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 Scott Halleran/Getty Images) /

The 1998 Yankees: One for the Ages

But that would have to wait a year, as the Yanks were bounced from the playoffs in ’97 by the Indians. As Brian Cashman recently alluded to, Yankees think regarding championshipS, not championship.

So, before the 1998 season, Micheals and The Boss added what they hoped would be the missing pieces for a better, deeper team; turns out they were right.

Four-time All-Star and now admitted PED user Chuck Knoblauch came over from the Twins, while no-time All-Star Scott Brosius moved all the way from Oakland. With Jorge Posada the everyday catcher, the Yankees offensive engine was now finely tuned.

On the pitching side, 1998 was the first year for Cuban exile Orlando Hernandez. El Duque and his 3.13 ERA, and big game attitude, replaced Kenny Rogers in the rotation (5.65 ERA in 1997). Today Rogers is more well known for walking in big runs rather than coming through in the clutch.

Do the Math

When added to Pettitte, David Cone, and David Wells, the Yankees had four guys who could go out and compete against any pitcher in the league. That ’98 team was a steamroller, winning 114 games in the regular season and going 11-2 in the playoffs.

They swept the awe-struck San Diego Padres and manager Bruce Bochy, who has since seen better days. The team was indeed a leviathan, winning a total of 125 games, still a record. And it stands as the best team in the modern era.

There are reasons for achievements like that; here are two of the biggest.