Ranking all 27 of the New York Yankees’ World Series championships
4. 1958 World Series, Yankees def. Braves 4-3
One year after getting defeated in the Fall Classic by Spahn (without Sain), the Yankees prayed for “reign” instead and got it. God was like, “Sorry, are you saying ‘r-e-i-g-n’? Ohhhhh … oh. Egg on my face.”
Avenging both their seven-game loss in 1957 and their stunning defeat at the hands of the Dodgers in 1955, Casey Stengel rallied the troops from a 3-1 deficit, watching his suddenly-energized Bombers knock off Lew Burdette twice in Games 5 and 7 and winning an extra-inning thriller sandwiched in between 4-3. Bullet Bob Turley started and won Game 5, relieved in Game 6, and relieved again in Game 7, picking up the win in the finale. He was Bumgarner before Bumgarner. Why does no one talk about this?
It will stun non-historians to learn this was the final time the Yankees locked horns with Henry Aaron, whose Braves teams lost relevance as he aged, while watching New York’s dynasty dissolve in the other league, too. A moment frozen in time. Fitting Aaron got one for himself, then got one-upped in his personal finale.
3. 1996 World Series, Yankees def. Braves 4-2
A modern World Series all the way up here?!
Sorry, over-60 contingent, but when you lose two games at home to the defending champions, then rattle off three victories in their ballpark before clinching in Game 6 to break an 18-year drought, you deserve the accolades. Dead in the water thanks to Smoltz (12-1!) and Maddux, New York rode a gutsy David Cone performance to a Game 3 win, then overcame a 6-0 deficit in Game 4, buoyed by Jim Leyritz’s three-run shot and Wade Boggs’ extremely clutch walk, a moment so crucial he ended up totally justified in riding a police horse around Yankee Stadium at the end of Game 6. Like, no one batted an eye. It was just … “Hey, here’s that guy on that horse.”
Oh, yeah, then a young Andy Pettitte won a 1-0 game against Smoltz in the deep south before Joe Girardi’s RBI triple propelled the Yankees to a well-well-well-earned series win. What a remarkable confluence of events that Joe Torre seemingly believed in, unwaveringly, from the start.
2. 1956 World Series, Yankees def. Dodgers 4-3
One year after Dem Bums finally got ’em, the Yankees pulled the rug back out from under them, leaving Brooklyn’s boys entirely rugless. They were 100% without rug.
Most Yankee fans of any age know all about Don Larsen’s WORLD SERIES PERFECT GAME, but how many of them know that it came smack dab in the middle of a seven-game series? Without Larsen’s perfecto, the most improbable single game in league history, New York is probably down to 25 rings and that blasted watch.
Larsen, a journeyman who went 4-21 with the Orioles two seasons earlier, found the ball in his shoe prior to Game 5 and took to the mound surprised by the assignment, but ready to make history he couldn’t possibly have predicted. 27 up and 27 down later, and he was locked in an embrace with Yogi Berra that might just outlive the franchise itself.
Even without a perfect game involved, this would’ve been an all-time classic. Nearly eliminated, the defending champions pieced together a 1-0 win in 10 innings that extended things to the limit … only for the Yankees to romp 9-0 in an anti-climactic finale. This was the crest of the Brooklyn-Bronx rivalry that dominated the ’40s and ’50s, and Larsen’s eternal nine innings pushes this one atop the mountain.
Well, not atop atop.
1. 1962 World Series, Yankees def. Giants 4-3
Everything the 1961 series lacked dramatically came overflowing from the 1962 Fall Classic, our pick for the very best Yankees championship ever secured.
Back-and-forth on both coasts. The Yankees took three separate one-game series leads, only to see them all immediately erased, giving us the gift of a Game 7 at blustery Candlestick Park.
Even without a particularly dramatic finale, this one would rank highly, but … Game 7 of the 1962 Series might have the most heart-stopping ending of any singular World Series Game.
Two years removed from surrendering Mazeroski’s series-ender, Ralph Terry took the mound and nursed a 1-0 lead into the ninth inning. Matty Alou started the frame with a bunt single, but two straight strikeouts left him on first base with Willie Mays standing between the Yanks and the title. Needless to say, he rocketed a double into the gap, but Roger Maris’ pitch-perfect throw kept the runner on third. Two outs. SERIES-WINNING run suddenly at second. Hall of Famer Willie McCovey at the plate. Hearts palpitating. Fingers glitching. Brows dripping. Terry unfurled, McCovey unloaded, and rocked a line drive to right … that somehow found second baseman Bobby Richardson’s leather. Ballgame over, series over, theeeeee Yankees win by the narrowest possible margin.
The spiritual precursor to 2014, when Alex Gordon refused to budge off third, giving the Giants their eventual franchise revenge. How can you not be romantic about baseball?