Where do we begin when covering the complete history of the New York Yankees? When it comes to a team that’s rich with history, there are few that can hold a candle to what they’ve accomplished. Since entering the big leagues in 1901, the Yankees continue to wow the crowd as one of the most entertaining baseball teams in the business. Despite all the ups and downs, one thing the Yankees never have a problem with is providing entertainment whether it’s intentional or not.
American League Baseball
Prior to upgrading to major league baseball status, the American League was originally known as the Western League. The president of the organization was Ban Johnson. His actions met with disapproval by the already established National League as soon as the American League was founded in 1901.
His interest to place a team in New York City met with opposition from the New York Giants, one of the National League’s most prized teams at the time. Because of this, Johson set up his team, the Baltimore Orioles, in Maryland. The team’s first manager was co-owner John McGraw. Neither he nor Johnson got along so there was a parting of ways. When McGraw left to manage the National League’s Giants, he rounded up several players from the Orioles and together they headed for New York. This move compromised the Orioles as a team. Johnson had no choice but to haul in players from the American League but by the end of the baseball season, the Orioles became no more.
In 1903, the American League and the National League finally reached an agreement that allowed both of them to operate their respective organizations in a less hostile manner. From there, Johnson wasted no time putting in a request to install a baseball team to play in the American League in New York City. When the request was put to a vote, the majority of the league owners narrowly agreed to let this happen.
As soon as Johnson got the nod, a franchise team was awarded to Frank J. Farrell and William S. Devery. These two men first built a ballpark in the Washington Heights neighborhood of Upper Manhattan. They also hired Joseph Gordon to become their new baseball team’s president. It’s believed when it was named the New York Highlanders it had something to do with Gordon’s Scottish ancestry. However, the team earned a few nicknames for itself such as Americans, Invaders, Yankees, and Yanks.
As the Highlanders, the team finished in second place at the end of the American League seasons 1904, 1906, and 1910. Their top rivals in the league at that time were the Boston Americans. This is the same team that later changed its name to the Boston Red Sox.
The rivalry the New York Highlanders had with the New York Giants began when McGraw’s migration to the Giants from the Orioles took place. Even though these two teams competed in different leagues, they were sibling rivals from the very beginning. Led by McGraw, the Giants had animosity aimed directly at the Highlanders. In response, the Highlanders weren’t fond of them, either.
When a section of the Polo Grounds, home of the Giants, was destroyed by fire in 1911, the team had no choice but to play at Hilltop Park. For two months the teams had to learn how to get along before the Giants could return to their home turf after it was renovated.
When the lease was up for the New York Highlanders in 1913, the team needed a new home. Until 1922, they shared the Polo Grounds with the Giants. While there, the original team name was officially changed to the New York Yankees. This came about as the fans and the press seemed to prefer it.
Now as the Yankees, the team struggled. Due to the financial issues that came about in the process, the business relations between Devery and Farrell waned. In 1915, the men sold the team to Colonel Jacob Ruppert and Captain Tillinghast L’Hommedieu Huston. While Ruppert served as team president, Huston looked after the finances and legalities that came with operating a professional baseball team. However, this partnership didn’t last for long as the rift between these two men resulted in Ruppert buying out Huston in 1918 so he could assume full ownership of the team. As sole owner, Ruppert hired Ed Barrow and Miller Huggins as managers to help him shape the Yankees into a top-quality baseball team.
The Bold and the Bambino
Between the Boston Red Sox, the Chicago White Sox, and the New York Yankees, these teams carried out a detente. This major exchange of players between them didn’t sit well with Ban Johnson at the time and they were nicknamed Insurrectos. For the Yankees, this trade deal worked in their favor. This was the infamous trade that had the Red Sox send Babe Ruth to New York. What seemed like a good idea at the time came back to haunt the team from Boston in what was dubbed as the Bambino Curse.
What Babe Ruth did for the New York Yankees, as well as the sport of baseball in general, was legendary. His performance on the field as a home run hitter won over a fan base that saw the American League’s popularity increase while the National League’s popularity decreased. At the same time, the Yankees drew in more fans than their New York rivals, the Giants.
When the Yankees played its first World Series in 1921, this was against the Giants. In 1922, the two met each other in the finals again. Although they didn’t defeat their inner-city rivals just yet, a very unhappy John McGraw demanded the Yankees find another baseball field to call home. He felt the Polo Grounds wasn’t big enough to accommodate his team as well as theirs. He even suggested the Yankees move as far away as Queens.
Although the Yankees honored McGraw’s wishes to leave Polo Grounds, instead of going all the way to Queens all they did was build a new ballpark in the Bronx. Clean across the Hudson River, Yankee Stadium became the team’s new home, much to the chagrin of McGraw and his Giants. While the Yankees were no longer on their home turf, they and their stadium were still viewable by simply looking across the river from one borough to another.
Establishing an Era
Ruppert’s move to bring Barrow and Huggins on board to help manage the New York Yankees was genius. This took place just before they acquired Babe Ruth in 1920, the man who played a key role in catapulting the Yankees to become the legends we all know and love today.
When the Yankees set foot in their newly built Yankee Stadium in 1923, the opening day ceremony was so popular that it had no trouble filling to capacity. There were nearly 125,000 fans who showed up and 25,000 of them had to be turned away due to lack of space. It was a grand day for the Yanks as Babe Ruth scored the team’s first home run while in the packed stadium.
There’s a reason why the old Yankee Stadium was called “The House That Ruth Built.” Because of him, the team’s popularity spiked to unprecedented levels. Thanks to impressive attendance records, the hefty price that went into paying for the team’s stadium didn’t take long to pay off the $2.5 million that went into its development.
In 1921 and 1922, the New York Yankees met with the New York Giants in the World Series which met with failure. As if the sibling rivalry between these two teams weren’t enough already, when they went head to head for the third time in a row, the Yanks added fuel to the fire by earning its first World Series championship.
Starting in 1927, the New York Yankees had a stellar lineup that dominated Major League Baseball. It was a season that witnessed the team win a total of 110 games, as well as an easy sweep against the Pittsburgh Pirates in the World Series. This was also the season Babe Ruth scored sixty home runs in a single season. This remained an unbreakable record until 1961 when Roger Maris beat it. Granted, he had the luxury of eight more games to work with but as far as MLB was concerned, it counted.
While Ruth was wowing the crowd with home runs, teammate Lou Gehrig beat the Bambino’s runs batted-in-record that was originally set in 1921. It was a fantastic season for Gehrig as he had 175 RBIs and forty-seven home runs. In 1928, these two led the Yankees to win yet another World Series championship.
When Joe McCarthy began to coach the Yankees in 1931, he helped bring the team back to championship form. In 1932, they defeated his old team, the Chicago Cubs in the World Series. This was the same matchup that witnessed Babe Ruth call in a shot while these two teams played in Chicago’s Wrigley Field. He pointed to the center of the field before making this epic home run.
Hellos and Goodbyes
In 1935, Babe Ruth left the New York Yankees to join the Boston Braves. Before this team eventually moved to Atlanta, they were the National League rivals to America League’s Boston Red Sox. This move was an ironic twist of fate given the Bambino Curse still left many Bostonians feeling scarred. However, after the season was over, he officially retired from the sport.
With Ruth gone as of 1934, Lou Gehrig finally had his chance to become the team’s superstar. Although he was an excellent ball player himself, there was no comparison to Ruth’s popularity. Unfortunately for Gehrig, the arrival of Joe DiMaggio to the Yankees put him back in the shadow while this newcomer took over the spotlight.
From 1936 until 1939, DiMaggio was instrumental in leading the New York Yankees to win the World Series four times in a row. The first three of those championships had Gehrig as part of the lineup who also served as a key contributor. However, 1939 had him mostly sit on the sidelines for medical reasons. When the season was over, he officially retired. On July 4, 1939, two months after his retirement due to amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, the New York Yankees honored Gehrig by retiring his jersey number, 4. This was also the year team owner, Jacob Ruppert, died. Upon his death, ownership of the Yankees was transferred to his surviving family members.
Just shy of two years later, Gehrig passed away from a disease that would be renamed Lou Gehrig’s Disease in honor of the man. This was also the same year America would enter World War II. Before MLB would see the vast majority of its players drafted to do their art in the war, DiMaggio was enjoying the best season of his career with a seemingly unbreakable record of fifty-six consecutive hits. This was also the season the Yankees would win its first World Series against the Brooklyn Dodgers.
In 1945, the Ruppert Family sold the New York Yankees for nearly three million dollars to the three-man partnership of Larry MacPhail, Dan Topping, and Del Webb. Until 1947, MacPhail looked after the team’s business affairs. That season ended with yet another World Series victory by the Yanks.
WWII left such a mark on so many people, including Americans. The Yankees were no exception. Not one of the players who were drafted in the war effort came back the same man. New York’s prized team experienced a slump that would see McCarthy leave in 1946 as team manager. After Bucky Harris took the role, he whipped the team back into championship form, seizing the World Series title in 1947. However, he was replaced by Casey Stengel in 1948.
At first, there was concern if Stengel really was the right manager for the job. When he demonstrated that he certainly was, the critics finally shut up. The 1949 season witnessed the Yankees upset the Boston Red Sox in what became a refueled rivalry between the two teams. Two years later, Joe DiMaggio retired from baseball as a player. As hard as it was for fans of the Yankees to see their hero say goodbye, they were equally enthused to see rookie Mickey Mantle poise himself to become the team’s next superstar.
Taking the Mantle
From 1949 until 1953, the New York Yankees dominated MLB yet again as it won five World Series titles in a row. Oddly enough, they continued to beat the teams managed by their old manager, Joe McCarthy. When Stengel took his place to manage the Yankees he was seen as a goof who wouldn’t last. He proved to be everything but this. When he picked up the mantle to guide the Yankees, he did so with style.
When Mickey Mantle joined the team in 1951, he also had Whitey Ford and Yogi Berra to work with. Together, they were virtually unbeatable. Not even the Brooklyn Dodgers nor the New York Giants were able to take the Yankees down. Even the Whiz Kids belonging to the Philadelphia Phillies in 1950 were able to put an end to Stengel and his merry band of baseball players.
When the Cleveland Indians prevented the Yankees from winning six World Series in a row in 1954, this came as a surprise. The Yanks had 103 games won but the Indians established a new American League record at that time at 111. This was the season that was dubbed “The Year the Yankees Lost the Pennant.” This event was so epic that Douglass Wallop wrote a book about it. In 1955, Damn Yankees adapted the story into a musical comedy.
It was hoped perhaps the Yankees would redeem themselves going into the 1955 World Series. However, the Brooklyn Dodgers would be the next team that would deny them the victory. However, redemption did come in 1956 when Don Larson threw the only perfect game in the series’s history. To this day, it’s a record that remains unbroken.
Unfortunately for the Yankees, the 1957 World Series ended in disappointment as it lost to the Milwaukee Braves. This was also the same year the Brooklyn Dodgers said farewell as it relocated to Los Angeles, California. The New York Giants did the same as the team moved to San Fransisco. This meant the Yankees were now the only major league baseball team left in the Big Apple.
Going into the 1960s, the Yankees hoped the winning formula they had in the 1950s would continue. There were six World Series titles that were won, as well as eight American League pennants. Naturally, the management team wanted this pattern of success to keep going.
Dan Topping and Del Webb had a friend in Arnold Jackson. He was the owner of the Kansas City Athletics. Between these men, there were trades in place that garnered harsh criticism against them. Already, the Yankees had a farm team with the Kansas City Blues so it wasn’t uncommon to see young talent head for New York while veterans played out their final years in Kansas. This practice continued until Charles O. Finley purchased the Athletics in 1960.
Too Little Too Late
Although Finley’s acquisition of the Athletics put an end to the flow of talent coming back and forth to the Yankees’ benefit, the damage was already done. The Yankees managed to build up a team that included Maris. The outfielder’s rookie season led the MLB in RBIs, extra-base hits, and slugging percentage. He managed to earn himself a Gold Glove and the American League’s MVP Award.
In 1961, Mickey Mantle and Roger Maris became known as the M&M Boys as these two kept scoring home runs as if it were a habit. Unfortunately for Mantle, his season was cut short due to a hip infection. As for Maris, he managed to hit his sixty-first home run on what was the last day of the 1961 season. This broke Babe Ruth’s record by one but it was contested by MLB’s Commissioner at the time, Ford Frick. Ruth’s 1927 season ran for 154 games while Mantle had 162 games to work with. Until 1991, both of these records were recognized as separate entities before the MLB strictly kept the newer of the two. However, seven years later, it was broken by Mark McGwire after reaching seventy home runs in 1998.
1961 also marked the first World Series the Yankees won going into the new decade. It was also the final year the Yankees had New York City all to themselves as an MLB baseball team. In 1962, the National League introduced the New York Mets. Before that team moved into the newly built Shea Stadium in Queens, they played two seasons’ worth of home games at the Polo Grounds.
While the Mets were settling in, the Yankees won the 1962 World Series by defeating the San Fransico Giants. After this victory, the Yankees would fall short as champions for the next fifteen years. Even though they won the American League pennant in 1963 to make it to the World Series, they were unable to defeat the Los Angeles Dodgers. 1963 also marked the year Yogi Berra had enough as he retired as a player so he could become a manager.
In 1964, the Yankees made it to the World Series by taking on the St. Louis Cardinals. They were in it but they didn’t win it. After this, the aging Yankees ran into a slump that would plague the team for at least a full decade. Since Finley’s purchase of the Athletics in 1960, the Yankees didn’t have the same resources as before to make the necessary trades to stay on top in MLB.
Once the 1964’s season was over, the Columbia Broadcasting System (CBS) purchased eighty percent of the New York Yankees from Topping and Webb. This new ownership featured a 1965 lineup that produced the first losing season for the Yankees in forty years. And in 1966, things became even worse as the team finished dead last in the American League for the first time in fifty-four years.
Adding to the team’s troubles was the inability to replace the aging Yankees with newer talent, regardless of where it came from. One problem that was plaguing the team was a lack of genuine talent from the minor league teams. When the MLB put in place an amateur draft in 1961, this also posed a problem for the Yanks. Instead of just picking whoever they wanted their options became limited.
In 1973, a group of investors led by George Steinbrenner approached CBS and purchased the New York Yankees for nearly nine million dollars. Upon the purchase, then-team president, E. Michael Burke, stepped down from the role but stayed on as a consultant. By 1974, Steinbrenner purchased the remaining twenty percent CBS didn’t own. Although he became the team’s primary owner, Burke still kept a small share for himself.
For the infamous shipbuilder, the first priority was to renovate Yankee Stadium. It, along with the neighborhood shared the team’s fate as it showed its age and deterioration going into the late 1960s. Up until 1972, the Yankees met with a variety of issues that made things difficult. While CBS still owned the team, it attempted to work with the Mets to take up space in Shea Stadium until renovations at Yankee Stadium were completed. They were turned down, which partly played a role in the company’s decision to sell to Steinbrenner.
Since no venue in New York City seemed willing to accommodate, Steinbrenner looked to the Meadowlands in New Jersey. When Mayor John Lindsay got involved, he arranged for the city to purchase Shea Stadium. Now that the city had a say, the Mets could no longer deny the Yankees from playing two seasons’ worth of home games there. As soon as the renovations were done, the Yankees moved back home to their upgraded home.
For Steinbrenner, it wasn’t only Yankee Stadium he felt needed to upgrade its appearance. He also installed a policy that his players sport a clean look as a representative of the team. As of 1973, each man had to be clean-shaven and have neat hair. As a serviceman who once belonged to the U.S. Air Force, this was put into place as a team owner. To this day, it’s a policy that remains in place.
Adding to Steinbrenner’s legacy is the 1974 introduction of star pitcher Catfish Hunter as a New York Yankee after using the MLB’s free agency policy to take him away from the Oakland Athletics. This was a move that began a new approach to how free-agent players were signed up. It also began a new era for the Yankees as a team.
Mad Mad World
Before the 1975 baseball season was over, Billy Martin was promoted to team manager. He, along with Hunter, led the team to the World Series in 1976. However, the Cincinnati Reds, led by the infamous Big Red Machine lineup, proved to be too much for the Yankees to handle. As a result, the boys from New York City needed to regroup.
Along comes Reggie Jackson from the Baltimore Orioles as he would be signed to the team. Now, one would think the 1977 season for the New York Yankees would be just dandy. However, this wasn’t the case at all. First off, Jackson made comments about the team’s captain at the time, Thuman Munson. This didn’t go well with his new teammates. He also didn’t get along with Billy Martin as the two had clashed with each other in the past.
Even though the Yankees won the World Series in 1977, the real story fell on the feuding that went on between Jackson, Martin, and Steinbrenner. For the duration of Jackson’s five-year contract with the Yankees, these three men simply couldn’t get along. At one point, Martin fined and suspended Jackson after choosing to go against his wishes by bunting a ball instead of swinging. When Jackson returned, Martin openly stated his dislike for the player, as well as his own boss. It was enough to get him fired.
Making matters even more interesting were the incredibly zealous fans who packed Yankee Stadium. Furthermore, the neighborhoods in the Bronx became famous as a late 1970s version of no man’s land. At one point, the Yankees, the stadium, and the neighborhood were referenced as the “Bronx Zoo.”
Despite it all, the Yankees managed to maintain a winning track record as a team. While the Yanks had a habit of feuding with each other, they hadn’t forgotten about the rivalry they had with the Boston Red Sox. In a four-game sweep held in 1978, New York annihilated their adversaries with scores of 15-3, 13-2, 7-0, and 7-4. This became known in the baseball world as the “Boston Massacre.” These games were held at Fenway Park as the Yanks utterly humiliated the Red Sox in front of their own fans.
In 1979, Billy Martin was oddly enough rehired to manage the Yankees for what would be the second time. An unimpressed Steinbrenner was fed up with his team falling short in the quest for the World Series. However, the 1970s wasn’t done yet with the Yankees when it came to bad news. On August 2, 1979, its catcher, Thurman Munson, perished in an airplane accident. The entire team flew to Ohio to attend his funeral before showing up for a game that same day against the Baltimore Orioles.
It was an emotional game, especially when Bobby Murcer used his close friend’s bat to hit the ball in what became a five-man homerun victory. The Yanks were originally down 0-4 before Murcer made this moment happen. In addition to this, the Yankees continue to honor Munson by keeping his locker number, 15, empty. When the team moved to the brand new Yankee Stadium, that same locker was ripped out of its old spot and installed at its museum. The Yanks also retired Munson’s jersey number, which is also 15.
Strikes and Deals
Now with the 1970s behind them, it was hoped the 1980s would bring on a better decade for the Yankees. This began with Billy Martin getting fired as team manager. Taking his place was Dick Howser. It was a year that witnessed Reggie Jackson have a .300 batting average, along with forty-one home runs. The team was good enough to cinch the American League East but not good enough to advance to the World Series.
Upon going into the 1981’s baseball season, a ten-year contract was signed by Dave Winfield as he joined the team. However, a misunderstanding about the contract erupted into a nasty feud between himself and team owner, Steinbrenner. In the meantime, Howser was fired as team manager and replaced by Gene Michael. He didn’t last long as Bob Lemon replaced him before the season was over. Adding salt to the wound, the Yankees failed to beat the Los Angeles Dodgers in the World Series.
1981 was also the baseball season that was broken up by a strike. At the time, the team owners wanted to win back the prerogatives over the players. This contradicted the free agency policy that had been in place since 1972. The owners lost the argument and the players were able to protect their rights.
Those Damn Yankees
Whatever hope the Yankees had to make the 1980s a better decade than the 1970s was met with bitter disappointment. Since losing to the Dodgers in 1981, this team simply couldn’t get it together. Steinbrenner also had it in his head to turn the Yankees into a defensive team based on speed instead of focusing on home runs. This included bringing on tough-to-beat pitchers such as Doug Drabek, Al Leiter, and Jose Rijo.
Without any star lineups to drag the Yankees out of its slump, this team continued to struggle through the 1980s. 1990 started out as a decade that didn’t look promising, either. However, the 1990 season began the wave of Yankee fans shouting “1918” each time the Boston Red Sox played in Yankee Stadium. There were also signs “Curse of the Bambino,” as well as pics of Babe Ruth, and t-shirts sporting 1918. These outspoken fans became known as the Bleacher Creatures.
Adding to the drama of the Yankees, Steinbrenner brought Howard Spira on board. He also used Spira to find whatever dirt he could on Dave Winfield. These actions resulted in a two-year team operational suspension from MLB Commissioner Fay Vincent as soon as he found out about it. With Steinbrenner sidelined, Gene Michael exercised his authority as general manager to use the team’s farm team system to bring in young talent. He, along with team manager, Buck Showalter, worked together to oust high-priced players in favor of building a team that could bring better results.
In 1994, this tag team management system paid off when the Yankees had the best record in the American League. However, the season was shortened by a players’ strike. It was the second time for the team that things finally began to show promise, only for a strike to interrupt the momentum. When the season ran its course, the Yankees were still unable to get themselves into the World Series.
In November 1995, Joe Torre became the new team manager as Showalter’s replacement. He proved to be a good addition to the team as the 1996 season began with the team rookie, Derek Jeter, make a solid impression as a star player. This was also the case with second-year pitchers Andy Pettitte and Mariano Rivera. Pettitte would start the games while Rivera soon became the closer. Thanks to the younger blood brought, the Yankees were strong enough to win their first American League East title since 1980. They finally won that elusive World Series title after taking out the Atlanta Braves.
It was a title the Yankees wouldn’t be able to win again in 1997. After this, general manager Bob Watson stepped down and Brian Cashman took his place. For the Yanks, this was a good thing as the team went into the 1998 season. When they went in, they did so with style. By the time it was over, this new breed of New York Yankees earned its name as one of the greatest teams in MLB’s history. It had 114 wins out of the 162 games played. This became an American League regular season record.
This was followed by eleven more wins as the Yankees worked their way to the World Series final. This began with a May 17, 1998, perfect game pitched by David Wells when the Yanks met with the Minnesota Twins. When the boys from New York swept the San Diego Padres in the World Series final, they almost made it look easy. To this day, the 125 combined wins by the Yankees in the MLB has yet to be broken.
The winning streak continued going into the 2000 World Series as the Yankees finally met with their neighborly rivals, the New York Mets. Although it wasn’t the first time these teams competed against each other, it was something the city’s fans were waiting for for forty-four years. It was a series the Yankees won in five games. After beating the Mets, this Yankee lineup joined the ranks of their predecessors who won at least four World Series titles in a row.
21st Century Boys
2001 was an awkward year for the Yankees. On September 11, New York City and the rest of the world were given a hard dose of reality that there is no such thing as a truly safe space. The terrorist attacks that occurred that day did more than take down the Twin Towers. It also deeply scarred New Yorkers. Perhaps as inspiration, the Yankees rose to the occasion and plowed their way to the World Series. Although they lost to the Arizona Diamondbacks, this was a season to remember. While Reggie Jackson earned the monicker “Mr. October” in 1977, Derek Jeter became “Mr. November” after hitting a walk-off home run in the fourth game against the Diamondbacks.
The 2002 season had the Yankees start the season with a series of changes to its lineup. These changes worked as it had the best American League record at 103 wins. The star of the season was Alfonso Soriano as he became the first second baseman in history to hit thirty home runs and steal thirty bases in a single season. He, along with his teammates, led the Yankees to the World Series but they were not able to overcome the Anaheim Angels. A similar pattern was repeated in 2003, this time losing to the Florida Marlins.
In 2004, the Yankees made lineup changes that included the recruitment of Alex Rodriguez. This paid off in 2005 when he became the first Yankee since 1985 to win the American League MVP. It was Don Mattingly who won this award previously.
2006 marked the year the Boston Red Sox finally put an end to the Curse of the Bambino. This came after the Red Sox defeated the Cardinals in the World Series. The chant “1918” used to fill Yankee Stadium by the fans would finally be silenced.
Although the Yankees didn’t make it to the World Series in 2006, it was the ninth year in a row they won the American League East. This was also the same year the Yankees would lose yet another ball player to an airplane accident when Cory Lidle crashed into a Manhattan highrise.
Before the first decade of the twenty-first century was over, team manager Joe Torres left the Yankees when a contract agreement couldn’t be reached. He took his management expertise to the Los Angeles Dodgers as a result. Taking his place was Joe Girardi. He was a catcher for the Yankees before signing a three-year contract to manage his old team.
2008 marked the final season the Yankees would play in the old Yankee Stadium as it was concluded the team was in need of a venue that could better accommodate them. As a means to honor the House that Babe Ruth built, the 2008 MLB All-Star Game was played before a packed crowd. After this, the final game the Yankees played on the field took place on September 21 in what became a win against the Baltimore Orioles. When it was over, Jeter addressed the crowd with encouraging statements. It was a season that saw the Yankees unable to enter the playoffs for the first time in fourteen years. This was due to injuries that prevented the team from playing their very best.
When the Yankees began their 2009 in the brand new Yankee Stadium, they got off to an explosive start. The team set a major league record after playing eighteen games in a row error-free. This was a season where the team dominated the league and became World Series champions. For the Yanks, what a great way to celebrate their first season in their new stadium.
2010 witnessed the rivalry between the New York Yankees and the Boston Red Sox revive once again after these two teams met each other at the end of the regular season in Fenway Park. This was the first time in sixty years this happened and it was enough to liven up the embers of a fire that had already been raging between the two teams since 1918.
2010 also marked the year the New York Yankees would lose three icons. The team’s principal owner, George Steinbrenner died on July 13, 2010. Two days before this, announcer Bob Sheppard also passed away. These were followed by the death of Ralph Houk on July 13th. He was a longtime Yankee favorite that played and managed for the team since 1947. He was Casey Stengel’s replacement as manager from 1961 until 1963. He managed the team a second time from 1966 until 1973. After this he managed the Detroit Tigers from 1974 until 1978, then the Boston Red Sox from 1981 until 1984.
The Yankees weren’t able to win the World Series that year but did manage to win the American League Division Series against the Minnesota Twins. This was followed by an August 25, 2011 game that had the Yankees become the first time in MLB history to score three grand slams in a single game. The final score was 22-9 as the Yankees defeated the Oakland Athletics in this historic match-up. Unfortunately, that was the only real highlight for the team as it failed to make an impression going into the World Series.
2012 wasn’t much different than 2010 and 2011. The regular season was impressive enough but that’s as good as it got for the Yankees. Its highlight was Raul Ibanez becoming the oldest player in the league to hit two home runs in a single game. It was a game that had the Yankees defeat the Baltimore Orioles as they advanced to the American League Conference series. That’s as far as they went, though, as the Detroit Tigers defeated them in a four-game sweep.
For the Yankees, 2013 was rough as the team was plagued with injuries. It was a disappointing season that would spark the need to make changes to the lineup. However, this wasn’t enough to save the Yankees as it failed to make the 2014 MLB playoffs. It didn’t help that Alex Rodriguez was forced to miss the season as he was suspended due to the Biogenesis baseball fiasco. He was among the players named in a scandal that brought to light a performance-enhancing drug designed by a clinic known as Biogenesis of America. Rodriguez was among thirteen players who were suspended for at least fifty games. Rodriguez was forced to sit out for 162, enough to miss an entire season, which was the longest sentence compared to the others that served. The sentence would have been longer if the Yankees were able to make it to the playoffs. He wouldn’t be allowed to play again until 2015.
When the 2015 season hit, the Yankees were able to make it to the playoffs. Rodriguez was back and managed to hit thirty-three home runs. This was his personal best since 2008. He also tied Hank Aaron for having fifteen seasons that each featured at least thirty home runs. As a whole, the team did okay but was taken out by the Houston Astros in the American League Wild Card Game. For Rodriguez, he wouldn’t experience another season nearly as strong as this.
After 2016’s less-than-impressive year, the Yankees shook up the lineup with some key trades. By this time, Brian Cashman was the team’s general manager and he saw the roster needed to work on its future instead of its present. This was a pattern that would continue going into the 2017 season, as well as 2018. These years did see the Yankees make improvements but they still had a long way to go before seeing the World Series final again.
The 2019 season saw the Yankees achieve some truly great moments. This was the year the team became the second in MLB history to achieve three hundred home runs in a single season. The Minnesota Teams were the first to achieve this, which took place just a day beforehand.
It was also in 2019 the New York Yankees met their longtime rival, the Boston Red Sox in London, England. It was the first run of the MLB London Series, as well as one of first-time MLB games played in Europe. When the 2019 season was over, the Yankees would have to wait another year to chase the World Series title as it failed to overcome the Houston Astros.
After 2019, the Yankees made another series of trades with the hope 2020 would be a better season. As it turned out, no. The Yankees were defeated by the Tampa Bay Rays and had to wait until 2021 to try again. For the boys from New York, 2021 was great until the owners of MLB teams locked out the players. This came about immediately after the 2016 bargaining agreement between the league and the players expired
Currently, the New York Yankees are owned by Yankee Global Enterprises. This is a company that was organized by the estate of George Steinbrenner. His sons now carry on the family legacy while Brian Cashman serves as the team’s general manager. The legacy of the Yankees includes nineteen American League East Division titles, forty American League pennants, and twenty-seven World Series championships. The last World Series the team won was in 2009. Since then, the Yankees have been trying valiantly to take home MLB’s top prize.
Overall, the Yankees have been regarded as one of the most successful American sports teams. They also happen to be the most popular worldwide. This team has won more titles than any other in MLB, as well as North American pro-team sports in general.
When visiting the National Baseball Hall of Fame, you will find the names of forty-four players and eleven managers. For over a century, the Yankees have been an important part of American culture. This team has also influenced the entire world which has a fondness for baseball as a sport. Few teams command the level of respect the Yankees have. The list of legends from Babe Ruth to Derek Jeter is more than Yankee heroes. They’re also MLB’s most influential players who’ve inspired so many fans and upcoming athletes who take this sport seriously.
Complete History Of The New York Yankees – ClassicNewYorkHistory.com ©2023
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