The Forgotten Year of ’97

When I heard the Baltimore Orioles haven’t won the American League East Division since 1997 it got me thinking, who was on that ’97 Yankees’ team?

Don’t hate me, but I was 7 years old the last time the O’s topped the division. Some were no brainers for me, Jeter, Williams, O’Neill, Martinez and Posada as position players. Funny thing though Posada wasn’t the starter, a man named Joe Girardi had more games behind the plate that year.

Here is what the Yankee lineup looked like going simply by who played the most games at each position:

(Games Played)

Lineup:

C         Joe Girardi (112)

1B       Tino Martinez (158)

2B       Luis Sojo (77)

SS        Derek Jeter (159)

3B       Charlie Hayes (100)

LF       Tim Raines (74)

CF       Bernie Williams (129)

RF       Paul O’Neil (149)

DH      Cecil Fielder (98)

 

Notable bench players:

UT       Wade Boggs (104)

OF       Chad Curtis (93)

C         Jorge Posada (60)

UT       Darryl Strawberry (11)

Pitchers I was able to get Cone, Pettitte, Wells and Rivera, completely forgetting the likes of Dwight Gooden and Kenny Rogers.

Starting rotation:

Andy Pettitte

David Wells

David Cone

Kenny Rogers

Dwight Gooden

Bullpen:

Mariano Rivera(CL)

Ramiro Mendoza

Jeff Nelson

Mike Stanton

Graeme Lloyd

Some highlights statistically were Tino Martinez hitting 44 bombs and driving in 141 runs. Jeter had 23 stolen bases and Bernie Williams and Paul O’Neill each had 21 homers and over 100 RBI’s. Pettitte lead the pitching staff with 18 wins and Mo had 43 saves.

The Yankees finished with a 96-66 record just two games behind the Baltimore Orioles. The Yanks won the wild card that year but got bounced by the Cleveland Indians in the Division series in 5 games.

The ’97 Yankees are always overlooked by history.  What can you expect when you win 4 World Series in 5 years?  Obviously that 1 year they didn’t win is going to be forgotten. As well it should.

 

Side note: if you’d like to see the complete roster for the ’97 Yankees you can click on the link below.

http://www.baseball-reference.com/teams/NYY/1997.shtml

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I was born in the heart of Manhattan and lived there for 7 years. I am a third generation Yankee fan. My grandfather was the definition of a die hard fan which carried over to my mom and now me. I'm currently a senior broadcast journalism major at Arizona State University. I'm going to go on and get my master's in sports management and will help run the Yankees in the future.

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  • rahboogz43

    I think the ’95 team was forgotten even more. Everyone talks about the start of the dynasty was 1996. But the ’95 Yanks started it all. The first playoff appearance since 1981. First ever AL wild-card team …..And played one of the greatest postseason series of all time…(even though they lost to the Mariners). That team gets pushed aside alot but it was the one that gave the Yankees that first taste of October baseball in over 15 years. I for one will never forget them.

    • @GScott25

      Yup – 95 was another good one! that year broke my heart – Tino was an enemy, and Mattingly had his last season disappear in the October air w/o a WS appearance.