The New York Yankees are a Major League Baseball team based in the borough of The Bronx, in New York City. The teams name is often shortened to "the Yanks", and their most prominent nickname is "The Bronx Bombers", or simply "the Bombers". The term used to describe the team during its tumultuous times during the late 70's, "the Bronx Zoo" is also used to describe the organization and the stadium, mostly by detractors. The club was founded in Baltimore, Maryland in 1901, moving to New York in 1903. From 1923 to the present, the Yankees have played at Yankee Stadium.
One of the American Leagues eight charter franchises, the Yankees have been Major League Baseballs most storied franchises, winning 26 World Series titles and 39 American League Pennants. Their 26 titles make them the most successful franchise in North American professional sports history, passing the Montreal Canadiens' 24 titles in 1999. They are also the only team represented in the National Baseball Hall of Fame at every position. Notably, they have faced every winner of the National League pennant in the World Series except for the Houston Astros, who won their first pennant in 2005. No other team has come close to matching this feat.
The Yankees also have one of the longest standing and most storied rivalries in North American sports with the nearby Boston Red Sox. The Yankees-Red Sox Rivalry has centered around the supposed Curse of the Bambino, and has gained more power with the creation of the Wild Card in 1995 which allowed the two teams to meet in the playoffs.
At the end of the 1900 season, the American League reorganized, and, with AL president Ban Johnson as the driving force, decided to assert itself as a new major league. Known as the Western League until 1899, the AL carried over five of its previous locations and added teams in three East Coast cities, including Baltimore, Maryland. Baltimore had lost its National League team in 1899 when that league eliminated four teams. The original plan was to put a team in New York City, but the NL's New York Giants had political connections with Tammany Hall and kept the AL out.
The team was known as the Baltimore Orioles and began playing in 1901 with John McGraw as manager. McGraw fueded with Johnson, who rigidly enforced the rules about rowdiness on the field of play, and jumped leagues to manage the Giants in the middle of the 1902 season. A week later, the owner of the Giants gained controlling interest of the Orioles and raided the teams for players. The AL stepped in and took control of the team, still hoping to move the team to New York.
In January 1903, a peace conference was held between the two leagues to settle disputes and try to find a way to coexist. One of the results of the conference was that the NL agreed to let the "junior circuit" establish a franchise in New York. The Oriole's new owners, Frank Farrell and William Devery, found a ballpark location not blocked by the Giants, and Baltimore's team moved to New York.
The ballpark was Hilltop Park and it was located at 165th Street and Broadway in Manhattan, near the highest point on the island. Publisher William Randolph Hurst's New York Evening Journal referred to them as the "Invaders" in 1903, but switched in the spring of 1904 to the name that would eventually stick: the New York Highlanders . The name was a reference to the team's location and also to the noted British military unit The Gordon Highlanders, which fit as the team's president from 1903 to 1906 was Joseph Gordon.
As the Highlanders, the team enjoyed success only twice, finishing second place in 1904 and 1910. Much of the team's Hilltop Park days were spent in the cellar. It's somewhat corrupt ownership and a few questionable activities by some of the players (most notable first baseman Hal Chase) raised suspicions of game-fixing. Such suspicions, however, have never been proven.
The high point of the Highlander's existance came on the last day of the 1904 season at Hilltop Park. 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 had historical signifigance in several ways. First of all, the presence of the Highlanders in the race led to the Giants' announcement that they would not participate in the World Series, claiming they would not play a "minor league" team. Although Boston had won instead, the Giants stuck by their word and still refused to participate. The resulting backlash by the press caused Giants owner John T. Brush to take a stance and lead the committee to formalize the rules governing the World Series. This would be the last time until the strike-truncated year of 1994 that the World Series would not be played. It would also be the last time for a century that the Boston AL team, who would later formally become the Red Sox in 1908, would beat the New York AL team in a pennant-deciding game.
Relations had warmed between the Highlanders and their National League rivals the Giants, who had tried years before to keep the team out of New York. In 1911 the Polo Grounds, home of the Giants, was mostly destroyed in a fire, and the Highlanders let the Giants play in Hilltop Park while the Polo Grounds was being reconstructed. In 1913, the Highlanders moved into the reconstructed Polo Grounds after their agreement to play at Hilltop Park ended. Now playing on the Harlem river, a far cry from their high-altitude home, the "Highlanders" name had no meaning. The name "Yankees" was occasionally applied to the club as a variant on "Americans". On April 7, 1904, a spring training story from Richmond, Virginia carried the headline "Yankees Will Start Home From South To-Day." The New York Evening Journal screamed: "YANKEES BEAT BOSTON"  Now, in 1913, the New York Highlanders officially changed their name to the New York Yankees , which would be the team's name until present day.
By the mid 1910's, owners Farrell and Devery had become estranged, and they were both in dire need of money. At the start of 1915, the duo sold the team to Colonel Jacob Ruppert and Captain Tillinghast L'Hommedieu Huston. Ruppert inherited a brewery fortune and had also been tied to the Tammany Hall machine, serving as a Congressman for eight years. He was later quoted as saying, "For $450,000, we got an orphan ball club without a home of its own, without players of outstanding ability, without prestige." However, they now had an owner possessing deep pockets and a willingness to dig into them to produce a winning team. The Yankees were on their way to acquiring more prestige than Ruppert could have ever envisioned.
Perhaps one of the greatest ironies of the Yankees dominance comes from its roots. The Yankees detente with the Boston Red Sox and Chicago White Sox circa 1920 (all three collectively known as the "Insurrectos") paid off well. 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 the team's success came from the Boston Red Sox, whose owner, theater impresario Harry Frazee, had bought his team on credit and needed money to pay off his loans and purchase Fenway Park from the Fenway Park Trust. Further, as Frazee owned the strongest of the "Insurrectos" franchises, which antagonized A.L. President Ban Johnson, Frazee faced most of the legal battles which proved costly.  From 1919 to 1922, the Yankees acquired pitchers Waite Hoyt, Carl Mays and Herb Pennock, catcher Wally Schang, shortstop Everett Scott and third baseman Joe Dugan, all from the Red Sox.
However, pitcher-turned-outfielder Babe Ruth was the most talented of them all. The Babe accumulated 2,213 RBIs over his career which ranks second in Major League History, and totaled 1,971 as a Yankee which is second best in the Yankees team history. Frazee traded Ruth to the Yankees in January of 1920, citing Ruth's demand for a raise after being paid the highest salary in baseball, and despite owning the single season home run record at the time of the trade (hitting 29 home runs in 1919). Frazee also wished to aid the Yankees, as giving the Yankees a box office draw would strengthen a legal ally, and reduce the pressure he faced. Ruth was also regarded as a problem, a carouser. That would continue during his Yankees years, but the New York ownership was more tolerant, provided he brought fans and championships to the ballpark.
The perceived outcome of the trade in favor of the Yankees would haunt the Boston club for the next 84 years. The Red Sox ended up not winning 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. Frazee would not have to wait that long to produce success from the Ruth trade - on Broadway. In 1925 he scored a hit with the musical comedy No No Nanette, a production perhaps financed with at least some of the proceeds from the Ruth trade.
Other important 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 American 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, when the Yankees made their first World Series appearance, against the Giants, 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, the Yankees broke ground for a new ballpark just across the Harlem River from the Polo Grounds. In 1922 the Yankees returned to the Series again, and were again defeated by the Giants. Meanwhile, 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 East 161st Street and River Avenue) in the Bronx. The site for the Stadium was chosen because the IRT Jerome Avenue subway line (now the NYCTA's number 4 train) has a station stop 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. In the first game at Yankee Stadium, Babe Ruth hit a home run. He would end the year with "only" 41 home runs, but he was walked a then record 170 times and he batted .393, which is still the highest batting average for a Yankee playing in Yankee Stadium. Because of his success and all the fans that he brought to see the Yankees, the Stadium became known as "The House that Ruth Built".
In 1923 the Yanks faced the Giants for a third straight year in the Series, finally turning the tables on the Giants. 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 come to the Yankees as a successful 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). The Yankees won an AL record 110 games against only 44 losses and swept the Pittsburgh Pirates in the 1927 World Series. Ruth's home run total of 60 in 1927 set a single-season record which would stand for 34 years. Ruth also batted .356 and drove in 164 runs. Meanwhile, first baseman Lou Gehrig had his first big season, batting .373 with 47 round-trippers. He also broke Ruth's single season RBI mark (171 in 1921) with 175. Ruth hit third in the order and Gehrig fourth. However, right behind them were two more sluggers: Bob "The Rifle" Meusel, who played either of the corner outfield positions, and Tony Lazzeri, who played second base. Lazzeri actually ranked third in the league in home runs in 1927 with 18, and he hit .309 with 102 RBI. Meusel hit .337 with 103 RBI. Speed was another weapon used by both: Meusel's 24 stolen bases were second best in the league, while Lazzeri swiped 22. All of these numbers were due in part to the leadoff man Earle Combs who played center field. Combs hit .356 and lead the AL with 231 hits that year (a team record until Don Mattingly broke it with 238 in 1986), and had a .414 on base percentage. The 1927 Yankees team batting average was .307.
The Yankees would repeat as American League champions in 1928, fighting off the resurgent Philadelphia Athletics, and would go on to sweep the St. Louis Cardinals in the Series. Ruth got 10 hits in 16 at-bats for a single Series record batting average of .625; three of those hits were home runs. Meanwhile, Gehrig went 6 for 11 (.545), with four of those six hits being round-trippers. After three also-ran seasons went to the Philadelphia Athletics, the Yankees returned to the American League top perch under new manager Joe McCarthy in 1932 and swept the Chicago Cubs in the Series, running the team's streak of consecutive World Series game wins to 12, a mark which would stand until the Yankees bested it in the 2000 World Series. Babe Ruth hit his famous " Called Shot" home run in Wrigley Field in Game Three of that Series, a fitting "swan song" to his illustrious post-season career.
The Yankees run during the 1930s could also be called the "McCarthy era", as manager Joe McCarthy (no relation to the 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 had an immediate impact, batting .323 and hitting 29 homers while driving in 125 runs in his rookie season of 1936.
Behind the Yankee bats of DiMaggio, Gehrig and Frank Crosetti, and a pitching staff led by Red Ruffing and Lefty Gomez and anchored by catcher Bill Dickey, the team reeled off an unprecedented four consecutive World Series wins during 1936 to 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 were 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 Two of the 1936 Series, they pounded the Giants 18-4, still the World Series record (through 2006) for most runs by a team in one game. They took the Giants four games to two in that Series, and four games to one the next year. The Yankees 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. A crucial factor in ending the streak was the fielding of Cleveland third baseman Ken Keltner, who stopped two balls that DiMaggio hit hard to the left.
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 that it will be extremely difficult to approach DiMaggio's 56-game streak, which is far beyond second place (44) and a modern day phenomenon.
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' four-games-to-one 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 the team traded World Series wins with the St. Louis Cardinals during 1942 and 1943.
The team 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 took the Yankees seven games to win, and was a harbinger of things to come for much of the next decade.
Despite finishing only three games behind the pennant-winning Cleveland Indians in 1948, Harris was released, and the Yankees brought in Casey Stengel as the team's manager. Casey had a reputation for being somewhat of a clown and had been associated with managing particularly bad teams such as the mid-1930s Boston Braves, so his selection was met with no little skepticism. His tenure would prove to be the most successful in the Yankees' history up to that point. The 1949 Yankees team was seen as "underdogs" that came from behind to catch and surpass the powerful Red Sox on the last two days of the season, in a faceoff that fueled the 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 - the Dodgers - four games to one.
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.
Bettering the McCarthy-era clubs, Stengel's squad won the World Series in his first five years as manager, 1949 through 1953. The Yankees won over 100 games in 1954, but finished second to the Indians who won an AL record 111 games; that record stood for 44 years until the 1998 Yankees surpassed it. 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. Casey Stengel was also a master at publicity for the team and for himself, even landing a cover story in Time magazine in 1955.
The 1950s was also a decade of significant individual achievement for Yankee players. For example, in 1956 Mantle won the major league triple crown, leading both leagues in batting average (.353), home runs (52), and RBIs (130).
In 1955, the Dodgers finally beat the Yankees in the World Series, after five Series losses to the Yankees in '41, '47, '49, '52 and '53. But the Yankees came back strong the next year. On October 8, 1956, in Game Five 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 also 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.
The Yankees lost the 1957 World Series to the Milwaukee Braves. Following the Series, the New York Giants and the Brooklyn Dodgers left New York City for California, leaving the Yankees as New York's only team. In the 1958 World Series, the Yankees got their revenge against the Braves, and became the second team to win the Series after being down three games to one.
For the decade, the Yankees won six World Series championships ('50, 51,'52, '53, '56, '58) and eight American League pennants (those six plus '55 and '57). Led by Mantle, Ford, Berra, Elston Howard (the Yankees' first African-American player), and the newly acquired Roger Maris, the Yankees burst into the new decade seeking to replicate the remarkable success of the 1950s.
During the 1960-61 offseason, a seemingly innocuous development may have marked the beginning of the end for the future of this Yankees dynasty. In December of 1960, Chicago insurance executive Charles O. 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 the American League owners forced him to sell the Stadium 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, thus significantly improving the Yankees' future prospects. Roger Maris had been acquired by the Yankees in one such trade, going to New York in a seven-player deal in December 1959. Many fans, and even other teams, frequently accused the Athletics of being operated effectively as a farm team for the Yankees. Once Finley purchased the Athletics, he immediately terminated the team's "special relationship" with the Yankees, thus cutting off their easy supply of promising players.
In 1960, Roger Maris - the former Athletic, now Yankee - led the league in slugging percentage, RBIs, and extra base hits; he finished second in home runs (one behind Mickey Mantle) and total bases, won a Golden Glove, and won the American League Most Valuable Player award. All of this was a prelude to the remarkable year that would follow.
Nineteen sixty-one was one of the most memorable years in Yankee history. Throughout the summer Mantle and Maris, the reigning MVP, 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, 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 eight-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 remains 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 remains 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 strong depth and power, and its 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 once again had an intra-city rival as the National League's new expansion team, the New York Mets, came into existence. That year the Mets would lose a record 120 games while the Yankees would win the 1962 World Series, their tenth in the past sixteen years, defeating the San Francisco Giants in seven games.
The Yankees would again reach the Fall Classic in 1963, but they 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 for a fifth straight World Series in 1964 - their fourteenth World Series appearance in the past sixteen years -- 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 Three off of Cardinals' reliever Barney Schultz, the Yankees fell to the Cardinals in seven games, and Berra was fired. It was to be the last World Series appearance by the Yankees for 12 years.
After the 1964 season, CBS purchased 80 percent of 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 five 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. Webb sold his 10 percent of the Yankees that year.
In 1966 the team finished last in the AL for the first time since 1912. Johnny Keane, the winning Cards manager in 1964 who joined the Yankees to manage in '65, was fired during the season, and GM Ralph Houk did double duty as field manager until the end of the year. Topping, who had stayed on as 10-percent owner and team president, quit at the end of the season and sold his share to CBS, who then appointed Michael Burke as president.
The Yankees were next-to-last the following year, 1967, during which former farm director Lee MacPhail returned to the organization as GM, replacing Houk. After that the team's fortunes improved somewhat, but they would not become serious contenders again until 1974.
Various reasons have been given for the decline, but the single biggest one was the Yankees' inability to replace their aging superstars with new ones, as they had done consistently in the previous five decades. The Yankees' "special relationship" with the Athletics may have been a way to mask this problem. By the mid-1960s, the Yankees had little to offer in the way of trades, and Charles Finley had taken the Athletics in a new direction. Some have suggested the Yankees paid the price for bringing black players into the organization later than other teams, though this theory is controversial.
Also during the 1960s, the Yankees lost two of its signature broadcasters. The team fired Mel Allen after the 1964 season, for reasons the club has not explained to this day. Two years later, Red Barber -- the former Dodgers voice who joined the Yankees on-air team in 1954 -- was also let go. Some blamed Barber's firing on his on-air mention of a paltry 413-fan attendance at a September 1966 home game against the White Sox. But sports biographer David J. Halberstam (not the October 1964 author) also noted Barber's less-than-happy relationship with Joe Garagiola and even Phil Rizzuto, ex-major leaguers with whom he shared the booth.
A group of investors, led by Cleveland -based shipbuilder George Steinbrenner, purchased the club from CBS for $8.7 million on January 3, 1973. Mike Burke stayed on as president until April, when he quit. Within a year, Steinbrenner bought out most of his other partners and became the team's principal owner, although Burke continued to hold a minority share of the club into the 1980s.
Steinbrenner was in charge during the renovation of Yankee Stadium (planned out by Burke and then-New York City Mayor John Lindsay), which was performed in a two-year period (1974-75) during which the Yankees played their home games at the Mets' home, Shea Stadium in Flushing, Queens. After the 1974 season, Steinbrenner made a move that started the modern era of free agency by signing star pitcher Jim "Catfish" Hunter away from Oakland.
Midway through the 1975 season, Steinbrenner hired former second baseman Billy Martin as manager, and over the next 13 years fired and rehired him several times. With Martin at the helm, the Yankees reached the 1976 World Series , but were swept by the Cincinnati Reds.
Steinbrenner continued his buying of high-priced free agents, by signing star outfielder Reggie Jackson, who had been traded from the Athletics to the Baltimore Orioles at the beginning of the season, for a then record $600,000 per year. Steinbrenner, Martin and Jackson would repeatedly feud throughout Jackson's five-year contract. Nevertheless, in Game Six of the 1977 World Series, Jackson proved his worth by hitting three home runs on three consecutive pitches against three different Dodger pitchers to wrap up the Series for the Yankees, earning himself the nickname "Mr. October".
Throughout the late '70s, the race for the pennant often came to a close competition between the Yankees and the Red Sox, and for fans of both clubs, every game between the two became important and added to a rivalry that was often bitter and ruthless, with brawls frequently erupting between both players and fans from the two clubs.
The Yankees-Red Sox rivalry came to a head in the 1978 season. On July 14, 1978, the Yankees were 14.5 games behind the Red Sox. The Yankees then went on a tear, and by the time they met up with the Sox for a pivotal four-game series at Fenway in early September, the Yankees were only four games out. In what would become known as the "Boston Massacre", the Yankees swept the Red Sox, winning the games 15-3, 13-2, 7-0 and 7-4. The third game was a shutout by Ron Guidry, who would lead the majors with nine shutouts, 25 wins (against only three losses) and a 1.74 ERA. Guidry also finished with 248 strikeouts, but Nolan Ryan's 260 strikeouts deprived Guidry of the pitching Triple Crown.
On the last day of the season, the two clubs finished the regular season in a tie for first place in the AL East. A one-game playoff (the 163rd game of the regular season) between the two teams was held to decide who would go on to the pennant race, with the game being held at Boston's Fenway Park. With Guidry matched up against former Yankee Mike Torrez, the Red Sox took an early 2-0 lead. In the seventh inning, the Yankees drove a stake through the hearts of their rivals' fans when Bucky Dent drove a three-run home run over the "Green Monster", putting the Yankees up 3-2. Reggie Jackson's solo home run in the following inning would seal the eventual 5-4 win that gave the Yankees their 100th win of the season and their third straight AL East title; it also gave Guidry his 25th win. (The outcome of this game, for Red Sox fans, was one of several emotional moments in their team's history that had their fans wondering if the Red Sox were under some kind of Yankee curse.)
After beating the Kansas City Royals for the third consecutive year in the ALCS, the Yankees faced the Dodgers again in the 1978 World Series. They lost the first two games on the road, but then came home to win all three games at Yankee Stadium before wrapping up their 22nd World Championship in Game Six in Los Angeles.
The 1970s would end on a tragic note: on August 2, 1979, Yankees catcher and team captain Thurman Munson was killed in a plane crash. Four days later, the entire team flew to Canton, Ohio for his funeral, only to return to New York later that day to play the Baltimore Orioles. In a game that was televised nationally, the emotional contest was highlighted by Bobby Murcer driving in all five of the team's runs in a dramatic 5-4 victory. Munson's uniform number (15) was retired, and his locker has been unused since his death.
Following the team's loss in the 1981 World Series, the Yankees would go into their longest absence from the playoffs since 1921. From 1989 to 1992 they had a losing record, having spent large amounts of money on free-agent players and draft picks that did not perform up to expectations.
During the 1980s the Yankees, led by their All-Star first baseman Don Mattingly, had the most total wins of any major league team, but failed to win a World Series (the first such decade since the 1910s). The Yankees consistently had powerful offensive teams - besides Mattingly, its rosters included, at one time or another, Dave Winfield, Rickey Henderson , Mike Pagliarulo, Steve Sax and Jesse Barfield -- but their starting pitching rarely matched the team's performance at the plate. After posting a 22-6 record in 1985, arm problems caught up with Ron Guidry, and his career went into a steep decline in the next three years. Dennis Rasmussen, who won 18 games the following year, never matched his 1986 performance. Rick Rhoden, acquired from the Pittsburgh Pirates in 1987, won 16 games that year but only went 14-14 in 1988.
The Yankees came close to winning the AL East in 1985 and 1986, finishing second behind the Toronto Blue Jays and Boston Red Sox, respectively, but fell to fourth place in 1987 and fifth in 1988, despite having mid-season leads in the AL East standings in both seasons. 1988 would be the last season the Yankees had a winning record until 1993.
By the end of the decade, the Yankees' offense was also on the decline. Henderson and Pagliarulo had departed by the middle of 1989, while back problems caught up with both Winfield (causing him to miss the entire '89 season) and Mattingly (he missed virtually the entire second half of 1990). Winfield's tenure with the team ended when he was dealt to the California Angels in May 1990. That year, the Yankees had the worst record in Major League Baseball, and their first last-place finish since 1966. The Bombers would finish at or near the bottom of the division until 1993. In 1990, pitcher Andy Hawkins became the first Yankee ever to lose a no-hitter, when the third baseman ( Mike Blowers) committed an error, followed by two walks and an error by the left fielder ( Jim Leyritz ) with the bases loaded, scoring all three runners and the batter. The 4-0 loss to the Chicago White Sox was the largest margin of any no-hitter loss in the 20th century. Ironically, the Yankees (and Hawkins) were again no-hit for six innings in a rain-shortened game with the White Sox eleven days later.
Mattingly had the unfortunate distinction of beginning his career (1982) and ending his career (1995) in years bracketed by Yankee World Series appearances (1981 and 1996).
The poor showing in the '80s and early '90s would start to change when management was able to implement a coherent acquisition/development program without interference from Steinbrenner, who had been suspended from day-to-day team operations by then-Commissioner Fay Vincent for hiring Howard Spira to uncover damaging information on former Yankee outfielder Dave Winfield. Under general managers Gene Michael and Bob Watson and manager Buck Showalter, the club shifted its emphasis from buying talent to developing talent through its farm system - and then holding onto it. The first significant sign of success came in 1994, when the Yankees had the best record in the AL before the season was cut short by the players' strike. A year later, the team reached the playoffs as the wild card and were eliminated only after a memorable 1995 American League Division Series series against the Seattle Mariners where the Yankees won the first two games at home and dropped the next three in Seattle.
Shaking it up once again, Steinbrenner replaced Showalter and his staff with manager Joe Torre, who brought with him Don Zimmer as bench coach and former Yankees pitching star Mel Stottlemyre as pitching coach. Torre's managerial tenure is now by far the longest under George Steinbrenner's ownership. One of Showalter's coaches, popular former Yankee second baseman Willie Randolph, was retained by Torre as a third base coach. Initially derided as a retread choice ("Clueless Joe" ran the headline on the New York Post), Torre's smooth manner proved to be what the team needed. Going 8-0 on the road in the three playoff series that year, the Yankees won the 1996 World Series, defeating the Atlanta Braves in six games (after losing the first two games at home by a combined score of 16-1), and ending their 18-year championship drought. Homegrown shortstop Derek Jeter was named Rookie of the Year, an auspicious start to his association with the Yankees.
After their first World Series win since 1978, the Yankees signed lefties David Wells and Mike Stanton to improve the pitching staff. They also allowed closing reliever (and Series MVP) John Wetteland to leave as a free agent, and named setup man Mariano Rivera as the team's new closer.
General Manager Bob Watson was dismissed when the Yankees lost in the 1997 ALDS to the Cleveland Indians. He was replaced by Brian Cashman, a former Yankee intern. Cashman made many key acquisitions to improve the team, through the acquisitions of third baseman Scott Brosius, second baseman and leadoff man Chuck Knoblauch, outfielder Darryl Strawberry and starting pitcher Orlando "El Duque" Hernandez.
On May 17, 1998 David Wells, who would later claim to have been hungover that day, pitched a perfect game against the Minnesota Twins. A year later, on July 18, 1999, which was "Yogi Berra Day" at the Stadium, David Cone pitched a perfect game against the Montréal Expos. In an amazing coincidence, Don Larsen, who pitched the perfect game in the 1956 World Series, was in attendance and had thrown out the ceremonial first pitch to Berra, his catcher for that storied game. An even more amazing coincidence is that Larsen and Wells both attended Point Loma High School in San Diego, California.
The 1998 Yankees are widely acknowledged to be one of the greatest teams in baseball history, having compiled a then-AL record of 114 regular season wins against just 48 losses en route to a Series sweep of the San Diego Padres. The '98 Yankees went 11-2 during the playoffs and finished with a combined record of 125-50. Their 125 wins is a major league record, though their AL regular season record was surpassed by the 2001 Seattle Mariners, who went 116-46 before losing to the Yankees in the ALCS.
After the 1998 season, fan favorite David Wells was traded to the Toronto Blue Jays for Roger Clemens, who had just completed two consecutive Cy Young Award and pitching triple crown seasons. After winning the Eastern division and defeating the Texas Rangers for the third time in the 1999 American League Division Series, the Yankees met up with the their longtime rivals, the Boston Red Sox, in the next playoff round. Clemens, a former Red Sox pitcher, started the third game of the ALCS against the Sox who blasted him 13-1 in what had been a highly anticipated pitching match up between Clemens and Pedro Martínez, the winner of the Cy Young Award and the pitching triple crown that season. However, it was the only game the Red Sox won, as the Yankees won the ALCS four games to one, and then went on to sweep the Atlanta Braves in the 1999 World Series, with Clemens winning the clincher in Game Four in the Bronx. This gave the 1998-1999 Yankees a 22-3 record (including four series sweeps) in six consecutive postseason series.
In 2000, the Yankees met up with the crosstown New York Mets for the first Subway Series since the 1956 World Series. To get there, they defeated the Oakland Athletics in the ALDS and then the Seattle Mariners in the ALCS. By winning the first two games of the Series, the Yankees won a total of fourteen straight World Series games from 1996 to 2000, breaking their own record of twelve (in 1927, 1928 and 1932). When the Mets scored a run against Mariano Rivera, they snapped his string of postseason consecutive scoreless innings at 34 1/3. Prior to Rivera's streak, the record had been held by Whitey Ford, who had broken Babe Ruth's scoreless World Series pitching streak. The win ran the Yankees' postseason series winning streak to nine and gave them a 33-8 record during that run. The Yankees are the most recent major league team to repeat as World Series champions and after the 2000 season they joined the Yankee teams of 1936-1939 and 1949-1953, as well as the 1972-1974 Oakland Athletics as the only teams to win at least three consecutive World Series.
In the emotional times of October 2001, following the September 11 attack on New York's World Trade Center, the Yankees defeated the Oakland A's three games to two in the ALDS, and then the Seattle Mariners, who had won 116 games, four games to one in the ALCS. By winning the pennant for a fourth straight year, the 1998-2001 Yankees joined the 1921-1924 New York Giants, and the Yankee teams of '36-'39, '49-'53, '55-'58 and '60-'64 as the only dynasties to reach at least four straight pennants. The Yankees had now won eleven consecutive postseason series in consecutive years.
However, the World Series starters for the Arizona Diamondbacks, Randy Johnson and Curt Schilling (later named the World Series co- MVPs ), kept them in check, starting Games One, Two, Four, Six and Seven; the Diamondbacks won all four games at home, including Game Seven where Yankee star closer Mariano Rivera uncharacteristically lost the lead - and the Series - in the bottom of the ninth inning.
After the 2001 season, fan favorites Paul O'Neill and Scott Brosius retired. Tino Martinez and Chuck Knoblauch left for free agency. The Yankees had a lot of reconstructing to do; they needed to rebuild the offense that was shut down by the Johnson-Schilling duo in the 2001 World Series. They did it by signing slugger Jason Giambi and outfielder Rondell White, as well as trading David Justice to the Mets for third baseman Robin Ventura. The team also brought back fan favorite David Wells to bolster the pitching staff. The Yankees finished the 2002 season with an AL best record of 103-58, winning the division by 10.5 games over the Red Sox. The season was highlighted by Alfonso Soriano becoming the first second baseman ever to hit 30 home runs and steal 30 bases in a season, as well as Giambi's 41 home runs. Roger Clemens also made history in the 2002 season by obtaining his 300 win as a pitcher and striking out 4000 batters over the course of his career. Only two other pitchers in major league history have more then 4000 strikeouts which are Nolan Ryan and Steve Carlton. In the ALDS, the Yankees lost to the Anaheim Angels in four games.
In 2003, the Yankees once again had the best league record (101-61), defeated the Minnesota Twins in the ALDS, and then defeated their longtime rival Red Sox in a tough seven-game ALCS, which featured a bench-clearing brawl in Game Three and a Series-ending walk-off home run by Aaron Boone in the bottom of the 11th inning of the final game. The Yankees were then defeated by the Florida Marlins - a team with a payroll a quarter of the size of the Yankees' - in the World Series, four games to two.
After the 2003 season, the Yankees hoped to add more power to a lineup which was shut down in the previous year's Series. They gained two sluggers, signing free agent Gary Sheffield, and trading second-baseman Alfonso Soriano for Texas Rangers shortstop Alex Rodriguez. With Jeter as the Yankees All-Star shortstop, Rodriguez, who had played the position his entire career, agreed to move to third base. Throughout 2004, however, the Yankees' weakness was their starting pitching. Despite this, they managed to win over 100 games with their powerful lineup, the third straight year they had done so, and reach the playoffs. In the ALDS, the Yankees once again met and defeated the Twins three games to one.
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-seven series after taking a 3-0 series lead. The Yankees thought they needed to improve their pitching, which faltered in their loss to the Red Sox, and they signed free-agent pitchers Carl Pavano and Jaret Wright and acquired dominant lefty Randy Johnson from Arizona. However, none of the three performed up to expectations; Pavano pitched in only 17 games in 2005 and missed the entire 2006 season due to a variety of injuries, Wright was traded after starting only 40 games over two seasons, and Johnson suffered from back problems which resulted in surgery in October, 2006.
The 2005 season started slowly for the Yankees, and they spent most of the season chasing the Boston Red Sox for the division title. The Yankees, however, won the division, clinching it in the second-to-last game of the season against the Red Sox. Alex Rodriguez won the American League Most Valuable Player award, becoming the first Yankee to win the award since Don Mattingly in 1985. Giambi was named Comeback Player of the Year, as voted by fans, and second baseman Robinson Canó was runner-up in Rookie of the Year voting. Another highlight of the season was the record-setting pitching by journeyman Aaron Small, who became just the fourth pitcher in history to win at least ten games without a loss.
In the 2005 American League Division Series, the Angels defeated the Yankees in five games in the first round of the postseason, marking the second time in four years that the Angels beat the Yankees in the first round. Alex Rodriguez, the American League's 2005 MVP, had a poor series, hitting .133 with no home runs and no RBIs.
In the 2005-2006 offseason, general manager Brian Cashman was given more control of the direction of the Yankees, and in December 2005, the Yankees signed center fielder Johnny Damon from the archrival Red Sox. The Yankees also signed Kyle Farnsworth, Mike Myers, Octavio Dotel and Ron Villone to improve their bullpen, which had been a weak point during the 2005 season.
Despite losing starting outfielders Hideki Matsui and Gary Sheffield to injuries early in the season, the Yankees finished the first half of the 2006 season with 50 wins and 36 losses, three games behind the Red Sox. But they caught up to the Red Sox, and on August 18, the Yankees entered Fenway Park with a 1.5 game lead for a five game series. The series opened up with a doubleheader that the Yankees swept 12-4 and 14-11, echoing the Boston Massacre of 1978, and prompting the Boston Globe' s Dan Shaughnessy to dub the doubleheader sweep the "Son of Massacre". The Yankees went on to sweep all five games (calling the series the "Second Boston Massacre"). They outscored the Red Sox by a combined score of 49-26, and left them 6.5 games out of first place. The Red Sox would eventually end the season in third place in the AL East behind the Yankees and the Toronto Blue Jays, making it the first time since 1998 that the Red Sox did not finish in second place behind the Yanks.
The division win was the ninth consecutive AL East title for the Yankees. When the New York Mets won their division (snapping the Atlanta Braves' eleven-year stranglehold on the NL East), it marked the first time ever that both New York teams won their respective divisions in the same year. Their 97-65 record tied the Mets for the best record of the year, giving New Yorkers hopes for another Subway Series. However, the Yankees lost to the Detroit Tigers in four games in the ALDS, while the Mets lost the NLCS to the St. Louis Cardinals in seven games.
On October 11, 2006, days after the ALDS was over, tragedy struck when pitcher CoryLidle died in a plane crash. It has yet to be determined if Lidle or his co-pilot, Tyler Stanger, who was also killed, was piloting the plane which crashed into a highrise apartment building on East 72nd Street on Manhattan's Upper East Side. Lidle was the second active Yankee to be killed in a crash of his own private plane, following Thurman Munson's death in 1979.
Changes during the 2006-2007 off-season started with the trading of Gary Sheffield to Detroit for pitching prospects; and of pitcher Jaret Wright to the Orioles for Chris Britton. They also signed Japanese pitcher Kei Igawa, who had been posted by the Hanshin Tigers, to a five-year contract after winning his negotiating rights with a $26 million bid. In December, the Yankees re-signed former Yankee Andy Pettitte , who left the Yankees after 2003, to a one-year, $16 million contract for the 2007 season with a player option for the 2008 season, also worth $16 million. In early January, the team traded Randy Johnson to the Arizona Diamondbacks for reliever Luis Vizcaíno and three minor leagers.
Although there was speculation that Alex Rodriguez might also be traded, the team declined to do so. There is also currently speculation that Roger Clemens will re-join the Yankees this season based on statements made by his agent, claiming that Clemens would only play for one of three teams: the Boston Red Sox, the Houston Astros, or the New York Yankees. However, Clemens is also contemplating retirement and recently stated he is 80% leaning towards this option. Longtime outfielder Bernie Williams, the longest-tenured Yankee player as of 2006 and currently a free agent, declined the non-roster Spring Training invitation that was extended to him and will most likely not return to the team for a 17th season. Also during the offseason, Yankee great Don Mattingly, who has been serving as the Yankee's hitting instructor for the past three seasons, was promoted to bench coach. This has lead to speculation that he may replace Joe Torre as the new team skipper, as Torre's contract expires after the 2007 season.
In 2006, the Yankees broke ground on a new, state-of-the-art ballpark, which will also be known as Yankee Stadium. It is scheduled to open in 2009. The current Yankee Stadium will be used until the new stadium is erected, and parts of it will be preserved even after the Yankees move to the new stadium. Major League Baseball has awarded the 2008 All-Star Game to the Yankees in honor of the last year of the current stadium.
The Yankees have won 26 World Series in 39 appearances (which, since the first World Series in 1903, currently amounts to an average appearance every 2.7 seasons and a championship every 4.0 seasons); the St.Louis Cardinals are second with ten World Series victories. The Brooklyn/Los Angeles Dodgers are second in World Series appearances with eighteen; eleven of those eighteen appearances have been against the Yankees, where the Dodgers have gone 3-8 against them. Among 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.
The team colors are navy blue and white. Under George Steinbrenner, long hair and facial hair below the lip are prohibited. Visible tattoos are also prohibited, and players with one on their arm are often seen wearing a navy blue arm band.
The Yankees' home uniform is white with distinctive pinstripes and a navy blue interlocking "NY" at the chest. The 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. (The interlocking NY was also used by the New York Knicks on their warmup jackets, and later shorts from the 1960s to 1990 and remains on the Knicks' throwback uniforms.)
In 1929, the New York Yankees became the first team to make numbers a permanent part of the uniform. Numbers were handed out based on the order in the lineup. In 1929, Earle Combs wore #1, Mark Koenig #2, Babe Ruth #3, Lou Gehrig #4, Bob Meusel #5, Tony Lazzeri #6, Leo Durocher #7, Johnny Grabowski #8, Benny Bengough #9, and Bill Dickey #10. While other teams began putting names on the backs of jerseys in the 1960s, the Yankees did not follow the trend. Many companies create jerseys with Yankee names sewn on the back for fans to purchase, but no official Yankee uniform has ever had names on the back. They are also one of the few teams in Major League Baseball to shun the trend of creating a third jersey. The team has never issued #0 or #00.
Although the Yankees have worn the same road uniform since 1918 (with the exception of 1927 to 1930, when the arched "NEW YORK" was replaced by the word "YANKEES", a radical change was proposed in 1974. Marty Appel, in his book Now Pitching for the Yankees describes the proposed uniforms:In 1974 I walked into (then-General Manager) Gabe Paul 's office to find samples of new Yankee road uniforms draped across his sofa. They were the opposite of the home pinstripes — they were navy blue with white pinstripes. The NY logo was in white. Gabe liked them. I nearly fainted. Although the drab gray road uniforms were not exciting, with the plain NEW YORK across the chest, they were just as much the Yankees' look as were the home uniforms. I think my dramatic disdain helped saved (sic) the day and saved the Yankees from wearing those awful pajamas on the field.
The Yankees wear navy blue caps with a white interlocking "NY" logo with both home and road uniforms.
With the recurring success of the franchise since the 1920s and its rejuvenated dynasty, the Yankees have always been and continue to be one of the most popular sports teams in the world. They have a large fanbase, noticeably bigger than that of the cross-town New York Mets. Even in road games, especially in towns like Baltimore, Boston, Toronto and Tampa Bay, the Yankees generally draw crowds of their own fans, showing that they not only have support in the New York area, but also around the United States and Canada.
The first one-million fan season was in 1920, when 1,289,422 fans attended Yankee games at the Polo Grounds. The first two-million fan season was in 1946, when 2,265,512 fans attended games at Yankee Stadium. The Yankees have beaten the league average for home attendance 83 out of the last 87 years (only during 1990, 1991, 1992 and 1994 did they not accomplish this). In the past seven years, in the dawn of their new dynasty, the Yankees have drawn over three million fans each year, with an American League record-setting 4,090,696 in 2005, becoming only the third franchise in sports history to draw over four million in regular season attendance in their own ballpark.
The Yankees were also the league leaders in "road attendance" in each year from 2001 through 2006.
Many fans who attend games at Yankee Stadium would also be familiar with famous fan Fred Schuman, popularly known simply as "Freddy". For over 50 years this fan has come to Yankees' home games with a baseball cap, a yankees' jersey (which on the back bears his own name) and a cake pan with a shamrock painted on it which is connected to a sign inscribed with words of encouragement for the home team. The sign changes every game (But always features the prefix "Freddy Sez") and Freddy carries a metal spoon with him encouraging fans to bang the pan for good luck as he walks through the crowd throughout the game. Whether or not Freddy is employed by the Yankees' organization is not definitely known, although it assumed that such must be the case in order for him to afford to attend so many games throughout the season.
The "Bleacher Creatures" are a group of season ticket holders who occupy Section 39 in the right field bleachers at Yankee Stadium, and have gained notoriety over the past decade. Their name was coined by New York Daily News columnist Filip "Flip" Bondy, who would spend the 2004 season sitting with them and wrote a book, Bleeding Pinstripes: A Season with the Bleacher Creatures of Yankee Stadium , published in 2005.
The Creatures are famed for the "Roll Call". In the top of the first inning, when the Yankees are on the field and the pitcher is readying to throw the first pitch, they all stand and begin clapping. Then, after the pitch is thrown, a group of guys wave their hands down to hush the crowd, and one man named "Vinny" shouts out the name of the center fielder (ie: "Yo, Johnny!"), and then the whole group begins chanting his name (ie: "JOH-nee DA-mon, clap, clap, clap, clap, clap"). They then do the rest of the players on the defensive lineup (CF-LF-RF-1B-2B-SS-3B, in that order) except for the pitcher and catcher (although there have been exceptions) They do not stop until the player has responded in some way, usually with a wave or point. After they've gone through the lineup, the group turned to the left, chanting at the right field box seats "Box Seats Suck!" until finally the chanting dissipates. When a player is replaced in a defensive position (not counting pitcher) the replacement is also given the same chant.
Other names called out during roll call from time to time have included Yankee broadcasters John Sterling and Michael Kay, or Aaron Boone, Bucky Dent, and Babe Ruth when the Yankees host the Boston Red Sox. Sometimes, after a long rain delay, the Creatures start another Roll Call for kicks.
Because of rowdiness and the fact that many families now sit in the more affordable bleachers, alcoholic beverages were banned from the bleachers in 2000. This does not lessen the spirit of the Creatures, and may still be getting away with clandestine drinking. Because of this, the fans in the box seats often retaliate to the Creatures mockings by chanting "We've got beer!" This chant is often referred to (or sometimes caused by) the Creatures chanting "Alcoholics!"
The Creatures are popular with the crowd and are known for their strict allegiance to the Yankees and their extreme hatred for the Mets and the Red Sox. They are often merciless to any fan of either of these teams that dares to sit in the bleachers. They also enjoy taunting the opposing team's right fielder. Many of the members attend almost every home game, sitting in section 39, cheering on the team in their own inimitable way.
With the long-term success of the franchise and a large Yankee fanbase, other teams fans across the nation have come to hate the Yankees. This is most apparent among New England fans of the Boston Red Sox , but the hatred extends to other places. It has become a tradition at many road games for the home crowd to chant "Yankees Suck!", even or especially if the Yankees are winning. During 2002, shirts with this phrase were sold during a Yankees - Mariners series in Seattle, which is 2,500 miles away from New York.
Much of the animosity may derive from the Yankees' payroll (which was around $194 million at the start of the 2006 season, the highest of any American sports team), and the free agent superstars the team attracts - or buys - in the offseason.
Other reasons for anti-Yankee feelings go back as long as the 1950s with aging diehard Brooklyn Dodgers and New York Giants fans - some in New York, some transplanted elsewhere - still feeling the pain of the years that the Yankees repeatedly defeated their teams.
Famed sports columnist Mike Royko summed it up when he said, "Hating the Yankees is as American as pizza pie, unwed mothers, and cheating on your income tax."
The official fight song for the Yankees is "Here Come the Yankees", written in 1967 by Bob Bundin and Lou Stallman. While its old form with lyrics is not used as often, it is still heard frequently in instrumental form, most prominently in radio broadcasts.
Another song strongly linked to the team is "New York, New York", which is played in the stadium after home games. The Frank Sinatra cover version is traditionally played after victories, the Liza Minnelli original version after losses.
A wide selection of songs is played at the stadium, many of them live on the Stadium's Hammond organ. God Bless America has been played during the 7th inning stretch since September 11, and is sung by Dr. Ronan Tynan on the days of major games, complete with long lyrical intro. This practice is criticized by some, as it stretches the break between the innings, throwing off the rhythm of the opposing pitcher.
During the 5th, the grounds-crew, while performing their duties, dances to "Y.M.C.A.". "Cotton-Eyed Joe" once played during the 7th inning stretch, but is now pushed back to the 8th in favor of "God Bless America". On the DiamondVision screen, a man in farmer's garb is shown dancing in the stadium's control room, the words "Cotton-Eyed Joey" at the bottom. The organist will sometimes play the " Zorba the Greek Theme", accompanied by clapping from the audience, to excite the crowd and encourage a rally.
Some players have their own songs which are played in celebration of their accomplishments, or to introduce them. Examples include Bernie Williams, whose actions are often accompanied by the lines "Burn (Bern) baby burn (Bern)" from " Disco Inferno", and Mariano Rivera, who gets a great ovation from the fans when he comes out from the bullpen to Metallica's " Enter Sandman". Occasionally, Hideki Matsui will come out to Blue Öyster Cult's "Godzilla", as his nickname is "Godzilla", in reference to his Japanese heritage.
During the 1993 season, We're Not Gonna Take It by Twisted Sister was played after every win, before "New York, New York". Kisses, "New York Groove" was used many times during the 70's as well as during some more recent playoff games.
When the Yankees are either tied or behind in the late innings (usually the 8th innning), "Going The Distance" from the Rocky II soundtrack is played while, on the DiamondVision screen, a mix of the Rocky II training scene and Yankee highlights is shown.
In 1997, Cablevision bought MSG Network, home of the Yankees, and became owner of the television rights to all seven MLB, NBA, and NHL teams in New York City. This monopoly allowed MSG to use such tactics as putting games on channels that were not available to many Time Warner Cable or Comcast customers. In 1999, the Yankees and the New Jersey Nets formed a partnership, and discussed their options. Due to the success of the Yankees in the late 90's, giving their brand name a boost, they decided to leave and form a new network.
The Yankees Entertainment and Sports (YES) Network launched in 2002, and served as the home of the New York Yankees during the baseball season, and the New Jersy Nets for the rest of the year, giving it live sports coverage for the entire year. It also offered original programming such as Yankeeography, CenterStage, and the re-airing of older games under the name Yankees Classics. They also simulcast the popular New York radio show Mike and the Mad Dog as it airs on WFAN. The partnership between the Yankees and Nets ended in 2003, but the Nets still remain the part of YES they were since its beginning. YES has also begun airing programming for the New York Giants and Manchester United.
The Yankees have retired 15 numbers, the most in Major League Baseball.
Although it has not been officially retired, the Yankees have not reissued number 21 since Paul O'Neill stopped playing, or the number 30 since Cory Lidle's plane crash.
The retired numbers are displayed behind Yankee Stadiums left field fence and in front of the opposing team's bullpen, forming a little alley that connects Monument Park to the left field stands.
The 15 numbers are placed on the wall in chronological order, beginning with Lou Gehrigs number 4. This was retired soon after Gehrig left baseball on July 4, 1939, the same day he gave his famous goodbye speech. His was the first number retired in Major League Baseball history. Beneath the numbers are plaques with the names of the players and a descriptive paragraph.
In 1972, the number 8 was retired twice on the same day, in honor of catcher Bill Dickey and his protege, catcher Yogi Berra. Berra inherited Dickey's number in 1948 after Dickey ended his playing career and became a coach.
The number 42 was retired throughout Major League Baseball in honor of Jackie Robinson on April 15, 1997. Mariano Rivera, current closer for the Yankees, still wears the number due to a grandfather clause and is the last remaining player to do so. While the other teams placed the number 42 with their retired numbers even if they still had players wearing it, the Yankees did not. It is unknown if the Yankees will place it there after Rivera retires, or retire both as they did with the number 8. Interestingly, the official website of the Yankees lists Jackie Robinson's number 42 among the Yankees' retired numbers, along with the standard biographical information.
As the Yankees do not issue #0, the only two single-digit numbers that are still in use are number 2 and number 6. No team in baseball has all of the numbers 1-10 retired.
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