Yankees Suck postsWednesday March 25, 2015
How Many Teams Have Won More than One World Series in a Row?
First, a few tears for victims of high expectations: the early 1950s New York Yankees:
“You would think we would have had one of those ticker-tape parades after all those years,” said Whitey Ford. “But we never had a single one. People just expected us to win, and we did, and then it was on to next year. We had our victory celebrations, we got our rings, but there was never a parade. It would have been fun! I would have liked to have been in at least one!”
That's from Marty Appel's book, “Pinstripe Empire: The New York Yankees from Before the Babe to After the Boss.” Appel was PR for the Yanks, but there's still good stuff here. Ammunition, you might say.
So from 1949 to 1953, the Yankees won five World Series in a row, and only one time ('52, against Brooklyn) did it even go seven games. Otherwise: five and out, four and out, six and out and six and out.
That Yankees team was the only team to ever win five World Series in a row. But another team won four in a row. Can you name them?
Right, it's still the Yankees: the 1936-39 version. When DiMaggio was starting and Gehrig was finishing.
As for three in a row? Only two teams have ever done that:
- 1972-74 Oakland Athletics
- 1998-2000 New York Yankees
Even two in a row is rare:
- 1907-08 Chicago Cubs (dry patch since)
- 1910-11 Philadephlia Athletics
- 1915-16 Boston Red Sox
- 1921-22 New York Giants
- 1927-28 New York Yankees
- 1929-30 Philadephia Athletics
- 1961-62 New York Yankees
- 1975-76 Cincinnati Reds
- 1977-78 New York Yankees
- 1992-93 Toronto Blue Jays
That's it: only seven of the 30 franchises. And no team has gone back-to-back this century. The Giants have won three of five, but they keep spacing them out.
Interesting footnote: for all of their postseason triumphs (11 titles, most in the NL, and second-most in the Majors), the Cardinals have never gone back-to-back. My Cardinals friends blame Mickey Lolich.
The 1949-53 Yankees inspired Douglas Wallop's novel, which became the Broadway/movie musical “Damn Yankees”; the 1972-74 Oakland A's inspired the DC Comics story “The Kid Who Beat the Oakland A's,” which kind of inspired the Thomas Ian Nicholas movie “Rookie of the Year.” So far, the 1998-2000 Yankees have inspired nothing.
An Open Letter to Brian Cashman: Addendum
Here's a couple of dueling quotes. I wrote about the first yesterday in an open letter to Brian Cashman. The second I read last night in Marty Appel's book, “Pinstripe Empire: The New York Yankees from Before the Babe to After the Boss”:
- “As far as I’m concerned — and I’m not the decision-maker on this — that captaincy should be retired with No. 2. I wouldn’t give up another captain’s title to anyone else.” — Yankees GM Brian Cashman, last week.
- “[The position of captain] has died with Lou [Gehrig]. There will never be another one on the Yankees.” — Yankees manager Joe McCarthy, in 1941.
McCarthy was close, by the way. After Gehrig retired in 1939, there wasn't another Yankee captain until 1976, when Thurman Munson was annointed. Then he died suddenly, too, 40 years after Gehrig's farewell speech. Was there ever talk of a curse following Yankee captains? If so, it died with the next few—Nettles, Randolph, Guidry, Mattingly—all of whom stayed with us.
McCarthy said his line because Gehrig was a great man and teammate who died suddenly and tragically. Cashman said his about Jeter because ... ? Jeter's fine, living his life. It's the Yankees who've died.
An Open Letter to Brian Cashman: 'You Don't Go Far Enough in Honoring Derek Jeter'
Dear Brian Cashman:
I agree with you about Derek Jeter. He was such a fine example of man, ballplayer and Yankee, that I can’t imagine anyone else being named Captain of the New York Yankees—the title Mr. Jeter has held for the last 11 years. And for that reason, you’re right, Derek Jeter should be the 16th and last Captain in New York Yankees history. You shall have no other captains after he.
But I don’t think you go far enough.
Just look at Jeter’s legacy: four World Series championships in his first five years in the Majors. Think of that! True, without O’Neill, Tino, and Coney, the Yankees and Jeter, who officially became Captain in 2003, managed only one more title over the next 14 years. But he was obviously the impetus for the first four. Well, him and Jeffrey Maier.
More, look at the record books! Seventh all-time in at-bats! Sixth all-time in hits! Fifth all-time in singles! He’s also 30th in doubles and 189th in homeruns! Tied for 112th in batting average, 190th in OBP and 514th in slugging! Can you imagine? Only 513 players in Major League history slugged better than Derek Jeter. We shall never see his like again.
And that’s why I don’t think you go far enough. You don’t truly honor what Derek Jeter has meant to the Yankees and the city of New York.
It’s not enough to retire his number. It’s not enough to retire the Captaincy. It’s time for you and the Steinbrenners to retire the Yankees themselves.
Look at your current lineup. Sagging bags of bones like Mark Teixeira and C.C. Sabathia. Blatant cheaters like Alex Rodriguez and Michael Pineda. Aging lumps like Brian McCann and Carlos Beltran. Skinny disappointments like Brett Gardner and Jacoby Ellsbury.
Do you think any of these guys are fit to wear the same uniform as Derek Jeter? Mr. November? Captain Clutch? Captain Crunch?
And can you imagine anyone in the future having the same kind of guts, glory, flair for the dramatic, and numerous bloops singles that Derek Jeter had?
I can’t. It’s all downhill from here for the Yankees. So why not go out on top? Or, you know, 12 games back in the A.L. East.
I understand this might leave Major League Baseball in a bit of a quandry, with only 29 teams rather than 30, meaning not every team could play every day.
But “Is this decision right for Major League Baseball?” is the wrong question to ask. It’s not even a matter of “Is this right for the New York Yankees?” No, the only proper question to ask is, “Is this the right decision for Derek Jeter?”
I think you know the answer to that one. And I think Mr. Jeter would agree with you.
Smells like team spirit: Derek Jeter celebrates the walk-off single in his last home game that put the Yankees only 12 games back of the first-place Baltimore Orioles.
David Cone, the '98 Yankees, and the Rewards of Self-Delusion
Reading Buster Olney's “The Last Night of the Yankee Dynasty” (recommended), I came across this:
Before games [Tino Martinez] and [David] Cone would talk about reasons to dislike that day’s opponents, a method of manufacturing a mental edge. They might focus on a rival’s quote in the newspaper, translating benign remarks into inflammatory slights, or concentrate on an annoying mannerism. “If the opposing pitcher struck out one of our hitters,” Cone said, “and pimped around the mound a little bit, we were all over him—‘Who does this guy think he is?’ ‘Is he showing us up?’ It could be something completely innocuous.” It was an old-school way of competing, Cone thought, a method of tricking yourself into a competitive fury.
What did that remind me of? Tom Verducci and Joe Torre's bookk “The Yankee Years,” and this story from the start of the '98 season:
After five games, the 1998 Yankees were 1-4, in last place, already 3 1/2 games out of first, outscored 36-15, at risk of losing their manager and letting teams like the Mariners kick sand in their faces. ... Like Torre, Cone was angered by what he saw the previous night. He watched Seattle designated hitter Edgar Martinez, batting in the 8th inning with a 4-0 lead, take a huge hack on a 3-and-0 pitch from reliever Mike Buddie—five innings after Moyer had dusted [Paul] O'Neill with a pitch.
So Cone led a team meeting in which he worked himself into an angry froth over the supposed slights by the Mariners: Edgar swinging on a 3-0 pitch when his team already had a massive 4-run lead, and Jamie Moyer plunking Paul O'Neill with either his 84-mph fastball or his 68-mph changeup. And it worked. They went out and beat the M's and changed things around. The two teams respective trajectories changed after that: the M's down, the Yanks up.
Not sure what the lesson is here. Other than the rewards of self-delusion.
Cone: I can't believe Jamie Moyer would blister Paul O'Neill with that 68-mph change-up!
Just How Bad are the 2014 Yankees?
The following stats are via Katie Sharp at “It's About the Money,” a Yankees blog:
- For the first time in nearly 25 years, the Yankees will not have a player with more than 5.0 WAR, a mark that is considered the threshold for a “Superstar” player.
- For the first time since 1968, the Yankees are not likely to have a player with 75 RBI.
- For the first time since 1968, the Yankees probably won’t have a player with an average of .280 or better qualify for the batting title (Ellsbury is the leader at .273).
- Entering this week the Yankees leader in OPS+ ... was Gardner at 118, meaning his OPS is 18 percent better than today’s average player. If that holds, it would be just the second season in the last 100 years that the Yankees did not have a player qualify for the batting title with an OPS+ of 120 or higher.
When you think about it, it's rather amazing the Yankees even have a winning record.
But don't worry, Katie, you'll get your superstar next year. A-Rod's due back, right?
2014: The year of the sad Yankees fan.