Yankees and the AL East: 25 years as baseball’s best division

(Photo by Al Bello/Getty Images)
(Photo by Al Bello/Getty Images) /
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(Photo by Al Bello/Getty Images) /

A Full Frontal Assault

The Yankee’s impact on the record books was impressive. ’98 produced the most wins of any team, when including the postseason. That team is still thought of as the best in the modern era. And the Yankees collected fourteen straight World Series wins, including two World Series sweeps.

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They were the first team in baseball to win four championships in five years since the Yankees did it in the early Fifties; before that it was the Yankees teams of the late 1930’s. Andy Pettitte became the all-time postseason wins leader, while Mo became the greatest postseason, and World Series, pitcher who ever lived.

Both David Wells and David Cone pitched perfect games during that run, while Jeter won the Rookie of the Year in 1996. And Bernie joined Paul by winning a batting title, his coming in 1998. There are too many awards and honors to mention them all here.

Safe to say that all of that ensured they would be the best team of the last 25 years. And that the AL East would be the best division. The division’s biggest claim to the title is that they have won by far the most World Series, 10.

And the Yankees won five of those.

Yes, The AL East is Supreme

The fact that they, and the Red Sox and Jays, have had so much success in the toughest division only makes the accomplishments all the more praiseworthy. This division, this American League Beast, has made its mark on baseball, and the teams that played against them. And they have the titles to prove it.

There is, perhaps, no better indication of the significance of this division than the two LCS series in the early 2000’s. Those fourteen days provided some of the biggest moments in the last quarter century (as did Joe Carter’s famous shot many years earlier). As drama dripped from every play and history was made with every series, the entire baseball world was transfixed.

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Those series, filled with immortal moments, were played out by two teams from the AL East. No other match-up in baseball, perhaps in all of sports, has been as compelling in this prescribed time frame. That’s what domination means, the conquest of our imagination.

The success of this division has done just that and continues to fill us all with the hope that it continues well into the next millennium.

One thing we know for sure, though: If any other division wants the title from the Yankees and the AL Beast, they’re gonna have to take. And that ain’t easy.