New York Yankees

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"Yankees" redirects here. For other uses, see Yankee (disambiguation).

Template:MLB infobox Yankees

The New York Yankees are a Major League Baseball team based in The Bronx, New York City. They are in the Eastern Division of the American League.

One of the AL's eight charter franchises, the Yankees have been among the most storied teams in American sports over their 100+ year history; along with franchises like the Boston Celtics and Montreal Canadiens, the Yankees have helped exemplify the phrase "dynasty" in professional athletics. They are one of two major league franchises which operate in New York City, the other being the New York Mets of the National League.

The Yankees have won 26 World Series in 39 appearances; the St. Louis Cardinals and the Athletics franchise are tied for second with 9 World Series victories each, and the Dodgers franchise is second in World Series appearances with 18. Among the North American major sports, the Yankees' success is only approached by the 24 Stanley Cup championships of the Montreal Canadiens of the National Hockey League. The Yankees are also the only team that is represented at every position in the Baseball Hall of Fame.

Origins

At the end of the 1900 season, the American League re-organized and, with its president Ban Johnson as the driving force, decided to assert itself as a new major league. Previously a minor league (known as the Western League until 1899), the American League carried over five of its previous locations and added three more on the East Coast, including one in Baltimore, Maryland, which had lost its National League team when that league contracted the year before. The intention of Johnson and the American League had been to place a team in New York City, but their efforts had been stymied by the political connections that owners of the National League New York Giants had with Tammany Hall.

When the team began play as the Baltimore Orioles in 1901, they were managed by John McGraw. As a result of a feud with league president Ban Johnson, who rigidly enforced rules about rowdyism on the field of play, McGraw jumped leagues to manage the New York Giants in the middle of the 1902 season. A week later the owner of the Giants also gained controlling interest of the Orioles and raided the team for players, after which the league declared the team forfeit and took control, still intending to move the franchise to New York when and if possible.

In January 1903, the American and National Leagues held a "peace conference" to settle conflicts over player contract disputes and to agree on future cooperation. The NL also agreed that the "junior circuit" could establish a franchise in New York. The AL's Baltimore franchise became the New York franchise when its new owners, Frank Farrell and William Devery, were able to find a ballpark location not blocked by the Giants. Farrell and Devery both had deep ties into city politics and gambling. Farrell owned a casino and several pool halls, while Devery had served as a blatantly corrupt chief of the New York City police and had only been forced out of the department at the start of 1902.

The Highlanders

The franchise's first park in New York was located at 165th St. and Broadway in Manhattan, near the highest point on the island. Consequently the field was known as Hilltop Park and the team quickly became known as the New York Highlanders. The name was also a reference to the noted British military unit The Gordon Highlanders, as the team president from 1903 to 1906 was named Joseph Gordon. Today the site of the original Hilltop Park is occupied by buildings of the Columbia-Presbyterian Medical Center.

As the Highlanders, the team enjoyed success only twice, finishing in second place in 1904 and 1910; but otherwise, much of their first fifteen years in New York was spent in the cellar. Their somewhat tainted ownership, along with the questionable activities of some players, notably first baseman Hal Chase, raised suspicions of game-fixing, but little of that was ever proven.

Their best chance came on the last day of the 1904 season, at the Hilltop. New York pitcher Jack Chesbro threw a wild pitch in the ninth inning which allowed the eventual pennant-winning run to score for the Boston Americans. This event had historical significance in several ways. First, the presence of the Highlanders in the race had led the Giants to announce they would not participate in the World Series against a "minor league" team. Although Boston had won the pennant, the Giants still refused to participate. The resulting tongue-lashing of the Giants by the media stung their owner, John T. Brush, who then led a committee that formalized the rules governing the World Series. 1904 was the last year a Series was not played, until the strike-truncated year of 1994. For fans of the team formally named the Red Sox in 1908, the 1904 season-ender would prove to be the last time Boston would defeat the Yankees in a pennant-deciding game for literally a century.

From 1913 to 1922 the team would play in the Polo Grounds, a park owned by their National League rivals, the Giants. Relations between the clubs had warmed when the Giants were allowed to lease Hilltop Park while the Polo Grounds was being rebuilt in 1911 following a disastrous fire. During the early 1900s, the nickname "Yankees" was occasionally applied to the club, as a variant on "Americans", verifiably as early as June 21, 1904, when Patsy Dougherty was traded from Boston to New York, and the Boston Herald's report was headlined "Dougherty as a Yankee". That matter-of-fact wording suggests the nickname was already well-known. The New York Herald, on April 15, 1906, reported "Yankees win opening game from Boston, 2-1". The name grew in popularity over the team's first decade. With the change of parks in 1913, the "Highlanders" reference became obsolete, and the de facto team nickname became exclusively "Yankees". Before very long, New York Yankees had become the official nickname of the club.

By the mid 1910s, owners Farrell and Devery had become estranged and both were in need of money. At the start of 1915, they sold the team to Colonel Jacob Ruppert and Captain Tillinghast L'Hommedieu Huston. Ruppert was heir to the Ruppert brewery fortune and had also been tied to the Tammany Hall machine, serving as a U.S. Congressman for eight years. Ruppert later said, "For $450,000 we got an orphan ball club, without a home of its own, without players of outstanding ability, without prestige." But now with an owner possessing deep pockets, and a willingness to dig into them to produce a winning team.

The Ruth and Gehrig era

Over the next few years the new owners would begin to enlarge the payroll. Many of the newly acquired players who would later contribute to their success came from the Boston Red Sox, whose owner, theater impresario Harry Frazee, had bought his team on credit and was hard-pressed to pay off his loans and also produce Broadway shows. From 1919 to 1922, the Yankees acquired from the Red Sox pitchers Waite Hoyt, Carl Mays and Herb Pennock; catcher Wally Schang; shortstop Everett Scott; and third baseman Joe Dugan. However, pitcher-turned-outfielder Babe Ruth was the biggest of them all. Frazee traded Ruth in January of 1920, citing Ruth's demand for a raise after being paid the highest salary in baseball, and slumping bat as reasons for the trade. He was also regarded as a problem, a carouser. That would continue during his Yankees years, but the ownership was more tolerant, provided he brought fans and championships to the ballpark. Two of the four Boston newspapers agreed with the deal at the time. The Red Sox did not win a World Series from 1919 until 2004 (see Curse of the Bambino), often finding themselves out of the World Series hunt as a result of the success of the Yankees. Harry Frazee finally found success on Broadway in 1927 with the musical comedy No No Nanette, which included the song "Tea For Two".

Other critical newcomers in this period were manager Miller Huggins and general manager Ed Barrow. Huggins was hired in 1919 by Ruppert while Huston was serving in Europe with the army (this would lead to a break between the two owners, with Ruppert eventually buying Huston out in 1923). Barrow came on board after the 1920 season, and like many of the new Yankee players had previously been a part of the Red Sox organization, having managed the team since 1918. Barrow would act as general manager or president of the Yankees for the next 25 years and may deserve the bulk of the credit for the team's success during that period. He was especially noted for development of the Yankees' farm system.

The home run hitting exploits of Ruth proved popular with the public, to the extent that the Yankees were soon outdrawing their landlords, the Giants. In 1921 the Yankees were told to move out of the Polo Grounds after the 1922 season. At that time, John McGraw was said to have commented that the Yankees should "move to some out-of-the-way place, like Queens". Instead, to McGraw's chagrin, they broke ground for a new ballpark just across the Harlem River from the Polo Grounds. The construction crew moved with remarkable speed and finished the big new ballpark in less than a year. In 1923 the Yankees moved into Yankee Stadium at 161st St. and River Avenue in the Bronx. The site for the stadium was chosen because the IRT Jerome Avenue subway line, now the MTA's #4 train, went right by there, practically on top of Yankee Stadium's right-field wall. The Stadium was the first triple-deck venue in baseball and seated an astounding 58,000. It was truly "the House that Ruth Built",

From 1921 to 1928, the Yankees went through their first period of great success, winning six American League pennants and three World Series. In 1921 through 1923 they faced the Giants in the World Series, losing the first two match-ups but turning the tables in 1923 after the Big Stadium opened. Giants outfielder Casey Stengel, who even then was being called "Old Case", hit two homers to win the two games the Giants came away with. Stengel would later become a "giant" for the Yankees as a manager.

The 1927 team was so potent that it became known as "Murderers' Row" and is sometimes considered to have been the best team in the history of baseball (though similar claims have been made for other Yankee squads, notably those of 1939, 1961 and 1998). Ruth's home run total of 60 in 1927 set a single-season record which would stand for 34 years, and first baseman Lou Gehrig had his first big season with 47 round-trippers.

The Yankees would repeat as American League champions in 1928, fighting off the resurgent Philadelphia Athletics, and sweep the St. Louis Cardinals in the World Series. Babe Ruth hit .625 with 3 home runs in that series, while Lou Gehrig hit .545 and belted 4 round-trippers. After three also-ran seasons, the Yankees returned to the American League top perch under new manager Joe McCarthy in 1932 and swept the Chicago Cubs in the World Series, running their streak of consecutive World Series game wins to 12, a mark which would stand until the 2000 Yankees bested it in the World Series that year. Babe Ruth hit his famous "Called Shot" home run in Wrigley Field in Game 3 of that Series, a fitting "Swan Song" to his illustrious post-season career.

The DiMaggio era

The Yankees run during the 1930s could also be facetiously called the "McCarthy era", as manager Joe McCarthy (no relation to the infamous Senator of the same name) would guide the Yankees to new heights. Just as Gehrig stepped out of Ruth's considerable shadow, a new titan appeared on the horizon, in the person of Joe DiMaggio. The young center fielder from San Francisco was an immediate impact player, batting .323, hitting 29 homers and driving in 125 runs in his rookie season of 1936.

Behind the thundering Yankees bats of DiMaggio, Gehrig and Frank Crosetti, and a superb pitching staff led by Red Ruffing and Lefty Gomez and anchored by catcher Bill Dickey, the Yankees reeled off an unprecedented four consecutive World Series wins during 1936-1939. They did it without Gehrig for most of 1939, as the superstar's retirement due to ALS saddened the baseball world.

The strongest competition for the Yankees during that stretch was the Detroit Tigers, who won two pennants before that Yankees four-year stretch, and one after. When the Yankees did get into the Series, they had little trouble. During Game 2 of the 1936 Series, they pounded the Giants 18-4, still the World Series record (through 2005) for most runs by a team in one game. They took the Giants 4 games to 2 in that Series, and 4 games to 1 the next year. They also swept the Chicago Cubs in 1938, and the Cincinnati Reds in 1939.

After an off season came the Summer of 1941, a much-celebrated year, often described by sportswriters as the last great year of the "Golden Era", before World War II and other realities intervened. Ted Williams of the Red Sox was in the hunt for the elusive .400 batting average, which he achieved on the last day of the season. Meanwhile, DiMaggio, who had once hit in 61 straight games as a minor leaguer with the San Francisco Seals, began a hitting streak on May 15 which stretched to an astonishing 56 games.

A popular song by Les Brown celebrated this event, as Betty Bonney and the band members sang it: "He tied the mark at 44 / July the First, you know / Since then he's hit a good 12 more / Joltin' Joe DiMaggio / Joe, Joe DiMaggio, we want you on our side." The last game of the streak came on July 16 at Cleveland's League Park. The streak was finally snapped in a game at Cleveland Stadium the next night before a huge crowd at the lakefront.

Modern baseball historians regard it as unlikely that anyone will ever hit .400 again, barring a change to the way the game is played; and as virtually impossible that anyone will approach DiMaggio's 56-game streak, which is so far beyond second place (44) as to be almost a statistical anomaly.

The Yankees made short work of the Brooklyn Dodgers in the 1941 Series. Two months and one day after the final game of the Yanks' 4 to 1 win, the Pearl Harbor attacks occurred, and many of the best ballplayers went off to World War II. The war-thinned ranks of the major leagues nonetheless found the Yanks in the post-season again, as they traded World Series wins with the St. Louis Cardinals during 1942 and 1943.

The Yanks then went into a bit of a slump, and manager McCarthy was let go early in the 1946 season. After a couple of interim managers had come and gone, Bucky Harris was brought in and the Yankees righted the ship again, winning the 1947 pennant and facing a much-tougher Dodgers team than their 1941 counterparts, in a Series that went seven games and was a harbinger of things to come for much of the next decade.

Despite finishing only 3 games back of the pennant-winning Cleveland Indians in 1948, Harris was released, and the Yankees brought in Casey Stengel as their manager. Casey had a reputation for being somewhat of a clown and had been associated with managing excruciatingly bad teams such as the mid-1930s Boston Braves, so his selection was met with no little skepticism. His tenure would prove to the most successful in the Yankees' history up to that point. The 1949 season is another that has been written about poetically, as a Yankees team that was seen as "underdogs" came from behind to catch and surpass the powerful Red Sox on the last two days of the season, in a faceoff that could be said to be the real beginning of the modern intense rivalry between these teams. The post-season proved to be a bit easier, as the Yankees knocked off their cross-town Flatbush rivals 4 games to 1.

By this time, the Great DiMaggio's career was winding down. It has often been reported that he said he wanted to retire before he became an "ordinary" player. He was also hampered by bone spurs in his heel, which hastened the final docking of the "Yankee Clipper". As if on cue, new superstars began arriving, including the "Oklahoma Kid", Mickey Mantle, whose first year (1951) was DiMaggio's curtain call.

The 1950s and 1960s

Bettering the McCarthy-era clubs, Stengel's squad won the World Series in his first five years as manager, 1949 through 1953. The five consecutive championships won by the Yankees during this period remains the major league record. Led by players like center fielder Mickey Mantle, pitcher Whitey Ford, and catcher Yogi Berra, Stengel's teams won 10 pennants and seven World Series titles in his twelve seasons as Yankee manager.

The 1950s were also a decade of significant individual achievement for Yankee players. In 1956, Mantle won the major league triple crown, leading both leagues in batting average (.353), home runs (52), and RBIs (130).

On October 8, 1956, in Game 5 of the 1956 World Series against the Dodgers, pitcher Don Larsen threw the only perfect game in World Series history. Not only was it the only perfect game to be pitched in World Series play, it remains the only no-hitter of any kind to be pitched in postseason play. The Yankees went on to win yet another World Series that season, and Larsen earned World Series MVP honors.

Yankee players also dominated the American League MVP award, with a Yankee claiming ownership six times in the decade (1950 Rizzuto, 1951 Berra, 1954 Berra, 1955 Berra, 1956 Mantle, 1957 Mantle). Pitcher Bob Turley also won the Cy Young Award in 1958, the award's third year of existence.

For the decade, the Yankees won six World Series championships ('50, 51, '52, '53, '56, '58) and eight American League pennants. Led by Mantle, Ford, Berra, Elston Howard, and the newly acquired Roger Maris, the Yankees burst into the new decade seeking to replicate the remarkable success of the 1950s.

However, the Yankees lost the 1960 World Series in heartbreaking fashion when Bill Mazeroski hit a game-winning, series-winning home run in the bottom of the ninth inning of Game 7 off Ralph Terry. It remains the only Game 7, walk-off home run in World Series history. Stengel was blamed for the World Series loss for failing to start his ace, Ford, three times in the Series, and was replaced as manager with Ralph Houk prior to the 1961 season. Stengel himself, who had reached his seventh decade in July of that year, clearly thought the issue was age discrimination, remarking, "I'll never make the mistake of turning 70 again." Yogi Berra's assessment of the loss was the equally famous comment, "We made too many wrong mistakes."

During the 1960-61 offseason, a seemingly innocuous development may have marked the beginning of the end for this Yankees dynasty. In December of 1960, Chicago insurance executive Charlie Finley purchased the Kansas City Athletics from the estate of Arnold Johnson, who had died that March.

Johnson had acquired the then-Philadelphia Athletics from the family of Connie Mack in 1954. He was the owner of Yankee Stadium at the time, but was forced to sell the stadium by American League owners as a condition of purchasing the Athletics. Johnson was also a longtime business associate of then-Yankees owners Del Webb and Dan Topping. During Johnson's ownership, the Athletics traded many young players to the Yankees for cash and aging veterans. Maris had been acquired by the Yankees in one such trade. Many fans, and even other teams, frequently accused the Athletics of being operated as an effective farm team for the Yankees. Once Finley purchased the Athletics, he immediately terminated the team's "special relationship" with the Yankees.

In the meantime, 1961 was one of the greatest years in Yankee history. Throughout the summer, Mantle and reigning-MVP Roger Maris hit home runs at a record pace as both chased Babe Ruth's single season home run record of 60. The duo's home run prowess led the media and fans to christen them 'The M & M Boys.' Ultimately, Mantle was forced to bow out in mid-September with 54 home runs when a severe hip infection forced him from the lineup. On October 1, 1961, on the final day of the season, Maris broke the record when he sent a pitch from Boston's Tracy Stallard into the right field stands at Yankee Stadium for his 61st home run. However, by decree of Commissioner Ford Frick, separate single-season home run records were maintained to reflect the fact that Ruth hit his 60 home runs during a 154-game season, while Maris hit his 61 in the first year of the new 162-game season. Some 30 years later, on September 4, 1991, an 8-member Committee for Historical Accuracy appointed by Major League Baseball did away with the dual records, giving Maris sole possession of the single-season home run record until it was broken by Mark McGwire on September 8, 1998. (McGwire's record was later broken by Barry Bonds, whose 73 home runs in 2001 remain the major league record. Maris still holds the American League record.)

The Yankees won the pennant with a 109-53 record and went on to defeat the Cincinnati Reds in five games to win the 1961 World Series. The 109 regular season wins posted by the '61 club remain the third highest single-season total in franchise history, behind only the 1998 team's 114 regular season wins and 1927 team's 110 wins. The 1961 Yankees also clubbed a then-major league record for most home runs by a team with 240, a total not surpassed until the 1996 Baltimore Orioles hit 257 with the aid of the designated hitter. Maris won his second consecutive MVP Award while Whitey Ford captured the Cy Young.

Because of the excellence of Maris, Mantle, and World Series-MVP Ford, a fine pitching staff, stellar team defense, the team's amazing depth and power, and their overall dominance, the 1961 Yankees are universally considered to be one of the greatest teams in the history of baseball, compared often to their pinstriped-brethren, the 1927 Yankees, the 1939 Yankees, and the 1998 Yankees.

In 1962, the Yankees won their second consecutive World Series, defeating the San Francisco Giants in seven games.

The Yanks would again reach the Fall Classic in 1963, but were swept in four games by the Los Angeles Dodgers. Behind World Series-MVP Sandy Koufax, Don Drysdale, and Johnny Podres, the Dodgers starting pitchers threw four complete games and combined to give up just four runs all Series. This was the first time the Yankees were swept in a World Series.

Feeling burnt out after the season, Houk left the manager's chair to become the team's general manager and Berra, who himself had just retired from playing, was named the new manager of the Yankees.

The aging Yankees returned to the World Series in 1964 to face the St. Louis Cardinals in a Series immortalized by David Halberstam's book, October 1964. Despite a valiant performance by Mantle, including a walk-off home run in the bottom of the ninth of Game 3 off Cardinals' reliever Barney Schultz, the Yankees fell to the Cardinals in seven games. It was to be the last World Series appearance by the Yankees for 12 years.

After the 1964 season, CBS purchased the Yankees from Topping and Webb for $11.2 million. Jokesters at the time wondered if Walter Cronkite would become the manager, perhaps with Yogi Berra doing the newscasts. Topping and Webb had owned the Yankees for 20 years, missing the World Series only 5 times, and going 10-5 in the World Series. By contrast, the CBS-owned teams never went to the World Series, and in the first year of the new ownership - 1965 - the Yankees finished in the second division for the first time in 40 years; the introduction of the major league amateur draft in 1965 also meant that the Yankees could no longer sign any player they wanted. In 1966 the team finished last in the AL for the first time since 1912, and next-to-last the following year. After that the team's fortunes improved somewhat, but they would not become serious contenders again until 1974.

Return to glory

George Steinbrenner purchased the club for $10 million on January 3, 1973 from CBS, renovated Yankee Stadium, hired and fired Billy Martin a number of times, feuded with star outfielder Reggie Jackson, and presided over the resurgence of the Yankees in the late '70s. Jackson's three home runs in the sixth and final game of the 1977 World Series against three different Dodger pitchers (earning him the nickname "Mr. October") defined the period as much as Martin and Steinbrenner.

The race for the pennant often came to a close competition between the Yankees and the Red Sox, and for fans of both clubs, a game between the two teams (whether in the regular season or post-season championship games) was cause for 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, when the two clubs finished the regular season in a tie for first place in the AL East. A playoff game between the two teams was held to decide who would go on to the pennant, with the game being held at Boston's Fenway Park (because the Red Sox had won more head-to-head games between the two teams that season). The Yankees won the day, driving a stake through the hearts of their rivals' fans when Bucky Dent drove a game-winning home run over the "Green Monster," one of several emotional moments in the team's history that had Red Sox fans wondering if their team was under some kind of a curse.

A new dynasty

The Yankees entered the 1990s as a last-place team, having spent well but not always wisely on free-agent players since their last appearance in the World Series in 1981. During the 1980s the Yankees had the most total wins out of any major league team, but failed to win a World Series (the first such decade since the 1910s). In 1990, Yankee pitcher Andy Hawkins became the first Yankees pitcher ever to lose a no-hitter, when the third baseman committed an error, followed by 2 walks and an error by the left fielder with the bases loaded, scoring all 3 runners as well as the batter. The 4-0 loss was the largest margin of any no-hitter loss in the 20th century.

The bad judgment and bad luck of the '80s and early '90s started to change when, while owner Steinbrenner was under suspension, management was able to implement a coherent program without interference from above. 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 when the season was cut short by the players' strike. A year later, the team reached the playoffs as the wild card and was eliminated only after a memorable series against the Seattle Mariners.

Showalter left after the 1995 season due to personality clashes with Steinbrenner and his staff and was replaced by Joe Torre. Initially derided as a retread choice ("Clueless Joe" ran the headline on one of the city's tabloid newspapers), Torre's smooth manner proved out as he led the Yankees to a World Series victory in 1996, defeating the Atlanta Braves in six games. General manager Bob Watson was dismissed when the Yankees failed to repeat in 1997 and was replaced by Brian Cashman. However, the foundation laid by Michael and Watson of players like Derek Jeter, Andy Pettitte, Jorge Posada, Mariano Rivera and Bernie Williams was a significant factor in the Yankees' return to prominence. Other prominent members of the late 1990s championships teams acquired through trades included Paul O'Neill, David Cone, Tino Martinez, John Wetteland, Chuck Knoblauch, and Roger Clemens, while Jimmy Key, Wade Boggs, David Wells, Mike Stanton, and Orlando "El Duque" Hernández were signed as free agents.

The 1998-2000 Yankees were the first team to "three-peat" with World Series victories since the Oakland Athletics of the early 1970s. In 1998 and 1999, they swept the San Diego Padres and Atlanta Braves, respectively. In 2000, the Yankees met up with cross-town New York Mets for the first Subway Series since 1956 and won four games to one. In these four World Series victories, the Yankees won fourteen straight games. The Yankees are the most recent major league team to repeat as World Series champions.

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 (the record was later broken by the 2001 Seattle Mariners, who won 116 games) en route to a World Series sweep of the Padres. The '98 Yankees went 11-2 during the playoffs and finished with a combined record of 125-50, a major league record.

The 21st century

In the emotional October 2001, following the September 11 attack on New York City's World Trade Center, the Yankees defeated the Oakland Athletics 3 games to 2 in the Division Series, and then the Seattle Mariners in the ALCS, 4 games to 1. But, the usually unhittable Mariano Rivera shockingly blew the lead - and World Series - to the Arizona Diamondbacks in the bottom of the 9th inning of Game 7. Arizona manager Bob Brenly used his pitching staff, which included Randy Johnson and Curt Schilling, very effectively. In addition, the usually potent Yankee attack turned ice-cold.

In 2003, the Yankees defeated their long-time rival the Boston Red Sox in a tough seven-game ALCS, which featured a near-brawl in Game 3 and a series-ending walk-off home run by Aaron Boone in the 11th inning of the final game, only to be defeated by the Florida Marlins - a team with a payroll a quarter of the size of the Yankees' - in the World Series, 4 games to 2.

The loss in the 2001 World Series effectively marked the end of the 1990s Yankee dynasty, as lynchpin players began to retire, not be re-signed, or traded. The Yankees' quick ejection from the 2002 playoffs at the hands of the Anaheim Angels accelerated the changes, as ownership and management began to look increasingly on free agent acquisitions and major trades. The trend continued after the 2003 World Series, culminating when the Yankees traded for the nominal "best player in baseball", Alex Rodriguez, in February 2004. Other significant acquisitions during 2002 to 2004 included Jason Giambi, Hideki Matsui, Gary Sheffield, Kevin Brown, and Javier Vázquez.

In the 2004 American League Championship Series against the Red Sox, the Yankees became the first team in professional baseball history, and only the third team in North American pro sports history (it happened in the NHL twice), to lose a best-of-7 series after taking a 3-0 series lead.

In 2005, the Angels defeated the Yankees in five games in the first round of the postseason, winning the final game by a score of 5-3.

Many explanations have been given for the lack of Yankee World Series titles since 2000. These include depletion of the Yankee farm system because of trades and free agent acquisitions, the aging or departure of the players who had formed the core of the Yankees during the late 1990s, and allegedly poor coaching. Buster Olney, in his book The Last Night of the Yankee Dynasty, argues that George Steinbrenner's management style resulted in the players burning out psychologically. Several sabermetricians have argued that success in the playoffs is largely the result of luck. This argument is bolstered by the fact that the production of the Yankees' core players has decreased steadily since their 1996 World Series title.

One particularly creative explanation jokingly proposed by blogger Larry Mahnken is the "Curse of Clay Bellinger". By analogy with the Curse of the Bambino, Mahnken points to the departure of utility player Clay Bellinger from the Yankee roster following the 2001 season and asserts that the Yankees will never again win the World Series until either they make amends to Bellinger or they win the championship anyway. The tautology is part of the joke.

Despite their most recent drought in World Series championships, the Yankees have continued to perform well in the regular season, recently winning their eighth straight AL East division title. In September 2005, the club set a new American League home attendance record of 4,090,696. The Yankees are only the third franchise in sports history to draw over 4 million in regular season attendance at their own ballpark (the others being the 1993 Toronto Blue Jays with 4,057,947 and the 1993 Colorado Rockies with 4,483,350).

Controversy

The Yankees are a notable team not only for their impressive history on the field, but also for their financial situation. The current ownership spends more on player salaries than any other franchise in baseball. As of 2005, the team payroll is more than $208 million, which is $85 million more than the second-highest team, the Red Sox, and more than the five lowest-payroll teams combined [1]. Frustrated after being outbid for pitcher Jose Contreras prior to the 2003 season, Red Sox CEO Larry Lucchino even went so far as to dub the Yankees the "Evil Empire," a characterization that is primarily popular among Red Sox fans.

It is a heated debate whether the Yankees' free-spending is positive or negative for baseball, and whether a strict salary cap would make the sport fairer and increase parity among the large-market and small-market teams. The following are arguments for and against these spending practices:

For:

  • The Yankees are "America's Team." They give the casual, or "bandwagon," baseball fan someone to root for when he/she does not have a local favorite.
  • As "America's Team" the Yankees give other baseball fans a team to "hate" or root against, thereby further generating interest in baseball games involving the Yankees and baseball in general.
  • New York, as the largest market with the highest revenues, should spend in accordance with their vast resources. It has also been argued that the New York Mets, because they share the same market, could spend at a higher level if their owner was inclined to do so, and therefore the Yankees spending reflects Steinbrenner's greater commitment to winning rather than a singular advantage over all other teams.[2]
  • The Yankees drive attendance, merchandise sales and TV revenues, helping to subsidize less-profitable teams.
  • In a free-market society, an owner who wishes to spend as much as he/she wants should not be restricted from doing so.

Against:

  • Allowing one team to bid highly for the best talent makes it more difficult for lower-spending teams to compete.
  • The willingness of the Yankees to pay premium prices for top talent encourages players and their agents to demand unreasonably high prices, further diluting talent throughout the rest of the league. This phenomenon even causes the Yankees to announce their intentions not to pursue certain free agents (e.g. Manny Ramirez, Pedro Martinez), who might otherwise freely use the potentiality as a bargaining chip.
  • American football's example of balanced salaries, correlated with its now-massive parity and mainstream impact, demonstrates that keeping athletic salaries fair is good for the sport and therefore everyone - TV outlets, owners, fans.

It may be argued that the most recent splurge in spending corresponds neatly with the bargained rules governing MLB ownership that entitled other teams to begin revenue sharing with the Yankees. George Steinbrenner has ignored the increasing penalty of a Luxury Tax.

In 2003, the Office of Foreign Assets Control reported that the Yankees engaged in illegal trade with Cuba and had to settle with the United States government for US$75,000 [3].

Quick facts

Founded: As the Indianapolis, Indiana franchise of the Western League, originally a farm team of the Cincinnati Reds. In 1901, became the Baltimore, Maryland franchise in the newly created American League. Moved to New York City before the 1903 season.
Formerly known as: Baltimore Orioles, 1901-1902. New York Highlanders, 1903-1910, "Yankees" as early as 1904, used more and more interchangeably with "Highlanders" as their first decade in New York progressed.
Nicknames: Yanks, Bronx Bombers
Home ballpark: Yankee Stadium, at 161st Street and River Avenue in the Bronx, New York City, from 1923 to the present, excluding two years in the 1970s during renovation. Also played at the original Oriole Park in Baltimore, 1901-1902; Hilltop Park in Manhattan, New York City, 1903-1912; the Polo Grounds in Manhattan, 1913-1922; and Shea Stadium in Queens, New York City, 1974-1975. They are slated to move into a newer Yankee Stadium modeled after the old one in time for the 2009 season.
Uniform design: Home uniform is white with distinctive pinstripes and a navy blue interlocking "NY" at the chest. Away uniform is gray with "New York" written in capitals across the chest. The player number is on the back of the uniform jersey and is not accompanied by the player name.
Logo design: An interlocking "NY" (based on an element of the original Tiffany design of the New York Police Department's Medal of Honor). Another team logo is "Yankees" written in red script across the seams of a baseball, which is outlined in red. A baseball bat forms the straight edge of the "k" in "Yankees" and an "Uncle Sam" style top hat covers the barrel of the bat. The inside lip of the top hat, originally blue, has mostly been reproduced in white since the mid-1970s.
Team theme song: "Here Come the Yankees" (1967), composed by Bob Bundin and Lou Stallman. "New York, New York" is played at the end of each home game (Frank Sinatra's version is usually played following victories; Liza Minnelli's original version following losses).
Cable Television Network: YES Network
All-time regular season record (1901-2005): 9192 won - 7029 lost - 87 tied - 3 no-decision
  • Baltimore record (1901-02): 118-153-2
  • New York record (1903- ): 9074-6876-85-3

Baseball Hall of Famers

 

Monument Park

The following personalities are honored with monuments or plaques in Monument Park, located behind the left-center field fence at Yankee Stadium, between the bullpens. Monuments, rather than plaques, are generally awarded only to the greatest of the great, and then only after their deaths. Many of these figures also had their uniform numbers retired.

  • Miller Huggins, manager 1918-29, monument dedicated 1932. This monument was originally placed on the field of play, in front of the center-field flagpole. Huggins never wore a number on his uniform, and so no number is retired for him.
  • Jacob Ruppert, owner 1915-39, plaque dedicated 1940. This plaque was placed on the outfield wall, to the right of the flagpole.
  • Lou Gehrig, first baseman 1923-39, number 4 retired 1939, monument dedicated 1941. This monument was placed to the left of the Huggins monument. Gehrig was the first Major League Baseball player to have his uniform number retired.
  • Babe Ruth, right fielder 1920-34, number 3 retired 1948, monument dedicated 1949. This monument was placed to the right of the Huggins monument. The three monuments together were about 450 feet from home plate, but a ball would occasionally get back there, leading Casey Stengel, on one occasion, to yell from the dugout, "Ruth! Gehrig! Huggins! Somebody throw that ball back here!"
  • Ed Barrow, general manager 1921-46, plaque dedicated 1954. The plaque was placed on the wall, to the left of the flagpole.
  • Joe DiMaggio, center fielder 1936-51, number 5 retired 1952, plaque dedicated 1969, replaced by a monument 1999.
  • Mickey Mantle, center fielder 1951-68, number 7 retired and plaque dedicated 1969, replaced by a monument 1996. Mantle was awarded his plaque on Mickey Mantle Day, June 8, 1969, handed to him by DiMaggio. Mantle then handed DiMaggio his plaque, saying, "His oughta be just a little bit higher than mine." Instead, they were placed side-by-side on the wall. These were the last in-play plaques. Following the 1974-75 renovation of Yankee Stadium, the monuments and plaques were moved to the new Monument Park.
  • Joe McCarthy, manager 1931-46, plaque dedicated 1976. Although the Yankees adopted uniform numbers in 1929, McCarthy never wore a number as Yankee manager, and so no number has been retired for him.
  • Casey Stengel, manager 1949-60, number 37 retired 1970, plaque dedicated 1976.
  • Thurman Munson, catcher 1969-79, number 15 retired 1979, plaque dedicated 1980.
  • Elston Howard, outfielder and catcher 1955-67, coach 1969-80, number 32 retired and plaque dedicated 1984.
  • Roger Maris, outfielder 1960-66, number 9 retired and plaque dedicated 1984, in the same ceremony as Howard's.
  • Phil Rizzuto, shortstop 1941-56 and broadcaster 1957-96, number 10 retired and plaque dedicated 1985.
  • Billy Martin, second baseman 1950-57, manager 1975-78, 1979, 1983, 1985 and 1988, number 1 retired and plaque dedicated 1986.
  • Lefty Gomez, pitcher 1930-42, plaque dedicated 1987. His number 11 has not been retired.
  • Whitey Ford, pitcher 1950-67, number 16 retired 1974, plaque dedicated 1987, in the same ceremony as Gomez's.
  • Bill Dickey, catcher 1928-46, manager 1946, coach 1949-60, number 8 retired 1972, plaque dedicated 1988.
  • Yogi Berra, catcher and outfielder 1946-63, manager 1964 and 1984-85, coach 1975-83, number 8 retired 1972, plaque dedicated 1988 -- in each case, in the same ceremony as Dickey's.
  • Allie Reynolds, pitcher 1947-54, plaque dedicated 1989. His number 22 has not been retired.
  • Don Mattingly, first baseman 1982-95, coach since 2004, number 23 retired and plaque dedicated 1997.
  • Mel Allen, broadcaster 1939-64 and 1976-89, plaque dedicated 1998.
  • Bob Sheppard, public address announcer since 1951, plaque dedicated 2000.
  • Reggie Jackson, right fielder 1977-81, number 44 retired 1993, plaque dedicated 2002.
  • Ron Guidry, pitcher 1975-88, number 49 retired and plaque dedicated 2003.
  • Red Ruffing, pitcher 1930-46, plaque dedicated 2004. His number 15 had already been retired for Munson.

In addition, the Knights of Columbus donated plaques to the Yankees in honor of the masses delivered at Yankee Stadium by Pope Paul VI in 1965 (the first papal mass ever delivered in North America) and Pope John Paul II in 1979. The Yankees dedicated a plaque to the victims and rescue workers of the 9/11 attacks in 2002.

Team captains

see: New York Yankees award winners and league leaders

Current roster

New York Yankees roster

Minor league affiliations

See also

External links


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