hit by pitch. Gary Sanchez argued that the ball hit the knob of Chisenhall’s bat and asked Joe Girardi to call for a replay, which would have been strike three as a caught a foul tip on a third strike, but Girardi did not make the call, and the Tribe got back in the game. Cleveland would tie the game on a homer by Jay Bruce in the eight and won the game 9-8 in 13 innings on a walk-off hit by Yan Gomes, as the fans and media ripped the Yankees manager. Facing a sweep as they came home, fans booed Girardi during pregame introductions, as Masahiro Tanka pitched his best game of the season, allowing three hits in seven innings. The Yankees stayed alive with a 1-0 win on a seventh-inning longball from Greg Bird. The Indians called on Trevor Bauer again in Game 4 to close out the series, but it would be a far cry from the opener as the Yankees scored four runs in the second inning. Luis Severino was solid, earning the win with seven solid innings as the Yankees won 7-2 to force a decisive game in Cleveland. Once again, the Yankees jumped on Corey Kluber in Game 5, taking an early 3-0 lead on a pair of home runs from Didi Gregorius. After the Tribe cut the lead to 3-2 off a tiring CC Sabathia, the bullpen did the rest as David Robertson and Aroldis Chapman combined for four and two-thirds innings of hitless relief as the Yankees won 5-2 to advance to the ALCS.
2017 ALCS: The Baby Bombers had grown into championship contenders as the New York Yankees faced the Houston Astros with a trip to the World Series on the line. Game 1 was all about pitching as the Yankees bats were silenced again by Dallas Keuchel, as Houston won 2-1 scratching across two runs in the fourth inning against Masahiro Tanka, while Greg Bird’s home run with two outs in the ninth was the Yankees only offense. Game 2 was more of the same as Justin Verlander pitched a complete game allowing one run on five hits, with 13 strikeouts as the Astros won 2-1 on a walk-off double by Carlos Correa. The Yankees bats came alive in Game 3 in the Bronx as Todd Frazier and Aaron Judge each hit three-run home runs, winning 8-1. The Astros looked to regain control in Game 4, as they built a 4-0 lead in the seventh inning. The Yankees would begin chipping away on a homer by Aaron Judge as they scored twice in the bottom of the seventh. In the eighth inning, Judge delivered a game-tying double. Two batters later, Gary Sanchez doubled to give the Yankees a 6-4 lead to even the series at two games apiece. The Yankees finally got to Keuchel in Game 5, as Tanka shut down the Astros in a 5-0win that put the Yankees one win away from the World Series. Back in Houston in Game 6, the Yankees were shut down again by Justin Verlander, losing 7-1. Game 7 it was Charlie Morton and Lance McCullers Jr. combining to three-hit the Yankees as the Astros won 4-0 to advance to the World Series, which they would win. The Yankees meanwhile made a stunning move, firing manager Joe Girardi.
2018: Coming off an unexpected seven-game visit to the ALCS in 2017, the New York Yankees had high expectations. After the ALCS loss, the Yankees stunning decision to part ways with Joe Girardi. The Yankees turned to the announcing booth in making Boone their new manager. Despite having no managerial experience, Boone’s baseball pedigree and strong ability to communicate were marked as strengths. The Yankees also made an offseason splash in the trade market, acquiring former NL MVP Giancarlo Stanton from the Miami Marlins. GM Brian Cashman also looked to improve upon his star-studded roster, aggressively pursuing Japanese pitcher/hitter phenom Shohei Ohtani, until he chose the Los Angeles Angels instead. The Yankees started their season in Toronto, a game in which Stanton hit his first two home runs of his season. After starting April slowly, including a series loss to the arch-rival Red Sox, which included a brawl between Tyler Austin and Joe Kelly, the Yankees then caught fire later that month and went on an 18-1 stretch into May. Shortstop Didi Gregorius had lit up AL pitching in April, slugging ten homers with 30 RBI and winning AL Player of the Month until cooling off significantly in May. Powering their offense during the winning streak were rookies Gleyber Torres and Miguel Andujar. Torres was called up in late April and quickly produced, winning AL Rookie of the Month for May after batting .325 with 24 RBI that month playing at second base. Torres’ stardom continued to rise throughout the rest of the first half, culminating in him making his first All-Star game at the incredibly young age of 21. His teammate, third baseman Miguel Andujar, also impressed during his rookie year. Andujar finished second in the Rookie of the Year voting after hitting .297 with 27 homers and 92 RBI, including breaking Joe DiMaggio’s Yankees rookie record with 45 doubles. One player who had a significant letdown was Gary Sanchez, who had a terrible season without the guidance of Girardi, hitting .186, while becoming notorious for passed balls. His season became controversially defined by a baserunning blunder in Tampa Bay, in which the Yankees lost on a game-ending double play with Sanchez failing to run down to 1st base. Sanchez would head to the DL shortly after that and only turned in 89 games. One player who emerged was 24-year-old blossoming ace Luis Severino, who posted a 2.31 ERA at the All-Star break, the Yankees were right atop of the A.L. East standings, along with the Boston Red Sox. At the trade deadline, the Yankees boosted their rotation, acquiring LHP J.A. Happ from Toronto and Lance Lynn from Minnesota. The Yankees and Red Sox continued to fight for the division crown throughout July side by side until the Yankees started to slide after Judge suffered a wrist fracture. The Yankees then traveled up to Boston, in which they were swept in four games. With their Postseason hopes eyeing in on a Wild Card game berth. Severino, who looked like an ace earlier in the season, had regressed in the second half with a miserable 5.57 ERA. Sonny Gray had struggled during the season and was sent to the bullpen. Despite a strong performance from Stanton and Andujar, the Yankees had failed to catch up to the hot Red Sox and regain their dominant form from earlier in the season. Before the waiver trade deadline in September, the Yankees acquired another former NL MVP in Andrew McCutchen from the San Francisco Giants to bolster their outfield. Aaron Judge returned to the team later that month as they clinched their second consecutive Wild Card berth, with a record of 100-62, their first 100-win season since 2009.
Written by Captain Derk and Matt Townsend
2018 Wild Card Game: The New York Yankees would host the Oakland Athletics in the Wild Card Game. Oakland suffered a similar fate to the Yankees during the regular season, winning 97 games but falling short to 100+ win Houston Astros. A typical Billy Beane assembled roster, the A’s boasted a combination of young talent and overlooked journeymen. In what would be the first of its kind in the postseason, the A’s opted to “bullpen” the game, starting with late-inning relief ace Liam Hendriks. The Yankees would start ace Luis Severino, who would be seeking redemption after failing to record an out in the 2017 AL Wild Card Game against Minnesota. The game would prove to be all Yankees from the start, as Liam Hendriks gave up a moonshot homer in the first inning to Aaron Judge. The Yankees seized the lead early and never let up. The real turning point came in the sixth when New York scored four runs off Fernando Rodney and Blake Treinen. Severino dazzled, striking out seven in four innings. Boone would play cautiously, turning to his bullpen at the first sign of trouble. Perhaps the performance of the game came from Dellin Betances, who came in to deliver a pivotal strikeout to Kris Davis with runners on. Betances would pitch two scoreless innings to earn the 7-2 win. Late in the game, fans in the Bronx chanted, “We Want Boston.”
Written by Matt Townsend
2018 ALDS: In what would be the most highly anticipated matchup of the postseason, the New York Yankees would travel to Fenway Park to face the archrival Boston Red Sox for the first time since 2004. The Yankees lost the series on the year to Boston narrowly, 9-10. Throughout the season, New York seemed to be the only team that could battle consistently with the Sox, leading to Brian Cashman’s infamous “we do damage” comment. Taking the mound for New York in Game 1 would be veteran J.A Happ, who became somewhat of a revelation for the Yankees after coming over from the Toronto Blue Jays at the deadline. Happ proved no match for his opponent, perennial Cy Young contender Chris Sale. Despite battling back late, the Yankees would lose 5-4. In Game 2, the Yankees would settle the score behind the resilient Masahiro Tanaka. Tanaka tossed five innings, allowing one earned run while sluggers Aaron Judge and Gary Sanchez both hit mammoth homers off David Price. The Yankees would win 6-2, taking the series back to the Bronx tied 1-1. Game 3 would prove to be a game that all Yankees fans wish to forget. Boston delivered the postseason’s most lopsided victory in major league history, clobbering New York 16-1. Former Yankee Nathan Eovaldi stifled the Yankees through seven innings, while ace Luis Severino was lit up for six runs in three innings. Facing elimination, New York would turn to veteran and hero of the 2009 World Series team, CC Sabathia. It was well known that Sabathia’s knee was in bad shape, but with little to no options manager, Aaron Boone was looking for a miracle to keep their hopes alive. Sabathia struggled through only three innings, giving up three runs. It would be up to the Yankees super bullpen to hold the Sox at bay. The combination of Zack Britton, David Robertson, Dellin Betances, and Aroldis Chapman would hold the Sox to just one run the rest of the game. The Yankees bats, however, would fail to pull off a comeback, as Boston was able to utilize a well-rested bullpen that included ace Chris Sale. A ninth-inning rally against closer Craig Kimbrel would make things interesting, but ultimately the Yankees season would end bitterly, with a 4-3 loss.
Written by Matt Townsend
2019: The season for the New York Yankees will fondly be remembered by a phrase that embodied their constant battle with adversity: “next man up.” The Yankees would send 30 players to the Injured List, setting an MLB record. No other team came within 600 days of the Yankees injury total. With plenty of reasons to be optimistic about the Yankees chances of a World Series championship, their inability to stay healthy would seem an impossible obstacle. Didi Gregorious began the season on the injured list after Tommy John surgery in the offseason. When the season started, they would lose the ascending star Miguel Andujar for the season. Power-hitting Giancarlo Stanton, then Aaron Judge, and the list went on with a never-ending string of injuries as nearly every player on the roster spent at least ten days on the injured list. A revolving door of relative no-names, ranging from the passed over outfield prospect Mike Tauchmann to journeymen Giovanny Urshela, would prove more than competent in their replacement roles. During the offseason, GM Brian Cashman would make two crucial acquisitions. First, he dealt for James Paxton from the Seattle Mariners to help bolster the rotation. Then, in a relatively shocking move, he brought in the Gold Glove 2B DJ LeMahieu. Bringing in LeMahieu would seem redundant at the time, but his addition would prove to be among Cashman’s finest. Undoubtedly the MVP of the team, LeMahieu, would hit .327 with 26 home runs and 102 RBI. He proved to be a swiss army knife for second-year manager Aaron Boone, filling in at 3B and 1B when needed. While the rotation suffered the early-season loss of Severino to the IL, starters Masahiro Tanaka, James Paxton, and surprise sensation Domingo German provided consistent opportunities for the team to win games. The surprising Yankees with their “fill in” guys would shock the baseball world, never letting up despite losing nearly all their stars to injury. Probably the biggest overperformer would be Ursula, who would provide stellar defense at 3B while hitting .314 with 21 home runs. With Boston being out of the divisional picture for the second half of the year, the Yankees would fight off Tampa Bay for the divisional title. While they stood neck and neck through mid-June, New York would pull away in the standings and carry a seven-game divisional lead heading into July. Even with the surprising performances and commanding lead of the division, Cashman reinforced his offense at the deadline bringing in veteran slugger Edwin Encarnacion. As the Yankees rolled their way to a record of 103-59, the true obstacle ahead would remain the Houston Astros. By August, with the division basically on ice, New York would look to Houston in the standings in a fierce battle for the AL’s best record. While they would fall short of Houston for home field throughout the playoffs, the Yankees would wrap up their first AL East title since 2012.
Written by Matt Townsend
2019 ALDS: The New York Yankees would face the Minnesota Twins in the Division Series. Led by first-year manager Rocco Baldelli, the 101-win Twins beat out the Yankees for the single-season team home run record. Featuring sluggers Miguel Sano, Nelson Cruz, and Eddie Rosario, the Twins were a force to be reckoned with. Minnesota’s roster had been significantly revamped since its 2017 Wild Card game, and they were looking for redemption. In Game 1, Minnesota would strike first as Jorge Polanco took James Paxton deep in the first. With a 3-3 tie heading into the fifth, Gleyber Torres broke the game open with an RBI double putting New York ahead 5-3. After a Miguel Sano solo shot bringing the game to 5-4, the Yanks followed up with two solo shots of their own from DJ LeMahieu and Brett Gardner. Now up 7-4, LeMahieu would drive in three more runs with a bases-clearing double in the seventh. New York took the opener 10-4. Game 2 may perhaps be best known for Twins starter Randy Dobnak’s “side job.” Before the game, it was revealed that Randy Dobnak was driving for Uber in the offseason. The Bronx faithful would have their fun with this fact, chanting “Uber” for much of the game. The crowd did Dobnak no favors, who was shelled through giving up four runs in two innings. In the third inning, Yankee SS Didi Gregorious broke the game open with a grand slam. New York never looked back, winning the game 8-1. In Minnesota, the Twins would turn to Jake Odorizzi to start Game 3. With much familiarity facing New York going back to his years with Tampa Bay, Odorizzi would look to silence the Yankees lineup. New York turned to Luis Severino, who had recently returned from the IL. Severino was solid, tossing four shutout innings. Aaron Boone turned to his well-rested bullpen to finish the rest of the game, as the combination of Ottavino, Green, Britton, and Chapman would limit the Twins to one run. The Yankees lineup again proved too much for the Twins, with homers from Gleyber Torres and Cameron Maybin, won the game 5-1, extending the Yankees postseason winning streak over the Twins to 13 games.
Written by Matt Townsend
2019 ALCS: With the ALDS sweep completed, the New York Yankees would face the Houston Astros for what many considered to a matchup of baseball’s top two teams. The Yankees traveled to Houston for Game 1 of the ALCS. Houston’s key advantage would be their starting pitching. The team headed into the season with two of the league’s best in Gerrit Cole and Justin Verlander, while adding Zach Greinke at the deadline gave them MLB’s best rotation. In Game 1, New York turned to the reliable Masahiro Tanaka. Tanaka was brilliant, shutting Houston down with allowing one hit in six innings. Greinke would falter in the sixth inning, as he gave up two solo shots to Gleyber Torres and Giancarlo Stanton. Now up 3-0, New York added two more in the seventh off a two-run single from Torres. Torres would drive in five runs, and the Yanks took the series opener 7-0. In Game 2, New York looked to James Paxton to match ace, Justin Verlander. Knowing he had a full rested bullpen, Aaron Boone would have a short leash on Paxton. After just two and one-thirds inning allowing one run, Boone turned to his long reliever and “opener,” Chad Green. In a game that would wind up a pitching duel, Verlander vs. the Yankee bullpen, the game went into extra innings tied 2-2. The Yankee lineup would run out of time, spoiling their bullpen effort as Carlos Correa hit a game-winning homer off J.A Happ in the 11th. Heading back to the Bronx tied at 1-1, the Yankees looked to retake the series advantage against Gerrit Cole. Cole was magnificent for Houston, tossing seven scoreless innings. New York had more opportunities than most had all year against Cole, as he walked five. The Yankee lineup, however, stranded nine runners. Luis Severino took the ball for New York, and scuffled, taking the loss as Houston won the game 4-1. Game 4 would be a rematch of Game 1, with Greinke facing Tanaka after one day delay to rain. Despite his excellent playoff resume, Tanaka was hittable in his second start of the series, giving up three runs in five innings. Greinke gave Houston four and third strong innings, allowing just one run. Errors would prove costly for the Yankees, as they would commit four leading to three runs. The Astros would take Game 4 by a score of 8-3. Now down 3-1, the Yankees were looking to avoid elimination against Justin Verlander. In a rematch of Game 2, James Paxton delivered a quality start and matched the Houston ace. Turning in six innings allowing one run with nine strikeouts, Paxton gave the Yankees exactly what they needed. While Verlander also struck out nine and got through seven innings, he gave up four runs and fell victim to the long ball twice. In the bottom of the first, the Yankees pounced on Verlander. LeMaheiu led off the game with a homer to right, and then with two on Aaron Hicks delivered with a three-run homer as the Yankees stayed alive with an 8-3 win. In Houston, the Yankees appeared to have been handed a unique opportunity as Astros manager AJ Hinch opted to save his ace Gerrit Cole for Game 7. He instead chose to the bullpen the game, going with reliever Brad Peacock as his opener. Boone would do the same, starting with Chad Green. As an opener in the regular season, Green posted a 3.72 ERA. That night in Houston, however, he would give up a three-run homer to Yuli Gurriel in the first to put New York in a big hole. In a tight game, with the Astros up 4-2, D.J. LeMaheiu delivered a two-run homer to tie the game up in the ninth off Roberto Osuna. In the bottom of the 9th, however, Jose Altuve would deliver the season-ending blow to the Yankees, as he would take Aroldis Chapman out of the ballpark to win the game 6-4 to send Houston to the World Series.
Written by Matt Townsend
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Page created on March 25, 2001. Last updated on May 17, 2020, at 11:40 pm ET.