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) /

New Beginnings

The Yankees have been the most successful team in baseball over the last 25 years, and it is they who have contributed the most to the AL East’s status.

The New York Yankees have qualified for 18 of the 24 postseasons in the last 25 years, including a 13-year unbroken stretch (1995-2007). They won the American League Pennant seven times, almost one third, with six of those coming in an overwhelming eight-year stretch (1996-2003).

And they won five World Series titles, including three in a row from 1998-2000, and four in five seasons (1996).

Think about that. Twenty-four teams have won five or fewer titles in their history; twenty-two teams have never won more than four, and eight teams have never won even a single World Series. Even with their recent success, the Red Sox have won only eight titles all-time, just three in the last 99 years.

Wait for it…

The Yankees, meanwhile, won five in the last 25 years.

Their run did so much more than that, though, for both the Yankees and the division’s reputation. When the Yankees won three titles in a row, they did something that had not been done since the Oakland Athletics (72-74), who were led by future Yankees self-aware star Reggie Jackson.

The only other teams to accomplish the feat in the history of baseball are all Yankees teams, the last coming in the early Fifties.

And when they won four in five years, they equaled what only other Yankees teams had ever done: Ever. Even though I think of the recent SF Giants run as a dynastic one, they never did that.

Now it’s time to go back to 1996, and the start of this historic epoch.