The year 2020 means a year ending in zero for the New York Yankees. There were highs and lows. Hellos and goodbyes. Plenty of memories for sure.
Only time will tell if the 2020 squad will have a special season. Below, we take a look back at the years ending in zero.
Still going by the “Highlanders” moniker, this squad managed between George Stallings and Hal Chase finished second in the AL at 88-63. It was a 14.5 game finish behind the Philadelphia Athletics. Pitcher Russ Ford topped the squad with an 11.9 WAR, a 1.65 ERA, eight shutouts and a 1.87 FIP. Shortstop John Knight posted a team-best 140 OPS+.
After his sale from the Boston Red Sox, Babe Ruth joined Miller Huggins’ squad. Playing at the Polo Grounds, the Yankees led the league in attendance, drawing more than one million fans. Although New York would finish third again, their 95-59 ledger was a 15-game improvement from the year before. Ruth topped the club with an 11.8 WAR, swatting 54 home runs and posting a 255 OPS+. On the mound, Bob Shawkey and his 8.0 WAR and 2.45 ERA paced the pitchers.
By 1930, Shawkey had taken over as manager for the late Huggins. It was a season of transition between Murders’ Row and “Marse Joe” McCarthy’s winners. The club finished 86-68 and in third place. Ruth topped the squad with a 10.5 WAR and Lou Gehrig posted a 9.6 WAR. Ruth clubbed 49 homers, while Gehrig smacked 41. An aging pitching staff was paced by Red Ruffing and his 4.3 WAR and 3.95 FIP. A young Lefty Gomez would make his MLB debut that season.
Fresh off four consecutive World Series titles, McCarthy’s Bronx Bombers came up short, going 88-66 with a third-place finish. Joe DiMaggio topped the team with a 7.3 WAR. DiMaggio clocked 31 homers and recorded a 173 OPS+. Joe Gordon smacked 30 bombs at second base.
At 98-56, the Bronx Bombers won their second of five consecutive titles in 1950. Casey Stengel’s squad swept the Philadelphia Phillies in the Fall Classic. Shortstop Phil Rizzuto and his 6.7 WAR and .418 OBP earned MVP honors. DiMaggio socked 32 homers and Yogi Berra launched 28 bombs. The pitching staff was stacked with Vic Raschi, Allie Reynolds, Ed Lopat, Tommy Byrne and a rookie Whitey Ford was a force to be reckoned with.
The new decade ushered in the first of five straight AL pennants in the ’60s. New York won the pennant with a 97-57 ledger. Roger Maris sported a 7.5 WAR, clubbed 39 bombs and earned the AL MVP. Mickey Mantle smashed 40 home runs and boasted a 162 OPS+. Unfortunately, Stengel’s ordering of the pitching staff, coupled with a Bill Mazeroski series-winning homer in Game 7, resulted in a Fall Classic defeat to the Pittsburgh Pirates. Stengel later famously quipped, “I’ll never make the mistake of being 70 again.”
Still mired in the malaise of CBS ownership, the Yankees actually turned in a solid second-place finish at 93-69, under skipper Ralph Houk’s second stint with the club. Roy White was an AL All-Star and topped the team with a 6.8 WAR. Catcher Thurman Munson and his 5.5 WAR earned AL Rookie of the Year honors behind the plate. Fritz Peterson paced the pitching staff with a 4.5 WAR and 3.36 FIP.
For the third time in four seasons, the pinstripes won more than 100 (103) games and returned to the postseason. In manager Dick Howser’s lone season at the helm, the Yankees went 103-59 and captured the AL East. Willie Randolph led the team with a 6.6 WAR and a .427 OBP. Reggie Jackson crushed a league-leading 41 bombs and finished second in AL MVP voting. Unfortunately, New York was swept (3-0) in the ALCS by the Kansas City Royals.
A rock bottom year for the franchise, between Buck Dent and Stump Merrill, the Yankees finished dead last at 67-95. Roberto Kelly topped the club with a 5.5 WAR. Jesse Barfield hit 25 homers. Kevin Maas hit 21 homers and finished second in AL Rookie of the Year voting. Jim Leyritz made his MLB debut. It was also the final season in pinstripes for Dave Winfield, who was traded to the California Angels.
What a difference a decade makes. The Bronx Bombers dynasty capped off its third straight World Series title in a Subway Series victory (4-1) against the New York Mets. It also marked the fourth title in five years and the third of four consecutive pennants. Joe Torre’s squad went 87-74 and turned on the switch in the postseason, defeating the Oakland Athletics, Seattle Mariners and ultimately the Mets. In his first year as the outright starting catcher, Jorge Posada topped the team with a 5.5 WAR and registered a 139 OPS+ and 28 homers. Bernie Williams rocked 30 home runs and recorded a 140 OPS+. After a trade from the Cleveland Indians, David Justice gave the team a boost with 20 home runs and earned ALCS MVP honors. On the pitching staff, Roger Clemens, Andy Pettitte and Orlando “El Duque” Hernandez would lead the way and it would mark David Cone’s final season in the Bronx. Mariano Rivera recorded 36 saves. Shortstop Derek Jeter earned All-Star Game MVP and World Series MVP honors.
This marked the final postseason run with the “Core Four” intact, as Pettitte would retire for the first time after the season. Coming off a World Series, Joe Girardi’s squad earned the AL Wild Card at 95-67. Robinson Cano topped the squad with an 8.1 WAR, 141 OPS+ and socked 29 bombs for good measure. Brett Gardner posted a .383 OBP. Mark Teixeira (33) and Alex Rodriguez (30) each reached 30 home runs. CC Sabathia anchored the pitching staff with a 4.7 WAR, 21 victories, a 3.54 FIP and a 3.18 ERA. New York swept (3-0) the Minnesota Twins in the ALDS but fell to the Texas Rangers (4-2) in the ALCS.