Yankees culture of excellence is well documented throughout the years

24 Oct 2000: Manager Joe Torre of the New York Yankees confers with team owner George Steinbrenner during batting practice before game three of the MLB World Series against the New York Mets at Shea Stadium in Flushing, New York.  Mandatory Credit: Ezra Shaw/ALLSPORT
24 Oct 2000: Manager Joe Torre of the New York Yankees confers with team owner George Steinbrenner during batting practice before game three of the MLB World Series against the New York Mets at Shea Stadium in Flushing, New York. Mandatory Credit: Ezra Shaw/ALLSPORT /

Except for the 24 Stanley Cup championships won by the Montreal Canadians of the National Hockey League, no other team has dominated their sport as much as the New York Yankees.

The Yankees have won a record 27 World Series titles in 40 appearances. The St. Louis Cardinals are a distant second with 11 championships. Although some might disagree, the 1927 Yanks were the best baseball team ever to take the field.

There are a number of possible reasons why the Yankees have continued to achieve excellence since the early 1900s.

Some have argued that owners of the team have tended to be very wealthy and that the club itself has nearly always been able to bring in a lot of income over time. This has permitted Yanks’ owners to trade for and hire the best available players, coaches and managers at different times.

Others have maintained that playing in New York has brought a great deal of national media attention. This has elevated the team’s reputation and added to its aura, thereby making it easier for the organization to attract top-level talent.

And there are those who assert that the team has been merely lucky to have had terrific owners and management, resulting in active personnel development and astute and shrewd decision-making.

No doubt, all of these possible explanations have to varying degrees and at varying times contributed to the ascendancy of the Yankees and the enhancement of their image as winners.

In my view, the most compelling reason for the tremendous success of the Yanks is that the early founders of the team were able to create a dominant, profoundly rooted and enduring culture of excellence from the outset.

Owners, managers, coaches, and players reinforced this culture of excellence over time through hard work and by building on and playing off their early successes.

Narratives have been carefully woven to amplify the God-like qualities of many of their players, such as Babe Ruth, Lou Gehrig, Joe DiMaggio, Yogi Berra, Whitey Ford, Mickey Mantle and Roger Maris, in very personal and public ways through the years.

More recently, Reggie Jackson, Derek Jeter, Mariano Rivera, and others have continued to fuel the perception of invincibility of the Yankees. They have added to the Yankee folklore and have further solidified the culture of excellence of the team.

My visit to Spring Training in Tampa, Florida in mid-March suggests that additional young phenomenal players (Miguel Andujar, Aaron Judge, Gary Sanchez, Luis Severino and Gleyber Torres to name a few) are on their way to take their place alongside those who came before them.

Managers such as Miller Huggins and Joe McCarthy in the early years — and Billy Martin, Casey Stengel and Joe Torre in the latter, were field generals that earned the same level of respect and admiration as the spectacular players they managed.

More from Yankees History

While playing in highly competitive and often unforgiving New York City is not for everyone, most of today’s players, coaches and managers would consider it to be an honor to wear the Yankee pinstripes and “NY” logo.

The Yankees unique and strong culture of excellence has persuaded numerous young people like me to be nothing less than outstanding in our own pursuits.

For the most part, the Yanks have provided a clear, compelling and convincing picture of what it takes to be world-class for children growing up in the New York area and elsewhere.

Witnessing the historical evolution of the club has demonstrated how hard work, commitment and trying to be the best can lead to success in life and make life very special. Competing at the highest level and doing incredibly well is what makes Americans – and America – great.

Teams like the Yankees that capture the imagination and hearts of young people today provide hope for the continued success of the nation despite the craziness in Washington, DC.

Such sports franchises not only provide entertainment and enjoyment, but they also help shape the ideas, values, and aspirations of young people who might be frustrated and disillusioned with politics and government and what is going on in the country.

Like the Yankees, America has famous people to worship and folklore to learn about, too.

Teams like the Yanks, and competitive sports like baseball, are a central part of the fabric of American society and have cultures that reinforce the need to achieve excellence and eschew irrational policies and leaders, as well as the mediocrity and failure that follows.

Next: Yankees youth movement is now a historic one

Many fervent New York Yankees fans tend to separate their focus on baseball from everything else going on in their lives. However, they should realize and appreciate how their baseball team imparts important values and goals worthy of adoption by fans, especially our youth.