A Biased Look at the New York Yankees, the Greatest Franchise in the History of Sports
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Did you ever see the movie, “Catch Me if You Can”? It stars Leo DiCaprio and Tom Hanks and is directed by Steven Spielberg. For all intents and purposes it’s a highly enjoyable flick. There’s a line in it, however, that I feel compelled to write about. In the movie, Leo asks, “You know why the Yankees win so many games? Because the other team can’t take their eyes off the pinstripes.” What a load of crap. Here’s your 2011 New…York…Yankees…
Left field: Brett Gardner. 2010 splits: .277 average, five home runs, 47 RBI, .762 OPS. Brief: Gardner is considered sneaky-quick, swiping 47 stolen bases in ’10. His production slipped mightily in the second half, as Gardner batted only .233 after the all-star break. There are concerns within the organization that he will be the same player he was in the second half last season. The good thing for Yankees fans are those concerns are coupled with a fat check book that can go out and make the necessary tweaking if need be.
Center field: Curtis Granderson. 2010 splits: .247 average, 24 home runs, 67 RBI, .792 OPS. Brief: Granderson isn’t a hitter who will consistently hit for average. It’s a common misconception because he’s a speedy centerfield that can rob a sure double in the gap with the efficiency of a common criminal. However, Granderson has an elongated swing that can put him in extended slumps from time-to-time. Still, when he’s on, it’s hard to find a guy more capable of a standup triple this side of Jose Reyes.
Right field: Nick Swisher. 2010 splits: .288 average, 29 home runs, 89 RBI, .870 OPS. Brief: What a pleasant surprise Swisher was in ’10 for the Yanks. Makes me a little sick to my stomach to be perfectly honest. Swisher put up career numbers last year and was also a fan favorite for his “zany antics”. I hate that schtick: “I’m the crazy guy who’s out here to loosen up these up-tight millionaires.” Anyway, there’s also rumors that Charlie Sheen wants Swisher to conduct his first interview since he last ran into some…shall we say…trouble. This guy should buy a lottery ticket.
Third base: Alex Rodriguez. 2010 splits: .270 average, 30 home runs, 125 RBI, .847 OPS. Brief: A-Rod is now 35 years old? Daign, that must make Ken Griffey Junior eligible for an AARP card. Rodriguez produces, despite all the flak he receives. At this point, it’s a simple matter of health for A-Rod. He had a number of different ailments in 2010 including a nagging hip injury. One day he’ll be remembered for what he is, one of the best players of all time. And also for sun tanning in Central Park…The four dudes playing volleyball in Top Gun thought that decision was a little questionable.
Shortstop: Derek Jeter. 2010 splits: .270 average, 10 home runs, 67 RBI, .710 OPS. Brief: There’s certain athletes you don’t mess with. You hear me Hank Steinbrenner!? That’d be like my hometown Detroit Red Wings giving our fearless leader Steve Yzerman grief. And I don’t play that. So, Hank, keep Jeter’s name out of your mouth because he’ll probably make a remarkable play in a big moment and win you another World Series that you don’t need.
Second base: Robinson Cano. 2010 splits: .319 average, 29 home runs, 109 RBI, .914 OPS. Brief: Cano was arguably the best player in baseball last season. He seems to have climbed into that top-tier reserved for future hall of famers and perennial all-stars. Not to mention, the guy makes some ridiculous plays at second base and has tremendous range. It’s good to be good.
First base: Mark Teixeira. 2010 splits .256 average, 33 home runs, 108 RBI, .846 OPS. Brief: Big Tex suffered a nasty hamstring injury last year in Game 4 of the ALCS. He should be back and ready to produce as steadily as always. Teixeira has had at least 30 home runs and 100 RBI every year for the last seven seasons.
Designated Hitter: Jorge Posada. 2010 splits: .248 average, 18 home runs, 57 RBI, .811 OPS. Brief: Now 39 years-old, Posada finally relinquishes his spot behind the plate to Russell Martin. I think this is a great move that should help increase Posada’s production at the plate.
Catcher: Russell Martin. 2010 splits: .248, 5 home runs, 46 RBI, .679 OPS. Brief: A former all-star, Martin’s production at the plate has steadily decreased since 2007. Nonetheless, he will provide a breather for Posada, who should benefit from not having his knee cartilage disintegrate at such an alarming rate.
That’s all for now…come back next week and we’ll take a look at all things pitching for the Yanks. Goodnight now.
1923 was a historic season for the New York Yankees. Yankees Stadium opened and drew over a million fans. While this was a touch down from their seasons at the Polo Grounds in 1920 through 1922, the Yankees were still the only to team to ever draw a million fans, and this was their fourth year in a row doing so.
Babe Ruth also had another historic season. He set the single season walk record with 170 (which has only recently been broken by Barry Bonds). He also won his first and only Most Valuable Player award (despite deserving several more). He hit a career high .393 and he also had his best ever OBP with .545, the fifth best mark of all time. Throw in his fifth homerun title in six years along with a single season record of 379 times on base (which still stands), and you have a historic season by most standards. For the Babe, it was one of many.
The Yankees also had a top notch pitching staff. With a rotation that was five deep, Bob Shawkey, Joe Bush, Waite Hoyt, Sam Jones and Herb Pannock all threw over 235 innings. The Yankees led the league in ERA (3.62), complete games (101), and strikeouts (506).
And once again, they had to square off against their World Series arch-nemisis, the New York Giants. The Giants beat the Yankees to win the crown in 1921 and 1922 and Yankee fans all hoped to get this monkey off their back once and for while while bringing home a title to the Bronx.
Game 1 Highlights
Giants 5, Yankees 4 Giants Lead Best of Seven Series 1-0
The first ever playoff game at Yankees Stadium was a dramatic one as the Yankees hosted the Giants’ in their own stadium for the first time. Waite Hoyt got the start for the Yankees and Mule Watson went for the Giants.
The Yankees didn’t waste much time as they got to Watson early. In the bottom of the first, Whitey Witt led off the inning with a lineout and then Joe Dugan drew a walk. Babe Ruth forced out Dugan and then Bob Meusel doubled home Ruth to make it a 1-0 game.
The Yankees put a couple more runs on the board in the second inning. Aaron Ward and Wally Schang led off the inning with back to back singles and Everett Scott moved them both over with a bunt. Hoyt struck out but then Witt singled to drive both Ward and Schang home.
Through the first two innings, the Giants managed only a single against Hoyt, but in the third inning the wheels fell of the wagon. Four hits and a walk turned into four runs and the rally was capped off by Heinie Groh’s two run triple. Hoyt was pulled with only one out in the inning in favor of Bullet Joe Bush, and by the end of two and a half innings, the Yanks were down by a run.
Both pitchers settled down and the middle three innings were basically a pitchers dual. It wasn’t until the bottom of the seventh until either team mounted any kind of rally. Bush singled and then scored on Dugan’s one out triple to tie the game. Babe Ruth then hit a hard grounder to the first basemen and Kelly went home and got Dugan out at the plate to effectively end the rally.
That run would be critical because in the top of the ninth, the Giants put a run on the board to take the lead again. The Yankees went down quietly in the bottom of the ninth as the Giants took the first game of the series.
Game 2 Highlights
Yankees 4, Giants 2 Best of Seven Series Tied 1-1
Herb Pannock took the mound in game two for the Yankees as he went head to head with Hugh McQuillan. Like in game one, the Yankees got on the board first. In the second inning, Aaron Ward hit a solo homer to put the Yankees up 1-0.
Unfortunately, the lead was short lived. In the bottom of the second, Irish Meusel took Pannock deep for a solo shot to tie the game.
Both teams went down quietly in the third, but in the top of the fourth, the Yankees busted the game open. Babe Ruth led off the inning with a solo shot to give the Yankees a 2-1 lead. Bob Meusel struck out, and then Wally Pipp singled. Ward popped out to make it two outs, but Wally Schang kept the rally going with a single. Wally Pipp moved over to third on right fielder Ross Youngs error, and then Everett Scott singled home Pipp to give the Yankees a 3-1 lead.
They’d add an insurance run in the fifth on another Babe Ruth solo homerun, but it wouldn’t be neccesary. Pennock cruised through nine innings of work. The Giants scattered nine hits against him, but only two of those were for extra bases and he walked only a single batter.
Game 3 Highlights
Giants 1, Yankees 0 Giants Lead Best of Seven Series 2-1
This game was all about pitching. Yankees starter Sad Sam Jones squared off against Art Nehf and the two had a masterful pitchers’ duel. Through the first six innings, neither team had put a run on the board. The only real threat came in the bottom of the fifth when the Yankees had runners at first and second with one out, but the rally was summarily squashed when Jones failed to help out his own cause by hitting into an inning ending double play.
In the top of the seventh, the Giants finally put themselves ahead. The future Hall of Fame manager and backup centerfielder, Casey Stengel hit a solo homerun to put the Giants ahead 1-0. Stengel would later make up for it by leading the Yankees to seven World Series wins as a manager.
And that was it. Jones and reliever Bullet Joe Bush held the Giants to four hits, but one of them was the Stengel homerun. On the other side, Nehf held the Yankees to six singles, and none of those runners crossed the plate.
Game 4 Highlights
Yankees 8, Giants 4 Best of Seven Series Tied 2-2
This game was over pretty quickly. In the top of the second, the Yankees put six runs on the board and by the end of the fourth, they had an 8-0 lead. The Giants tried to mount a comeback in the later innings but they fell short and lost 8-4.
Whitey Witt, Bob Meusel and Everett Scott all drove in two runs while Babe Ruth went one for three with two walks and two runs. Bob Shawkey walked away with the win despite giving up twelve hits and four walks in 7 2/3 innings of work.
Game 5 Highlights
Yankees 8, Giants 1 Yankees Lead Best of Seven Series 3-2
The Yankees won a very important game five by once again blowing out the Giants. The Yanks put three runs on the board in the first inning in front of their home crowd, and they added four more in the bottom of the second to make it a 7-1 game. For the final seven innings, only the Yankees put a lone run as both pitching staffs settled down.
Joe Dugan and Bob Meusel had huge games for the Yankees. Dugan went four for five with a homerun, three RBIs and three runs. Muesel went three for five with three RBIs and a run. Babe Ruth went one for four with two runs and walk.
Starter Bullet Joe Bush held the Giants in check by holding them to only one run on three hits. He walked two and struck out three.
Game 6 Highlights
Yankees 6, Giants 4 Yankees Win Best of Seven Series 4-2
The Yankees won their first ever World Series in an exciting game six. Herb Pannock took the mound against Art Nehf at the Polo Grounds.
The Yankees got on the board in the top of the first inning on Babe Ruth’s third homerun of the series. The solo shot gave the Yankees a 1-0 lead, but it was short lived as the Giants tied the game up in the bottom of the first.
The Giants proceeded to chip at Pannock and they scored a single run in each of the fourth, fifth and sixth innings to give the Giants a 4-1 lead. Things appeared to be heading towards a game seven, but the Yankees ended up having something to say about that in the eighth inning.
Aaron Ward led off the inning with a pop out, and then Wally Schang and Everett Scott had back to back singles to put runners at the corners. Fred Hofmann pinch hit for Pennock and he drew a walk to load the bases. Pitcher Bullet Joe Bush pinch hit for Whitey Witt and he drew a walk to drive in a run. Joe Dugan then drew a walk to drive home another run and to shave the lead to a single run.
Then Babe Ruth came to bat. You’d expect some kind of game changing homerun, but Ruth struck out in a key moment. Fortunately his teammates picked him as Bob Meusel singled home Hinkey Haines (who pinch ran for Hofmann) and Ernie Johnson (who pinch ran for Bush). Meusel also scored on the play due to Bill Cunninghams error in centerfield.
At the beginning of the inning, the Yanks were down by three. By the end of the eighth, they were up by two runs. Reliever Sad Sam Jones held the Giants to one hit in the final two innings as the Yankees wrapped up the first of many World Series victories.
In some ways, 1922 was a step back for the New York Yankees. Babe Ruth had a monster year, but it was muted due to a six week suspension he served to begin the season. The suspension was handed down by Commissioner Judge Landis and it related to his barnstorming tours. These paid, post-season exhibitions cost the Babe 42 games during the season. Despite this, Ruth fell just four homers short of leading the league (35 vs. Ken Williams 39), he did lead the league in OPS (1.106), Slugging (.672) and adjusted OPS+ (182). Needless to say, this was Ruth’s worst season of the decade, and it was still a great one by any measure.
On the pitching side, the Yankees were led by Bob Shawkey and Joe Bush. Shawkey finished the season 20-12 and he was third in the league with 130 strikeouts. Joe Bush was 26-7 and those 26 wins were good for second in the American League. The team’s 3.39 ERA was second best in the league, just trailing the St. Louis Brown’s 3.38, and they led the league in WHIP (1.309).
The Yankees made things very interesting for their fans as they dropped three straight games in late September. With two games left in the season, the Yankees led the St. Louis Browns by two games and clinched their second straight pennant with a win over the Red Sox. They lost their final game and ended up with only a one game lead over the Browns at season’s end. In the National League, the New York Giants had wrapped up their second straigh pennant earlier in the week, and the two teams were set for a Polo Grounds rematch.
Game 1 Highlights
Giants 3, Yankees 2 Giants Lead Series 1-0
Game 1 was your standard pitchers dual. Neither team scored until the Yankees finally got to Giant’s starter Art Nehf in the sixth inning. Whitey Witt tripled with one out but was gunned down at home on Joe Dugan’s groundout. Dugan advanced all the way to second base while Witt was caught in a pickle and scored on Babe Ruth’s single.
The Yankees added a run in the seventh inning when Bob Meusel scored on Aaron Ward’s sacrafice fly. Meusel singled earlier in the inning and reached third when the Giants misplayed Wally Schang’s bunt attempt.
Last year’s champions appeared to be just biding their time, and they finally struck in the bottom of the eighth inning. Joe Bush gave up two runs on four consecutive hits to start the innings before getting pulled for reliever Waite Hoyt. The go ahead run then scored on Ross Youngs’ sacrafice fly.
The Yankees went down quietly in the ninth inning to end the game. In all, the Yankees only managed seven hits and to make matters worse, they didn’t really capitalize on the Giant’s three errors.
Game 2 Highlights
Yankees 3, Giants 3 (10 Innings) Giants Lead Series 1-0-1
In game two, it was the Yankees who staged the comeback. The Giants were looking to bury the Yankees in game two, and they jumped out to an early 3-0 lead after just half an inning. Starter Bob Shawkey would calm down and give up just five hits the rest of the game.
The Yankees got on the board in the bottom of the first. Joe Dugan reached first base on another Giants error and he moved over to second on a ground out by Babe Ruth. Wally Pipp then came through with two outs and singled home Dugan to shave the lead to 3-1.
Aaron Ward homered in the fourth inning and Yankees trailed by a mere run. They’d get that run in the eighth inning and it was Babe Ruth who came up big. He doubled with one out, then scored on Bob Meusel’s double.
With the game tied 3-3, the two teams went into extra frames. After playing the tenth inning, home plate umpire George Hildebrand made a controversial move and called the game due to darkness and it ended in a tie.
Game 3 Highlights
Giants 3, Yankees 0 Giants Lead Series 2-0-1
There’s not a lot of good that came out of this game. The Yankees managed a mere four hits and only one of those was for extra bases (a double by Wally Schang). The only inning they threated to score was in the seventh when they had runners on second and third with one out, but a strikeout and a ground out later ended that threat.
Waite Hoyt only gave up three runs, but he got out of a few jams as the Giants had eleven hits. Aaron Ward’s third inning error helped contribute to the Giant’s one big inning in which they scored two runs.
Game 4 Highlights
Giants 4, Yankees 3 Giants Lead Series 3-0-1
As in game 1, one big inning off of starter Carl Mays was the ultimate difference in the game. The Yankees took a 2-0 lead in the first inning when Wally Pip and Bob Meusel both had RBI singles. That lead would stand until the Giants busted the game open in the fifth inning by scoring four runs. The Yankees cut the lead to 4-3 on Aaron Ward’s second homer of the series in the seventh.
The Yankees went into the ninth down by a single run and Wally Pip doubled to lead off the inning. Bob Meusel grounded to short, and Wally Pip was caught in a rundown and eventually tagged out. Wally Schang singled to center but was cut down trying to stretch the hit into a double. Then with Meusel on third, Aaron Ward flew out to left field to end the threat.
Had Pip only stayed home, or Schang not tried to stretch his single into a double, the Yankees might have finally taken a game and maybe created some momentum. Instead, they were faced with the reality of winning four straight games to win their first World Series.
Game 5 Highlights
Giants 5, Yankees 3 Giants Win Series 4-0-1
For the third game in this series, the Giants came from behind to win the game. The Yankees got on the board first when Wally Pipp singled home Joe Dugan. The Giants answered in the second inning with two runs and the score stood at 2-1.
The Yankees tied the game in the fifth inning but once again, a running mishap may have cost them more. With one out, Aaron Ward singled and Everett Scott walked to put runners at first and second. Joe Bush singled and drove in Aaron Ward, but Scott was caught in a run down between third and home and was tagged out at home. A groundout later, and the Giants escaped with only one run given up.
The Yankees took the lead in the seventh inning. Bob Meusel scored on Everett’s Scott’s sacrafice fly and the Yankees had a 3-2 lead.
As in game one, Joe Bush ran out of gas. In the bottom of the eighth, the Giants tagged Bush for three runs on four hits. The Yankees went down 1-2-3 in the top of the ninth and the series was over.
Most disconcerting about the sweep was the disappearance of the team’s leader, Babe Ruth. Ruth was only 2 for 17 with a single RBI in the five game. He walked twice, and that all equated to an OPS of .426. The Yankees had a good core of players though, and there was no doubt they’d be back in the pennant mix next year.
After ten straight season in which the Yankees finished no better then third in the American League, the Bronx Bombers finally captured their first pennant in 1921. Miller Huggins had led the team to two consecutive third place finishes, but with the emergence of Babe Ruth as the best hitter in baseball, the Yanks were finally able to get over the top.
George Herman Ruth set a new standard for power hitters as he set a new single season homerun record. His 59 homers eclipsed his previous record set the season before (54 homers). The only thing that prevented him from capturing the triple crown were incredible hitting seasons by Tiger teammates Harry Heilmann (.394) and Ty Cobb (.389).
The pitching staff was led by Carl Mays. His 27 wins led the American League and the Yankees led the league in ERA (3.82) and strikeouts (481).
The team set a team record for wins in a season with 98. Their previous mark of 95 was set the year before, and prior to that they had only won 90 or more twice.
In their first World Series, the Yankees faced the New York Giants. Both teams shared the Polo Grounds as their home stadium, so the World Series never left New York.
(All Game Recaps were created thanks to the the play by play information at Retrosheet)
Game 1 Highlights
Yankees 3, Giants 0 Yankees Lead Series 1-0
Carl Mays threw a gem to lead the Yankees to a 3-0 victory in their best of nine series. Four of the five Giants’ hits that Mays gave up were off the bat of Frankie Frisch. Mays was tagged for only one extra base hit as he dominated the Giant’s lineup.
The Yankees jumped out to an early lead. Lead off hitter Elmer Miller singled and was moved to second on a bunt. Then Babe Ruth made good use of his only hit by driving in Miller with a single to center.
The Yankees wouldn’t score again until the fifth inning. Third baseman Mike McNally led off the inning with a double and was moved over to third with a bunt. He then stole home to put the Yankees in front 2-0.
They’d put an insurance run on the board in the sixth when Irish Meusel drove in a run on a ground out.
Game 2 Highlights
Yankees 3, Giants 0 Yankees Lead Series 2-0
Things were looking extremely good for the Yankees as they took a 2-0 lead over the Giants. Once again, the Yankee’s starter completely shut down the Giants. Waite Hoyt threw a two hit shutout and he struck out five. Frankie Frisch seemed to be the only Giant who was able to solve the Yankee’s pitchers as he had one of the two hits.
The Yankees scored their first run in the fourth. Second baseman Aaron Ward scored an unearned run when Hoyt grounded into a double play. They wouldn’t score again until the bottom of the eighth. Babe Ruth scored on a groundout by Wally Pipp and Bob Meusell (Irish’s brother) scored when he stole home.
Game 3 Highlights
Giants 13, Yankees 5 Yankees Lead Series 2-1
The Giants’ bats finally came alive as they blew out the Yankees in grand fashion. The Yankees actually took a 4-0 lead in the top of the third, only to see it disappear when the Giants scored four runs, their first of the World Series, in the bottom half of the inning. Babe Ruth drove in two of the runs in the third with a single.
The two teams would go scoreless in the next 3 1/2 innings when the flood gates opened. In the bottom of the seventh, the Giants scored eight runs on eight hits to put the game away. Both teams would score another run, but after the big inning, the game was over. Reliever Jack Quinn took the loss and all four Yankees pitchers were tagged for at least one run.
Game 4 Highlights
Giants 4, Yankees 2 Series Tied 2-2
The Giants tied up the series 2-2 in what was the most exciting game of the series so far. For the fourth straight time, the Yankees got on the board first. In the bottom of the fifth, Wally Pipp scored on a triple by catcher Wally Schang.
Neither team would score again until the Giants put three runs on the board in the top of the eighth. They’d add an extra run in the ninth to put the game away. Babe Ruth ended up hitting his first homer of the series (and the first homer by either team) in the bottom of the ninth. Unfortunately it was with nobody on and it wasn’t enough.
Carl Mays took the loss and things weren’t looking good for the Yankees. They had lost two in a row and the Giants had finally gotten to their ace.
Game 5 Highlights
Yankees 3, Giants 1 Yankees Lead Series 3-2
For the first time in this series, the Giants got on the board first. Waite Hoyt gave up an unearned run in the first inning, but he was extremely effective after that. He pitched a shutout the rest of the way and improved to 2-0 without giving up an earned run in either of the two complete games.
The Yankees finally got a man across and tied the game up in the third. Elmer Miller drove in Mike McNally with a sac. fly. An inning later, they’d put two runs on the board to take the lead for good. Babe Ruth led off with a single and scored on Bob Meusel’s double. Meusel then scored on Aaron Ward’s sac. fly.
The win put the Yankees up 3-2 but they suffered a major loss as Babe Ruth was injured. The only thing I could find on this was at Baseball Almanac, which said he had arm and knee ailments.
Game 6 Highlights
Giants 8, Yankees 3 Series Tied 3-3
The Yankees once again blew the lead and they let the Giants tie the series back up. They jumped out to a 3-0 lead in the first inning only to see the Giants tie the game back up in second
inning with three of their own. They scored two more in the bottom of the second to take the lead once again, but the Giants scored four in the fourth to take the lead for good.
Yankees starter Harry Harper couldn’t make it through the second inning. Chick Fewster scored twice and drove in two with a homerun and Aaron Ward had two RBIs.
Game 7 Highlights
Giants 3, Yankees 2 Giants Lead Series 4-3
For the first time the New York Giants took the lead in the series at they topped the Yankees 2-1. Carl Mays struck out seven and only gave up six hits, but an unearned run in the seventh cost the Yankees the ball game and quite possibly the chance at winning their first World Series.
The Yankees had an early lead after scoring a run on an RBI single by Mike McNally but he’d be the only Yankee to cross the plate. Despite outhitting the Giants, they were now down four games to three.
Game 8 Highlights
Giants 1, Yankees 0 Giants Win Series 5-3
The Yankees lost the game and their first World Series in yet another pitching duel. Waite Hoyt struck out seven and held the Giants to six hits, but a two out error in the first gave the Giants an unearned run and enough to win the game.
Babe Ruth made his first appearance since getting hurt in game five in a dramatic ninth inning pinch hitting attempt. Unfortunately, he grounded out to first base, and Yankees went away quietly.
In an odd quirk, Waite Hoyt threw three complete games and didn’t give up a single earned run. Unfortunately he gave up two unearned runs and one of those cost him game eight.
With the last two games being decided by one run, I’m pretty confident that this series would have gone in a completely different direction had George Herman Ruth been in the lineup. Unfortunately the Yanks would have to wait another year to have a chance to capture their first World Series Crown.
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