2000 1999 1998 1996
1978 1977 1962 1961
1958 1956 1953 1952
1951 1950 1949 1947
1943 1941 1939 1938
1937 1936 1932 1928
World Series Titles (26)
1973 - 2000 (Part 3 of 4)
The Mattingly Era (1982-1995)
Following the team's loss in the 1981 World Series, the Yankees would go into their longest absence
from the playoffs since 1921. From 1989 to 1992 they had a losing record, having spent large amounts of money on free-agent players
and draft picks that did not perform up to expectations.
During the 1980s the Yankees, led by their All-Star first baseman Don Mattingly,
had the most total wins of any major league team, but failed to win a World Series (the first such decade since the 1910s). The Yankees
consistently had powerful offensive teams - besides Mattingly, its rosters included, at one time or another, Dave Winfield, Rickey
Henderson, Mike Pagliarulo, Steve Sax and Jesse Barfield -- but their starting pitching rarely matched the team's performance at the
plate. After posting a 22-6 record in 1985, arm problems caught up with Ron Guidry, and his career went into a steep decline in the
next three years. Dennis Rasmussen, who won 18 games the following year, never matched his 1986 performance. Rick Rhoden, acquired
from the Pittsburgh Pirates in 1987, won 16 games that year but only went 14-14 in 1988.
The Yankees came close to winning the AL
East in 1985 and 1986, finishing second behind the Toronto Blue Jays and Boston Red Sox, respectively, but fell to fourth place in
1987 and fifth in 1988, despite having mid-season leads in the AL East standings in both seasons. 1988 would be the last season the
Yankees had a winning record until 1993.
By the end of the decade, the Yankees' offense was also on the decline. Henderson and Pagliarulo
had departed by the middle of 1989, while back problems caught up with both Winfield (causing him to miss the entire '89 season) and
Mattingly (he missed virtually the entire second half of 1990). Winfield's tenure with the team ended when he was dealt to the California
Angels in May 1990. That year, the Yankees had the worst record in Major League Baseball, and their first last-place finish since
1966. The Bombers would finish at or near the bottom of the division until 1993. In 1990, pitcher Andy Hawkins became the first Yankee
ever to lose a no-hitter, when the third baseman (Mike Blowers) committed an error, followed by two walks and an error by the left
fielder (Jim Leyritz) with the bases loaded, scoring all three runners and the batter. The 4-0 loss to the Chicago White Sox was the
largest margin of any no-hitter loss in the 20th century. Ironically, the Yankees (and Hawkins) were again no-hit for six innings
in a rain-shortened game with the White Sox eleven days later.
Mattingly had the unfortunate distinction of beginning his career (1982)
and ending his career (1995) in years bracketed by Yankee World Series appearances (1981 and 1996).
Joe Torre and a new dynasty (1996-2000)
Joe Torre on the right standing with legendary Yankee catcher Yogi Berra.The poor showing
in the '80s and early '90s would start to change when management was able to implement a coherent acquisition/development program
without interference from Steinbrenner, who had been suspended from day-to-day team operations by then-Commissioner Fay Vincent for
hiring Howard Spira to uncover damaging information on former Yankee outfielder Dave Winfield. Under general managers Gene Michael
and Bob Watson and manager Buck Showalter, the club shifted its emphasis from buying talent to developing talent through its farm
system - and then holding onto it. The first significant sign of success came in 1994, when the Yankees had the best record in the
AL before the season was cut short by the players' strike. A year later, the team reached the playoffs as the wild card and were eliminated
only after a memorable 1995 American League Division Series series against the Seattle Mariners where the Yankees won the first two
games at home and dropped the next three in Seattle.
Shaking it up once again, Steinbrenner replaced Showalter and his staff with
manager Joe Torre, who brought with him Don Zimmer as bench coach and former Yankees pitching star Mel Stottlemyre as pitching coach.
Torre's managerial tenure is now by far the longest under George Steinbrenner's ownership. One of Showalter's coaches, popular former
Yankee second baseman Willie Randolph, was retained by Torre as a third base coach. Initially derided as a retread choice ("Clueless
Joe" ran the headline on the New York Post), Torre's smooth manner proved to be what the team needed. Going 8-0 on the road in the
three playoff series that year, the Yankees won the 1996 World Series, defeating the Atlanta Braves in six games (after losing the
first two games at home by a combined score of 16-1), and ending their 18-year championship drought. Homegrown shortstop Derek Jeter
was named Rookie of the Year, an auspicious start to his association with the Yankees.
After their first World Series win since 1978,
the Yankees signed lefties David Wells and Mike Stanton to improve the pitching staff. They also allowed closing reliever (and Series
MVP) John Wetteland to leave as a free agent, and named setup man Mariano Rivera as the team's new closer.
General Manager Bob Watson
was dismissed when the Yankees lost in the 1997 ALDS to the Cleveland Indians. He was replaced by Brian Cashman, a former Yankee intern.
Cashman made many key acquisitions to improve the team, through the acquisitions of third baseman Scott Brosius, second baseman and
leadoff man Chuck Knoblauch, outfielder Darryl Strawberry and starting pitcher Orlando "El Duque" Hernandez.
On May 17, 1998 David Wells, who would later claim to have been hungover that day, pitched a perfect game against the Minnesota Twins.
A year later, on July 18, 1999, which was "Yogi Berra Day" at the Stadium, David Cone pitched a perfect game against the Montrιal
Expos. In an amazing coincidence, Don Larsen, who pitched the perfect game in the 1956 World Series, was in attendance and had thrown
out the ceremonial first pitch to Berra, his catcher for that storied game. An even more amazing coincidence is that Larsen and Wells
both attended Point Loma High School in San Diego, California.
The 1998 Yankees are widely acknowledged to be one of the greatest
teams in baseball history, having compiled a then-AL record of 114 regular season wins against just 48 losses en route to a Series
sweep of the San Diego Padres. The '98 Yankees went 11-2 during the playoffs and finished with a combined record of 125-50. Their
125 wins is a major league record, though their AL regular season record was surpassed by the 2001 Seattle Mariners, who went 116-46
before losing to the Yankees in the ALCS.
After the 1998 season, fan favorite David Wells was traded to the Toronto Blue Jays for
Roger Clemens, who had just completed two consecutive Cy Young Award and pitching triple crown seasons. After winning the Eastern
division and defeating the Texas Rangers for the third time in the 1999 American League Division Series, the Yankees met up with the
their longtime rivals, the Boston Red Sox, in the next playoff round. Clemens, a former Red Sox pitcher, started the third game of
the ALCS against the Sox who blasted him 13-1 in what had been a highly anticipated pitching match up between Clemens and Pedro Martνnez,
the winner of the Cy Young Award and the pitching triple crown that season. However, it was the only game the Red Sox won, as the
Yankees won the ALCS four games to one, and then went on to sweep the Atlanta Braves in the 1999 World Series, with Clemens winning
the clincher in Game Four in the Bronx. This gave the 1998-1999 Yankees a 22-3 record (including four series sweeps) in six consecutive
In 2000, the Yankees met up with the crosstown New York Mets for the first Subway Series since the 1956 World Series.
To get there, they defeated the Oakland Athletics in the ALDS and then the Seattle Mariners in the ALCS. By winning the first two
games of the Series, the Yankees won a total of fourteen straight World Series games from 1996 to 2000, breaking their own record
of twelve (in 1927, 1928 and 1932). When the Mets scored a run against Mariano Rivera, they snapped his string of postseason consecutive
scoreless innings at 34 1/3. Prior to Rivera's streak, the record had been held by Whitey Ford, who had broken Babe Ruth's scoreless
World Series pitching streak. The win ran the Yankees' postseason series winning streak to nine and gave them a 33-8 record during
that run. The Yankees are the most recent major league team to repeat as World Series champions and after the 2000 season they joined
the Yankee teams of 1936-1939 and 1949-1953, as well as the 1972-1974 Oakland Athletics as the only teams to win at least three consecutive
Steinbrenner, Martin, Jackson, and the Bronx Zoo (1973-1981)
A group of investors, led by Cleveland-based shipbuilder George Steinbrenner,
purchased the club from CBS for $8.7 million on January 3, 1973. Mike Burke stayed on as president until April, when he quit.
Within a year, Steinbrenner bought out most of his other partners and became the team's principal owner, although Burke continued
to hold a minority share of the club into the 1980s.
Steinbrenner was in charge during the renovation of Yankee Stadium (planned out
by Burke and then-New York City Mayor John Lindsay), which was performed in a two-year period (1974-75) during which the Yankees played
their home games at the Mets' home, Shea Stadium in Flushing, Queens. After the 1974 season, Steinbrenner made a move that started
the modern era of free agency by signing star pitcher Jim "Catfish" Hunter away from Oakland.
Midway through the 1975 season, Steinbrenner
hired former second baseman Billy Martin as manager, and over the next 13 years fired and rehired him several times. With Martin at
the helm, the Yankees reached the 1976 World Series, but were swept by the Cincinnati Reds.
Steinbrenner continued his buying of high-priced
free agents, by signing star outfielder Reggie Jackson, who had been traded from the Athletics to the Baltimore Orioles at the beginning
of the season, for a then record $600,000 per year. Steinbrenner, Martin and Jackson would repeatedly feud throughout Jackson's five-year
contract. Nevertheless, in Game Six of the 1977 World Series, Jackson proved his worth by hitting three home runs on three consecutive
pitches against three different Dodger pitchers to wrap up the Series for the Yankees, earning himself the nickname "Mr. October".
Throughout the late '70s, the race for the pennant often came to a close competition between the Yankees and the Red Sox, and for
fans of both clubs, every game between the two became important and added to a rivalry that was often bitter and ruthless, with brawls
frequently erupting between both players and fans from the two clubs.
The Yankees-Red Sox rivalry came to a head in the 1978 season.
On July 14, 1978, the Yankees were 14.5 games behind the Red Sox. The Yankees then went on a tear, and by the time they met up with
the Sox for a pivotal four-game series at Fenway in early September, the Yankees were only four games out. In what would become known
as the "Boston Massacre", the Yankees swept the Red Sox, winning the games 15-3, 13-2, 7-0 and 7-4. The third game was a shutout by
Ron Guidry, who would lead the majors with nine shutouts, 25 wins (against only three losses) and a 1.74 ERA. Guidry also finished
with 248 strikeouts, but Nolan Ryan's 260 strikeouts deprived Guidry of the pitching Triple Crown.
On the last day of the season,
the two clubs finished the regular season in a tie for first place in the AL East. A one-game playoff (the 163rd game of the regular
season) between the two teams was held to decide who would go on to the pennant race, with the game being held at Boston's Fenway
Park. With Guidry matched up against former Yankee Mike Torrez, the Red Sox took an early 2-0 lead. In the seventh inning, the Yankees
drove a stake through the hearts of their rivals' fans when Bucky Dent drove a three-run home run over the "Green Monster", putting
the Yankees up 3-2. Reggie Jackson's solo home run in the following inning would seal the eventual 5-4 win that gave the Yankees their
100th win of the season and their third straight AL East title; it also gave Guidry his 25th win. (The outcome of this game, for Red
Sox fans, was one of several emotional moments in their team's history that had their fans wondering if the Red Sox were under some
kind of Yankee curse.)
After beating the Kansas City Royals for the third consecutive year in the ALCS, the Yankees faced the Dodgers
again in the 1978 World Series. They lost the first two games on the road, but then came home to win all three games at Yankee Stadium
before wrapping up their 22nd World Championship in Game Six in Los Angeles.
The 1970s would end on a tragic note: on August 2, 1979,
Yankees catcher and team captain Thurman Munson was killed in a plane crash. Four days later, the entire team flew to Canton, Ohio
for his funeral, only to return to New York later that day to play the Baltimore Orioles. In a game that was televised nationally,
the emotional contest was highlighted by Bobby Murcer driving in all five of the team's runs in a dramatic 5-4 victory. Munson's uniform
number (15) was retired, and his locker has been unused since his death.
History > 1973 - 2000
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