Soon enough the 2016 edition of the New York Yankees will take the field. When they do, they’ll be looking to match a few special squads. Historically, the Yanks fare well in a season ending in six, posting only one losing campaign. Let’s take a look back with the Yankees on six.
The Highlanders posted a ledger of 90-61, finishing in second place. Al Orth and Jack Chesbro anchored the staff, winning 27 and 23 games respectively. First baseman Hal Chase batted .323.
The Yankees went 80-74, finished in fourth place. Bob Shawkey won 24 games, while first baseman Wally Pipp led all hitters with 143 hits, 12 home runs and 93-RBI.
These Pinstripes won the American League Pennant, going 91-63. A precursor to “Murders’ Row.” Babe Ruth shined, clocking 47 home runs, driving in 153 and batting .372. Herb Pennock won 23 games. These Yankees pushed the St. Louis Cardinals all the way to the seventh game of the World Series, before Ruth was infamously caught stealing for the final out.
This club started the first Yankee dynasty. Going 102-51, these Yankees won the first of four consecutive World Series’ crowns. It was New York’s introduction to Joe DiMaggio and the final MVP season for Lou Gehrig. DiMaggio led the league with 15 triples, smacked 25 home runs, drove in 125 and batted .323. Gehrig crushed AL pitching, leading the league with 167 runs scored, 49 home runs, 130 walks, a .478 on base percentage, .696 slugging percentage and a 1.174 OPS. Bill Dickey hit a team best .362 behind the dish. Red Ruffing was a 20-game winner and all five starers had double digits in wins. The Yankees defeated the New York Giants in six games.
This Yanks squad went 87-67, finishing third in the AL. Charlie Keller slugged 30 home runs and knocked in 101. DiMaggio, back from WWII, swatted 25 home runs and drove in 95. Spud Chandler won 20 games.
The Yankees would exact revenge on the Brooklyn Dodgers. Going 97-57, New York defeated Brooklyn in seven games. It was the final Subway Series until 2000. In Game 5, Don Larsen tossed the only perfect game in World Series history. Mickey Mantle won the AL MVP and the Triple Crown, batting .353, clocking 52 home runs and driving in 130-RBI. Yogi Berra smacked 30 home runs. Whitey Ford won 19 games.
The one outlier in this group, the broken down club went 70-89 and finished tenth. Tom Tresh hit 27 home runs, Joe Pepitone clocked 31. Mel Stottlemyre and Fritz Peterson paced the staff with 12 victories apiece.
Back on the map. In the first year of a renovated Yankee Stadium, these Bronx Bombers went 97-62 and won the AL Pennant. Graig Nettles slugged a league leading 32 home runs and drove in 93. Ed Figueroa won 19 games. Chris Chambliss crushed a walk-off home run against Mark Littell and the Kansas City Royals, in Game 5 of the ALCS. Although they were swept in four games by the Cincinnati Reds, many of these Yankees would be a part of back-to-back title teams in 1977 and 1978.
This squad finished 90-72, placing second in the AL East. Fresh off an MVP campaign, Donnie Baseball crushed it again in ’86. Mattingly led the league with a career best 238 hits and 53 doubles, slugging .573 and totaling an OPS of .967. Rickey Henderson and Mike Pagliarulo smacked 28 home runs and Dave Winfield drilled 24. Dennis Rasmussen won 18 games and Dave Righetti topped all closers with 46 saves.
Has it been 20 years already? No way! The Bronx Bombers were back on top of the baseball world, launching the most recent dynasty. New York went 92-70 under skipper Joe Torre. There were a ton of great stories with this team, both on and off the field. Shortstop Derek Jeter earned AL Rookie of the Year honors, hitting .314 with 183 hits, ten home runs and 78-RBI. Bernie Williams hit 29 home runs and was the ALCS MVP. Andy Pettitte won a league best 21 games and finished second in Cy Young voting. Mariano Rivera finished third in Cy Young voting. John Wetteland saved a league best 43 games and earned the World Series MVP. After clinching the AL East, the Yanks dispatched the Texas Rangers, Baltimore Orioles and eventually came back from an 0-2 hole against the defending champion Atlanta Braves, stopping the chop in six games.
The 2006 campaign marked the ninth straight AL East crown for the Yankees. New York went a league best 97-65. Jeter finished second in AL MVP voting, batting .343 with 118 runs scored, 214 hits and 97-RBI. Jorge Posada knocked in 93 runs. Jason Giambi hit 37 home runs, Alex Rodriguez swatted 35. Robinson Cano batted .342. It was also the final season of Bernie Baseball. Chien-Ming Wang won a league best 19 games and finished second in Cy Young voting. Unfortunately the season ended in a four-game ALDS defeat at the hands of the Detroit Tigers.