Counting 9-to-5, what a way to make a ranking!
9. 1953 World Series, Yankees def. Dodgers 4-2
The second Yankees-Dodgers series in a row, a repetitive matchup by this point, did not fail to deliver. This back-and-forth affair featured Billy Martin crushing an early three-run triple in the opener, the Yankees blowing a 2-0 series lead thanks to Dodgers ace Carl Erskine stealing the momentum in Game 3 followed by Whitey Ford getting crushed (a rarity) in Game 4, and the Bombers bats breaking out in an 11-7 Game 5 win to stop the bleeding. After Brooklyn roared back to tie Game 6 in the ninth 3-3, Billy Martin scampered home with the series-winning run in the bottom half.
8. 2009 World Series, Yankees def. Phillies 4-2
Nine-year droughts feel even longer in the modern age. While we’ve all got plenty of bells, whistles and Tamagotchis to distract us from baseball season — as opposed to those 1940s simpletons, who I assume stared into a bowl of cream of wheat until April — this current generation grew up in the dynastic ’90s, and anything short of a ring feels like a catastrophic failure. Embarrassingly enough … where would we all be, mentally, right now if not for Alex Rodriguez? And Hideki Matsui? And CC Sabathia? And the absence of Cliff Lee in Game 6? Not a very good place. Add in the twists, turns, Johnny Damon taking the empty third base, and the Pedro Martinez of it all, and you’ve got yourself an instant classic that’s only grown more meaningful in the 12 ringless years since.
Yeah, we’re Yankee fans, this would be an embarrassing paragraph for a Cleveland fan to write, get over it.
7. 1977 World Series, Yankees def. Dodgers 4-2
Speaking of breaking droughts, the 1977 Yankees won the franchise’s first title since 1962 in grand fashion, reigniting their historic rivalry with the Dodgers. In fact, the series was delayed nine days because the Yankees foolishly tried to take a Subway to Los Angeles. Paul Blair walked off the Dodgers in Game 1 in the 12th inning, but this series’ enduring moment came from Reggie Jackson, who homered three times off three different pitchers in the clinching Game 6. Thurman Munson may have been the straw that actually stirred the drink, but Jackson lived up to the name on the marquee in history’s clearest example of a Signature Yankee Moment. It’s why No. 44 is retired, plain and simple.
6. 1952 World Series, Yankees def. Dodgers 4-3
Down three games to two, with Brooklyn finally on the verge of earning that elusive title and inner-city bragging rights, the Yankees got off the mat yet again. Of course they did. Brooklyn’s 11-inning Game 5 victory (Carl Erskine went all 11!) stole none of the momentum, and Yogi Berra (7th) and Mickey Mantle (8th) late homers propelled New York to a Game 6 win. Billy Martin’s spectacular diving catch on a popup no one saw in the eighth inning of Game 7 halted a Dodgers rally, and the Yankees edged past Brooklyn again 3-2. Eddie Lopat, battling shoulder issues all year long, started and won that game, the rough equivalent of Gerrit Cole actually looking good on a bum hammy in the Wild Card Game at Fenway.
5. 1947 World Series, Yankees def. Dodgers 4-3
The Yankees sent the Dodgers to 0-4 in World Series play with this triumph in Jackie Robinson’s color barrier-breaking rookie year, which mattered quite a bit more than the on-field action. Game 7 was a 5-2 New York victory, but this series is especially memorable for Game 4, which featured unheralded Yankees starter Bill Bevens throwing 8.2 innings of no-hit baseball, one out away from the first-ever World Series no-no. Alas, Cookie Lavagetto lined the second pitch he saw for a double … which knocked in two runs, winning the game for the Dodgers (Carl Furillo had walked, the Yanks intentionally walked Pete Reiser). Bevens walked 10 in the game. There had been nobody on and two outs. What … an historic gut punch.
The Yankees being the Yankees, though, they somehow got off the mat and recovered, winning Game 5 2-1 and then the series in seven. They also overcame Al Gionfriddo’s famed racing catch in the corner on Joe DiMaggio, which came in Game 6! No wonder the old timers are so spoiled.