New York Yankees
A new dynastyThe 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. During the 1980s the Yankees, led by their All-Star first baseman Don Mattingly, had the most total wins out of any major league team, but failed to win a World Series (the first such decade since the 1910s). In 1990, Yankee pitcher Andy Hawkins became the first Yankees pitcher ever to lose a no-hitter, when the third baseman committed an error, followed by 2 walks and an error by the left fielder (Deion Sanders, later of NFL fame) with the bases loaded, scoring all 3 runners as well as the batter. The 4-0 loss was the largest 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 Steinbrenner was under suspension, management was able to implement a coherent program without interference from above. Under general managers Gene Michael and 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 AL when the season was cut short by the players' strike. A year later, the team reached 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 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, a former Yankees intern. However, the foundation laid by Michael and Watson of players like Derek Jeter, Andy Pettitte, Jorge Posada, Mariano Rivera and Bernie Williams was a significant factor in the Yankees' return to prominence. Other 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 most recent major league team to repeat as World Series champions.
The 1998 Yankees are widely acknowledged to be one of the greatest teams in baseball history, having compiled a then-AL record of 114 regular season wins against just 48 losses (the record was later broken by the 2001 Seattle Mariners, who won 116 games) en route to a World Series sweep of the Padres. The '98 Yankees went 11-2 during the playoffs and finished with a combined record of 125-50, a major league record.
Won 1998 World Series (4-0) over San Diego Padres
Won ALCS (4-2) over Cleveland Indians
Won ALDS (3-0) over Texas Rangers
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