The New York Yankees are a Major League baseball team based in The Bronx, New York City. They are in the Eastern Division of the American League.
The Yankees have won 26 World Series in 39 appearances; the St. Louis Cardinals and the Oakland Athletics are tied for second with 9 World Series victories each, and the Los Angeles Dodgers are second with 18 World Series appearances. Among the North American major sports, their success is only approached by the 24 Stanley Cup championships of the Montreal Canadiens of the National Hockey League. It is the only team that is represented at every position in the Baseball Hall of Fame.
Founded: 1901 as the Baltimore, Maryland franchise in the newly created American League. Moved to New York City before the 1903 season.
Formerly known as: Baltimore Orioles, 1901-1902. New York Highlanders, 1903-1910. "Yankees" and "Highlanders" used interchangeably over the next couple of years.
Home ballpark: Yankee Stadium, at 161st Street and River Avenue in the Bronx, New York City, from 1923 to the present, excluding two years in the 1970s during renovation. Also played at the original Oriole Park in Baltimore, 1901-1902; Hilltop Park in Manhattan, New York City, 1903-1912; the Polo Grounds in Manhattan, New York City, 1913-1922; and Shea Stadium in Queens, New York City, 1974-1975.
- Uniform colors: Midnight navy blue with white or gray (Home uniform has distinctive pinstripes)
- Logo design: Interlocking "NY" (Based on an element of the original Tiffany design of the New York Police Department's Medal of Honor.)
Team theme song: "Here Come the Yankees" (1967), composed by Bob Bundin and Lou Stallman. "New York, New York" is played at the end of each home game (Frank Sinatra's version is usually played following victories; Liza Minnelli's original version following losses).
World Series championships won (26): 1923, 1927, 1928, 1932, 1936, 1937, 1938, 1939, 1941, 1943, 1947, 1949, 1950, 1951, 1952, 1953, 1956, 1958, 1961, 1962, 1977, 1978, 1996, 1998, 1999, 2000.
American League pennants won (39): 1921, 1922, 1923, 1926, 1927, 1928, 1932, 1936, 1937, 1938, 1939, 1941, 1942, 1943, 1947, 1949, 1950, 1951, 1952, 1953, 1955, 1956, 1957, 1958, 1960, 1961, 1962, 1963, 1964, 1976, 1977, 1978, 1981, 1996, 1998, 1999, 2000, 2001, 2003.
American League East division titles won (14): 1976, 1977, 1978, 1980, 1981, 1994 (unofficial), 1996, 1998, 1999, 2000, 2001, 2002, 2003, 2004.
American League wild card (2): 1995, 1997.
At the end of the 1900 season, the American League re-organized and, with its president Ban Johnson as the driving force, decided to assert itself as a new major league. Previously a minor league (known as the Western League until 1899), the American League carried over five of its previous locations and added three more on the East Coast, including one in Baltimore, Maryland, which had lost its National League team when that league contracted the year before. The intention of Johnson and the American League had been to place a team in New York City, but their efforts had been stymied by the political connections that owners of the National League New York Giants had with Tammany Hall.
When the team began play as the Baltimore Orioles in 1901, they were managed by John McGraw. As a result of a feud with league president Ban Johnson, who rigidly enforced rules about rowdyism on the field of play, McGraw jumped leagues to manage the New York Giants in the middle of the 1902 season. A week later the owner of the Giants also gained controlling interest of the Orioles and raided the team for players, after which the league declared the team forfeit and took control, still intending to move the franchise to New York when and if possible.
In January 1903, the American League and National League held a "peace conference" to settle conflicts over player contract disputes and to agree on future cooperation. The National League also agreed that the "junior circuit" could establish a franchise in New York. The American League's Baltimore franchise became the New York franchise when its new owners, Frank Farrell and William Devery , were able to find a ballpark location not blocked by the Giants. Ferrell and Devery both had deep ties into city politics and gambling. Farrell owned a casino and several pool halls, while Devery had served as a blatantly corrupt chief of the New York City police and had only been forced out of the department at the start of 1902.
The franchise's first park in New York was located at 165th St. and Broadway in Manhattan, near the highest point on the island. Consequently the field was known as Hilltop Park and the team became known as the New York Highlanders. As the Highlanders the team enjoyed success only twice, finishing in second place in the American League in 1904 and 1910, but otherwise much of the next fifteen years was spent in the cellar.
From 1913 to 1922 the team would play in the Polo Grounds, a park owned by their National League rivals, the Giants. With the change of parks in 1913, the team also officially changed its name to New York Yankees, a name which had been in informal but increasing use for the prior few years.
By the mid 1910s, owners Farrell and Devery had become estranged and both were in need of money. At the start of 1915, they sold the team to Colonel Jacob Ruppert and Captain Tillinghast L'Hommedieu Huston . Ruppert was heir to the Ruppert brewery fortune and had also been tied to the Tammany Hall machine, serving as a U.S. Congressman for eight years. Ruppert later said, "For $450,000 we got an orphan ball club, without a home of its own, without players of outstanding ability, without prestige."
Over the next few years the new owners would begin to enlarge the payroll. Many of the newly acquired players who would later contribute to their success came from the Boston Red Sox, whose owner, theater impresario Harry Frazee, had bought his team on credit and was hard-pressed to pay off his loans and also produce Broadway shows. From 1919 to 1922, the Yankees acquired from the Red Sox the pitchers Waite Hoyt, Carl Mays and Herb Pennock; catcher Wally Schang ; shortstop Everett Scott ; and third baseman Joe Dugan . However, pitcher-turned-outfielder Babe Ruth was the biggest of them all. Frazee traded Ruth in January of 1920, citing Ruth's demand for a raise after being paid the highest salary in baseball, and slumping bat as reasons for the trade. Two of the four Boston newspapers agreed at the time. The Red Sox did not win a World Series from 1919 until 2004 (see Curse of the Bambino), often finding themselves out of the World Series hunt as a result of the success of the Yankees.
Other critical newcomers in this period were manager Miller Huggins and general manager Ed Barrow. Huggins was hired in 1919 by Ruppert while Huston was serving in Europe with the army (this would lead to a break between the two owners, with Ruppert eventually buying Huston out in 1923). Barrow came on board after the 1920 season, and like many of the new Yankee players had previously been a part of the Red Sox organization, having managed the team since 1918. Barrow would act as general manager or president of the Yankees for the next 25 years and may deserve the bulk of the credit for the team's success during that period. He was especially noted for development of the Yankees' farm system.
The home run hitting exploits of Ruth proved popular with the public, to the extent that the Yankees were soon outdrawing their landlords, the Giants. In 1921 the Yankees were told to move out of the Polo Grounds after the 1922 season. In 1923 the Yankees moved into Yankee Stadium at 161st St. and River Avenue in the Bronx. The site for the stadium was chosen because the IRT Jerome Avenue subway line, now the MTA's #4 train, went right there and goes on top of Yankee Stadium's right-field wall. The Stadium was the first triple-deck venue in baseball and seated an astounding 58,000. It was truly "the House that Ruth Built",
From 1921 to 1928, the Yankees went through their first period of great success, winning six American League pennants and three World Series. In 1921 through 1923 they faced the Giants in the World Series, losing the first two match-ups but turning the tables in 1923.
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 and 1998). Ruth's home run total of 60 in 1927 set a single-season record which would stand for 34 years, and first baseman Lou Gehrig had his first big season with 47 round-trippers.
The 1950s and 1960s
The 1950s, under Casey Stengel: bettering the McCarthy-era clubs, Stengel's squad won the World Series in his first five years as manager, 1949 through 1953. In twelve years, Stengel won 10 pennants and seven World Series titles. They were led by catcher Yogi Berra, outfielder Mickey Mantle and pitcher Whitey Ford, but unlike the star-studded McCarthy teams, the Yankees of the 1950s owed much of their success to Stengel's use of platooning and his ability to get the most out of average and slightly-above-average personnel.
After the 1964 season, CBS purchased the Yankees from Dan Topping and Del Webb for $11.2 million. Topping and Webb had owned the Yankees for 20 years, missing the World Series only 5 times, and going 10-5 in the World Series. By contrast, the CBS-owned teams never went to the World Series, and in the first year of the new ownership - 1965 - the Yankees finished in the second division for the first time in 40 years; then in 1966 the team finished last in the American League for the first time since 1912, and next-to-last the following year. After that the team's fortunes improved somewhat, but they would not become serious contenders again until the second half of the 1970s.
Return to glory
The 1970s, under Billy Martin, et al: George Steinbrenner purchased the club for $10 million on January 3, 1973 from the Columbia Broadcasting System (CBS), renovated Yankee Stadium, hired and fired Billy Martin a number of times, feuded with star outfielder Reggie Jackson, and presided over the resurgence of the Yankees in the late seventies. Jackson's three home runs in the sixth and final game of the 1977 World Series against three different Dodger pitchers (earning him the nickname "Mr. October") defined the period as much as Martin and Steinbrenner.
The race for the pennant often came to a close competition between the Yankees and the Red Sox, and for fans of both clubs, a game between the two teams (whether in the regular season or post-season championship games) was cause for a rivalry that was often bitter and ruthless, with brawls frequently erupting between both players and fans from the two clubs. The Yankees-Red Sox rivalry came to a head in the 1978 season, when the two clubs finished the regular season in a tie for the American League East first place position. A sudden-death playoff game between the two teams was held to decide who would go on to the pennant, with the game being held at Boston's Fenway Park (because the Red Sox had won more head-to-head games between the two teams that season). The Yankees won the day, driving a stake through the hearts of their rivals' fans when Bucky Dent drove a game-winning home run over the "Green Monster," one of several emotional moments in the team's history that had Red Sox fans wondering if their team was under some kind of a curse.
A new dynasty
The Yankees entered the 1990s as a last-place team, having spent well but not always wisely on free-agent players since their last appearance in the World Series in 1981. In the 1980's the Yankees had the most combined amount of wins out of any Major League team but failed to win a World Series (the first such decade since the 1910's). In 1990, Yankee pitcher Andy Hawkins became the first Yankees pitcher ever to lose a no-hitter, when he walked 3 men and the center fielder committed an error with bases loaded, scoring the 3 men on base plus the player who hit the ball to the center fielder. The 4-0 loss was the biggest margin of any no-hitter loss in the 20th century.
The bad judgment and bad luck of the '80s and early '90s started to change when, while owner George Steinbrenner was under suspension, management was able to implement a coherent program without interference from above. Under general manager Gene Michael (later 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 American League when the season was cut short by the players' strike. A year later, the team gained the playoffs as the wild card and was eliminated only after a memorable series against the Seattle Mariners.
Showalter left after the 1995 season due to personality clashes with owner George Steinbrenner and his staff and was replaced by Joe Torre. Initially derided as a retread choice ("Clueless Joe" ran the headline on one of the city's tabloid newspapers), Torre's smooth manner proved out as he led the Yankees to a World Series victory in 1996, defeating the Atlanta Braves in six games. General manager Bob Watson was dismissed when the Yankees failed to repeat in 1997 and was replaced by Brian Cashman. Torre and Cashman have, however, essentially won with the foundation laid by Michael, Watson, and Showalter before them, particularly the development of players like Derek Jeter, Andy Pettitte, Jorge Posada, Mariano Rivera and Bernie Williams. Prominent members of the late 1990s championships teams acquired through trades included Paul O'Neill, David Cone, Tino Martinez, John Wetteland, Chuck Knoblauch, and Roger Clemens, while Jimmy Key, Wade Boggs, David Wells, Mike Stanton, and Orlando "El Duque" Hernández were signed as free agents.
The 1998-2000 Yankees were the first team to "three-peat" with World Series victories since the Oakland Athletics of the early 1970s. In 1998 and 1999, they swept the San Diego Padres and Atlanta Braves, respectively. In 2000, the Yankees met up with cross-town New York Mets for the first Subway Series since 1956 and won four games to one. In these four World Series victories, the Yankees won fourteen straight games. The Yankees are the last Major League Baseball team to date to have repeat World Series titles.
The 21st century
In the emotional October 2001, following the September 11 attack on New York City's World Trade Center, the Yankees defeated the Oakland Athletics 3 games to 2 in the Divisional Series, and then the Seattle Mariners in the American League Championship Series, 4 games to 1. But, the usually-unhittable Mariano Rivera shockingly blew the lead - and World Series - to the Arizona Diamondbacks in the bottom of the 9th inning of Game 7.
In October 2003, the Yankees defeated their long-time rival the Boston Red Sox in a tough seven-game ALCS, which featured a near brawl in Game 3 and a series-ending walk-off home run by Aaron Boone in the 11th inning of the final game, only to be defeated by the Florida Marlins - a team with a quarter of its payroll - in the World Series, 4 games to 2.
The loss in the 2001 World Series effectively marked the end of the 1990s Yankee dynasty, as lynchpin players began to retire, not be re-signed, or traded. The Yankees' quick ejection from the 2002 playoffs at the hands of the Anaheim Angels (now called the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim) accelerated the changes, as ownership and management began to look increasingly on free agent acquisitions and major trades. The trend continued after the 2003 World Series, culminating when the Yankees traded for the nominal "best player in baseball", Alex Rodriguez, in February 2004. Other significant acquisitions during 2002 to 2004 included Jason Giambi, Hideki Matsui, Gary Sheffield, Kevin Brown, and Javier Vazquez.
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, to lose a best of 7 series after taking a 3-0 series lead, a particularly ignominious way to lose to their bitter rivals.
Many explanations have been given for the lack of Yankee World Series titles since 2000. These include depletion of the Yankee farm system because of trades and free agent acquisitions, the aging or departure of the players who had formed the core of the Yankees during the late 1990s, and allegedly poor coaching. Buster Olney, in his book The Last Night of the Yankee Dynasty, argues that George Steinbrenner's management style resulted in the players burning out psychologically. Several sabermetricians have argued that success in the playoffs is mostly the result of luck. This argument is bolstered by the fact that the production of the Yankees' core players has decreased steadily since their 1996 World Series title.
One particularly creative explanation jokingly proposed by sportswriter Larry Mahnken is the "Curse of Clay Bellinger". By analogy with the Curse of the Bambino, Mahnken points to the departure of utility player Clay Bellinger from the Yankee roster following the 2001 season and asserts that the Yankees will never again win the World Series until either they make amends to Bellinger or they win the championship anyway. The tautology is part of the joke.
The Yankees are a notable team not only for their impressive history on the field, but also for their financial situation. The current ownership spends more on player salaries than any other franchise in baseball. As of 2004, the team payroll is more than $182 million, which is $51 million more than the second-highest team, the Red Sox, and more than the six lowest-payroll teams combined. Frustrated after being outbid for pitcher Jose Contreras prior to the 2003 season, Red Sox CEO Larry Lucchino even went so far as to dub the Yankees the "Evil Empire," a characterization that is primarily popular among Red Sox fans.
It is a heated debate whether the Yankees' free-spending is positive or negative for baseball, and whether a strict salary cap would make the sport fairer and increase parity among the large-market and small-market teams. The following are arguments for and against these spending practices:
- The Yankees are "America's Team." They give the casual, or "bandwagon," baseball fan someone to root for when he/she does not have a local favorite.
- As "America's Team" the Yankees give other baseball fans a team to "hate" or root against, thereby further generating interest in baseball games involving the Yankees and baseball in general. Sports are always a more compelling diversion when there are underdogs and teams to root against.
- New York, as the largest market with the highest revenues, should spend in accordance with their vast resources. The New York Mets are similar in this regard, to a lesser extent and success.
- The Yankees drive attendance, merchandise sales and TV revenues, helping to subsidize less-profitable teams.
- In a free-market society, an owner who wishes to spend as much as he/she wants should not be restricted from doing so.
- Allowing one team to bid highly for the best talent makes it more difficult for lower-spending teams to compete.
- The willingness of the Yankees to pay premium prices for top talent encourages players and their agents to demand unreasonably high prices, further diluting talent throughout the rest of the league. This phenomenon even causes the Yankees to announce their intentions not to pursue certain free agents (i.e. Manny Ramirez, Pedro Martinez), who might otherwise freely use the potentiality as a bargaining chip.
American Football's example of balanced salaries, correlated with its now-massive parity and mainstream impact, demonstrates that keeping athletic salaries fair is good for the sport and therefore everyone - TV outlets, owners, players, fans.
It may be argued that the most recent splurge in spending corresponds neatly with the bargained rules governing MLB ownership that entitled other teams to begin revenue sharing with the Yankees. George Steinbrenner has ignored the increasing penalty of a Luxury Tax .
In 2003, the Office of Foreign Assets Control reported that the Yankees engaged in illegal trade with Cuba and had to settle with the United States government for US$75,000 .
Players of note
Current roster (updated on April 19, 2005)
- 23 Don Mattingly (hitting)
- 34 Mel Stottlemyre (pitching)
- 54 Roy White (first base)
- 53 Luis Sojo (third base)
- 52 Joe Girardi (bench)
- 57 Neil Allen (bullpen pitching)
- Mike Borzello (bullpen catching)
Not to be forgotten
(*) 1st DH in MLB history
"Team captain" is an honorary title.
Hal Chase, 1912
Roger Peckinpaugh, 1914 to 1921
Babe Ruth, May 20, 1922 to May 25, 1922
- Everett Scott , 1922 to 1925
Lou Gehrig, April 21, 1935 to June 2, 1941
Note: upon Gehrig's death, then-manager Joe McCarthy declared that there would never be another Yankee captain.
Thurman Munson, April 17, 1976 to August 2, 1979
Graig Nettles, January 29, 1982 to March 30, 1984
Ron Guidry, March 4, 1986 to July 12, 1989 (co-captain with Willie Randolph)
Willie Randolph, March 4, 1986 to October 2, 1989 (co-captain with Ron Guidry)
Don Mattingly, February 28, 1991 to 1995
Derek Jeter, June 4, 2003 to present