When the New York Yankees headed to spring training to prepare for the 2009 season, some Yankees´ fans called it ¨the season of change.¨
In a sense, it really was. The biggest change may have been George Steinbrenner passing the reins of the team primarily to his son Hal. On the field, CC Sabathia, Mark Teixeira, A.J. Burnett and Nick Swisher joined the club.
Perhaps the Yankees’ distain for complacency has been best explained by Derek Jeter. ¨We just want to win, ¨ he has said according to The Baseball Almanac. ¨That´s the bottom line. I think a lot of the time people may become content with one championship or a little success, but we don´t really reflect on what we´ve done in the past. We focus on the present.¨
But Jeter has never been one to just throw out words. He has consistently backed up what he says with what he does on the field. That´s why there was no surprise when he batted .334 in 2009 to lead the club.
And he had them on their feet and cheering when he stepped to the plate on September 11. That´s when he settled in with the chance to get career hit number 2,722 to pass Lou Gehrig and become the all-time Yankees hit leader. In typical Jeter fashion, he didn´t disappoint the Yankees’ faithful.
¨God, I hope I wear this jersey forever,¨ he has said, also according to the Baseball Almanac.ers for the Yanks in 2009. Teixeira jumped on the Yankee Stadium right field porch like a kid with a new bicycle. He had 39 home runs on the season. Swisher added 29 homers and Hideki Matsui had 28.
But Jeter was not the only one to put up big numbers for the Yanks in 2009. Teixeira jumped on the Yankee Stadium right field porch like a kid with a new bicycle. He had 39 home runs on the season. Swisher added 29 homers and Hideki Matsui had 28.
And they were equally good on the mound. Sabathia had perhaps his best Yankee season with a record of 19-8. Reliable Andy Pettitte went 14-8 and Mariano Rivera converted on 44 of 46 save opportunities.
So it was no wonder that the Yankees finished with a record of 103-59 to win the American League East. And they carried their momentum into the postseason too, topping the Minnesota Twins in the Divisional Series and the Los Angeles Angels in six games in the ALCS.
That set the stage for a show down with the Philadelphia Phillies in the World Series. It was a series that saw Rivera become the all-time series saves leader with 11, and Pettitte become the top pitcher in postseason wins with 18.
Even with all the great pitching, it was Matsui who dazzled the Phillies most in game six with a World Series record six RBI in one game, earning him the series MVP.
When asked about his feelings of being compared to other great Yankees, Matsui was humble as always in his response to MLB.com. ¨I´m very happy, he said. ¨I appreciate that everybody considers me in that way. So I´m just very happy.¨
So there were a lot of monumental performances in 2009, the season of change. But the best change of all, was seeing the Yankees sitting on top of the baseball world with their record 27th world championship.