The year 2017 means a year ending in seven for the New York Yankees. Some of those seasons have ended in triumph, others in turmoil and one ended for Joe Torre. Here’s a glance at those seasons and what it might mean for this season.
The 1917 Yankees weren’t much better than a decade before. Under Bill Donovan the club finished 71-82 and in sixth place. First baseman Wally Pipp swatted nine home runs. Home Run Baker smacked a whopping six seat-seeking missiles. Bob Shawkey won 13 games and posted a 2.44 ERA.
Murderers’ Row. Perhaps the greatest baseball, if not Yankees, team of all-time. The 1927 squad was loaded, going 110-44. That season, the Bronx Bombers won the World Series, sweeping the Pittsburgh Pirates 4-0. Babe Ruth smashed 60 home runs, hit .356 and drove in 165. Lou Gehrig blasted 47 home runs, batted .373 and knocked in 173. The lineup also sported the likes of Tony Lazzeri, Bob Meusel and Earle Combs. Waite Hoyt won 22 games. Those Yankees also had a run differential of plus 376. It was the first of two consecutive titles for New York. The Miller Huggins squad is clearly the best of the bunch on this list.
The second of four consecutive title teams under Joe McCarthy. These Yankees were 102-52 and won the World Series 4-1 over the crosstown New York Giants. This lineup was loaded, too. Catcher Bill Dickey batted .332 with 29 home runs and 133 RBI. Gehrig hit 37 home runs and posted a 1.116 OPS. Joe DiMaggio cracked 46 home runs and drove in 167 with a 1.085 OPS. Lefty Gomez won 21 games and Red Ruffing won 20.
With Bucky Harris at the helm, the Yankees won the World Series 4-3 over the crosstown Brooklyn Dodgers, posting a record of 97-57. DiMaggio posted a .913 OPS. Tommy Henrich drove in 98. Phil Rizzuto had a .714 OPS. Allie Reynolds won 19 games.
Under Casey Stengel the Yankees won the AL Pennant at 98-56 before falling to the Milwaukee Braves 4-3 in the World Series. Mickey Mantle smashed 34 home runs, walked a league-high 146 times and had a 1.177 OPS. Yogi Berra popped 24 home runs. Bill “Moose” Skowron hit 17 home runs and Hank Bauer clocked 18 home runs.
For the first time since 1913 the Yankees lost 90 games. Not even Ralph Houk could revive this group which finished 72-90 and in ninth place. Mantle hit 22 home runs, including career No. 500. Mel Stottlemyre won 15 games. Al Downing sported a 2.63 ERA.
By 1977, the pinstripes were back on top of the baseball world. Billy Martin‘s team won the World Series over the Los Angeles Dodgers 4-2 and were 100-62 overall. Reggie Jackson slammed 32 home runs and drove in 110. Mr. October would hit three home runs in Game 6 of the World Series to clinch the title. Captain Thurman Munson knocked in 100 and batted .308. Sparky Lyle earned the Cy Young with a 2.17 ERA.
Led by Lou Piniella, these Yankees finished in fourth place at 89-73. Don Mattingly hit 30 home runs, including a record-setting sixth grand slam in one season. Dave Winfield smacked 27 home runs, Mike Pagliarulo swatted 32 round-trippers, Rickey Henderson swiped 41 bases and Willie Randolph batted .305.
A season removed from a title, this Yankees squad actually won more regular season games than the 1996 version. Going 96-66, Joe Torre’s club earned the AL Wild Card but fell to the Cleveland Indians 3-2 in the ALDS. Tino Martinez had a banner year with 44 home runs and a Home Run Derby title. Derek Jeter had 190 hits and 116 runs scored. Both Bernie Williams and Paul O’Neill popped 21 home runs, batted over .300 and hit the century mark in RBI. Andy Pettitte won 18 games and newcomer David Wells won 16. In his first year of closing, Mariano Rivera saved 44 and had a 1.88 ERA.
The 2007 campaign marked the final season for Torre as Yankee manager. Torre finished 12-for-12 in reaching the postseason in pinstripes. Much like the 1997 club, this team was a Wild Card winner at 94-68 and lost to the Indians 3-1 in the ALDS. It was Alex Rodriguez‘s finest regular season as a Yankee, winning AL MVP with 54 home runs and 156 RBI. Hideki Matsui drilled 25 home runs, Jeter batted .322 and Jorge Posada hit a robust .338. Chien-Ming Wang won 19 games and Andy Pettitte’s return to New York yielded 15 victories. Plus, Roger Clemens was in George’s box!
The Yankees are now fully invested in a youth movement with the likes of Gary Sanchez, Greg Bird, Aaron Judge and Luis Severino, to name a few, expected to play important roles on this year’s squad. With prospects like Gleyber Torres, Clint Frazier, James Kaprielian and Justus Sheffield on the horizon, the Yankees are entering a new era. Only time will tell how this year – one that ends in seven – will play out.